6 Glamorous Rustic Retreats

by Jessica Festa

While country retreats are often synonymous with quaint bed and breakfasts and cozy inns, there are many opulent accommodations that remain rustic—and that allow travellers to immerse themselves in the outdoors without sacrificing luxury. Picture properties offering the charm of a small family-run hotel, but with the amenities of a 5-star resort. To help you plan your next luxurious rustic retreat, here are some of my top suggestions.

Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, New York

Whiteface Lodge is like a resort offering everything: an opulent spa, upscale dining, a pub, an ice cream parlour, a seasonal ice skating rink, a 56-seat surround sound movie theatre, a bowling alley, pools, hot tubs, a game room, trails for cross-country skiing and hiking, and more. Ninety-four guest suites showcase handcrafted furnishings, fireplaces, radiant-heat flooring, jetted tubs and private patios and balconies for natural views.


Credit: Whiteface Lodge

In the spa, guests can indulge with an “Ausable River Stone Massage” or “Great Outdoor Maple Facial” while inhaling the sweet scent of fresh wood. In the fine-dining restaurant KANU, a sommelier is on-hand to help guests pair the perfect wine with innovative American dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients and native seafood and game.

Trails around the property allow guests to immerse themselves in the outdoors, and trekking/snowshoeing, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, skiing and dog sledding can all be enjoyed within 10 minutes of the property.

For a unique way to relax, spend some time in the Adirondack-style outdoor lean-tos. These ambient spaces feature mountain views, a fire pit, a menu of hand-rolled and imported cigars and a selection of more than 25 single malt scotches, ports, cordials and wines.

Windham Hill Inn, West Townsend, Vermont

Located about 30 minutes outside of Brattleboro, West Townsend will transport you to a completely different world, especially if you stay at Windham Hill Inn. The property is for those looking to experience a slower pace of life while immersing themselves in understated luxury. Part of the Relais & Châteaux collection of fine hotels and gourmet restaurants, Windham Hill Inn features a main house with world-class rooms as well as opulent accommodations in a restored barn.


Credit: Windham Hill Inn

You won’t need to leave the property to enjoy the area’s recreational offerings. Along with 160 acres of award-winning gardens, meadows and woodlands, the property is surrounded by the Green Mountains and a large network of hiking and skiing trails.

Additionally, guests can wander the vegetable garden with executive chef Graham Gill, attend a wine tasting seminar or pairing dinner, take a dip in the heated swimming pool, get active on the clay tennis court or enjoy a farm-fresh breakfast with a view.

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa, Victor, Idaho

Nestled in the tops of the Rocky Mountains in the heart of the Teton Valley, Victor provides an immersive natural experience and scenic mountain, valley and woodland landscapes. For those looking for a rustic yet opulent stay, Teton Springs Lodge & Spa provides lodge and cabin accommodations, fine western decor, mountain views, three restaurants and luxury amenities in a tranquil setting.


Credit: Teton Springs Lodge & Spa

You won’t have to go very far to enjoy the area’s recreation, as onsite there are nine fly-fishing ponds, the 18-hole Headwaters Golf Course, a 25-metre heated swimming pool, two hot tubs, kid’s Geyser Land, two tennis courts, a basketball court and mountain biking trails. Nearby activities include hiking in Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, scenic hot air ballooning, kayaking Yellowstone area rivers, horseback riding through wildflowers in Teton Valley, skiing and snowboarding at Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole Mountain Resorts and more.

And when it’s time to relax, head to the Stillwaters Spa & Salon for a massage or treatment. I recommend the “Rosemary, Sage & Eucalyptus Alpine Massage, ” which awakens muscles while relieving pain by incorporating warm stones with curative natural ingredients.

Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri

Residing on Table Rock Lake in the hillsides of the Ozark Mountains is Big Cedar Lodge, a secluded country property featuring luxurious lodge, cabin and cottage accommodations with cozy fireplaces, jetted tubs and wilderness views.

The dining program features local dishes with a signature twist, with creations like Country Fried Ribeye, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Livers and Smoked & Grilled Rock Bridge Trout. While Buzzard Bar provides live entertainment every night with local entertainers and its own Singin’ Cowboy, the event calendar features wine tastings and workshops, cooking seminars, guided yoga hikes and daily fitness classes.

Outdoor recreation includes onsite hiking, biking, horseback riding and fishing, as well as access to a full-service marina. Nearby guests can also enjoy the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and numerous world-class golf courses.

For a truly relaxing experience, Big Cedar Lodge has two onsite spa locations, The Carriage House and Lakeside Spa, both offering massages, body and nail treatments, and facials.

Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee

The 4, 200-acre Blackberry Farm is the epitome of country luxury. Situated in a secluded spot in the Rocky Mountains, guests can choose between cottages, suites and houses offering comfortable feather beds, sumptuous linens, natural views, cozy fireplaces, fine antique furnishings, lavish bath products and luxury amenities.


Credit: Kreis Beall and Heather Anne Thomas

Additionally, Blackberry Farm takes pride in its cuisine, which uses ingredients from its farm and regional artisans. Meals are served in a rustic barn made opulent with dim candle lighting, refined decor and fine dining stemware. Enjoy beers from the Blackberry Farm brewery or wines from the expansive cellar, with some varietals being crafted specifically for Blackberry Farm.

The Farmhouse Spa allows you to take your natural escape even further with treatments using natural ingredients. Opt for their “Mountain Spring Mint Mojito” which combines mint picked fresh from the Spa Garden with a rum and cane sugar scrub to exfoliate and refresh the body. Partaking in chakra balancing and yoga while enjoying mountain views are other ways to pamper yourself in a healthy way.

On property, guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of the surrounding nature through hiking, cycling, kayaking, horseback riding, playing paintball, strolling through the gardens or stargazing. And for an unusual luxurious add-on, guests can test drive a Lexus IS C350, Lexus GS 350 or the Lexus LS600h.

Brasada Ranch, Bend, Oregon

For those who want to experience ranch life, the boutique Brasada Ranch resides on 3, 600 acres overlooking nine Cascade Peaks. The property offers a mix of two and three-bedroom cabins as well as rustic Ranch House Suites with fireplaces, private outdoor hot tubs, fire pits and individual terraces.

Even if you never leave the property, you will never get bored, as there are numerous ways to enjoy yourself and to explore the great outdoors. Enjoy a meal at one of the two onsite restaurants—both which use locally sourced ingredients often picked and served the same day—or natural healing at the Spa Brasada. Simply view the surrounding landscape from a pool or hot tub, or immerse yourself in it by experiencing the onsite hiking trails, renting a mountain bike from the hotel, horseback riding with the Equestrian Center and Brasada Trails or playing a round of golf on their five-acre practice facility. Additionally, Brasada Ranch can organize outdoor excursions like fly fishing, white water rafting and helicopter tours.