Mini Escapes

051010FEATURE.jpg Mini Escapes
Reader-recommended getaways

Vacations are pricy and don't exactly fit into your busy schedule. Check out this Weekend Getaway Guide for quick trips that'll cure your travel bug without stressing your schedule or breaking the bank.

You deserve a break. And even with limited vacation time and financial resources, you still can let yourself have one, especially since you live in (or near) "the heart of if all."


Within a five-hour drive from Greater Cincinnati, you can step foot in nine out of the 50 United States, so you have access to a wealth of weekend getaway opportunities. But for a weekend worth your while, your fellow readers weigh in on five spots they rank in the tops.


Close for Comfort


For a getaway close to home, Dora Manuel recommends the Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn in Burlington, Ky. This nearby retreat offers a chance to escape without spending time or gas trying to get there, so you even can make it a one-night getaway. Stay two or more nights, though, and you can enjoy a 15 percent discount on your accommodations.


While the inn offers last-minute specials, you might want to hold out for fall to make this trip. "The pumpkin pancakes will melt in your mouth!" Manuel says.


For more information or to make a reservation at the Willis Graves Bed and Breakfast Inn, head to or call (888) 226-5096.



Rejuvenation Station


For "a great place to relax and rejuvenate," Catie Walton recommends Hocking Hills, and Jeanie Smith agrees. But if you've lived in the area long, you probably already have heard about the fantastic views and natural wonders of Hocking Hills. What you might not have heard, though, is that Hocking Hills can transport you to Scotland.


Save yourself a trans-Atlantic flight and head to Glenlaurel, also recommended by Manuel. From the names of the cottages to the bagpipe music over dinner, this inn lives up to its claim that "you will be hard pressed to find a public place anywhere in the Midwest of America that feels as Scottish as this place."


For more information on this Scottish experience, head to or call (800) 809-7378.


Mountain Retreat


Just like Hocking Hills, you most likely have heard of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a great place to escape, but your little getaway doesn't have to be tainted with so many other people trying to make the most of their own weekends. "Skip the tourist traps of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and go right for the waterfall hikes," Shannon Conrey says.


In this mountainous region, you have the opportunity to experience several magnificent waterfalls, but with only one of the major falls visible from the road, you also have the opportunity to connect with nature via a hiking trail. Be sure to check out Grotto Falls — the only waterfall in the area you actually can walk behind!



For a place to relax before and after the hikes, Cindy Berre recommends Blackberry Farm (in Walland, Tenn.) and Dancing Bear Lodge (in Townsend, Tenn.). These upscale resorts add a little luxury to the classic hotel or bed and breakfast. Travel and Leisure and Zagat have ranked Blackberry Farm as "America's No. 1 Small Hotel," though the property is far from small. The 4,200-acre estate offers excellent customer service paired nicely with an extensive list of activities ranging from guided hikes to Lexus drives.


Also called the "vacation basecamp of the Smokies," Dancing Bear Lodge works to create a home away from home for its guests. With mountain biking trails and wildflower walks, the 36-acre property offers even more to do after those waterfall vistas.


For more information about Blackberry Farm, head to or call (800) 648-4252. To learn more about Dancing Bear Lodge, check out or call (800) 369-0111.


Romantic Rendezvous


For another close-to-home mini-vaca, "take a peek at this romantic, secluded little getaway," Donna Melas says. Coyote Creek Farm pays attention to the details to make your stay as relaxing as possible. With a fireplace and a fire pit, this bed and breakfast will help you and your honey rekindle your sparks both indoors and out.


You even can take a slight detour on the way to check out Serpent Mound, a trip recommended by Jennifer Reed ( this week's Spotlight) . Detour or not, you won't have to go out of your way for breakfast at Coyote Creek Farm. Every morning your breakfast will come to the door of your cabin, and you can enjoy banana waffles with maple-pecan syrup, Salsa Scrambled Eggs and many other delicious delights.


For more information about Coyote Creek Farm, go to or call (937) 393-5166.


Chicago Rival


While Chicago can fall into the five-hour drive radius of Cincinnati, almost everyone has "been there, done that." Not to knock Chicago, but sometimes it's nice to hear about something new, and Michigan can offer that fresh perspective for your weekend away. "Look into the Somerset area!" Sherri Barber says. "Shopping and food rivals Chicago, and it's cheaper to stay in."


The Somerset Collection, located close to Detroit in Troy, Mich., offers an upscale shopping experience with more than 70 clothing stores and 12 jewelry stores among other shopping opportunities. Shops like Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co., and Swarovski make for a fantastic girlfriend getaway shopping spree.


And you won't just enjoy the boutique shops. The Somerset Inn offers boutique-style guest rooms, too. Learn more at or call (800) 228-8769. As countless other places offer fantastic experiences just hours away, please feel free to share your own favorite getaways in the comments section below.




Photographer: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Models: Diana Keung, Kirsten Schaffer and Gretchen Godsell
Location: The McAlpin


Linda Palacios -

Linda Palacios is the editor of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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