Woodlands Resort & Inn is a special spot that indulges guests with world-class amenities. Mobil Travel Guide and AAA have consistently bestowed five-star and five-diamond ratings upon the lodging and dining here (one of only three such highly ranked destinations in the U.S.). So I wanted to visit and see what the rave is about.
The property is the ideal place to ease into the pace of coastal Carolina, where tall, straight pines; leather-leafed magnolias; and wide-armed live oaks dripping with Spanish moss surround the historic redbrick estate.
Eighteen elegantly appointed guest rooms and a guest cottage provide comfort and privacy. The decor--West Indies touches and English antiques--doesn’t feel at all stuffy. Chairs form cozy seating areas by working fireplaces across from four-poster king-size beds. Large baths include showers, soaking tubs, and heated towel racks. The staff spoils our pets as well by setting up a doggy bed and supplying fresh-baked goodies.
The staff pampers us with tea--all we have to do is decide where to relax. We opt for the rocking chairs on the sunny veranda. The chef adorns trays with flavorful and light blueberry-and-lemon scones in the British tradition. We can’t resist the petite chocolate meringue pies and brownies with gold and silver leaf while sipping a soothing bergamot tea.
Afterward we set out for a leisurely walk around the 42-acre grounds. A heated pool, tennis courts, and bicycles invite activity. Instead we scoot into Charleston (25 minutes away) to shop the boutiques and antiques stores along King Street. We’ve planned another full day to explore the plantations along the Ashley River, wander along Catfish Row, or maybe even venture out to the coastal islands for a golf or beach excursion.
I start with the oyster appetizers, savoring each bite. The first is cold--an oyster in a tomato reduction and horseradish crème fraîche. It’s followed by a pickled oyster with shiitakes. The third bite warms my palate as I pause to enjoy the oyster poached in butter sauce with tomato caviar and basil. The last two morsels end richly--a tempura-fried oyster followed by one broiled with truffle hollandaise.
Unobtrusively the sommelier, Stephane Peltier, suggests pairings from the 900-label collection. He pours just enough wine to match the length of each course.
Toddling back upstairs to our cozy room, we tuck in between the fine Italian linens and indulge in a long winter’s nap. Now that’s peace on Earth.
Woodlands Resort & Inn: 125 Parsons Road, Summerville, SC 29483; www.woodlandsinn.com or 1-800-774-9999. Rates from $325. Three-course dinners range from $62, four-course dinners from $75, and five-course dinners from $98.
"Dreamy Getaway" is from the December 2008 issue of Southern Living.