During the months of short days and long, frosty evenings, inns that promise crackling fires, heavy quilts, and blueberry pancakes are at their most enticing. Cast your vote in our Readers' Choice poll of the coziest inns in the South.
Set in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Clifton Inn is a Relais & Châteaux property that offers 14 well-appointed rooms and suites plus 3 cottages, all in a 100-acre setting. With Charlottesville's restaurant scene just 6 miles west and Shenandoah National Park about an hour away, guests have endless options for curling up, digging in, or stretching their legs.
Book This Room: Splurge on the Carriage House. The space has abundant natural light, a fireplace, and a loft area. Children under 8 receive a complimentary turndown amenity–a copy of Winnie the Pooh's Bedtime Stories and a Pooh Bear toy–because just like Winnie's home in the Hundred Acre Wood, the inn is also set on 100 acres.
Don't Miss This Meal: One of the restaurant's tasting menus features local ingredients and winter flavors such as Four Cheese and Virginia Ham Ravioli with Mushrooms, Fresh Herbs, and Red Wine.
Get in Touch: The Clifton Inn, 1296 Clifton Inn Drive, Charlottesville, Virginia. thecliftoninn.com or 434/971-1800
Framed by rock walls, wooden fences, and tall trees, the wooded drive along FoxCroft Road to the entrance of Goodstone Inn and Restaurant is romantic–and then you arrive to the 265-acre estate. Choose from 18 rooms and suites in the Manor House, Carriage House, Dutch Cottage, French Farm Cottage, Spring House, and Bull Barn.
Book This Room: Perched on the second floor of the Manor House, the billiard-green Mosby Room is a throwback to Virginia horse country in the 1940s. The Mosby is one of the house's four private rooms, each with its own bath.
Don't Miss This Meal: A breakfast featuring Executive Chef Benjamin Lambert's tender Blueberry Pancakes served with thick-cut bacon. The secret is a rich batter and a double dose of berries.
Get in Touch: Goodstone Inn and Restaurant, 36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, Virginia. goodstone.com or 877/219-4663
Chances are, your fantasy of the ultimate Smoky Mountain getaway goes something like this: Tuck into a cozy cabin with shameless amounts of knotty pine and red plaid blankets and plenty of grits and maple syrup. The Dancing Bear Lodge and its nearby one- and two-bedroom cabins serve up all of the above, along with a serious hospitality pedigree.
Book This Room: The spacious one-bedroom cabin that's hidden away in a secluded spot features a fireplace, king-size bed, and hot tub on the back porch.
Don't Miss This Meal: Cider-glazed Springer Mountain Farms Chicken with Carolina Gold Rice Risotto, Roasted Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Cider Jus.
Get in Touch: Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant, 137 Apple Valley Way, Townsend, Tennessee. dancingbearlodge.com or 800/369-0111
Highlands, North Carolina
The historic Old Edwards Inn and Spa pampers with a gorgeous, newly renovated spa that features two solariums with fountains, as well as 94 rooms appointed in a Euro-luxe style with rainfall showers, heated tile floors, Italian linens, and cozy robes and slippers.
Book This Room: With its exposed brick and abundance of sheer white fabric draped from the top rails of an iron canopy bed, the Luxury Suite is an extra-dreamy ethereal space with a comfy adjacent living room.
Don't Miss This Meal: The inn's Madison's Restaurant offers farm-to-table cuisine such as Shrimp and Grits made with Local Heirloom Corn, Ham Hock, and Roasted Peppers.
Get in Touch: Old Edwards Inn and Spa, 445 Main Street, Highlands, North Carolina. oldedwardsinn.com or 866/526-8008
The oh-so-elegant Fairview Inn is a 1908 retreat that serves up generous portions of Southern hospitality. The Fairview's 13 suites and five rooms are filled with period antiques (and many include jetted tubs).
Book This Room: An ornate four-poster, king-size bed and sumptuous fabrics draping windows and chairs make the Magnolia Suite a near-perfect place for a romantic getaway.
Don't Miss This Meal: Sophia's Restaurant serves an irresistible Mussels Small Plate with Indian Summer Court Bouillon, Tobacco Onions, and Andouille Sausage.
Get in Touch: Fairview Inn, 734 Fairview Street, Jackson, Mississippi. fairviewinn.com or 888/948-1908
Built in 1876, the 16-room Italianate townhouse features an evening social complete with light hors d'oeuvres and wine in a handsome parlor. Don't miss the house cocktail–a pineapple-spiked mint julep.
Book This Room: Named for the original owner of the east wing of the house, the Samuel Palmer Room is a rhapsody in blue with a king-size bed, claw-foot tub, and tall "waltz out" windows that open to a private second-floor veranda facing Savannah's picturesque Gaston Street.
Don't Miss This Meal: Room rates include a full Southern breakfast prepared by the innkeepers from their own recipes and served in a Victorian dining room. We love the Pear, Pecan, and Sausage Quiche.
Get in Touch: The Dresser Palmer House, 211 East Gaston Street, Savannah, Georgia. dresserpalmerhouse.com or 912/238-3294
Nestled amid the grapevines in Barboursville Vineyards, the 1804 Inn is part of the historic estate of Gov. James Barbour, former governor of Virginia. Period bone china, antique silver, and priceless artwork ensure the inn's genteel history is felt in each room.
Book this Room: It's impossible not to fall in love with the ruby-colored, toile-covered Octagon Room. Named after the vineyard's most prestigious wine, the room features a balcony overlooking a lake, and a claw-foot tub in a room that used to be a library.
Don't Miss this Meal: To complement Barboursville's acclaimed Italian reds, the Estate's Palladio restaurant serves Italian specialties. Start with Roasted Butternut Squash-filled Ravioli with Sage Butter and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.
Get in Touch: 1804 Inn at Barboursville Vineyards, 17655 Winery Road, Barboursville, Virginia. barboursvillewine.net or 540/832-5384
Perched high above the Guadalupe River less than an hour north of San Antonio, Riven Rock Ranch is rugged Texas hill country at its most refined. Twelve guest rooms, housed in four cottages and the ranch's original Farm House, offer a mix of vintage and high style that includes antler chandeliers and heavy wooden bed frames.
Book This Room: We love the color-coordinated romance of the cocoa-and-rose River Suite in the 1890s farmhouse.
Don't Miss This Meal: Located in a pretty native plant garden, The Terrace Grill serves a belt-busting Wild Game Sampler, which changes weekly but always includes three varieties of game cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Get in Touch: Riven Rock Ranch, 390 Hermann Sons Road, Comfort, Texas. rivenrockranch.com or 877/726-2490