Turn a chilly winter night into a cozy evening at one of these North Alabama or Georgia inns that serve pampering dinners--and breakfasts.


Are We There Yet?
This month we lure you into the wooded hillsides of North Alabama and Georgia to three oases of romantic dinners, lodging, views, and breakfasts. This first spot requires the most trust. With thorough printed directions, you'll steer toward The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff, which hides in the wilderness outside Pisgah, Alabama. Even as you pull up to the attractive inn, the location still makes little sense, unless you arrive before sunset and see the jaw-dropping view of the Tennessee River Valley.

You don't have to lodge to dine, but it's certainly the way to go in this secret crow's nest. Your dining choices are a bit limited here but a bargain: a set, four-course menu for $26.95. I lucked into Crawfish Bisque; Warm Portobello Mushroom Salad; Steak Dianne with garlic-herb butter, asparagus, and roasted potatoes; followed by crème brûlée. The lodge perches in a dry county, so bring your own wine. The staff stores and serves it for you during the meal. Don't miss the most indulgent breakfast ever or a scenic morning stroll. 101 Gorham Drive, Pisgah, Alabama; (256) 451-3435. Four-course dinner: $26.95, plus tax and gratuity. Rooms: $130-$185 (includes breakfast).

Barnsley Gardens
This classy resort in Adairsville, Georgia, takes less faith but more money. To build an appetite here, you can fish, canoe, shoot clays, kayak, bicycle, golf, or visit the spa. I'd suggest dinner in the Rice House, but be aware: Dress isn't golf casual. A four-course meal runs $60, but you have as many choices as a regular menu, such as an appetizer of seared foie gras, caramelized onions, and apple rings. In summer, they offered soft-shell crab tempura with watermelon-and-arugula salad--quite satisfying. This county isn't dry, so enjoy the wine list.

Breakfast dress is casual for a plentiful buffet in the Woodlands Grill and Clubhouse that overlooks the golf course. 597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville, Georgia; (770) 773-7480. Dinner at Rice House: $40-$60, two to four courses, before dessert. Suites and cottages: $230-$345 (includes breakfast).

Glen-Ella Springs Inn
We've shared this B&B near Clarkesville, Georgia, with you before, and it's still a favorite. It's not as posh (or as expensive) as Barnsley Gardens, and I think that's what I like.

Dinner is accomplished yet still comfortable. Start with Marinated Goat Cheese served with crisp baguette slices, or try Grilled Portobello Mushrooms on salad greens. I enjoyed the rack of lamb served with maple sweet potatoes and asparagus. Jalapeño-mint sauce came on the side. Note: BYOB again. There are wine shops within reach by day.

If you stay on a Saturday night, you'll likely meet co-owner Barrie Aycock on Sunday morning, flipping blueberry pancakes in the dining room and visiting with guests. 1789 Bear Gap Road, Clarkesville, Georgia; 1-888-455-8896. Dinner entrées: $19-$25. Rooms: $100-$200 (includes breakfast).

This article is from the January 2003 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.