January 19, 2007 4:07 AM   Subscribe

Romantic Getaway Filter: Help my lovely lady and I find an affordable cabin (or other cozy, romantic-type-lodgings) within driving range of DC for 4-5 days midweek in mid-March. Google provides a lot of information on this subject, but I'm having trouble really narrowing it down, so I'm seeking the input of the Hive.

My girlfriend is having a rough semester in school, I'm having a rough first-year-out-of-school, and we're looking to get away together for a few days during her spring break in mid-March and spend time with eachother and our non-academic creative projects (writing, mostly). She'll fly into DC, and then we'll drive somewhere from there. We've entertained everything from Savannah to Montreal, but realistically we'd like to end up closer to DC (say, 4-ish hours' drive tops). There're a couple of relavent AskMes here and here -- we especially liked the look of the Shenandoah cabins, but they (and, for example, one B&B with individual cabins we liked in st. Michaels, MD) don't open until April.

We're looking for quiet, romantic places with access to stargazing, hiking, and decent but not terribly expensive, dining. We're willing to cook for ourselves if need be. I'm sort of attached to the idea of a cozy cabin in the woods, but we'd also consider a nice, small-ish hotel. We'd rather avoid B&Bs. I've never planned anything like this before, so, advice welcome too! How far in advance do I have to book, etc, etc?
posted by Alterscape to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked on craigslist yet?
posted by roboto at 4:14 AM on January 19, 2007

Take a look at Canaan Valley, WV. It's lovely up there in March, and there are lots of hiking trails, few tourists that time of year, and you'd have your pick of lodging (cabins, hotels, resorts, etc). Plus, it's a lot cheaper than some of the more well-known destinations near DC.
posted by arco at 4:28 AM on January 19, 2007

The Missus and I stayed in a cabin at Woodward House on Manor Grade, a B&B in Front Royal, VA, for our honeymoon. It was lovely, and I highly recommend it. (We also stayed at Killahevlin Bed & Breakfast, which I also recommend, but it doesn't have cabins.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:28 AM on January 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Coolfont is lovely, but I'm not sure about their operating status. Their main page says the resort is closed, but I can't tell if that means just the main spa and restaurant. It's worth a phone call, though--their alpine chalets sound like just what you're looking for, and nearby Berkeley Springs has some nice dining options.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:01 AM on January 19, 2007

If the retro-motel thing works for you I hugely recommend the Koolwink motel in Romney, WV - just over two hours from DC. Clean, cute, beautifully maintained and near all the hiking and stargazing you could want. Maybe not the kind of fanciness you're looking for, but I think it's awesome!
posted by crabintheocean at 7:46 AM on January 19, 2007

I've got a recommendation I'll share with you if you'll email me. Address in my profile.
posted by phearlez at 9:00 AM on January 19, 2007

My girlfriend and I had a wonderful time at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring. Very nice, about an hour from DC, and pretty close to Shenandoah National Park for hiking.
posted by Bezuhin at 9:57 AM on January 19, 2007

We spent our honeymoon at what was to be a cozy / romantic cabin in the woods. While we enjoyed the no-longer-planning-a-wedding peace, there were some problems with the setting in general.

distance - We drove something like 12 hours to get to the cabin. That was dumb. I know you're looking for closer-to-DC places (we went from Williamsburg, VA to the very southwest corner of NC). Because you have limited time, I'd recommend that you minimize the driving as much as possible.

food - Because the cabin was a "fend for yourself" type of place, there was (obvs.) no food in the pantry when we got there. So after having driven a crazy distance, we had to stop at a grocery store and fill the larder. While it's good to have access to the snacky foods you want to munch on, it's silly to have to buy all of the various condiments and whatnot. I'd strongly encourage you to find a place where restaurants are nearby. Again, with limited time, cooking can be a bit of a burden. I know you mentioned planning to go out to eat. I just want to back you up on that. Making the beds and everything else goes along with that.

preconceived notions - We were excited about the rustic / romantic idea of the cabin. When we got there, it was ... another house, but in the woods. Make sure to see photos of the place you'll be staying, and remember when you look at them that they're trying to sell you on it.


Long story short ... I'd suggest you look at some kind of "packaged" option, even if that's just a hotel / inn of some sort. Have fun!
posted by Alt F4 at 10:28 AM on January 19, 2007

Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County (Western MD) - I'm in Frederick, and it's well under 2 hours for me to get there. You'll find lots of people renting cabins all year round.
posted by ersatzkat at 2:37 PM on January 19, 2007

I was just about to recommend Deep Creek Lake. Things are pretty inexpensive there anyway, but since this season's been slow, maybe you could find a good deal.

Stop in downtown Frederick to eat, if you've never been there, and if you want supplies, stop at the Common Market Co-op.
posted by Airhen at 8:38 PM on January 19, 2007

Response by poster: Wow. Lots of Frederick love here. I'm actually located in Urbana, and I used to volunteer at the Common Market with my mother when I was younger. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. :)
posted by Alterscape at 1:45 AM on January 20, 2007

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