July 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm EDT | by Laura E. Lee
Overnight getaways don’t have to be far away

Escape the chaos of the city without the luggage rules, TSA hassles or outrageous airfares. In the time it takes to get to the airport, you can get away to one of several charming locations in the D.C. metro area.

While the city is most popular for a day trip, options abound for overnight accommodations in Annapolis, Md.

“To do Annapolis justice, you really want to stay overnight,” said Graham Gardner, innkeeper of the Two-O-One Bed & Breakfast.

In a town where on-street parking can be a nightmare, the biggest benefits of staying overnight are off-street parking and close proximity to all the attractions.

“Even the farthest restaurant is only a 15-minute walk,” Gardner said.

The Two-O-One’s expansive backyard has a greenhouse, a koi pond and seating for guests to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with Camilla, the spunky resident dog. An hour before breakfast, help yourself to coffee in the butler’s pantry. Gardner finds that guests enjoy the opportunity to meet and mingle over a cup of joe. The elegantly appointed rooms range from $180 to $250 per night.

Just around the corner from the Two-O-One is the 1908 William Page Inn, run by partners Robert Zuchelli and Jon O’Connor, where rooms are available for $165 to $225 per night.

Zuchelli, an Annapolis native and the longest full-time innkeeper in the city, is not an official concierge, but offers, in his words, “concierge-style services” including restaurant reservations, boat bookings and tour recommendations.

While Zuchelli is busy preparing breakfast and booking plans, you can rely on O’Connor to provide insight on local activities.

“He will sit outside and drink wine with you and tell you everything you need to know,” said Zuchelli.

If you prefer the countryside, drive just an hour from Washington to experience the scenic beauty of Middleburg, Va. On your way, stop off for some antique shopping in the little village of Aldie or wine-tasting at any of the many local vineyards.

Downtown Middleburg features stores of all sorts, several taverns and an old-fashioned ice cream shop. “There is something for everybody here,” said local resident Candi Kobetz.

History buffs will be drawn to the Red Fox Inn, an establishment rich with tradition in the heart of downtown. Started as a tavern in 1748, the Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Famous guests, including George Washington, Elizabeth Taylor and the Kennedy family have visited the Inn over its remarkable history.

The dark wood and low ceiling beams of the Inn’s dining room add to the charm of this truly historic tavern. The Inn’s 14 guest rooms are available 365 days a year and room rates vary from $170 to $245 per night.

Venturing away from downtown Middleburg feels like a tale from a children’s book. Cross the babbling brook and pass the cobblestone walls as you drive into the woods. Continue along the gravel road and emerge to the manicured grounds of the Goodstone Inn and Estate.

If you are looking for luxury and serenity, the 265-acre estate features six different properties including country cottages and a carriage house that originally housed the pride of this region: horses. The Goodstone’s definitively British vibe is punctuated by a daily afternoon tea. Want something less formal? Relax by the ivy-cloaked pool that overlooks expansive fields dotted with wildflowers and bales of hay. Summer rates at the Goodstone range from $250 to $620 per night.

If you don’t mind a slightly longer drive, venture two hours west to the Guest House at Lost River in West Virginia. Set just outside the George Washington National Forest, the Guest House provides a tranquil retreat for $145 to $225 per night.

Andrew Huddleston and his husband, Chris Baker, have visited the Guest House every year for the last 10 years. Huddleston describes the property as “a nice hybrid between a bed & breakfast and a hotel.”

The Guest House offers a spacious property where “you don’t have to compete to find a quiet place,” said Huddleston.

Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking, canoeing, cave exploring or horseback riding. Follow your day of adventure with a massage from the on-site masseuse.

Huddleston and Baker return to the rustic and cozy location because it provides a convenient opportunity to get away from the hustle of daily life. “We’re definitely urban people but it’s nice to get away from that sometimes,” Huddleston said.

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