Opened in April on the University of Virginia’s Charlottesville campus (nestled between UVA’s law and business schools), Kimpton’s The Forum Hotel is a study in both stately brick
Jeffersonian-era architecture and a new build’s state-of-the-art design. Unlike in-town boutique hotels, The Forum’s parklike setting includes a serene 5-acre botanical garden complete with an amphitheater, waterfall, bridges, walking paths and contemplative nooks tucked amid native and global-themed gardens.
Inside, the contemporary decor includes plenty of cozy seating areas in the lobby and throughout the hotel. The navy-blue-walled library room, “The Case Study,” has cognac-colored leather sofas, a long table on which to work, built-ins and an array of intriguing books, including Annie Leibovitz’s Wonderland.
The hotel’s 198 guest rooms and 10 suites feature comfortable beds and a chair (or sofa), minibar with gourmet local treats, yoga mat, and an LED smart TV. And if you neglected to pack something, a “Forgot It? We’ve Got It!” list includes everything from a cellphone charger to a curling or straightening iron, lint rollers and more.
Complimentary coffee and tea are served each morning in the lobby living room (or enjoy your cup from a plump-cushioned chair on the adjacent balconies overlooking the gardens). Don’t miss social hour, held each evening, for a glass of wine or beer and a savory snack (complimentary). Restaurants include the hotel craft beer bar The Good Sport, for brews and a delicious smashburger; and Birch & Bloom, a steak and seafood restaurant, which offers seasonal menus that draw from Virginia’s orchards, vineyards and farms.
While dogs are tolerated at many hotels, The Forum all-out welcomes them with plentiful outdoor seating at the restaurants, an in-room dog bed, food and water bowls, and dog treats—for no added fee. Order a “barkuterie” board at Pups on the Patio night (Mondays). Rates begin at $289 per night and include the complimentary use of bikes, binoculars and bird-watching materials.
Kimpton’s The Forum Hotel, 540 Massie Road, Charlottesville, Virginia; 434-365-2600; forumhotelcharlottesville.com
Visit Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for wine pairings of another kind. Launched in October 2022 in collaboration with the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County, the Bucks County Wine & Art Trail features outdoor-friendly art prints, from colorful botanicals to evocative landscape paintings created plein-air style among the vines.
Sip—and savor the art—at seven vineyards and wineries. Just a few of the trail’s highlights: Bishop Estate Vineyard and Winery (bishopestatepa.com), home to a popular Dark Bishop cabernet sauvignon and, often, live music and food trucks; Wycombe Vineyards (wycombevineyards.com), a place to glamp among the vines with a private picnic; and Crossing Vineyards and Winery (crossingvineyards.com), which hosts live music on Sept. 1, 8 and 15.
Get the free mobile “passport” at VisitBucksCounty.com/WineandArtTrail for detailed vineyard information and addresses, plus an opportunity to win one of the outdoor art reproductions. Check in digitally at three or more wineries or vineyards and receive a set of fine art note cards (gratis), featuring works created along the trail.
Bucks County Wine & Art Trail, 215-639-0300, visitbuckscounty.com/wineandarttrail
Set on 35 acres of lush landscaping, meadows and woodsy paths full of autumn color, the historic Brampton Bed and Breakfast Inn on Maryland’s Eastern Shore has an array of new offerings. David and Hilari Rinehart acquired the Chestertown property in August 2020, retained many on the talented staff (beloved by former guests), and got to work elevating the inn’s outdoor spaces to include an expansive pergola-covered deck, a lovely terrace overlooking the grounds for alfresco dining, and a beautifully landscaped circular patio with a large firepit surrounded by Adirondack rockers. A shore-to-table feast prepared over a cauldron by acclaimed Eastern Shore chef Kurt Peter is one of the new immersive experience offerings (check Brampton’s website for details and dates).
Relax indoors in the manor house’s book- and game-filled living room, or in one of the seven spacious rooms and suites. Six private cottages (two are pet-friendly) dot the property. At edge-of-the-woods Mulberry Cottage, you can nap in a hammock for two, take a soak in the tub on the screened-in porch, and read on the front porch swing (or in the king-size bed with a view of the fireplace). Each guest accommodation includes luxury linens, custom bath products and cozy robes—some have a jetted or soaking tub, and/or a gas (or wood-burning) fireplace, available for use Nov. 15 through March 31. Savor treats galore, from fresh-baked cookies and pastries to full breakfast offerings that range from croissant French toast to frittatas with homegrown asparagus, plus afternoon small bites with tea (all included). Better still, you can enjoy a new setting each time, whether it’s in the two-sided glass dining room, on the peaceful front porch, or delivered to your cottage.
The inn is a 2-mile drive to Chestertown, an artistic haven that’s home to many galleries, restaurants, shops and art exhibits at Kent Cultural Alliance’s new Raimond Cultural Center (kentculture.org), and a collection of 20-plus public art sculptures scattered throughout town. Brampton rates begin at $229 per night.
Brampton Bed and Breakfast Inn, 25227 Chestertown Road, Chestertown, Maryland; 410-778-1860; bramptoninn.com
This story appears in the September/October issue of Bethesda Magazine.