honey run hobbit holeChannel your inner hobbit and slip into a hobbit-hole where you can read “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy to your heart’s content. Feel the world melt away as your muscles turn to jelly beneath a blanket of hot stones or on the wave of a scented herbal bath. Or play hooky from the world with an eloquent lesson in the flavor profiles of bourbon.

These are the simple pleasures we always plan to treat ourselves to but never seem to get around to actually doing. How easy is it fulfill your promise to indulge in some well-earned “me” fun? Check out these timely packages at inns from Maryland to Middle-earth – and treat yourself.

The ‘unexpected journey’ . . .  in Ohio

HoneyRun-Honeycomb-Porch smMiddle-earth in the Midwest? Stranger than fiction, but true – and at the end of the country roads that take you to The Inn at Honey Run you may feel like you’re in The Shire. This Millersburg inn, located in the midst of Ohio Amish Country, has created a special Hobbit Getaway Package for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels and the movies, including the recently released “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

Check into one of the dozen earth-sheltered honeycomb rooms cum hobbit-holes and hibernate with a basket of home-made biscuits and jam – the traditional Hobbit elevensies meal. Burrowed into a hill (not unlike Bilbo’s own digs), the luxury-level rooms are situated on a ridge above the inn and look out on sweeping farmland vistas. An enormous stone fireplace keeps guests toasty warm and floor-to-ceiling glass doors open to a private patio or balcony outlined with a curving rock wall.

Honey Run Honeycomb Suite intCharming and elegant, these hobbit-holes have a few things Bilbo’s didn’t: cushy king-size bed, flat screen TV, hydra-jet tub and rain forest shower, plus complimentary bottled water and daily newspapers. Chef-designed meals are featured at onsite restaurant, Tarragon: smoked pork mignon and pork belly duet, coffee/chili rubbed hanger steak with chimichurri sauce. The spa offers holistic treatments using organic products. And the inn’s fire-warmed hearth room is a fitting and comfy place to watch “The Lord of the Rings.”

On a side note, another current movie has ties to Millersburg: “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, also stars Walton Goggins, who plays the Congressman from Ohio who considers swapping his vote in favor of passing the 13th Amendment for a postmaster’s job.

Hot stone massages, country ham and the history of Bourbon

Beaumont InnAll the ingredients for a classic “indulge me” getaway are found at – of all places – a former school for young ladies. Now a National Register of Historic Places gem, the circa 1919 Beaumont Inn is Kentucky’s oldest Southern country inn. It fits graciously into the yesteryear ambience of Kentucky’s oldest town, Harrodsburg, founded in 1774 and located about 30 miles southwest of Lexington.

Amidst centuries-old forest trees, several dozen antiques-laden guestrooms are tucked into four buildings – one of them the perfect place to celebrate any special moment with the inn’s year-round Honeymoon/Anniversary Package.

You’ll be greeted with a bottle of champagne, chocolates and flowers for your overnight in a king or queen guestroom, furnished beautifully with antiques – many from the inn’s days as a school. Dining is offered in the linen-draped main dining room, the more casual Old Owl Tavern a flight below and in the pub-like Owl’s Nest Lounge. The inn is famous for its two-year-old Kentucky cured country ham; in fact, the innkeepers have added a ham house to the grounds where, at any given time, some 200 to 250 hams are curing – and guests so inclined may tour it.

Hburg BeaumontInn foodThis being Kentucky, the bar is lushly stocked with 50 bourbons. A new offering is a personalized Bourbon Tasting with the Innkeeper, taking guests through the taste profiles, history and nuances of up to six Kentucky bourbons in the leather chair comfort of a tasting room off the Old Owl Tavern.

At the inn’s Kentucky Spa, located a stroll away at Bell Cottage, guests may partake of a number of tension-melting therapies, including a warming and relaxing hot stone massage, a head-to-toe Serenity massage or a couples massage.

Sleep, relax, repeat

Five Gables cottage smSt. Michael’s, Maryland, a historic and picturesque waterside village straddling the Miles River on the Eastern Shore, is a gutsy little burg that once fended off an attack by the British back in 1813. Today a well-scrubbed enclave with white frame houses and gingerbread trim, it is a fitting backdrop for the Five Gables Inn and Spa, a luxuriously cozy getaway for discerning travelers comprising several charming 19th century homes.

Book the inn’s weekend Romantic Getaway Package, which includes two nights’ accommodations for two, plus an herbal bath, one-hour massage per guest and a wine and cheese basket. The only thing that would make the package better is if someone else drew your bath. But wait . . . they do. Slip into the air-jet bath, scented with your choice of Aveda aromas, and float away.

Guestrooms are sumptuous nests with whirlpool tubs and fireplaces, fat pillows, elegantly dressed beds and extravagant linens. There’s an enclosed swimming pool and, next door and upstairs, nirvana. Everything about the spa – its darkened rooms, the hushed murmurings of the masseuse – calms and soothes. And a massage is the perfect therapy for loosening up the muscles in anticipation of one of the village’s prime recreational activities: bicycling.

Five Gables ext smPedal to the famous Cannonball House on Mulberry Street, site of the thwarted British attack. It seems St. Michaels residents, forewarned of the attack, tricked the British by hoisting lanterns to ships’ masts and treetops and the British canons overshot the town. It was the first “blackout” and a successful strategy: Only one home was struck.

Along the main shopping thoroughfare, meander from shop to shop, kickstanding your bike and browsing as you wish. Talbot Street is lined beam to board with come-hither shops, from clothing, crafts and collectibles boutiques to art, jewelry and giftware galleries. Plenty of good eats, too, from the famous steamed crabs and crab cakes at St. Michaels Crab & Steak House to an evening of gastronomical adventuring in a waterfront setting that is country club casual at Sherwood Landing.


The Inn at Honey Run, Millersburg, Ohio: www.InnatHoneyRun.com, 800-708-9394. The  Hobbit Getaway Package is $259 (use promo code “HOBBIT” if booking online) and includes an overnight in an earth-sheltered Honeycomb Suite, breakfast for two, biscuits with jam in your room and the four-book boxed set of Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books.

The Beaumont Inn, Harrodsburg, Ky.: www.BeaumontInn.com, 800-352-3992. The year-round Honeymoon/Anniversary Package, from $273, includes an overnight in a deluxe king or queen room, evening dinner in the Main Dining Room, full Southern breakfast and a bottle of champagne, chocolates and flowers in the room upon arrival. Add $72 for guestrooms with two-person whirlpool bath and fireplace. Add $35 or $55 for the Innkeeper’s Bourbon Tasting ($55 tasting features up to six Ultra Premium bourbons). Other options: A Kentucky Spa treatment at Bell Cottage.

Five Gables Inn and Spa, St. Michaels, Md.: www.FiveGables.com, 877-466-0100. The Romantic Getaway is from $625 (depending on accommodations) for two nights –  Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday nights – and includes an herbal bath and one-hour massage for each guest (based on two) and a wine and cheese basket. It is available through March 29, 2013.