Text by Elizabeth Czapski
As spring takes root in the world around us, enlivening everything it touches, there’s no better time to plan an escape to experience its splendor somewhere new. The boundless appeal of cottage style means you can find its distinct charm in locations across the country and beyond. And as we celebrate Earth Day, we’re featuring some of the most stunning destinations where these cottages call home. Whether you’re searching for seaside serenity or lush landscapes in full bloom, there’s something for every traveler among these cottage communities.
Aiken, South Carolina
Discover the enchantment of Aiken, South Carolina, under its signature oak canopies and sprawling urban forest, one of the largest in the nation. The small Southern town is known for its equestrian culture, but it also boasts rich history, a thriving arts scene, and plenty of delicious eateries.
Nestled in the lovely Texas Hill Country, just an hour and a half west of Austin, Fredericksburg offers endless scenic vistas, from sweeping panoramas atop Enchanted Rock, the second-largest granite dome in the country, to landscapes laden with the region’s acclaimed wildflowers. While the blooms are glorious to behold in every season, spring is no doubt when they shine brightest, especially at attractions like Wildseed Farms. You can also expect a taste of German heritage, award-winning wines, and cuisine spanning Tex-Mex and Bavarian.
Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts
The colorful sights of Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts—one of six towns located on the idyllic island of Martha’s Vineyard—encompass both delightful scenery and distinctive cottage style. Its iconic community of kaleidoscopic gingerbread cottages holds a storied past that dates to the mid-1800s and has evolved to include more than 300 candy-colored Carpenter Gothic homes. Stroll the National Historic Landmark grounds, and peruse acres of curb appeal at peak spring splendor as well as rows upon rows of cottages cloaked in the shades of the season.
Door County, Wisconsin
Set along the Door Peninsula on Lake Michigan, Door County, Wisconsin, is an unforgettable getaway for outdoor activities including biking, paddleboarding, and exploring sea caves by kayak. With five state parks—more than any other county in the United States—and an emphasis on conservation efforts, Door County’s natural beauty remains the main attraction for many. Also known for locally grown cherries, handmade cheese, and fresh-caught whitefish, and home to quaint galleries and shops, there’s something enticing for every kind of traveler. See more in our Spring issue on newsstands now.
North Carolina’s Crystal Coast
Whether you prefer to spend your trip lounging on the sparkling shoreline or exploring spots like Cape Lookout National Seashore, a 56-mile stretch of undeveloped beaches accessible only by boat, an escape to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast never disappoints. See for yourself how it got the name with a climb to the top of Cape Lookout’s prominent “Diamond Lady” lighthouse, and find everything from history to food tours in the surrounding area.
Outdoor adventure awaits in Tallahassee, Florida, which touts more than 700 miles of trails winding through some of the most biologically diverse landscapes in the country. Hikers and bikers can take it all in at their leisure, or for a more tailored experience, visit sites like the Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park and the Goodwood Museum & Gardens. The city’s cultural and culinary scenes are flourishing, and all its attractions come alive in the spring.
It is Earth Day, so why limit your getaway to the U.S.? While France is famous for its renowned cities designed for tourists’ entertainment, you’ll discover more of its natural marvels visiting rural areas. Whether you’re planning a trip or simply doing some armchair traveling, French television and radio host Stéphane Bern’s book, The Best Loved Villages of France, will take you on a remarkable journey through 44 of the country’s most beautiful and well-kept secrets, brimming with history, tradition, and breathtaking sights covered in verdant glory this time of year.