The most romantic month of the year is also one of the dreariest. All the more reason to get out of town and spend a romantic weekend in a cabin hideaway for cold-weather canoodling in the midst of the Brandenburg forest.
Relatively new on the scene, Gasthof Falkenhorst was founded by husband-wife team Annika and Hugo in 2018. Housed in a former Kneipe that’s been serving the local community for more than 100 years, the restaurant/guesthouse carries on a long tradition of welcoming weekending Berliners. The interior retains touches of the place’s former kitschy 80s flair, like the stained glass lamp that hangs over the bar, but has been transformed into a tasteful, homey space reminiscent of a slightly upscale British pub. A wood-burning fireplace with a backdrop of deep green tiles warms and brightens the room, where locals and out-of-towners alike stop by for their fix of vegan home comforts.
Brandenburg isn’t exactly known as a vegan hotspot, but Annika and Hugo have found an unusually receptive crowd. Often, they admit, people who stop in are surprised to learn they are eating vegan food at all. Perhaps it’s because they stick to the fan favourites: crispy schnitzel, plump stuffed knödel, tender spätzle, and hearty farmer’s breakfasts. The menu always includes three dishes on rotation, highlighting seasonal flavours like fresh garlic pesto and wild mushroom sauce, all complemented by local beers.
It should be noted that in February and March, the restaurant is only open on the first weekend of each month, from 12–19 on Saturday and 12 –18 on Sunday. From April to September it is open again every weekend. If you happen to miss the restaurant window, Annika and Hugo recommend Kross-In Seeterrassen in nearby Schmöckwitz where you can try out their reasonably priced three-course menus with lakeside seating.
A winter wander
Get ready to work off your meal with a woodland hike. The town is so small that in less than 10 minutes you’re already smack dab in the forest. A wide path invites you to wander between thick, neat rows of trees on either side, which you can follow until you end up right on the Spree. What would be an in-demand picnic spot in summer is blissfully empty in winter, so you can stroll undisturbed along the river, watching the windmills spinning lazily from across the way. Clocking in at around three hours, it’s ideal for a post-lunch ramble.
Another popular spot for hikers is Wernsdorfer See, a lung-shaped “double lake” which is particularly beautiful after snowfall. A well-marked trail leads you through the forest with glimpses of the lake and a good chance of spotting some of the diverse birdlife. As it’s a little further afield than the Spree hike, you’ll want to hop on your bike and cycle the 15 minutes down to this path.
Brandenburg-curious couples have three choices for overnight stays at the Gasthof. The loft is most popular in winter, with its cabin-like dark wood interiors, cute overhead library complete with ladder, and a warmly lit dining nook for playing board games with your boo. If you don’t feel like dining out, there is a small kitchen space for preparing meals, and if you happen to catch some sun (lucky you), there is a patio just off the living room. Annika and Hugo are also happy to suggest non-hike excursions, such as the local flea market or boat hires on Krossinsee. Or you could just curl up on the couch and experience a blast from the not-so-distant past by watching a rom-com from their extensive DVD collection.
You can reach Gasthof Falkenhorst by car in a little under an hour from Berlin. Public transportation is also a breeze if you’re willing to brave a brief winter cycle. Hop on the RE1 to Erkner (only a 15 minute journey from Ostkreuz), then cycle around 20 minutes to reach the Gasthof in Burig. You can also take the 424 or 428 bus to Burig Wald Straße, but be sure to check timetables in advance, as the service is irregular. Call +49 174 6101 358 or email der[email protected] for restaurant reservations (recommended).
Accommodation can be booked through their website.
Need more winter escape ideas? Head to the ethereal green waterways of Briesetal