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Great American Getaways
Great American Getaways
06.09.11

It’s summer—time to take a break and escape. Plenty of great destinations await in our beautiful homeland. We’ve crisscrossed the United States to find everything from road trips to resorts, with adventures on the golf course, on the farm, on the road and on the porch, overlooking the Atlantic. Read on to see what we found.

Georgia – The Lodge at Sea Island

At the edge of the Atlantic, right in between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL, lies a perfect piece of southern hospitality. The Lodge at St. Simons Island is a haven of relaxation, boasting two highly acclaimed 18-hole championship golf courses (Seaside and Plantation), spectacular ocean views, and forests of ancient oaks and cedars. This Georgian escape is also home to an impeccable Old-English manor house, which beckons guests with elegant and romantic Southern allure in an intimate, low-key setting. A butler will take care of you from the start of your stay to the very end, while milk and cookies delivered at bedtime will nurture your inner child. After a perfect day of golfing, exploring the island or lolling on a beach chair by the sea, settle in on the lodge’s back lawn and listen for the lone bagpiper who roams the property at sunset, recalling ancient Scottish tradition.

Northern California – Calistoga Ranch

Calistoga

At the end of Napa Valley’s legendary Silverado Trail, you’ll reach the beginning of a perfect California getaway. Set in a secluded canyon a few minutes from the rustic spa town of Calistoga, this ranch comprises 157 acres of dry oak and pine forest, home to a host of passing deer, quail and coyotes. The Calistoga Ranch mesmerizes visitors with its unique design, friendly service and unadulterated calm. Large windows, open-air showers, on-deck hot tubs and outdoor living spaces encourage guests to get in touch with nature. Spend your days hiking nearby or enjoying a mud bath or spa treatment. Then retreat to your private cedar-shingled cottage, sip a glass of award-winning wine, breathe in the healing scent of manzanita and eucalyptus, gaze into your outdoor fireplace and find renewal under a canopy of stars.

Southern California – Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Ojai

To escape the din of bright lights and smoggy nights, Los Angelinos often escape to the small, arty enclave of Ojai, christened by the Chumash Indians as the “Valley of the Moon.” Ensconced in a bowl of mountain ranges not far from Santa Barbara, Ojai is blessed with hot, dry summers and clear, starry nights. The 80-year-old Ojai Valley Inn & Spa blends Spanish-mission influence with a new-age ambience that entices golfers, spa seekers and sun worshipers to bask in high-altitude rejuvenation. Take a guided hike or bike ride in the surrounding Topatopa Mountains, pop into town to check out the organic eateries, have a taste of summer at Ojai Ice Cream & Fudge, wander through eclectic art galleries and shops, take a historical walking tour or catch the monthly artisan fair before returning for a dip at the Inn’s saltwater pools. At sundown, find a comfortable spot to enjoy the valley’s famous Pink Moment, when the last rays of light set the eastern bluffs aglow. .

Tennessee – Blackberry Farm

Tennessee

The hot, humid air of a southern summer disappears in the cool mist of the Great Smoky Mountains. Nestled in the foothills, an idyllic getaway combines the romance of an intimate luxury inn with the rural pace of life on a sustainable farm. Covering 4,200 secluded acres, Blackberry Farm is made up of gardens, farmland, livestock and an onsite larder and creamery. While there, you can join in the farming fun or simply indulge in the artful gourmet meals and tastings in the renovated 18th-century Amish barn. Delicious, farm-fresh heirloom vegetables, home-cured bacon, cheese and preserves come straight from the land, along with such foraging delights as morel mushrooms, chanterelles and huckleberries. The estate’s amenities also include stellar accommodations, culinary programs, wine tastings, a farmhouse spa, horseback riding, nature hikes, wildflowers, fly fishing, rafting, night swimming under the stars, evening campfires with s’mores and a rocking chair on every porch.

Florida – Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach

Aqualina

If your idea of a great getaway is a glamorous hotspot with luxury and Lamborghinis, then rent a sporty convertible at the Miami airport and drive to Acqualina. Perfectly positioned to capture the best of Miami without being in it, this upscale beachfront resort is located in the city of Sunny Isles Beach, which lies on a barrier island north of the vacation mecca. Acqualina wins rave reviews for its waving palms, marble-clad interiors, spacious and elegantly appointed high-tech rooms, and splendid ocean or interior waterway views from every balcony. The ESPA Spa, hot tubs and three infinity pools (some designated for adults only) increase its appeal. Cabana boys wait to serve your needs—poolside or on the beach. Thrill seekers can visit nearby Gulfstream Park to watch the horse races or South Beach to watch the nightlife. For those who just want to stay put, lounge chairs, umbrellas, bottled water, books and free Internet access await.

Maine – Inn by the Sea

Driving north along the eastern seaboard in Maine, the lure of America’s easternmost state becomes apparent. Just south of Portland, you’ll find Cape Elizabeth, named after the sister of England’s King Charles I. Starting out as a trading and fishing post, this community has become affluent without sacrificing its historical charm. A prime example is the secluded Inn by the Sea, which is set above a long, white sandy beach. Blending old with new, the inn’s suites and cottages exude colonial appeal with elegant, contemporary calm. The staff is well-versed in friendly American spirit—a s’more on a stick welcomes you to your room. The inviting ambience extends to four-legged guests, as well, who receive a treat at check-in. A first-class spa, nearby state parks and walking trails to the two local lighthouses and beach give guests and their pups plenty of options to explore.

Rhode Island – The Chanler at Cliff Walk

Rhode Island

South of Providence, visitors flock to a Rhode Island area known for stately home tours. Exhibiting the grandeur of America’s Golden Age, the community of Newport is awash with Colonial, Victorian and Gilded-Age mansions built with the 18th- and 19th-century American fortunes of coal, railroads and steel. Perched on the edge of the famous Cliff Walk pathway with the best ocean view in Newport, the Chanler gives guests a glimpse into the past. Historic décor, unique room furnishings, breakfast at the Veranda, lunch or dinner at the Terrace, and manicured lawns and gardens create a unique ambience. Wireless Internet and plasma TVs in the bathrooms are modern-day bonuses. Order a butler-drawn bath with rose petals and votives, have your favorite DVD and truffled popcorn delivered to your door, or call ahead for butler service to a local beach in the mansion’s luxury car.

South Carolina – The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

South Carolina

Golf and island lovers can turn their dreams into reality on sunny, green Kiawah Island. Just 33 miles south of Charleston, this barrier island in South Carolina is home to a seaside hotel known as the Sanctuary, built in 2004. Living up to its name, it is every inch the elegant southern lady, dripping with genteel wealth, warmth and hospitality. Gracefully adorned with grand staircases, chandeliers, stately antique artwork, portraits, walnut floors and ocean views, the hotel employs a staff that provides impeccable service. Dunes, marshes, beaches, ponds, tidal creeks and lagoons make up the splendid ecology of this Atlantic island, encouraging nature walks, bird-watching, canoeing, sea kayaking and bicycling. Bask in the sun on the private beach, indulge at the luxurious spa, or take a swing on the tennis courts or one of the five championship golf greens—including the famous Ocean Course, host of the 1991 Ryder Cup.

Arizona – L’Auberge de Sedona

Arizona

The famed red rocks of Arizona are set ablaze in the evening light of the sinking sun in Sedona (known as Red Rock Country)—a point of convergence for artists, spiritualists and spa seekers. Located halfway between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, Sedona is perfectly positioned for scenic mysticism. You may be lured into going on a hike of the area, an off-road drive or a hot-air balloon ride, or choose to stroll through the art galleries and shops in town. But you’ll do just as well relaxing at the nature-loving L’Auberge de Sedona. Check into a Vista Cottage, which affords 180° views of breathtaking scenery, and stare out at monoliths with names like Snoopy Rock and Giant’s Thumb. If you really want to commune with nature, wander down to the creek in the morning to help feed the ducks or enjoy an outdoor shower at one of the Spa and Creek Cottages. Except for the restaurant and spa, the L’Auberge is a no-tipping property, giving you even more reason to relax.

Hawaii – Road to Hana

Hawaii

To view Hawaiian paradise in its original form, take a ride on Maui’s most famous stretch of highway. The Road to Hana is not about the destination (a small, uneventful ranching town), but rather the journey. Start your trip on the winding Hana Highway early to best enjoy the lush, tropical splendor. Slow driving is required to navigate the 52 miles of hairpin turns, one-lane bridges and narrow roadways, and take in every inch of the hibiscus, foliage and tropical vegetation that hang off steep cliffs above the ocean. Hiking trails, waterfalls, gardens, blowholes, caves, pools and black-sand beaches en route are worth exploring, along with the roadside food stands that sell local delights such as banana bread, fruit, smoothies and Hawaiian coffee. Most sights are not visible from the highway and require a bit of a walk, but that’s all part of the journey in paradise.

Alaska: Seward Highway

Alaska

A trip to Alaska will take you far from the confines of civilization and drop you into sheer wilderness. The 127-mile Seward Highway offers grand scenery and makes a fabulous daytrip or long-weekend jaunt from Anchorage to Seward. Flanking the waterfalls at the foot of the Chugach Mountains and skimming the shores of Turnagain Arm (where eagles, big-horned Dall sheep and beluga whales roam), the highway passes lakes, mining towns and plenty of trails. A stop at Potter Marsh to stroll the boardwalk offers views of beaver, moose, salmon and a multitude of migratory birds. Further on, you can purchase a bag of gold at the Indian Valley Mine, then hop on the Mount Alyeska tram, where you can spot wildflowers, waterfalls, blue hanging glaciers, marmots, bears and more moose. Small towns like Girdwood are the only signs of human habitation. Be sure to stop in at the Bake Shop for a sweet roll to remind yourself that civilization does have its rewards.

Utah – Highway 12

Utah

A jaunt through southwestern Utah is a road trip everyone should make to appreciate the vast and varied landscapes America has to offer. Awarded the premier designation of All-American Highway, little-known Route 12 connects Bryce Canyon in the south and Capitol Reef National Park to the north with 124 miles of boldly colored panoramic scenery. Hiking trails, visitor centers, frontier towns, prehistoric Indian ruins, Navajo sandstone formations, campgrounds, fishing, forests and grand vistas mark the route. Pass through the fantastic geologic formations, cliffs, canyons and forests of Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Dixie National Forest. You can drive it all in three hours, but taking multiple days to see its many marvels is more satisfying.

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