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20 Long Weekends

Stress Relievers

9 Block Island: Chill Out
This tiny refuge off Rhode Island is remarkable for what it doesn't have. No traffic jams (there are hardly any cars). No private beaches—just 20 miles of unfettered coastline. And, as of yet, no movie moguls or vacationing presidents, unlike nearby Martha's Vineyard. Block Island's low-key visitors are more interested in scenery than in a trendy scene. And what scenery: undulating hills and breeze-rippled grasslands, stone walls reminiscent of Ireland, and trails lined with bayberry and beach roses.

where to stay Book an ocean-facing room at the Atlantic Inn (800/224-7422; www.atlanticinn.com; doubles from $165), an 1879 Victorian set on a hill above the town of Old Harbor, amid six acres of immaculate lawns, flower beds, and herb gardens. how to get there Interstate Navigation Co. (401/783-4613) runs ferries from Point Judith, Rhode Island (45 minutes from Providence), and New London, Connecticut (where US Airways flies). Don't bother with a car: a rented bike will get you around, if you can handle the moderate hills. don't miss A hike along the Mohegan Bluffs on the island's south end. Stairs lead 200 feet down to a magnificent (and usually empty) beach. The mainland may be only 12 miles away, but you'll have forgotten it exists.

10 Barbados: Get Pampered
Cross British gentility with Caribbean hospitality and you'll have the House at Tamarind Cove, a new boutique hotel on Barbados's west coast. The tranquil hideaway—all bougainvillea and palm trees—puts privacy at a premium, but the main draw is the team of "service ambassadors." Combining the functions of concierge, waiter, majordomo, and camp counselor, they'll meet you at the airport, whisk you through customs, drive you to the House, and remain on call to attend to your every whim. Too hot on the white-sand beach?Call for iced papayas and mangoes or an Evian spritz. Does the view from your suite of the picture-perfect Bajan sunset make you thirsty?Order a potent rum concoction (the Mount Gay Distillery is in nearby Bridgetown) and remind yourself that it's only Friday.

where to stay If massages at check-in aren't enough, Frette linens will ease your descent into slumber (800/326-6898; www.eleganthotels.com; doubles from $358). how to get there American and BWIA fly direct to Barbados from the East Coast. don't miss Renting a mini moke (a small jeep) to tour the island's miles of rippling sugarcane fields and the dramatic Atlantic shoreline on the east side.

11 Reboot in California
At Sage Hill, a Mediterranean-style retreat on 40 acres of high chaparral outside Ojai, abstinence is the new indulgence. No wheat, no alcohol, no red meat, and no men allowed. Instead, you'll learn stress-reduction techniques from Rita Rivest, who opened her stunning hacienda in 2000 for those committed to lifestyle change. Expect yoga, meditation, stretching, and private consultations on fitness and nutrition. Rivest leads daily hikes through an informal bird sanctuary of eucalyptus and walnut trees with views of the Ojai Mountains and the cool blue Pacific. She'll brew you a steaming cup of invigorating long ching tea or suggest acupuncture to balance your energy. Each day ends with a delicious, well-balanced, low-carb dinner: carrot-ginger soup, mesclun salad with chèvre, and grilled salmon or chicken.

where to stay Sage Hill accepts four to six guests per three-day retreat. Bedrooms in muted colors, soft robes, and blank journals ease the transition from harried outside world to inner peace. Sleep is a fully sanctioned activity (888/394-1333; www.sagehillexperience.com; three-night packages $2,300). how to get there Ojai is two hours north of Los Angeles. don't miss An evening aromatherapy massage with blended sage and lavender oils.

12 Serenity in Puget Sound
Where do Seattleites go to decaffeinate?Whidbey Island, just 50 miles north of the city, favored for its windswept beaches and accessibility—it's easier to get to than the San Juans. The best place to stay is the Inn at Langley. Each waterfront room, decorated in neutral wood and slate, has a cedar porch overlooking the Saratoga Passage (you may get lucky with a whale sighting). Reserve ahead for innkeeper-chef Stephen Nogal's legendary five-course "kitchen dinners" on Fridays and Saturdays, when Northwestern specialties such as Penn Cove mussels and king salmon are served at a sleek table set for 12.

where to stay Book any of the inn's 24 rooms or either of the two new cottages; each has a 180-degree water view (360/221-3033; www.innatlangley.com; doubles from $225; cottages $575). how to get there The Mukilteo ferry landing is 45 miles from Sea-Tac Airport. Boats depart every 30 minutes; the crossing takes 20 minutes (206/464-6400; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries). don't miss A hike along the grassy bluffs at Fort Casey, where you can explore battlements from the 1890's, watch freighters navigate the Strait of Juan de Fuca, or build driftwood forts on the beach.

Indulgent Getaways

13 Sonoma County Wine Weekend
Northern Sonoma, home of old-vine Zinfandels and knockout Pinots, is wine country's best-kept secret. Healdsburg is the ideal base for exploring connoisseur favorites such as J. Rochioli (707/433-2305) and Ferrari-Carano (707/433-6700; www.ferrari-carano.com). But the real indulgence is at the table: Healdsburg's restaurants pour formidable boutique wines and serve some of the most spectacular food in northern California.

where to stay Eight-month-old Hotel Healdsburg (800/889-7188; www.hotelhealdsburg.com; doubles from $205), the town's first luxury hotel, is the best place to lounge by the pool between meals. Situated smartly on the town square, it also houses Charlie Palmer's very Sonoma restaurant, Dry Creek Kitchen (dinner for two $84). After dinner, sip a silky eau-de-vie in the lobby grappa bar. how to get there Healdsburg is a 70-minute drive from the Oakland or San Francisco airports. don't miss Steamed and roasted honey-soy glazed Liberty duck legs with fresh Chinese noodles on the terrace at Ravenous (707/431-1770; dinner for two $55). They're luscious with a 1999 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

14 Maui: Spa Weekend
After you loll in turquoise water under the same shade of sky, you can walk right out of the waves, Ursula Andress—style, to your massage appointment. True, spending a long weekend at the Hyatt Regency's Spa Moana won't get you a movie-star body. But there is a gym overlooking the water, a "couple's spa suite" for those who can't get enough of each other, and outdoor cabanas for rubdowns, manicures, and pedicures in the balmy air—all to the sound of crashing waves (real ones, not on tape). The Kaanapali Coffee Body Scrub—made from local beans and macadamia nut oil—looks like chocolate-chip cookie dough, smells like mocha, and feels like an itch being scratched.

where to stay Right on Kaanapali Beach, the 40-acre Hyatt Regency (800/554-9288; www.hyatt.com; doubles from $315) has two pools, four restaurants, an astronomy center, and a collection of exotic birds (including, for some reason, penguins). how to get there United flies nonstop from Los Angeles and San Francisco, American from L.A. and San Jose. don't miss A Lava Flow (piña colada with strawberry purée) and the crispy ahi tuna at I'O (808/661-8422; dinner for two $84), a beachfront restaurant in Lahaina.

15 Super-Stylish London
As classic British style enjoys a renaissance—witness the Burberry blitz—and London reasserts itself as a design capital, pond-hopping has never been more necessary. The Concorde, the ultimate transatlantic taxi, returned last November with new ink-blue interiors by Sir Terence Conran; expect cashmere throws, lamb's-wool curtains, and lots of Krug. Upon arrival, start shopping. Hardy Amies, the queen's couturier, is being revitalized with a hip new ready-to-wear line and a flagship Savile Row store opening in September. Trendy blokes are racing to once-stuffy Dunhill on Old Bond Street for bespoke shirts and accessories made from red cricket-ball leather.

where to stay With just three rooms and a fashionable restaurant, West Street (44-207/010-8600; doubles from $365) in the West End is the latest bastion of exclusivity. The hotel's seventies-style décor lends it a certain James Bond rakishness. how to get there British Airways flies the Concorde daily from New York's JFK to London's Heathrow in less than four hours—for more than $6,000. If you go subsonic, choose a morning departure for less jet lag. don't miss The Stork Rooms, a new private club by restaurateur Marco Pierre White, filled with black leather sofas, gold-leaf wall coverings, French crystal chandeliers, and free-spending Europeans. Call Danielle (44-207/734-3686) and drop names for access.

16 Iceland: Taking the Waters
One look at those famously healthy Icelanders tells you there must be something in the air. Or maybe it's that spas are to Reykjav’k what pubs are to London. Locals take frequent advantage of the city's many geothermally heated swimming pools, saunas, and mineral-rich "hot pots" (soaking tubs kept at nearly 109 degrees). Public spas charge only $2 for admission—try Laugardalslaug (011-354/553-4039), where massages start at $19. Most spas are partially outdoors, so you can step from the steam room into brilliant sunshine. Pristine Reykjav’k has almost no pollution—even the tap water is as pure as a bottle of Evian.

where to stay The Radisson SAS Saga Hotel (800/333-3333; www.radissonsas.com; doubles from $230) is a short walk from downtown. Its new Mecca Spa is the best in the city—not least for the Lava Massage, which uses hot volcanic rocks and herbal oils. how to get there Icelandair has daily nonstops from five U.S. cities; the flight takes five hours from the East Coast. don't miss A pre-departure soak in the Blue Lagoon (011-354/420-8800; www.bluelagoon.is), a giant thermal pool en route to the airport. (Warning: You may decide to skip the flight home.)


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