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10 Trips Close to Home

FOOD: Sonoma Farm Tour, CALIFORNIA
With menus around the country dropping names like Laura Chenel goat cheese and Liberty duck, can celebrity farmers be far behind?Farm field-trips to Sonoma Valley's artisanal producers are becoming the new wine tours. Food & Wine Trails (www.foodandwinetrails.com; 800/367-5348) arranges chef-led, hands-on learning experiences: making cheese at Bellwether Farms, baking tarts with a former chef from Chez Panisse, mixing your own Bordeaux at Chateau St. Jean, and shucking oysters at Hog Island Oyster Farm. Book a room at nearby Beltane Ranch, a 1,600-acre, family-owned working ranch and B&B. Lounge in a hammock or have breakfast overlooking the vineyards from the wraparound porches of the charming 1892 house. Without any phone, TV, or Internet, there's nothing to interrupt the serenity. Ancient oaks and gardens surround the five guest rooms and the cottage, all decorated with family antiques.
11775 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen; 707/996-6501; www.beltaneranch.com; doubles from $130, including breakfast.

ACTIVE: Cataract Canyon, UTAH
After a few days spent floating past the sandstone cliffs of Canyonlands' Cataract Canyon, you'll think you've been gone for weeks. Meet up with laid-back river guides in Moab; then head down the glassy flats of the Colorado for a three-day trip back in time. You will pass rock strata 300 million years old and petr0glyphs carved on canyon walls by the Anasazi. (Nothing like pre-history to put life into perspective.) Nights are spent on broad sandy beaches where towering red rocks are the only walls. The river's current both lulls kayakers to sleep and serves as a morning wake-up call. There's enough time for the energetic to hike to Indian ruins, isolated buttes, and otherworldly rock formations—and for everyone else to read by the river or just loll around. Worried you've grown too relaxed?Halfway through the trip you hit "the Confluence," where the Green and Colorado rivers meet. In high-water season (May and June), this white water is some of the most challenging in North America. But by late summer, the water becomes ideal for even novice river riders.
O.A.R.S.; 800/346-6277; www.oars.com; three- to six-day trips from $791 per person.

BEACH: Turtle Bay Resort, HAWAII
Jutting out on the northernmost point of Oahu, Turtle Bay Resort is as far from the ukulele-strumming hustle of Waikiki as you can get. All but surrounded by the blue Pacific, the resort's two pools, two golf courses, and 10 tennis courts are a world apart—and nicely spruced up by a $50 million renovation slated to be finished in June. Turtle Bay's best feature didn't need a face-lift, however. Its five miles of beachfront are home to some of the most famous waves in the world, big swells that roll in from the Gulf of Alaska in winter. And you don't have to be a kahuna to ride a wave. Just sign up with the surf school on the property run by Hans Hedemann, where even beginners are guaranteed to be surfing by the end of the first lesson.
57-091 Kamehameha Hwy., Kahuku; 800/203-3650 or 808/293-8811; www.turtlebayresort.com; doubles from $295; private surfing lessons $50 per hour.

SPA: Spa Palazzo, FLORIDA
The Boca Raton Resort & Club's new sunset-pink Spa Palazzo is a fountain-of-youth fantasia; its manicured gardens, waterfall whirlpools, and Moorish baths set a regal scene for rejuvenating soaks and other water-based treatments. (To complete the aquatic theme, stay at the resort's just-opened Yacht Club—all 112 guest rooms have views of the Atlantic or the Intracoastal Waterway.) At the spa, allow a therapist to re-invigorate you with icy hand towels after you've soaked away tension in an aromatic mineral bath scented with heady essential oils of ylang-ylang and lavender. Inhale the pure green fragrance of coastal Florida sweet grass before a cleansing steam-and-sauna detox session. Restore tranquillity with a trilogy of sequenced healing therapies (body wrap, bath, deep tissue massage) that employ such classic curative elements as Moor mud, eucalyptus and pine, or sea salt and spirulina algae. Ponce de León would be jealous.
501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton; 888/491-2622 or 561/447-3000; www.bocaresort.com; doubles from $575; treatments from $115.

ACTIVE: Tongue River Ranch, TEXAS
Don't expect to discover your inner cowpoke after checking into one of the nine working ranches in Texas, New Mexico, or Oklahoma run by Big Ranch Productions. There are no campy, Hickockian staged events or cattle drives for bankers. At Tongue River Ranch, history buff Millard Morris welcomes guests to his 89,000-acre, four-county-wide spread on the Panhandle Plains for a firsthand look at life on a modern ranch. The farm is not in Dumont, Texas—Dumont, Texas, is surrounded by Tongue River Ranch. So forget saddle sores as a mark of authenticity; rather, look forward to cattle round-ups, front-row seats at the Western Heritage Classic Ranch Rodeo in Abilene, photo safaris, and in nearby Fort Worth, a visit to the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame and a shopping trip to the famous Maverick Fine Western Wear. There are also cowboy cooking classes—to teach city slickers how to dine under the stars.
Dumont, Tex.; www.bigranchcountry.com; doubles from $125.

Reported by Richard Alleman, Christopher Collier, Manny Howard, Shane Mitchell, Kimberly Brown Seely, Mark van de Walle, Sally Wadyka, Sharon Wick, and Jeff Wise.


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