Lubec is way Down East (it’s near the New Brunswick border) and is blessed with an unfussy Victorian-Greek Revival–style downtown, 97 miles of shoreline, two lighthouses, and easy access to the former Roosevelt summer home on Campobello Island (now an international park).
Stay: Great Value Situated in an 1860 Federal-style residence, the Peacock House Bed & Breakfast has ocean views, an eclectic library, and manicured gardens. Doubles from $95.
Eat: The food at Annabell’s Pub is nothing fancy—fish chowder and the like—but the breezy Maine ambience is the real deal. Lunch for two $17.
Disney’s not just for kids. Adventures by Disney(eight-day trips from $2,439 per person) offers adults-only itineraries to national parks throughout North America, including a new eight-day excursion (September 5–12) through Montana’s Glacier National Park (and into Canada’s Banff National Park). The trip offers a range of adrenaline-pumping activities, including rafting Class III rapids on Montana’s Flathead River and summiting Alberta’s 7,500-foot Sulphur Mountain.
The Itinerary: Southerners live by their stomachs, and nowhere more so than in the low country of coastal South Carolina and Georgia—a simple two-day getaway.
Day One:Savannah to Beaufort (51 miles). Start things out right at Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room(lunch for two $32), where down-home goodness is served from 11 a.m. sharp each day: platters of fried chicken, vegetables swathed in bacon grease, and tufts of mashed sweet potatoes. Make your way north to SC 170, then on to SC 46 east, ending up in walkable Bluffton, South Carolina, a celebration of small-town Southern life. Be sure to stop by the Bluffton Oyster Factory, where you can watch Gullah women hand-shuck buckets of briny May River bounty. For dinner, head to Pepper’s Porch (dinner for two $42) for a Low Country Boil, served under ghostly Spanish moss tresses. Spend the night in Beaufort at the 190-year-old Great Value Rhett House Inn(doubles from $139, including breakfast), an antebellum plantation manse one block from the Intercoastal Waterway.
Day Two:Beaufort to Charleston (134 miles). Hop on Highway 17, making a stop at Wood Brothers, a general store that will sell you a pouch of boiled peanuts (the unofficial state snack) for the hour-long drive to Wadmalaw Island. Follow 17, turning right onto Main Road and then onto Maybank Highway. Once you’re riverside, pull into P.M. King’s Grocery for ribs or a freshly made shrimp-salad sandwich. After lunch, tour the
4 of 20Courtesy of C. Lefebvre, Left Foot Charley
Wine Region: Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, Michigan
Why Go Now: Flanking West Grand Traverse Bay, in the state’s Lower Peninsula, these 850 acres of vineyards are finally turning out wines, particularly Pinot Blancs, worthy of the stupendous views. Among the best: bracing renditions from Left Foot Charley and Brys Estate.
Stay: Great Value Check in to the stately eight-room inn at the hillside Black Star Farms(doubles from $225).
Eat: Try the roast quail stuffed with foie gras at Blu(dinner for two $110), overlooking Lake Michigan.
When Boston’s “Big Dig” replaced the elevated highway, it reconnected downtown to the isolated North End peninsula, bringing fresh energy to the city’s oldest residential neighborhood.
Eat: Located in the same curved red-brick building since 1926, Pizzeria Regina (dinner for two $16) is old-school pizza pie, with a fire brick–baked crust ordered light, regular, or well done. The melanzane alla parmigiana at Trattoria Il Panino (dinner for two $100) is stacked so high it resembles an eggplant angel food cake. At the tiny Neptune Oyster(dinner for two $110), Olives alum Jeff Nace presides over the freshest local seafood, including an impeccable raw bar, complemented by a compact but brilliant wine list. Fellow Olives vet Torri Crowell packs a mean lunch at the low-key Volle Nolle(lunch for two $25), offering skillfully constructed sandwiches like Cuban-style pulled pork on grilled brioche. The romantic Carmen Wine Bar & Trattoria(dinner for two $80) has an expansive list of fine Italian wines to accompany the full-flavored rustic specialties, like briny clams and earthy braised fennel in pebbly, house-made mustard-spiked cream sauce. Linger at neighborhood cafés over desserts like Florentine ricotta cannoli at Boston institution Mike’s Pastry(dessert for two $6).
Shop: Judy and Joy Catuogno, the twin-sister curators behind
6 of 20Courtesy of REI Adventures
National Park: Capitol Reef, Utah
This 242,000-acre expanse of stunning burnt-orange cliffs and canyons in southwestern Utah didn’t appear on U.S. maps until 1872. Since then it’s served as the backdrop for dozens of westerns, but it remains largely unexplored. Enter REI (seven-day trips from $1,799 per person), which has just launched a trip that takes you from the dramatic domes lining Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile scar in the earth’s crust, to Cassidy Arch, and, adjacent to the park, the five stacked sandstone terraces that form the Grand Staircase National Monument.
Chincoteague, a seven-mile-long island just off the Virginia coast, feels like the land that time forgot. The gateway to the 37-mile-long Assateague Island National Seashore—a nature refuge that’s home to wild ponies, herons, woodpeckers, and foxes—is only accessible via car over the Route 175 swing-span bridge.
Stay: A Victorian-era house has been turned into Miss Molly’s Inn, a seven-room B&B that offers high tea in the afternoons. Doubles from $140, including breakfast.
Eat: Known for clam chowder and platters of fried Atlantic shrimp and Chincoteague oysters, the Seashell Café hits the spot after a long day of beachcombing. Dinner for two $65.
Anyone who remembers 1987’s camp vampire classic Lost Boys will recognize this location, where the Giant Dipper roller coaster at the Beach Boardwalk amusement park was used to great scenic effect. In real life, Santa Cruz has plenty of other attractions: Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, surfers at Pleasure Point, and cavorting seals at Natural Bridges State Beach.
Stay: At the waterfront Casablanca Inn, 32 of the 33 rooms have ocean views (and a handful have fireplaces, for when the nights get chilly). The restaurant, open for dinner only, looks out on the vast expanse of the Pacific. Doubles from $175.
Eat:Center Street Grill is the place for salads, pastas, made-from-scratch hollandaise sauce, ahi tuna, and freshly squeezed lemonade and orange juice on the outdoor patio. Dinner for two $52.
Bypass the crowds at Old Faithful and head to Yellowstone’s best kept secret: the quiet Bechler region, in the southwest corner. The most unexpected way to discover its dozens of waterfalls and hidden thermal spouts is on a customized camping expedition with Llama Trips in Yellowstone(from $250 per person per day), a husband-and-wife-owned operator that will have you soaking in a hot pool at the base of a 150-foot waterfall and observing the area’s wildlife (moose, black bears, bald eagles) up close—though not too close. Gentle llamas, indigenous to the region, carry all of your equipment.
The Itinerary: New York’s largest state park seems to go on forever. But the south-central area—with its petite mountains and high-end camps—is easily explored in three days.
Day One:Albany to Chestertown (79 miles). Starting in the state capital, head north 78 miles on I-87, then take exit 25 and follow Route 8 to the waterfront Fern Lodge(doubles from $275, including breakfast), an updated wilderness-style retreat. After a boat tour of Friends Lake, head down the road for dinner at Friends Lake Inn(dinner for two $95), known for its farm-to-table menu and 18,000-plus-bottle wine cellar.
Day Two:Chestertown to Newcomb to Blue Mountain Lake (60 miles). After breakfast on the inn’s screened porch, go canoeing or swimming, then point yourself toward North Creek for a freshly made panino at Café Sarah(lunch for two $17). Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Great Camp Santanoni, an 1892 estate on Newcomb Lake that’s accessible by foot, bike, or horse-drawn wagon. You’ll see one of the High Peaks in the distance. The night’s lodgings are at the informal fishing camp–style Great Value Hedges(doubles from $205, including breakfast and dinner).
Day Three:Blue Mountain Lake to Raquette Lake to Albany (138 miles).
Drive to nearby Raquette Lake and visit the National Historic Landmark Great Camp Sagamore, the Vanderbilts’ fairy-tale lodge. Then embark on a Gilded Age ex
11 of 20Courtesy of Alaska Wildland Adventures
National Park: Kenai Fjords, Alaska
This remote swath along the southern coast of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula is home to glaciers and fjords, puffins and porpoises—and now an upscale hotel. Accessible only by boat, Alaska Wildland Adventures’
12 of 20Keith Daly
Beach Town: Gearhart, Oregon
With its antiques shops and picturesque hiking trails in the Necanicum Estuary, Gearhart is a favorite retreat for such Portland hipsters as Paige Powell and Gus Van Sant. Just north of the vibrant Cannon Beach, Gearhart has miles of boulder-strewn shoreline. In the evenings, people drive onto the sand for wine and stargazing parties.
Stay: Built in 1941, the 12 attached cottages of the Gearhart Ocean Inn are an easy walk to the beach, and the owners will provide a “clam gun” for scooping up clams from the sand. Doubles from $135.
Eat: The sophisticated Pacific Way Bakery & Café has delicious muffins and coffee, along with a lunch-and-dinner menu that includes bay shrimp, designer pizzas, and perfectly realized crab cakes. Dinner for two $70.
In summer, the hoopla dies down in the world capital of surfing, and Sunset Beach—on the North Shore of Oahu—becomes Mayberry, resolutely idle and steadfastly democratic about beach access.
Stay: The oceanfront Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, an easy drive from the convenient stores along the Kamehameha Highway, carry an atmosphere of ease, accompanied by the North Shore lullaby of endless surf. Doubles from $135.
Eat: Down the road from the mythical Pipeline, Ted’s Bakery is a casual bastion of surfer life known for garlic shrimp, mahimahi sandwiches, bento-box lunches, and sinfully rich Haupia chocolate pies. Lunch for two $20.
The Itinerary: Spend three days cruising California’s most famous road and scoping out the must-see highlights and undiscovered stops.
Day One:Los Angeles to Ojai (82 miles). Just seven miles northwest of Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 1), you can’t skip the Getty Villa(reservation required), a re-creation of an ancient Herculaneum mansion, with statuary and gardens. A few miles north, stop for a fried-scallop sandwich or fish-and-chips at the oceanfront Malibu Seafood(lunch for two $25). Thirty miles later, the PCH joins the coast-hugging U.S. 101. Here, take Route 33 to the village of Ojai. Arrive before dark for the sunset that casts the Topa Topa bluffs in a rosy glow. After a dinner of linguine with steamed clams or crab-and-corn cakes in the garden of Suzanne’s Cuisine(dinner for two $80), wander over to Bart’s Books, the country’s largest outdoor bookstore, with hundreds of thousands of titles and honor-system cashboxes for late-night shopping. Drift off reading a 35-cent novel in one of the nine Mission Revival suites at Great Value Su Nido Inn(doubles from $209).
Day Two:Ojai to Pismo Beach(120 miles). You can’t leave artsy Ojai without visiting the Pottery, the rustic studio workshop of Midcentury ceramist Otto Heino, who, at the age of 95, produces museum-worthy pieces. Route 150 heads out of the valley from Ojai and hits U.S. 101. In Santa Barbara, pull over for a stroll and people-watching alon
15 of 20Macduff Everton
National Park: Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of America’s most visited park, head out on the perfect Smokies trip, venturing deep inside on foot with the help of area hiking clubs, which are leading special guided treks throughout the year (see greatsmokies75th.com for the schedule). The best area lodging is Blackberry Farm (doubles from $995, including meals). For a fraction of the cost—and a similarly bucolic setting—head to the
Butterfly Gap Retreat(doubles from $195), five architecturally unique guesthouses. At the Foothills Milling Company(dinner for two $75), a short drive away, chef Bart Vaughan does comfort food with a Southern flair: hikers fill up on braised short ribs served over cheese grits.
Why Go Now: Once the heart of Washington viticulture, Yakima lost its buzz when Walla Walla and Woodinville emerged as world-class wine-producing regions. Quality grapes continue to thrive here, however. And new boutique producers are creating some of the state’s best bottlings, including the Bordeaux blend from Côte Bonneville Winery.
Stay: There are still no upscale hotels in Yakima, but the four-room Desert Wind Winery(doubles from $300), a 45-minute drive southeast, is a good option.
Eat: With the opening of the tapas-inspired Picazo 7Seventeen(dinner for two $60), the area has a restaurant as ambitious as its wines.
At 5,000 feet deep and 10 miles across, the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders; with 4.5 million visitors a year, it’s also one of the most crowded. Camping there usually means sharing your space with a slew of other trekkers, but veteran tour operator Off the Beaten Path(six-day trips from $2,795 per person) now gives guests the chance to stay in a private camp near the South Rim, set within the world’s largest stand of ponderosa pines. By day, you’ll trek two miles down into the canyon, tour ancestral Puebloan ruins, and bike local trails, all in the hands of expert guides. Come evening, you’ll stay in your own deluxe walk-in tent, outfitted with a memory-foam mattress and mirrored washbasin.
Stay: This idyllic enclave on the Gulf of Mexico, 60 miles from Fort Myers, is a genuine glimpse of Old Florida, with whimsically named streets such as Damnificare, a postcard-worthy lighthouse watching over Gasparilla Island State Park, and long, quiet beaches lapped by gentle waves.
Eat: Great Value The Innlet, the 33-room sister property of the old-guard Gasparilla Inn, has a dockside restaurant and a relaxed, let’s-go-fishing vibe. Doubles from $110. A certifiably funky Florida joint,Temptation—think murals of leaping tarpon and a neon martini sign—serves local grouper, pompano, and soft-shell crabs. Dinner for two $100.
Why Go Now: This 45,000-acre region has nine distinct appellations and 35 wineries, including the well-known Robert Talbott Vineyards. But it’s the restrained, earthy Pinot Noirs from up-and-coming producers such as Belle Glos and Lucienne that are gaining a following.
Stay:Bernardus Lodge & Winery(doubles from $535) has 57 intimate rooms with balconies looking out on the Santa Lucia mountains.
Eat: Renowned chef Cal Stamenov at Bernardus will prepare his brunch special on demand: sautéed local abalone with scrambled eggs.