Because our largest state still has secrets to reveal. And the best way to explore its remote spots and hidden inlets is on a small ship, such as American Safari’s new 36-passenger Safari Explorer. The ship docks in some familiar ports (Glacier Bay National Park), but it also ventures to Elfin Cove, a native Alaskan village, and Petersburg, a small fishing town that serves as a jumping-off point for backcountry hikes.
Because Scottsdale is (seriously) happening. The Arizona Canal is getting a major makeover with a number of stylish new openings.
The city’s answer to Fred Segal, the Mix is a well-curated collection of locally owned boutiques for clothes, beauty, home, and even toys.
James Beard Award–winning chef Nobuo Fukuda and native restaurateur Peter Kasperski join forces for Shell Shock, a modern izakaya (Japanese tavern). Expect Asian dishes, like katsu burgers and tempura squash blossoms.
Go formal in the champagne-and-caviar bar at the multilevel Estate House, or head to the more casual lounge upstairs for small plates and live jazz.
Because Palm Springs Modern will always be cool. California’s retro resort town is back—again. The mod renaissance kicked off with Jonathan Adler’s whimsical redo of the Parker Palm Springs in 2004. A hotel boom has followed. In the last year alone, both the Horizon Hotel and Colony Palms reopened after head-to-toe renovations, and Portland’s hip Ace hotel group is planning a desert outpost for 2009. Shoppers, meanwhile, have been pouring in from L.A. and San Diego to hunt for furniture, design accessories, and vintage clothes from the city’s thriving Uptown antiques district. And for those with an eye to the future (rather than the mid-century past), there’s the Backstreet Arts District across from the Parker, with galleries full of works by up-and-coming painters and photographers.
Because amber waves of grain make for some damn good beer. With more than 100 excellent microbreweries spread across the state, Colorado has become something of the Napa Valley of beer. One of the latest ventures in the mountains of Ski Country is Aspen Brewing Company, which turns out small batches of brown and hefeweizen-style ales, along with four other brews (including a cleverly named I.P.A., the Independence Pass Ale). You can tour the brewery’s beer-making facilities, then settle down to sample all the drafts in the pint-size tasting room.
Because beach resorts are more fun when they’re casual. Until recently, the buttoned-up European look of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua was strangely out of touch with its tropical surroundings. Now, after a $180 million renovation, the hotel has lost the chintzy curtains, faux Renaissance artwork, and yes, the fireplace in the library. The 446 guest rooms are breezy yet refined: kukui tree–patterned area rugs cover dark Brazilian ironwood floors, and wrought-iron lanais look out on the island landscape. As they say in Hawaii, Na mea maikai—it’s all good.
Because rivers run through it. To anglers, Idaho is synonymous with world-class trout fishing—and no outfitter knows the state’s waterways better than Row Adventures, which brings 29 years of luxury-rafting experience to a new menu of fly-fishing trips. Guests cast in hidden eddies, while guides carry the heavy gear: tents, cooking supplies, and enough portable plumbing for hot showers all around.
Because there’s nothing quite like waking up in a tent.The Lodge at Sun Ranch, Montana’s latest luxury eco-resort, is a Big Sky playground for grown-ups. Consider the stats: the property holds only 16 people, and has 26,000 acres for hiking, fishing, and horse-back riding. One highlight is the “educamping” program, where guests learn about the lodge’s sustainable practices, then spend the night in a canvas tent. Lest you think you’ll be roughing it, the tent comes mounted on a wooden deck, with a queen-size bed and down comforters.
Because everyone loves a diva, especially in Las Vegas. In her new production, The Showgirl Must Go On, Bette Midler lights up the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 877/723-8836; tickets from $95) with a campy song-and-dance tribute to old-school Vegas vaudeville. “I’m resurrecting the form,” she tells T+L. That includes a classic floor show with outrageous costumes and a chorus line to match. ”They’re called the Caesar Salad girls—with as little dressing as possible!”
9 of 14Courtesy of New Mexico Tourism Department/Dan Monaghan
Because Santa Fe chic is back. Southwest style gets a 21st-century spin at Auberge’s 65-casita Encantado resort, opening next month just outside Santa Fe. There’s not a dream catcher or howling coyote in sight—instead, interiors soothe with earthy palettes and abstract works by local painters. The contemporary theme runs throughout the 57-acre resort—especially in the public spaces that feature revolving exhibitions curated by an area gallery.
Because fashion has gone eco in Portland. With a fresh crop of talented designers focused on sustainability, the city’s fashion scene is getting international attention. Here are three names to look for.
Anna Cohen’s so-called “Italian street couture” is informed by her four years spent designing for fashion houses in Florence, but—like Cohen—it’s also homegrown: bamboo-jersey drape dresses and hemp-silk blouses. Available at Look (3909 NE MLK St.; 503/888-2182).
Suzi Johnson hand-looms sweaters, dresses, and even bikinis from Loro Piana cashmere and, this season, organic cotton sourced in Tanzania. Available at Souchi (807 NW 23rd Ave.; 503/525-0043; souchi.com).
Julia Barbee adds whimsical embellishment to vintage finds for her deconstructed Frocky Jack Morgan line. Available at Seaplane (827 NW 23rd Ave.; 503/234-2409).
Because you’ve always wanted to live at a spa. For those who find a week of pampering is just not enough, Red Mountain Spa has added 12 residential villas (from $540,000) to its 55-acre crimson desert setting. Owners get access to the resort’s full range of amenities, from programs (new this year: tai chi on the rocks) to the dining room’s healthy food, and—of course—the spa’s 62 treatments.
Because of the incandescent beauty of Tacoma’s colored glass. This once-industrial city has become an international destination for glass art. The birthplace of acclaimed glass designer Dale Chihuly, Tacoma is home to not only the Museum of Glass, but also galleries, shops, and a few unexpected spots that have embraced the medium. At the new Hotel Murano, each of the 21 guest-floors honors a different artist (from Australian Cobi Cockburn to Chihuly), and rooms are filled with one-of-a-kind handblown pieces.
Because we all still want to be cowboys. For cardholding members of the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) who hanker to rope a calf, ride a bull, or try to stick like a burr to a bronc’s back, the first of July ushers in Cowboy Christmas: the time to win some of the biggest rodeo purses in Wyoming. The highlight of the season is always the Cody Stampede Rodeo, celebrating its 89th year. Also on the docket is the all-summer-long Cody Nite rodeos, which put semipros in the professional spotlight—nowadays including the occasional woman trying to break into saddle-bronc-and bull-riding events. A semipro this year could be a professional star (or starlet?) next, and you could see it happen.