Feeling bored with your weekend activities? Or maybe a crushingly busy schedule has prevented you from taking the time to plan an escape? Well, put down that Times travel section you’ve been gazing at wistfully, because we’ve figured it out for you. Whatever corner of this nation you’re in, we’ve planned an easy, relaxing getaway for you that will surely ease the pain of the weekly grind—at least until next week.
Live in Miami? Hop a boat to:
Fisher Island, Florida
A former vacation retreat of William Vanderbilt II, Fisher Island is now known as one of the nation’s most exclusive residential communities—and one with the privileged distinction of being a vacation-only community. The Fisher Island Club is now the primary occupant of the tony wedge of land, with vast accommodations ranging from 1920’s-era cottages to Mediterranean-inspired villas to traditional residential-style suites. The cottages and villas include private outdoor Jacuzzis, while many of the suites have balconies overlooking the ocean or tropical gardens. In addition to several pools and a beach club, resort amenities include a nine-hole golf course, a full-service spa and fitness center, and six restaurants serving everything from authentic Italian cuisine to traditional steakhouse fare.
Where else but the Fisher Island Club?
The resort has six restaurants for guests to choose from, and of course there’s also a fully-appointed suite of room service options.
Enjoy the hotel’s vast amenities and private beach, as well as 18 tennis courts (2 grass), nine hole golf courses, three pools, and two marinas. And explore the hotel itself, which has a rich history that dates back even further than its Vanderbilt days.
Live in Chicago? Mosey on over to:
“It’s hard to make a list of compelling and pretty Midwestern towns and leave out idyllic Galena. A perennial favorite on best-of lists, the town earns its accolades with almost 30 unique eateries and a Main Street U.S.A.-feel that must be in the mind’s eye of every location scout in Hollywood. “Gorgeous rolling hills look out to the Mississippi River Valley, and the historic buildings along postcard-pretty Main Street house an eclectic array of restaurants and shops,” says Kendra Williams, travel editor for Midwest Living magazine. It’s a year-round daytrip getaway for Chicagoans, but Williams suggests making a weekend of it and coming during the fall, when the leaves paint a fittingly vivid backdrop for the camera-friendly town.”
Get pampered in laid-back style at The Inn at Irish Hollow, an enchanting Victorian-esque mashup of B&B and private cottages. Top-tier dining and amenities luxe up the country setting in this lush respite from uptight life.
Enjoy an impressive international menu at Perry Street Brasserie, named one of Open Tables “Top 100 Restaurants in the US.”
Book a tee time at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, a stunning 27-hole championship golf course with the finest in country club amenities.
Live in New York? Take a quick drive to to:
Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts
“Just as famous for its landscape as it is for its culture, the Berkshires, a region in Western Massachusetts defined by its rolling mountains, is a world-class destination filled with galleries, museums, performances and literary legends. From the classical music mecca of Tanglewood in the tiny town of Lenox to the rock clubs, theater companies, and crunchy charm of Northampton. With so many mountains and fresh, unspoiled waterways, the Berkshires and central Massachusetts offer another form of inspiration-that of the natural sort. Check out the region’s plentiful ski areas and nature preserves. In fact, the state’s biggest park, October Mountain State Forest, is so beautiful it once inspired Herman Melville. After a busy day of hiking, biking, fishing or skiing, you can rest assured — plenty of innkeepers take advantage of these idyllic settings, so you’re sure to find a quaint bed and breakfast wherever you roam.”
– Forbes Travel Guide
Experience a true New England retreat at Stoneover Farm, a luxury bed and breakfast with an artful bent. It’s within walking distance of Tanglewood but still feels exactly as tucked away as a woodsy Berkshire retreat should be.
Table Six Restaurant is one of the Berkshires’ finest epicurean haunts, combining award-winning food, historical ambiance, top-notch service, and high design in the center of beautiful Lenox.
The storied Tanglewood Music Festival is a New England tradition that provides a musical backdrop of near-daily offerings, running the gamut from tentpole performances by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (who summers in Lenox) to jazz, comedy, and even food-oriented events.
Live in Washington, D.C.? Jet up to:
“There’s something happening in Toronto. While so many cities lament the global economic crisis and the dulling effects of globalization, boutiques and restaurants seem to open every week in Toronto, and immigrant neighborhoods still feel linguistically, gastronomically, gloriously, distinct. The cultural diversity and urbanity seem limitless. But it’s hardly an urban jungle. Toronto is filled with lush, insistent greenery and an abundance of parks. It’s hard to imagine a better city to explore in summer.”
– New York Times
A boutique hotel in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, the Hotel le Germain – Maple Leaf Square creates the perfect platform for a lively escape with a tranquil, luxurious home base at the center. Did we mention there’s a putting green on the roof?
Though proudly boasting its celebration of its Canadian roots, Toca Restaurant, a festive contemporary Italian joint operated by the Ritz Carlton group, is clearly ensconsed in a vigorous romance with il formaggio.
Kensington Market is both a counterculture hub and a bazaar in the style of a Moroccan souk, filled with sellers of eclectic wares to delight all the senses—whether you open your wallet or not.
Live in Houston or Dallas? Make your escape to:
About 70 miles northwest of Houston, the rolling meadows of Texas Hill Country are the cinematic setting of a truly luxurious escape. Ultra-exclusive and all-inclusive, the Inn at Dos Brisas is an idyllic oasis of relaxation, whether in the form of luxury amenities fit for a king or the ample activities offered on-site.
The Inn at Dos Brisas’ four gorgeous casitas are outfitted with country chic décor, king beds with 1,200-thread count sheets, and fireplaces. A full menu of ultra-pampering options and pleasure-inducing amenities awaits you when you arrive.
The inn’s celebrated farm-to-table restaurant serves exquisite cuisine fit for the most well-heeled traveler, and is the only restaurant in Texas with a five-star Forbes rating.
Why leave the hotel grounds when on-site activities include cooking classes, organic gardening seminars, clay shooting, horseback riding, hiking, wine tastings, spa treatments, and pure-and-simple stargazing?
Live in Los Angeles? Spread your wings in:
Ojai Valley, CA
“Places considered spiritual seem invariably to be beautiful, and Ojai, Calif., is no exception. Set in a valley 20 minutes from the ocean, Ojai has a multitude of retreats…Spiritual teachers, gurus and Hollywood celebrities are drawn to the beauty of Ojai, with its clean white Spanish architecture and oak and citrus trees framed by the Coastal Range. More Telluride than Aspen, more Sonoma than Napa, it’s a wealthy community that seems to pride itself on playing down its affluence. Many spa visitors never leave their resorts—a shame, because the Ojai Valley has plenty of chilled-out charm, good restaurants, and a web of fine hiking trails.”
– New York Times
The crown jewel of the utopian Ojai Valley vista is the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (pictured at the top of this post), a Spanish mission-style retreat oft cited as one of the top resorts in the country—a veritable palace of California pleasures.
If you can drag yourself away from the blissful paradise of the inn, treat yourself to the imaginative French-Italian fare of Suzanne’s Cuisine.
Luxuriate in the signature treatments of the inn’s 31,000-square-foot spa, such as Kuyam, a Moroccan mud treatment and guided meditation, or an Ayurvedic Abhyanga Four-Hand Massage.