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52 GREAT GETAWAYS

By Richard West |

It’s an outrage. It’s unfair. Unhealthy. Slavery and indentured servitude. I’m talking about vacation rights. Do you realize that we Americans endure the shortest, most miserably limited vacations of any prosperous nation? From the moment an Austrian first sits down at the desk at his new job, he’s entitled by law to five weeks of paid vacation. Same thing for the newly employed French dressmaker. And, orright, mate! If you’re Australian, you’ve hit the layabout lottery jackpot: six weeks off to walkabout or drink stubbles by the barby. But you, poor soul, as a hard-working American, average only two and a half weeks per year away from your life as an obedient employee, dutiful spouse, and law-abiding citizen. All that compulsiveness, routine, and tedium takes its toll. That’s why we long for, revere, nay, need the weekend. Freedom! Release! Wheee! So here are fifty-two Friday-to-Monday (well, most of them) escapes to brighter, more Interesting worlds. Enjoy, and be back in the office at 9 a.m. sharp.

THE GREAT SCHOONER RACE, MAINE



once a year on July 7, the Maine Windjammer Association hosts the Great Schooner Race. Passengers join in for the all-day run from the island of Isleboro or North Haven to the Rockland Breakwater. There’s a festival and tall ships to explore after the race. Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor isn’t far, or explore Ocean Drive, the sea-hugging section of the twenty-seven-mile-long Park Loop Road, which takes you to Thunder Hole, where waves crash with impressive fury. Maine Windjammer Association: (800) MAINE-80.

CERROMAR BEACH, DORADO, PUERTO RICO



From June 11-SeptembeT 30, the Hyatt Regency Cerromar Beach has supervised day and evening programs for kids from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6:30-10 p.m. The chokes include outdoor games, swimming, arts and crafts, Spanish lessons, kite flying, mini-Olympics, and bike rides. Kids receive a 50 percent discount on meals, and parents can book a second room, if available, at a 50 percent discount for children three to fifteen. Discount packages also are offered for golf and tennis enthusiasts. The same plans are available at the Hyatt Dorado Beach. Reservations: (800)233-1234.

THE CANADIAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION, TORONTO



From mid-August to Labor Day, it’s Canada’s largest fair, known affectionately as “the Ex,” with carnival rides, agricultural exhibitions, and horse shows. The Canadian Air Show, on the Lake Ontario waterfront as is the fair itself, is only one of the highlights. Take a sweater but don’t take your car anywhere close to the 350-acre site, Instead, hop a streetcar labeled “Exhibition.” Stay at the intimate and charming Windsor Arms Hotel. Veddy British. Canadian National Exhibition: (416) 393-6000.

SANDAYS IN LOS ANGELES



How about the biggest and best outdoor antique and flea market, held the third Sunday of every month at the Long Beach Veterans Stadium? How about the fact that, unlike other such collectible gatherings, this one allows no new merchandise? How about a soak in the hot tubs, then a massage at Wheeler Hot Springs up in Ojai? (805) 646-8131. No? Then how about a flight in a World War II open-cockpit biplane from the San Fernando Valley to the beach? Bird’s Nest biplanes: (818) 769-2894.

SMITHSONIAN FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN FOLKLIFE, WASHINGTON, D.C.



From June 27-july 1 and July 4-8, this grand gathering sets up its tents in front of the Smithsonian museums, and groups from all over the country do their stuff with jug bands, blues, Native American dances, and handicraft demonstrations, all of it free. Shopping? How about the NASA flight jackets and astronaut freeze-dried dinners at the Air and Space Museum gift shop? Smithsonian Visitor Information: (202) 357-2700.

SANIBEL-CAPTIVA ISLANDS



This twenty-mile stretch of white sand on the two-island chain off the coast of Fort Myers, Florida, offers probably the finest seashell collecting in the U.S., especially at Lighthouse Beach on eastern Sanibel. Explore the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, then feast on the huge prime rib at the Bubble Room on Captiva. The next day, head out to Cabbage Key, an island/restaurant/bar that inspired jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” It’s true. Chamber of Commerce: (813) 472-1080.

THE BIG THICKET NATIONAL PRESERVE



Often called “the biological crossroads of America,” this 86,000-acre wilderness of woodlands, swamps, and waterways is recognized internationally for its unique collection of plants, animals, birds, and insects. Woodville is the northern gateway to the Big Thicket and not far from the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation. And how about Saturday night dancing at the George Jones Country Music Park near Colmesneil? Big Thicket National Preserve: (409) 246-2337.

TAOS SPRING ARTS CELEBRATION 1990



Beginning Memorial Day and continuing during the first three weeks in June, thousands gather to celebrate the work of area artists and Native American and Hispanic music and dance. By all means try to stay at the Hacienda del Sot on the northern edge of town, the former home of Taos arts patron Mabel Dodge Luhan, decorated in hand-crafted furniture, ancient vigas, and kiva fireplaces. The great breakfasts are worth the price alone. Afterward, ask about Los Amantes, or the Lovers’ Room. Taos Spring Arts Celebration: (505) 758-0516.

THE INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC FAN FAIR, NASHVILLE



During the first week in June, thousands of fans flock here for the week-long celebration at the Tennessee State Fair Grounds for autographs, exhibits, pickin’ sessions, and great concerts. Then, of course, you must head to the Grand Ole Opry (two shows on Friday and Saturday nights) after spending the day at Opryland USA. The Opryland Hotel is quite near both Oprys, and don’t forget to gobble down the fried chicken and homemade biscuits at the Loveless Mote! and Cafe. The International Country Music Fan Fair: (615) 889-7503.

DEEP SEA ROUNDUP, PORT ARANSAS



It’s no longer called the Tarpon Rodeo because the tarpon have been fished out, but this oldest of all fishing tournaments or the Texas coast in early July still attracts hundreds of anglers dipping their hooks for a record-breaking sailfish and the grand prize of up to $50,000. Reserve your room early in the charming, weather-beaten Tarpon Inn so you can savor the gulf breeze on the second-floor balcony. That’s before the lobster chunks and shrimp sautéed in white wine and garlic cheese sauce at Men’s Malibu. Chamber of Commerce: (512) 749-5919.

THE BARBADOS CROPOVER FESTIVAL



From July 14 through August 6, this exquisite Caribbean island, with its endless stretches of white-sand beaches, kicks out the jams. Stay in one of the small, classic hotels like the Colony Club. There’s a fine restaurant (Raffles), a very good beer (Banks), and tasty rum (Cockspur). Remember, Barbados is the windsurfing capital of the Caribbean. If that’s your sport, head for the south coast in the parish of Christ Church. Board of Tourism: (800) 221-9831.

JOHN NEWCOMBE’S TENNIS RANCH, NEW BRAUNFELS



You’ll eat and breathe tennis here with seven and a half hours of instruction per day during the weekend sessions, along with video replays, round-robin tournaments, and tennis talk during happy hour. Besides the twenty-eight Laykold courts (some enclosed), there’s a large swimming pool and heated hot tub. In nearby Gruene (pronounced Green), forget tennis and have a Wurstburger at the Gristmill Restaurant, then put your little foot out while the band plays at Gruene Hall, billed as Texas’s oldest dance hall. ]ohn Newcombe’s Tennis Ranch: (512) 625-9105.

THE VANCOUVER SEA FESTIVAL



From July 20-25, there are salmon barbecues, tall ships, massive parades, and a carnival held in conjunction with the infamous Nanaimo-to-Vancouver Bathtub Race. It’s all centered around English Bay in the West End. Above all, rent a bike and tour the seven-mile seawall path of Stanley Park the city’s 1,000-acre forest/ zoo/wildlife preserve right in town. Best hotel? The Wedgewood downtown. Vancouver Sea Festival: (604) 684-3378.

THE Y.O. RANCH HILTON, KERRVILLE



In the heart of the Hill Country, this place is cowboy plush, but the real reason to stay is its close kinship to the famous 50,000-acre Y.O. Ranch, forty-five miles away. Use the hotel’s direct line to set up your half-day ranch tour or to arrange a private hunt of other exotic game from around the world. Back at the hotel, you can dine on some of the same game in the dining room. Y.O. Ranch Hilton: (800) 531-2800.

LAS BRISAS RESORT, ACAPULCO, MEXICO



Romantic Las Brisas, one of the world’s finest resorts, is the only way to experience Acapulco-from across the bay. The new “Royal Beach Club” casitas raise the service level to dizzying heights: fresh flowers daily, a private swimming pool, complimentary champagne, a chummy concierge, and more. There are two excellent dinner restaurants and a sumptuous beach club lunch buffet on site, but you can’t beat room service poolside with candlelight. Go when you’re desperate for pampering. You will be. Westin Central Reservations: (800) 228-3000.

THE MENGER HOTEL, SAN ANTONIO



As part of an overall renovation two years ago, thirty-three rooms were added to the dashing old Menger in conjunction with the creation of a new section of the city’s Riverwalk, joining the Menger to the new Rivercenter Mall. Camp out in the Devon Cattle or King Suite before walking over to the Texas Folklife Festival in August. Be sure to see the new Lucile Halsell Conservatory, the city’s amazing thirty-three-acre botanical garden, a ten-minute drive north of downtown. Menger Hotel: (800) 345-9285.

THE 1990 GOODWILL GAMES, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON



North America’s largest athletic and cultural event in 1990 will feature world-class athletic competition in twenty-one sports, along with an International Cultural and Arts Festival, from July 20-August 5. The annual Seattle Seafair is also held during this period. No one misses visiting Pike Place Market on Elliott Bay, the nation’s oldest continually operating fanner’s market. Stay at the chic, first-class Sorrento Hotel and have a late romantic dinner at Daniel’s Broiler on Lake Washington. Convention Bureau: (206)461-5815.

WHALE WATCHING IN MAUI



Think long weekend here and go when it’s whale season. From November through June, the huge humpbacks swim nearly 4,000 miles to winter in the warm Hawaiian waters, and although all of the islands get their fair share, Maui is definitely the most popular mating ground. To get a good glimpse of the amorous leviathans, set sail on a sixty-five-foot catamaran, the Wailea Kai. For $45 a person, you’ll get cocktails, a live band, a prime rib dinner, an incredible sunset, and of course, the whales. Ocean Activities Center: (800) 367-8047, ext. 448.

SUMMER IN CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO



Yes, this is one of the best ski areas in the country for fanatics who love the steep and deep. But you may not know that Crested Butte is also a treasure in the summertime. Mountain condos are a bargain in the off season, when the days are warm and the nights are still cool enough for a fire. Mountain biking, horseback riding, trout fishing, and river rafting are the physical activities of choice. Crested Butte also offers a fantastic golf course for those who would like to try their drive at 9,000 feet. Crested Butte Mountain Resort: (800) 544-8448.

THE TANGLEWOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL, LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS



The Boston Symphony Orchestra performs at Tanglewood for ten weeks, Thursdays through Sundays during July and August, in an enormous covered pavilion surrounded by-lovely lawns on this old 500-acre estate. During the same period, the Berkshire Theater Festival is in full swing at Stockbridge, fifteen minutes away, and there’s also the Williamstown Theater Festival, about forty-five minutes away in Williamstown. Boston Symphony: May-June, (617) 266-1492; July-August, (413) 637-1600.

MOUNT NEBO STATE PARK, DARDANELLE, ARKANSAS



Recharge your batteries, or your romance, at this lovely state park on a mountaintop. Most of the fourteen fully equipped and funkily furnished cabins date from the Thirties. Wild roses line eight miles of trails that rim the mountain and offer post-card views of the Arkansas River Valley. Throw steaks on the provided grill, or jaunt into nearby Russellville to pick up Madame Wu’s terrific Szechuan cooking; enjoy a three-star meal under a zillion-star sky. Cabins, $45 to $60 a night, sleep two to eight. Mount Nebo State Park: (501) 229-3655.

THE CALGARY EXHIBITION AND STAMPEDE



It’s billed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth” from July 6-15, when the city reclaims its western heritage with rodeos, chuckwagon races, grandstand shows, and hot-air balloon races. Most of the action takes place within walking distance of downtown at Stampede Park. Stay in the venerable Palliser Hotel, and don’t miss the breakfast omelettes at the 1886 Cafe. just eighty miles west of Calgary is Banff, gateway to other well-known western Canadian resorts like Lake Louise and Jasper. Board of Tourism: (800) 661-8888.

SHOPPING IN OAXACA, MEXICO



Located in the center of one of the richest pre-Columbian archaeological areas in Mexico, Oaxaca, 300 miles south of Mexico City, is the source of the country’s unique black pottery. Buy pottery at Colebri, Casa Victor, and El Palacio de las Gemas. There’s a lively Saturday morning market, located on the Periferico at the edge of the city. Splurge and stay at the Hotel El Presidente, which occupies a 16th-century convent. Hotel El Presidente: 011-52-951-60611.

DRIVING THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY



Goodbye Malibu beach houses, there goes Santa Barbara, up over lovely San Marcos Pass at sunset, and here’s San Luis Obispo’s monument to American kitsch, the all-pink Madonna Inn. But wait! On to the famous Hearst castle, San Simeon-too much- ah, Big Sur, Pfeiffer State Park, the funky Big Sur Lodge, and the Henry Miller Memorial Library; on to Monterey’s Cannery Row and amazing aquarium, and enter San Francisco at night-wow!-to have a brandy before bedtime at the chichi Campton Place hotel. Visitors Bureau: (213) 624-7300.

THE BOULDERS, CAREFREE. ARIZONA



About thirty minutes north of Scottsdale on the first large desert plateau, this exclusive resort sits snuggled away on 1,300 acres amidst huge boulders strewn about like toys. At first glance, you have to look twice to distinguish casitas from the surrounding rock formations. A wonderful free-form pool set in the rocks looks almost natural. Arrange through the concierge to ride horses, take a jeep tour, float in a hot-air balloon, or fly to the Grand Canyon. The Boulders: (800) 553-1717.

THE SANTA FE OPERA

The thirty-fourth season opens June 29 with a gala performance of La Boheme, preceded by the traditional champagne reception on the theater terrace for everyone, seven miles north of town. General admission is only $10. In Santa Fe, try to stay at the Queen Anne-style Preston House bed-and-breakfast, a few blocks north of the main plaza and the well-known La Fonda Hotel La Tertulia, which serves New Mexican cuisine, is the class act of the city’s restaurants, but you’ll have more fun at the Coyote Cafe. The Santa Fe Opera: (505) 982-3855.

THE LANDHAUS BED AND BREAKFAST, FREDERICKSBURG



Why not hove your own place in the country on a 171-acre ranch, nine miles northeast of town, while you’re gorging at the Stonewall Peach Jamboree in mid-June? Enjoy hunting, horseback riding, and fishing, then take a hike up Enchanted Rock not far away or visit the country-tank town of Luckenbach, made famous by Willie and Waylon’s eponymous song. And don’t forget to buy hickory-smoked turkey sausage at Opa’s Smoked Meats back in Fredericksburg. Landhaus Bed and Breakfast: (512) 997-4916.

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS



The racing season’s over at Oaklawn Jockey Club, but the Arkansas Fun Festival kicks off May 17, and the eight bathhouses on fabled Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs are ready for your aching bones. South and west of town are three beautiful lakes on the Ouachita River, and in the national park you’ll march down twenty-four miles of hiking trails, or rent a Camp-a-Float barge on Lake Ouachita. In Hot Springs, the place to stay is the Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa. Convention and Visitors Bureau: (800) 543-BATH.

THE CANYON RANCH SPA, TUCSON, ARIZONA



Sign up for the four-day package to change your life or to just lose weight and tone up your body. They have it all here, from water aerobics to yoga, at this seventy-acre facility. Break away from the celery and watercress dinners for the Tucson Summer Arts Festival that runs from June 1-August 30. Canyon Ranch Spa: (602) 749-9000.

LAS HADAS RESORT NEAR MANZANILLO, MEXICO



The golf courses cost more than $5 million, all the rooms have ocean views, the two swimming pools are beautifully decorated in mosaics, a noiseless chauffeured golf cart takes you anywhere you wish, and on the lovely beach that rings the small bay, attendants set up small white tents each morning for shade. It’s sheer, pampered luxury, so enjoy the lazy days and have a nightcap in the open air El Terral, where Dudley Moore and Bo Derek romanced in the movie 10. Westin Worldwide Reservations: (800) 223-6800.

WALT DISNEY WORLD, NEAR ORLANDO, FLORIDA



Spread over forty square miles of land, Mickey’s domain draws more than 26 million visitors a year as the number one tourist attraction in the U.S., and you’ll see why when you go. In the Magic Kingdom, you must see Cinderella Castle and the Main Street Electrical Parade after dark; at the Epcot Center, don’t miss the entire Living Seas pavilion in Future World; then there’s the 3-D movie, Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson, and a new ride through the human body in the Wonders of Life pavilion. Disney World Reservations: 407-W-DISNEY.

COWTOWN IN MAY



Check in at the Worthington Hotel in Sundance Square at Second and Main and you’ll be just a half-block from excellent jazz and blues at the Caravan of Dreams. Then head out north on Main for Mexican food at joe T. Garcia’s and a stroll around the shops and restaurants in the restored Fort Worth Stockyards area. Now you’re ready for Mayfest in Trinity Park, and you’ll know the town when you return a few weeks later for the Colonial Golf Tournament. Convention and Visitors Bureau: (800) 433-5747.

THE MONTREAL JAZZ FESTIVAL



In late June, jazz fans from around the world come to Montreal for the ten-day celebration of traditional, modern, and avant-garde jazz and to honor jazz greats. The main concerts are held at the Place des Arats, with more intimate gigs happening along McGill College Road. Stay at the Chateau Versailles, a cluster of renovated row houses, now seventy deluxe rooms, operated like a European pension (breakfast only). Les Filles de Roy, a great Quebecois eatery in a 17th-century stone mansion, serves a terrific Sunday brunch. Montreal Jazz Festival: (514)289-9472.

THE EXCELSIOR HOUSE, JEFFERSON



In continuous operation since 1858, this second-oldest hotel in Texas is a classic, set in one of the state’s most history-minded towns, just 160 miles east of Dallas. There are period antiques in every mom, but stay in the Presidential Suite with its grand canopied bed. Then eat Texas’s best breakfast (country ham, fluffy scrambled eggs, orange blossom muffins) in the sun room before exploring the town during the Jefferson Pilgrimage, the first weekend in May. Excelsior House: (214) 665-2513.

THE TELLURIDE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL



Nestled in its box canyon below 13,000-foot peaks, Telluride, Colorado, enjoys the most beautiful mountain setting in the San Juan Mountains, and for four days in mid-June hosts hot-playing mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and guitar players from all over the country. Musicians and fans gather around the outdoor stage at the east end of town for the afternoon and evening concerts. Stay at the New Sheridan Hotel and try the wonderful Italian dishes at Julian’s or the good Mexican food at Sofia’s. Festival Info: (303) 449-6007.

A VERMONT VALLEY CYCLING WEEKEND



Cycle along the gently rolling countryside between the Green and laconic Mountains, gliding through covered bridges and stopping at local antique shops. Finish up with dinner at George and JoAnn Hardy’s 19th-century Hill Farm Inn. Another perfect day, organized by Country Cycling Tours. The next day you follow the Battenkill River, past the Victorian homes of Old Manchester, through the village of Arlington, and end with a swim at Lake Shaftsbury State Park. This summer’s dates: July 20-22 and August 3-5. Vermont Cycling Tours: (212) 874-5151

FIESTA LAGUNA GLORIA, AUSTIN



The quiet, spacious grounds of the Laguna Gloria Art Museum are mobbed the weekend of May 19-20 by thousands of art patrons enjoying ethnic food, music, a children’s fiesta, and oh yes, art offered by more than 200 artists. Stay out at the Lakeway Resort on the cliffs of Lake Travis, about twenty miles from town, while you visit this bluebonnet-art kitsch paradise, and by all means stop and have the peppered smoked antelope at Hudson’s On The Bend. Laguna Gloria Art Museum: (512) 458-8191.

EUREKA SPRINGS, ARKANSAS



This delightful Victorian town is an intriguing collection of aging hippies, Ozark Mountain folk, and serious Christians, who come to the Great Passion Play (April-October) at the foot of the seven-story Christ of the Ozarks statue. There’s also the Noah’s Ark Petting Park, and the Frog Fantasies Museum, a 5,000-plus collection of frog bric-a-brac housed a few doors down from the Elmwood House Hotel. November 1-4, the Original Ozark Festival brings music, parades, and more. Chamber of Commerce: (501) 253-8737.

THE WINDSOR COURT HOTEL, NEW ORLEANS



This luxurious British-style hotel is the perfect headquarters to repair to after strenuously chasing pleasure in the Big Easy. A four-poster bed, room service from the five-star Grill Room, thirteen different sun blocks offered by the pool, and bedside chocolates, that’s the ticket. The next day it’s Arnaud’s for shrimp remoulade and Preservation Hall for the real Dixieland jazz, or Tipitina’s for rhythm and blues. You want festivals? In July alone there’s the New Orleans Food Festival, Bastille Day, and La Fete. Windsor Court Hotel: (504) 523-6000.

CRAWFISH FESTIVAL, BREAUX BRIDGE, LOUISINA



During the first weekend in May, the little crustaceans are served up in all imaginable forms at what should be called a feast-a-val, but that’s not all. Seek out and lap up the shrimp boulettes, jambalaya, imagination-stretching gumbos, oyster loaves, and red beans and rice. Then let the good times roll when the pretenders to the musical throne occupied by the late Clifton Chenier break into “Zydeco Sont Pas Salé (Snap Beans Aren’t Salty)” and other Creole favorites. Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival: (318) 332-6655.

JUNETEENTH BLUES FESTIVAL, HOUSTON



From the legends to the new blues boys on the block, they be ’ jammin’ here at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, Sam Houston Park, and other locations to commemorate June 19, 1865, when word of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas. B.B. King wouldn’t mind if you mixed flash with funk and stayed at La Colombe D’Or, the elegant European-style chalet on Montrose, but he’d be real mad if you bought barbecue anywhere but Otto’s Barbecue and Hamburgers on Memorial Drive. Miller Outdoor Theatre: (713) 520-3291.

WHITEWATER RAFTING ON THE RIO GRANDE



On your first day, stay up in Big Bend National Park’s Chisos Basin in one of the stone cottages and ride horses or hike up in the rugged desert mountains. Then head thirty miles west to the ghost town of Terlingua and get the Far Flung Adventure folks to arrange a raft trip of a day or a week through Santa Elena, Mariscal, or Boquillas canyons on the Rio Grande as it winds through the huge park. Far Flung Adventures: (915) 371-2489.

THE CLAREMONT, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA



It’s San Francisco Bay’s only authentic resort, on twenty-two acres up in the Oakland-Berkeley Hills with magnificent views of the city and the bay. Swim, play tennis, do aerobics, golf, do nothing. AH rested, you can head up to Napa to ride the new Napa Valley Wine Train, a thirty-six-mile, nonstop train made up of five 1915 Pullman cars that creeps through the vineyards and wineries from Napa to St. Helena and back. Lunch or dinner trips; each takes about three hours. The Claremont: (415) 843-3000.

INDIAN LODGE, FORT DAVID



Tucked in a valley in the Davis Mountains 5,000 feet up, this white adobe-style lodge, built on multiple levels, is the place to stay while exploring Fort Davis, Texas’s best tiny town, and the hiking trails of Davis Mountains State Park. Request Suite 121, the largest of the older rooms. The perfectly restored Fort Davis itself is three miles away and you can tour McDonaldObservatory: America’s fifth-largest telescope is only thirteen miles from the lodge. Indian Lodge: (915) 426-3254.

GOURMET WHITEWATER RAFT TRIP, JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING



Midway through the sixteen-mile, seven-hour float trip on the Snake River near Jackson, you’ll pause overlooking the largest rapid in the canyon for a delicious lunch of steak or trout, Wyoming cheese, and other local favorites. You can bring beer or wine if you wish. After the river running, you’ll have plenty of time to explore Grand Teton National Park or Yellowstone National Park. Also, the Jackson Hole area has the best fishing in the Rockies; local cutthroat trout are legendary. Mad River Boat Trips: (800) 458-RAFT.

HACIENDA RANCHO DE CHIMAYO, CHIMAYO, NEW MEXICO



The best bed-and-breakfast in this gorgeous state, this hundred-year-old, seven-room inn tucked up in the mountains twenty-five miles northeast of Santa Fe is perfection itself. Especially Room Seven, with its cherrywood furniture and balcony opening to a view of Restaurante Rancho de Chimayo across the road and up the hill under the cottonwood trees. And just down Highway 4 are the weaving shops of the Ortega and Trujillo families and the haunting El Santuario Church. Hacienda Rancho de Chimayo: (505) 351-2222.

GALVESTON’S HISTORIC HOME TOUR



During the first two weekends in May, eight restored 19th-century homes, not normally open to the public, are available for guided tours. It’s a good reason to visit this old seaport city and see the refurbished Strand National Historic Landmark District, including the 1894 Grand Opera House, to stay at the ultra-fancy Tremont House, and to eat caught-that-day seafood once again at Gaido’s, still going strong after seventy years. Galveston Historical Foundation: (409) 765-7834.

THE FLORIDA KEYS



Key West is wonderful, but the real reason to travel to the Florida Keys is to rest your overworked eyes on the ocean stretching in blues and greens and shimmering turquoise along the hundred miles of the Overseas Highway. So fly to Miami, rent a convertible, and head west. Eat in Islamorada, where you’ll find the best conch chowder, a Keys specialty, at Marker 88. Do all of your beach-combing at Bahia Honda State Recreation Area on Bahia Honda Key, the only real stretch of beach to be had in the Keys. Bahia Honda State Recreation Area: (305) 872-2353.

ANNUAL MUSHROOM FESTIVAL, BOYNE CITY, MICHIGAN

The earth gets pregnant every day in Boyne City, Michigan. The spores of a thousand mushrooms drift, swell, and pop across the forest floor. And there, poking its majestic pocked cap through the dewy earth, is the caviar of the woodlands, the morel. Dip it in egg, lightly bread in flour or cracker meal (this is no time for Pierre Franey), and saute briefly in butter. Steam a mess of fiddlehead ferns to go alongside, and you have a feast worth trekking 1,450 miles to savor. This year, the Annual Mushroom Festival and National Mushroom Championship Hunt is May 12-13. Chamber of Commerce: (616) 582-6222.

THE ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL



From late June through August, it is your pleasure to hear musical works from baroque through contemporary in this once-quaint, now hiprich old mining town spread out in the Roaring Fork Valley; no doubt this is the music festival in the most beautiful setting in America. The new Little Neil Hotel is a good headquarters; be sure and sample the chili chipotle quesadillas at Lauretta’s, the jazz and pasta at Club Andiamo, and the heavenly muffins at the aptly named Paradise Bakery. Aspen Music Festival and School Info: (303) 925-3254.

HOUSEBOATING ON LAKE EUFALA, OKLAHOMA



You have a choice of floating villas: either the fifty-two-foot Sunseeker or the forty-foot Sportcruiser, both equipped with everything needed for navigating, sleeping, cooking, and relaxing all over the fifteenth-largest man-made lake in the U.S. with its 650 miles of shoreline. Both boats sleep up to ten, but the Sunseeker is definitely bigger. Landlubbers can stop at the Fountainhead Resort for golf’, horseback riding, or tennis. GO Vacations: (800) 262-3454.

THE YACHT CLUB HOTEL, PORT ISABEL



The atmosphere is vintage Twenties at this Spanish stucco structure, originally built as a club for prominent Valley families. It has not lost its hacienda feel, nor has the restaurant’s red snapper declined in quality. Out back there’s a secluded pool bordered by hibiscus to lounge around after breakfast. It’s a civilized alternative to the just-built atmosphere of the hotels lining the beach across the causeway on South Padre Island. Yacht Club Hotel: (512) 943-1301.