Golfing in Bermuda
Travel time: About 2.5 hours by plane.
Bermuda’s 21 square miles hold eight golf courses —including the Roger Rulewich course at the rococo Tucker’s Point Resort, where you can play, stay, lounge on pink sand beaches and try the spa’s tricked-out shower with 18 heads. (Best end to a round ever.) Locals swear by the off-site Hog Penny Restaurant & Pub for its rum swizzle, the national cocktail. (How can you not love a country with a national cocktail?) $$$
Ogling Mansions in Newport
Travel time: About 1 hour by plane to Providence Airport, or 5 hours by car.
The historic summer homes in Newport make Longport look like Trenton. Even the lived-in homes in this tony town are impressive —and the folks at the Chanler at Cliff Walk Inn (another vintage mansion!) will happily shuttle you about to see them. More Chanler perks? The esteemed Spiced Pear restaurant and the namesake Cliff Walk, which offers a prime view of both the sunset and the Vanderbilt estate. $$ with the "Chanler Celebration" package; $$$ without.
Fly-Fishing in Hot Springs, Virginia
Travel time: About 90 minutes by plane into Roanoke, then 90 minutes by hotel shuttle.
You may be partial to the healing waters at this mountain town’s namesake hot springs, but you’re really at the Homestead Resort to learn to fly-fish like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It—and you’ll be much closer to your goal after a day-long class with resort instructors. Celebrate your prowess with dinner and dancing in the smart (jackets required!) dining room. Should prowess escape you, there’s always Homestead’s three golf courses. $$
Off-Roading in the Green Mountains
Travel time: About 1 hour by plane to Albany, then 1 hour by car.
Going to the Equinox Golf Resort and Spa in Manchester Village, Vermont, is like going to camp, if camp had a resplendent spa and rack of lamb in the mess hall. Activities include snowmobiling, fly-fishing, shotgunning, even falconry —but the coolest draw at this majestic mountain retreat is the Land Rover Experience driving school, where you learn to off-road in the rocky (sometimes snowy!) Green Mountains. $$
Driving Sports Cars in Vegas
Travel time: 5.5 hours by plane.
Bored of the craps table? Try cranking up the g-forces at 200 miles per hour in a Ferrari. Red, of course. Exotics Racing will set you up with training, a professional track, insurance, your screaming-hot wheels and, oh yeah, a helmet, starting at $300 for five laps. (Naturally, you’ll want to tack on the $79 for the dashboard-camera video.) If you’re tired of the whole Venetian and Bellagio scene, sleep at the year-old, $4 billion center-Strip Cosmopolitan, where you can score a bed for $160. $
Spring Training in the Gulf
Travel Time: 3 hours by plane.
In between trips to Bright House Networks Field to check on Ryan Howard’s Achilles tendon, relax by the pool at Clearwater’s Sandpearl Resort, a big, cushy eco-luxury resort right on the Gulf. You can do the massage/kayak/beach thing here, sure, but if you’re in it for the baseball, all you really need is the spa’s “sun wrap” (with aloe) for when you stay out too long sussing out Papelbon’s arm. $$
Admiring the Architecture in Western PA
Travel time: 5 hours by car, or 1 hour by plane into Pittsburgh, then 1.5 hours by car.
If seeing Fallingwater isn’t on your bucket list, it should at least be on your to-do-one-slow-summer list, and you should also visit nearby Kentuck Knob to make a Frank Lloyd Wright weekend of it. Stay at the historic Summit Inn Resort (check out the $482 Wright package); it’s no Wright masterpiece, but it’s cozy, and there’s considerable draw in the history and the sweeping views of the valley below. Plus, there’s horseshoes. $
Skating in the Hudson Valley
Travel time: 3.5 hours by car.
The Mohonk Mountain House is less “house” than “magnificent Victorian castle,” perched high on the cliffs of upstate New York’s Hudson Valley. Take a guided nature hike or a Western-style trail ride through the lush acreage, or—in wintertime—glide serenely around the resort’s lovely open-air ice rink. (Warm up with afternoon tea and cookies, part of the $199-per-night three-night seasonal package.) $
Clay-Shooting in Charlottesville
Travel time: 1 hour by plane to Albemarle Airport, or 5 hours by car.
Not far from Thomas Jefferson’s historic Virginia home sits Keswick Hall at Monticello, a 48-room manse where you’ll get fried green tomatoes at lunch and vinotherapy in the spa (i.e., shiraz body scrubs, pinot noir facials). And here’s something new: For $120, they’ll give you a gun and ammo (you are in the South), and you’ll learn to shoot clay pigeons against the movie -set backdrop of the Dixie hills. $$$
Downward-Dogging in New York
Travel time: About 3.5 hours by car.
It’s no-cell-phones-allowed at the Omega Institute, the peaceful yoga retreat planted in the heart of the Hudson Valley. (They interfere with nirvana—and reception’s bad anyway.) Here, yogis of all levels choose workshops, pick one of the daily open courses, canoe on the lake, get a little acupuncture, or have a tarot card reading (if they’re that kind of yogi). Food is local and—yep—vegetarian. $$for a two-night stay.
Polka-ing in Pittsburgh
Travel time: 1 hour by plane or 5 hours by car.
National Geographic thinks Pittsburgh circa 2012 is one of the best destinations in the world. We think the Phils open the season next month at PNC Park. The boutique Priory hotel is less than a mile from the ballpark and a 10-minute walk from the Andy Warhol Museum. Another must: Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh, a church-turned-bier-hall, for steins of brew, shot-skis, and a polka band specializing in pop rock covers. When it’s busy, the pews are for standing. $
Horseback Riding in Charleston
Travel time: An hour and 40 minutes by plane.
Ride (horse) back in time along the trails of Middleton Place, a gracious former plantation teeming with oaks draped in Spanish moss. You’ll stay at the eponymous inn, an architecturally modern and yet surprisingly homey retreat where you can learn to ride, kayak in the Ashley River, and get you some she-crab soup from the restaurant. Got kids? Look into the Nature Family Fun Package. $
Dog-Sledding in the Poconos (Really!)
Travel time: 2 hours by car.
Everyone who’s gone to the Poconos has flung himself down a hill on skis, a snowboard, an inner tube, a toboggan, a sled or a snowmobile. But how many can say they’ve screamed “Mush!” at the top of their lungs to an eager pack of Siberian huskies? From the toasty confines of Mountain Springs Lake Resort’s opulent log cabins, make your way over to the Skytop Lodge, where teams of gorgeous, frisky Snow Caps Sled Dogs will wind you through white-coated trees and frozen-mid-gush waterfalls. $$
Farming in Vermont
Travel time: 1.5 hours by plane to Burlington, then 1.5 hours by car.
The best country- style breakfast you’ll ever eat is included in the $98-a-night fee at Rochester’s beautiful Liberty Hill Farm. A nice family called the Kennetts have been accepting guests on their working dairy farm for a quarter-century: You’ll sleep in their 1825 farmhouse, milk cows, feed calves from a bottle, and remember what a good night’s sleep feels like. $
Jazzin’ in Miami
Travel time: Almost 3 hours by plane.
Free the weekend of March 17th? Hang out with Patti LaBelle, Doug E Fresh, Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott at Miami’s 7th Annual Jazz in the Gardens music festival, and stay (and drink sidecars) at the Gatsby-fab Betsy in glam South Beach, where you’ll probably bump into the talent after-hours. $$$
Tapping Into Your Inner Southerner in Savannah
Travel time: 2 hours by plane.
Ah, Savannah: the town Sherman spared because it was just too darn pretty to torch. One promenade down oak-tree-lined streets and your Philly heart will melt (seventy degrees in March!)—and that’s before you even get fried okra at The Lady and Sons (a.k.a. Paula Deen’s restaurant) or blue crab at chichi Elizabeth on 37th. Take Sixth Sense Savannah’s ghost tour for a fascinating look at the city that spawned Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, then bed down at the Hamilton Turner Inn, a mansion that’s one of Savannah’s ritziest—and most centrally located—bed-and-breakfasts. $