For all travelers, the Great American West is another world, a planet unto itself beyond a border marked by the formidable peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
Stepping gingerly among the rocks, the horse plunges its hooves into the still-fresh snow that accumulated overnight. The sun rises slowly over the mountains, its crystalline light caressing the steep slopes of Arapahoe Basin, where a few early skiers are already out for a run. The powdery snow of the Rockies is perfect for skiing, especially in Aspen or Keystone, Colorado, or at the Whitefish or Big Sky resorts in Montana. But this land was not always so hospitable. It wasn’t until 1806, when Lewis and Clark returned from their perilous two-year odyssey, that anyone knew for sure: it was possible to reach the Pacific coast by land. Before then, the 4,800 kilometers (nearly 3,000 miles) of the Rocky Mountain range, stretching from New Mexico to northern British Columbia, seemed an unbreachable barrier. Those early explorers had discovered a window into the entrails of the earth, where living geology puts on an extraordinary show, spewing forth the geysers of Yellowstone, the world’s oldest national park and a showcase for its free-roaming population of bears, bison and elk. But the Rockies are also the “water tower of the American West,” so-called due to the many abundant streams and rivers that flow through its valleys.
Three days a week, the farmers of Napa Valley sell their produce directly to the public in San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza. The market is a ritual for many local residents, who bring the entire family for a stroll among the stands overflowing with fruits and vegetables, cheeses, plants and flowers. The sights (and flavors!) of this veritable cornucopia bear witness to the region bounty of California — especially Napa Valley, a fertile enclave protected by the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains, whose name evokes the sagas of venerable families and their love of the land.
Restaurant on a golf course. Over the years, Addison has established itself as one of the finest culinary experiences in California. Chef William Bradley’s artisanal approach to cooking, based on an admiration for French cuisine, draws inspiration from the seasons. Ever attentive to the purity of the flavors, he enhances his ingredients by drawing on their inherent properties. The wine collection, with some 36,000 bottles under the enlightened management of sommelier Elizabeth Huettinger, includes twenty special cuvées crafted with winemakers from across the globe. The wine and food pairings are in perfect harmony with the refined, elegant service. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a vineyard. In the midst of the famous vineyards of Napa Valley, French restaurateur Claude Rouas and his business partner Robert Harmon have created an elegant hotel hidden away in an olive grove reminiscent of Provence. The secluded, romantic “maisons”, with private terraces, custom furnishings and fireplaces, are perched on a hillside, framing one of California wine country’s most spectacular views above the renowned vineyards below. The Restaurant’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine showcases the best seasonal ingredients of the region, while the Auberge Spa incorporates local grapes, olives, herbs and flowers into a host of luxurious and authentic treatments. The 15,000-bottle cellar features an award-winning selection of domestic and international wines for guests to enjoy on the terrace as the sun sets on the horizon. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. Three generations of the Canlis family have welcomed guests to Seattle’s most storied and celebrated restaurant. Built by Peter Canlis and architect Roland Terry in 1950, the landmark property is now run by brothers Mark and Brian Canlis. Perched high above the city and adorned in glass, the dining room boasts sweeping views of Lake Union and the Cascade Mountains beyond. It is a perfect backdrop for Chef Jason Franey’s inventive and contemporary yet approachable cuisine. On the menu, reformed classics pair with an enlightened and artfully composed tasting menu. Canlis is a modern restaurant with a sense of history, place and time. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. The Château du Sureau is the ideal place from which to explore the waterfalls and granite domes of Yosemite National Park, one of America’s most spectacular natural sites. This majestic hotel is reminiscent of the finest European châteaux. Its elegant interior, with guest rooms named after herbs and flowers, is resplendent with antiques, tapestries and artworks. The restaurant showcases the freshest Californian produce in sophisticated dishes packed with flavor and accompanied by the region’s best wines. If you are lucky enough to visit on July 14, you will be treated to the Elderberry Harvest Dinner, a fabulous five-course feast in honor of the château’s namesake. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. The last inhabitants left in 1918. This former mining town deep in Colorado has been restored from top to bottom and offers an exquisite retreat. Log cabins and spacious tents provide delightfully comfortable rooms; meals are taken in the saloon which has retained its original character, and provides a convivial gathering spot. The landscape of this splendid alpine valley, nestled in the San Juan mountains, changes with the passing seasons, from pristine white snow to flaming orange in autumn. This magnificent site’s natural hot springs with their life-enhancing benefits are an added bonus. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. The cuisine of Gary Danko, the ambassador of contemporary American fine dining, draws on traditions from around the world. Using seasonings from Asia, he adds a pinch of audacity to his French-style technique, creating dishes like the sublime buckwheat blini with smoked salmon, Kendall Farms crème fraîche and Black Sea Osetra caviar. Danko only uses what’s in season. Sea scallops are served with asparagus-pea purée in the spring and paired with butternut squash and caramelized apples in the winter. In the heart of one of San Francisco’s trendiest districts, his restaurant offers an intimate, inviting atmosphere, with modern paintings standing out against taupe walls. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. This exquisite gem of a hotel is located in Healdsburg, a small town offering all the magic of the Sonoma Wine Country. Enjoy superb cuisine, art galleries and boutique shopping. Meticulous attention to detail sets Hotel Les Mars apart, from the limestone facade and wrought ironwork of its exterior to its dramatic interior finishes and antique furniture. A 17th-century Flemish tapestry hangs in the lobby, and walnut panels and leather-bound books line the library. Nearby, country roads meander through vineyards and rolling hills to more than 100 world-class wineries, including Chalk Hill, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Gaze out into an infinite expanse of sky and ocean from 300 feet above the sea – the property is perched on a lush, tropical hillside with unobstructed views of three Hawaiian islands. Designed for couples, the hotel rests on 15 acres of your own private playground. Start your day together with morning yoga practice beside a waterfall, lounge in the laid back poolside cabanas, explore winding pathways through tropical gardens and orchards, and then relax in the intimacy of your expansive suite with its white oak floors and sustainably-harvested Ohia wood furniture. Our culinary approach is equally committed to Maui, with ingredients sourced locally or grown in the hotel’s very own kitchen garden and orchard. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in town. Built as a private residence in 1900 and classified as a historical landmark, Hôtel St Germain has the allure of a sumptuous French townhouse, with excellent old world service, thoroughly modern amenities and memorable fine dining. Graceful interiors evoke the haunting, exotic beauty of 19th-century New Orleans. The grand dining room is adorned with a 200-year-old Aubusson tapestry. Just steps away from the bustle of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, the Winspear Opera House and Meyerson Symphony Center, this unique, European-style urban sanctuary celebrates the art of gracious living as a personal reflection of the proprietors’ French heritage. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant and hotel in town. Henry Miller said that he learned to pray in front of the stunning scenery of Big Sur. Carmel-by-the-Sea is the ideal base for marveling at these immense cliffs plunging down into the ocean. Halfway between San Francisco and the Santa Barbara coast, inhabited by seals and whales, Carmel – where Clint Eastwood was once mayor – will charm you with its art galleries and pebble beaches. This romantic hotel, decorated with lovely European fabrics and antiques, is ideally located in the heart of the village, a pleasant short walk away from the famous Carmel Beach. The delicious cuisine, a well-stocked wine cellar and superb massages will give it a special place in your heart. ... Learn moreless