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 in town. In Jackson Square, one of San Francisco’s oldest and most charming districts, a century-old landmarked building houses one of the finest restaurants in the city. Chef Michael Tusk prepares Italian- and French-inspired Californian cuisine using only fresh local ingredients procured by a carefully selected local network of small farmers and producers. The same care is applied to the selection of wines suggested for each dish. In an elegant, art déco-inspired setting, you can savor dishes like whole roast duck for two with black garlic and green gage plums or risotto with cardoons, porcini mushroom and white truffle. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. Savor Colorado’s timeless American West at The Home Ranch, an all-inclusive guest ranch set in the grandeur of the Elk River Valley, near Steamboat Springs. Distinguished by its stunning Rocky Mountain setting amid a million-acre wilderness, the ranch is an equestrian, fly fishing and hiking paradise in the summer and fall, a nordic and downhill skiing nirvana in the winter, and a family vacation dream all year long. Renowned for its Western horseback riding program, the rustic elegance of its lodging, and the beauty of its setting, the guest experience is crowned by the celebrated Haute Mountain Cuisine of the chef, prepared with fruits, vegetables, and meats from its own natural farm. ... 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
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 hillside “maisons”, with their private terraces, custom furnishings and fireplaces, overlook the sculpture garden, which features over 100 works by renowned artists. The Mediterranean-inspired cuisine offers the very best of the region, as does the spa, with treatments based on grapes, olives, herbs and flowers. The 15,000-bottle wine cellar will transport wine lovers to heaven, as they watch the sun setting on the horizon. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in the country. With its elegant architecture, private plunge pools and interiors awash with leather and silky fabrics, this ranch resort offers you the opportunity to experience the life of a gentleman rancher, surrounded by horses, organic crops and rolling hills. Set on a rise in Texas Hill Country, an hour from Houston, the sprawling 120-hectare property comprises five large villas and four additional rooms. Its organic farm produces over 400 different crops year-round, most of which are of heirloom variety. The Inn also features what is arguably the finest food in Texas. It’s a tough choice among horseback riding, organic gardening, cooking classes, fishing or tennis at this country retreat. ... 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 in the mountains. Aspen, nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, has become a premier ski destination for jetsetters and one of the most famous resorts in the world. The Little Nell is a luxurious hotel in the heart of the town, with direct ski in/out access to Aspen Mountain, a true Colorado gem, which can be enjoyed in every season. The stylishly decorated guest rooms and suites with their fine furnishings, fireplaces, and works of art offer a gentle, comforting ambiance after a day in the fresh air, as do all its attractive public areas, which have been designed with your comfort in mind. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Element 47, offering an extensive wine program, and Alpine cuisine based on locally sourced ingredients was awarded a Forbes Five Star designation in 2015. ... 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
Restaurant in the country. Chef Thomas Keller’s technique has become so famous that Pixar studios asked him to create the ratatouille featured at the end of the film “Ratatouille”. In the heart of Napa Valley, this emblematic three-star Chef, whose restaurant Per Se is a New York culinary landmark, has created one of California’s finest dining spots. Working closely with fellow Chef David Breeden, Keller and his team serve minimalist cuisine using products like oysters and truffles in “sequenced meals”: in order to maximize surprises, no single ingredient is ever repeated in a meal. There is a new menu every day, and the herbs and vegetables come straight from the culinary garden. ... Learn moreless
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