Top Ten Fantasy Retreats

Use your imagination just a little bit: Imagine spending your vacation budget on redoing your own backyard as your own private resort. If you live in the city, or even more importantly, if you live in the suburbs and commute to the city, you need to get out in the country. You need fresh air, the warmth and fragrance of a wood fireplace, the comfort and satisfaction of simple food, and the amazing luxury of pure silence. When was the last time you had ice in your eyebrows? When was the last time you got outdoors and just played, felt the exhilaration of wind in your face, and got really-really hungry from being outside all day? This list looks at some really wild fantasy retreats that you could retire to for a weekend.


1. Coronado, California…in January


Always near the top of every travel magazine’s list of the world’s top ten beaches, Coronado, California sits just across the bay from San Diego—easily accessible, and frighteningly affordable during the winter months. “Of course,” you think to yourself, “who goes to the beach in January?” Answer: the Coronado locals know what the brochures don’t tell you. In June and early July, Coronado lives under “June gloom,” cold marine air that burns-off only for a couple of hours in the afternoons.


2. The Wine Country…any wine country


The best wine grapes do not spring forth abundantly just anywhere. You cannot grow a vineyard like you would grow your front lawn or a pine tree. In fact, grapes share your climate preferences—warm, sunny days and cool nights, neither too humid nor too dry. Not a surprise that grapes thrive where you would—just an hour from San Francisco, on sunny Italian hillsides, on beautiful Spanish slopes, and just a few hours from Paris.


3. A Greek Island


What more need anyone say? It’s one of those magical, mystical, stuff-of-myth-and-folklore Greek Islands. You escape there, living in comfort, style, and delicious anonymity.


4. An artist’s garret or loft in a big city


Take a sketchbook, fresh pencils and charcoals, a turtleneck sweater and beret, and just disappear. Let your imagination guide you and see what develops. Even if you cannot draw a stick figure, you still can have fun imagining your life as an artist. Not every artist must suffer or starve.


5. A Tropical Paradise


Of course, you want an ocean at your front door, palm trees and lush, fragrant tropical flowers all around. You want to get so suntanned people won’t remember your name, and you want to wear nothing but your bathing suit, your sundress, or just your skin all day and all night for all the time you are running away from work, winter snow, and the harrows of your everyday life.


6. Vegas Like a Rock Star


No one ever goes to Vegas on a Wednesday. Imagine having The Strip to yourself, more or less; imagine having a suite instead of the single room, room service instead of the crowded buffet, and a poker table where only the high rollers gather. Imagine wearing your Chanel sunglasses all twenty-four hours of the day, making people wonder if they should ask for your autograph; and imagine sitting in the front rows of all the big shows as if you were on a first-name basis with all the stars.


7. A Big Cosmopolitan City


Try, for example, New York. Or, for an equally good but contrasting example, try San Francisco. Try Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Sydney. Wherever cultures, languages, and commerce meet, the air grows electric. Wherever millions gather to work, eat, laugh, dance, and love, you can disappear into the crowd and feel perfectly free to be just who you are.


8. An Alpine Ski Lodge


When was the last time you had an excuse to wear your favorite cute sweaters and Ugg boots because the weather actually required them? When was the last time you fell asleep early because you were completely worn-out from having fun? Even if you never have strapped on the sticks or stuck your boots to a snowboard, you will have a great time on a ski vacation. With a good instructor, you can learn the basics in half-a-day. By the end of a week, you will be Olympic material.


9. A Rustic Mountain Retreat


You need to remember what the sky looks like where you can see the stars, and you need to remember how the wind sounds as it whispers thro7ugh pines and aspens. You need to remember the thrill of a good book and the peace of a life without cell technology and your computer. You can do this.


10. Your Own Backyard

Your Own Backyard

For what you would spend on a two-week vacation, you can upgrade your backyard to a resort destination, enjoying the benefits all year round. Imagine making your backyard as private and secluded as you could wish, and imagine making it as warm, friendly, and inviting as the bed-and-breakfast of your dreams. Add a gazebo or even a little guest house, and arrange for delivery of all your favorite meals—especially your favorite desserts. Hasn’t it really been much too long since the kids spent some quality time with the grand-parents?

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