10 Greatest Escapes in America

Get away without going far away. These amazing destinations are fun, beautiful, and just a few hours from home.

By Charles Runnette


Soothing Sanctuary
Taos, New MexicoTaos, New Mexico

It's fitting that the valley whose natural beauty inspired such visionaries as Georgia O'Keefe, D. H. Lawrence, and Ansel Adams would be home to a new vision of the future: ultraluxe, yet ultra-sustainable tourism. El Monte Sagrado Living Resort & Spa, a sanctuary and "rejuvenation center" at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Taos, is a treat for the stressed-out soul. All 36 of the resort's lushly appointed rooms are decorated in the style of a different nation or region of the United States, and the property's celebrated De la Tierra restaurant features locally grown and organic food. Spend your days being pampered at the Living Spa or swimming in El Monte Sagrado's chlorine-free, environmentally friendly pools and hot tubs.

This $50 million piece of adobe heaven is the brainchild of former newspaper magnate and environmental entrepreneur Thomas Worrell Jr. El Monte Sagrado uses water-recycling systems, alternative building materials, and energy-saving programs; in four years, according to Worrell, the resort will be off the electricity grid. Rooms, $325 to $1,095 per night, double occupancy; elmontesagrado.com