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Bisbee, Arizona

By Rita Connelly
March 9, 2006
0604_smalltowns_bisbee
Duncan Stewart
Pop. 6,050

Once a rowdy copper mining town, Bisbee--in the Mule Mountain range, 90 miles southeast of Tucson--still attracts a fair share of misfits and folks on the fringe. "Bisbee is for people who don't like the ordinary," says longtime resident Cynthia Conroy, a dog trainer.

One prime example is Reed Booth, a.k.a. the Killer Bee Guy. Booth removes swarms of killer bees from wherever he finds them, collects their honey, and sells it at his downtown store, Killer Bee Honey (15 Main St., 520/432-2938, eight-ounce jar $6). Then there's Greg--no last name--who has trained his pets to stand in a pyramid: bird atop cat atop dog. (Sometimes, there's a mouse, too.) Greg can regularly be seen parading his menagerie around.

Stylish amenities are slowly joining Bisbee's oddities. On the first Monday night of each month, the Prickly Pear Cafe has a themed meal and movie night. To accompany the 1998 film Run Lola Run, they served bratwurst and sauerkraut (105 Main St., 520/432-7337, movie night dinner $8). Behind the café is the Old Bisbee Wine Merchant; both are co-owned by partners Ryan White and O'Neil McGean. "We came for a visit and fell in love with Bisbee," says White. And at the Shady Dell, nine restored 1950s trailers, a yacht, and an old bus constitute the town's hippest motel (1 Douglas Rd., 520/432-3567, theshadydell.com, from $45).

Since Bisbee sits in a narrow gap in the mountains, staircases often double as streets. To fully understand what makes the place so special, Conroy suggests standing at the top of the stairs and just . . . listening. "Normal sounds take on a musical tone," she says.

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Inspiration

Murphys, California

Jeff and Mary Stai experienced their first Mayberry moment eight years ago, while paying a weekend visit to this high Sierras town. Picnicking in a park with a river running through it, the Stais stared in surprise as a boy ambled out from the woods. "He was barefoot and carrying a fishing pole over his shoulder, with fresh-caught fish," Jeff Stai says. "We said to ourselves, 'We've got to keep an eye on this town.' " Five years later, the Stais uprooted from their home in Orange County and transplanted themselves to Murphys, three hours east of San Francisco. They bought a home and started Twisted Oak Winery, one of a dozen wineries within a three-mile radius of downtown (350 Main St., 209/736-9080). Murphys has been drawing new residents at a rate unrivaled since the mid-1800s, when it was founded by prospecting brothers Dan and John Murphy. At that time, fortunes in gold were hauled out of the hills. But Murphys' current commodity is its quality of life. "People here are most concerned with friendships and community," says Jennifer Wren Stoicheff, who left behind her Bay Area catering business to move to Murphys. She founded Alchemy Market and Wine Bar, a gourmet emporium and restaurant (191 Main St., 209/728-0700, smoked turkey sandwich with jalepeño chutney $10). "They don't care what you do for a living, or what kind of car you drive. And everyone seems to know everyone else's kids." The elm-shaded Main Street retains time-capsule touches, such as the Gold Rush-era Murphys Hotel, where Mark Twain and President Ulysses S. Grant each stayed (457 Main St., 209/728-3444, murphyshotel.com, from $49). New housing developments on the edge of town are an indication that fresh crops of urban exiles are on the horizon. In the meantime, Murphys continues to offer more of those Mayberry moments--the doctor who makes house calls, the barista who knows exactly how each local takes his cup of coffee. "Murphys has that small-town sensibility in the truest sense," says Stoicheff.

Inspiration

Barnard, Vermont

It'd be easy to breeze through Barnard--before you know it, you've passed right by the general store and post office and left town limits. But it's worth stopping awhile. Barnard, just northwest of White River Junction in central Vermont, has a remarkably rich food scene. photo from Barnard Inn website Will Dodson, a San Francisco-based chef, took over the Barnard Inn Restaurant in 2000. "Sonoma and Napa Valley were way out of my price range," says Dodson. A family member found the Inn listed in The New York Times. "I came out, toured the area, and fell in love with it," says Dodson. "If you were stalled on the side of the road, the first person passing by would stop." The chef, his wife Corinne and their blended family now run the restaurant with a small staff. photo from Bernard General Store website The 19th-century Barnard General Store is owned by the Barnard Community Trust, the non-profit that was formed in order to "Restore the Store" when it went out of business in 2012. The store is not only the place to pick up groceries, but also serves breakfast and lunch. On the weekends order one of their famous pancakes such as mint chocolate chip, lemon blueberry or banana caramel. The General Store is also the go-to spot for a cup of coffee any day of the week and watch the sunrise across the street at the lakefront park. photo from the Fan House website The Fan House Bed and Breakfast is run by Sara Widness who comes to inn keeping after a career in international public relations. With working with so many clients Sara has perfected her art of delivering the finest in service and accommodation. Enjoy the surrounding beauty of nature while enjoying the luxury of this B&B. Fan House has several suites/bedrooms available each with their own bathroom. Nightly rates begin at $185 but increase during the fall foliage season mid September to late October. For more information and things to do visit the Community of Barnard site.

Inspiration

Secret Hotels of Cornwall

Primrose Valley Hotel, St. Ives Outside the front door lies a jumble of buckets and spades, brightly colored wet suits, and children's neoprene swimming socks. Just inside, a window ledge is crowded with wedding portraits, baby pictures, and some shots of then-shaggy-haired owners Andrew and Sue Biss taken in the early '90s. "We're slightly embarrassed of those," Andrew says. He needn't be: Primrose Valley is the kind of family-friendly place that lets it all hang out--stylishly. Since buying the Edwardian villa in 2001, the Bisses have ripped up old carpet to reveal hardwood floors, and they've nixed heavy antiques in favor of contemporary oak tables and soft Italian leather chairs. There's a full-service bar and a kitchen where the Bisses and Sue's mother, Rose, whip up full English breakfasts and picnic lunches using local ingredients. The 10 bedrooms come with private baths and vary in size. Four have ocean views--two from covered balconies. Primrose Valley is in a residential cul-de-sac just across a set of raised railroad tracks from crescent-shaped Porthminster Beach. As the hotel's website advertises, it's "bed to beach in under a minute." The nearby town of St. Ives--a five-minute walk--has been an artists' enclave since the 19th century (J.M.W. Turner, James McNeill Whistler, and Barbara Hepworth all lived here at one time or another). Its narrow cobblestone streets are home to galleries, studios, and an outpost of London's Tate collections. 011-44/173-679-4939, primroseonline.co.uk, doubles from $140, includes breakfast. Old Coastguard Hotel, Mousehole As its name implies, the Old Coastguard Hotel is a former lookout for the Coast Guard, and as such, it has the best ocean views in the harbor town of Mousehole (pronounced mau-zel). Picture windows look out on the bay in many rooms, which are decorated simply in a contemporary style, with beech and pine furniture and beige and brown fabrics. Of the 23 rooms, eight are in the Lodge, a newer annex down the hill. At the hotel's award-winning restaurant, the catch of the day (brought straight to the kitchen from the fish market at nearby Newlyn Harbour) is jazzed up with Thai spices, tangy salsas, and saffron. Not far from Land's End, the westernmost point in mainland England, Mousehole is a wonderfully typical fishing village--and an old one: Part of its south quay dates from the 14th century. The little cove is surrounded by shops, pubs, and tearooms. A walkway traces the coastline from the harbor, and passes right by the stone steps leading to the Old Coastguard's back garden gate. When the tide is out, large boulders are revealed just below the path. Guests bask on the sunbaked rocks, while children check out the natural tide pools, their long-handled fishnets at the ready. 011-44/173-673-1222, oldcoastguardhotel.co.uk, doubles from $158, includes breakfast. Trehellas House, Bodmin Built in 1740, Trehellas House has served as an inn, farmhouse, private home, even a courthouse. Some of its history is evident in the courtroom suite, where there's a cut-glass chandelier, a wood-burning fireplace, and a large bed that rests on what was formerly the judge's dais. (Another remnant of the past is the friendly resident ghost, Mr. Lobb, a farmer who owned Trehellas House 200 years ago.) The 10 other rooms have a comfortable country feel, with patchwork quilts, floral curtains, and iron beds. They're scattered throughout the main building and in a coach house annex across the gravel driveway. The restaurant, in one of the oldest and most striking parts of the building, still has the original slate floor, low-beamed ceilings, and a fireplace that's lit on cold nights. Trehellas House is a good base for garden tours. The hotel grounds are planted with soft grasses, flowering shrubs, and heathers. A stone patio is dotted with deck chairs and potted plants, and there's a large swimming pool--an unusual feature for a historic inn. The property backs onto the Pencarrow estate, a Georgian home with 50 acres to explore. Also nearby is Lanhydrock House, with extensive gardens of its own and a kitchen that would make Martha Stewart swoon: There are separate larders for fish and meat and a marble-countered dairy to keep puddings cool. The hugely popular Eden Project--with two enormous biomes that contain plants from around the world--is a 15-minute drive away. 011-44/120-872-700, trehellashouse.co.uk, doubles from $136, includes breakfast. Trevalsa Court Country House Hotel, Mevagissey German expats Klaus Wagner and Matthias Mainka have spent the last seven years creating a sumptuous pre-WWII atmosphere at Trevalsa Court, formerly a family home that dates from 1937. They've obsessed over every detail, down to the door handles. The 13 rooms are furnished with Lloyd Loom woven chairs, and the moss-green walls are decorated with black-and-white art. In the main sitting room, light streams through mullioned windows, lemons are piled high in a silver bowl, roses float in a shallow vase, and glossy art books in English, German, and French are stacked on the coffee tables. Dinner is served in the oak-paneled dining room, where tables are set with candles and white tablecloths and windows frame the sea. The German chef, Achim Dreher, sneaks Swiss-German influences into his menus with favorites like apple strudel and potato dumplings filled with prunes. Wagner and Mainka planted the garden with spiky palms, camellias, and flowering bulbs that bloom at different times of the year. "It definitely looks like a Cornish seaside garden," Wagner says. "But you also see palm trees and things to remind you that you're on holiday." Several pairs of Adirondack chairs on the lawn face the sea, and a path at the end of the garden leads to secluded, and highly swimmable, Polstreath Beach. The Lost Gardens of Heligan, a massive garden restoration project, are two miles away. 011-44/172-684-2468, cornwall-hotel.net, doubles from $158, includes breakfast. Mill House Inn, Trebarwith In a small wooded valley at the bottom of a steep road, this 18th-century former corn mill looks higgledy-piggledy, with roofs and windows at all different levels. A young crowd whiles away time on slouchy sofas in the reception area, waitresses crack jokes in the dining room ("If you don't eat that garnish, we'll use it again for your main course"), and a few friendly dogs lie at their masters' feet on the bar's original flagstone floor. Visitors feel less like hotel guests than locals who've popped down to the pub for a pint. Make that gastropub: The restaurant attracts diners from around Cornwall with locally sourced seafood and meats. Weather permitting, weekly barbecues with live music are held on the terrace. Upstairs in the nine bedrooms, the thick, whitewashed stone walls are unadorned, setting off the dark wood of the headboards and desks. All rooms have pretty views of the gardens; on a clear day you can just spy the sea from No. 6 and No. 9. The village of Tintagel, three miles away, is home to the remains of a castle said to have been owned by King Arthur. And Trebarwith Strand Beach is a half a mile down the road. 011-44/184-077-0200, themillhouseinn.co.uk, doubles from $140, includes breakfast. Mount Haven Hotel, Penzance Orange Trevillion was drawn to Penzance, at the end of Cornwall, because of the town's proximity to St. Michael's Mount, an ancient craggy island that looks a lot like a lopsided volcano. "It's a sacred place," says Trevillion, an eccentric with carrot-colored hair (of course) who believes that four of the Earth's energy lines come together here. Formerly the site of a Benedictine priory and rumored to have once been home to a giant, the island got its name when a fisherman claimed to have seen the Archangel Michael there many years ago. Trevillion and her partners bought Mount Haven in 2001. They knocked down walls and reconfigured the old coach house to maximize views of St. Michael's Mount and the ocean. Most of the 18 rooms look out on the water. They have a distinctly Asian feel, with silk bedspreads and throw pillows covered in embroidered fabrics from Trevillion's frequent trips to India. (Room 6 is the quietest, away from both the front desk and the terrace.) Even the restaurant--where many dishes are flavored with curry and lemongrass--has views of the Mount from one end. But the best seats are on the terrace: You can see the island rising steeply out of the water, a medieval castle on its tippy-top. (Owned by the National Trust, the castle is open to the public.) At low tide, when people stroll across a granite causeway to visit, it appears as if they're walking on water. Beyond Mounts Bay and Penzance--the city made famous by Gilbert and Sullivan--is Land's End. 011-44/173-671-0249, mounthaven.co.uk, doubles from $147, includes breakfast. Rick Stein's Café, Padstow British celebrity chef Rick Stein has created a dining empire in Padstow over the last 30 years, turning a once-sleepy fishing village into a destination for foodies. "I've lived here since the '70s and love its sense of timelessness--a little peace and tranquillity in a madly rushing world," says Stein. The narrow, winding streets of the town radiate out from the harbor, and visitors who wander amid the shops and restaurants will inevitably find themselves outside one of Stein's many establishments: The Seafood Restaurant, St. Petroc's Bistro, Padstow Seafood School, Stein's Deli, Stein's Patisserie, Stein's Fish & Chips, and Rick Stein's Café. Dinner at the Café is the most affordable way to experience Stein's way with seafood. The menu changes seasonally but may include entrées like whole deviled mackerel with a tomato and onion salad or deep-fried plaice with tartar sauce. Like any good host, Stein, having fed his guests, puts them up for the night, in four locations around town (The Seafood Restaurant, St. Petroc's Hotel, St. Edmund's House, and Rick Stein's Café). The three rooms above the Café are snug but comfortable. Stein's wife and business partner, Jill, designed the French-accented interiors: wrought-iron beds blanketed in white matelassé; toile and gingham fabrics on the windows and pillows; and ornamental fireplaces. Breakfast is served in the Café and features hearty fare such as bacon sandwiches on homemade bread and parmesan-and-smoked-haddock omelettes. Avoid visiting Padstow in high season (June, July, and August) and during school holidays, when the village turns into a giant tourist scrum. And no matter what time of year you go, be sure to make dinner reservations well in advance to avoid disappointment. 011-44/184-153-2700, rickstein.com, doubles from $149, includes breakfast. Watergate Bay Hotel, Watergate Bay The 70-room Watergate Bay Hotel is in a prime location on the cliffs above a wide, sandy beach. Over the years--and after many renovations, including a recent revamp of the guest rooms--the Victorian hotel has morphed into a full-service resort, popular with young surfers who come year-round from all over England. The main building houses a contemporary glass-fronted restaurant and bar, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a small spa, a billiards room, and a playroom. A short, sloping driveway just beyond the parking lot leads to the water's edge and to the second part of the complex, which includes a funky beach bar where reggae is almost always playing. It's the perfect spot for a casual lunch--salads, sandwiches, ice-cold beer--especially if you can snag one of the window tables with views of bobbing surfers. In summer, a grill is rolled out to the walkway next to the beach so folks can order burgers without washing the sand from their feet. Naked Chef Jamie Oliver's newest restaurant, Fifteen Cornwall, is slated to open next month above the beach bar. Also in the same building is the Extreme Academy, which offers rentals and lessons for surfing and a bunch of sports most people have never heard of (waveskiing, kite-landboarding, traction kiting). The city of Newquay--a popular spot for destination bachelor and bachelorette parties--is a few minutes down the coast. Skip it and have a sunset drink on the terrace at Watergate Bay, or head 20 minutes north to Padstow. 011-44/163-786-0543, watergatebayhotel.co.uk, doubles from $158, includes breakfast. Cornwall: When to go and how to get there A four- or five-hour drive from London, Cornwall gets very crowded and very expensive in high season, generally from June through August. We've listed prices for mid-season (April-May, September-October), which is quieter and therefore much more pleasant. You'll need a car to get around. Rent a small one, because once you leave the motorways, Cornish roads are extremely narrow. They're often lined with high hedgerows and have no shoulders. You can also make the trip by train or plane. Low-cost carrier Ryanair flies daily from London Stansted to Newquay (011-353/1-249-7791, ryanair.com, from $28 each way). Air Southwest has four flights a day from London Gatwick to both Newquay and Plymouth, in Devon (011-44/870-241-8202, airsouthwest.com, from $51 each way). Express trains run from London's Paddington Station to Plymouth and take about four hours (no phone, thetrainline.com, from $54 each way).

Inspiration

Southern U.S.: 'We're Moving to L.A. to Follow Our Dreams'

For most people, moving to another city equals stress. For Lisa Levine and her boyfriend, John Craig, it means adventure. Before relocating from Boston to Los Angeles in April, they're going to see the country. John, a 30-year-old film school grad, is leaving his gig as a waiter at a fine restaurant to try and make a living doing what he loves best--acting--in L.A. Lisa, 32, is likewise following her dream of working with animals, as well as basking in southern California's great year-round weather. She's quitting her job in human resources to become a dog trainer, specializing in positive reinforcement. The couple met in Aspen seven years ago watching a local band. They have a shared passion for music, food, drink, the outdoors, and of course, travel--with trips to Moab, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, northern California, and the southeastern U.S. already under their belts. "We've driven cross-country before, but never the southern route," says Lisa. "We were hoping that you could point out some hidden gems along the way--a place we didn't know was there, the best local cuisine in Tennessee, or something like that." Some days they'll do nothing but drive; other days they'll put in six hours at the wheel and six hours having fun; still others, they'll simply kick back. They're interested in a few cities in particular--Memphis, Austin, and Santa Fe--which gives the trip a basic structure, but they're not locked into a specific itinerary. "I like the fact that it's not a tour we have to stick with," says Lisa. "We're up for whatever." If we planned out all the cool stops across the land, they might not get to California until June. So for their three-week trip, we're focusing on a few key places that they've never been, starting with Kentucky. John and Lisa can find inspiration for their big move and lifestyle change in Louisville at the brand-new Muhammad Ali Center, dedicated to the man known as much for following his ideals as he is for being a great athlete. For a true taste of the state, they could visit Louisville's Brown Hotel, where the gluttony-inducing "Hot Brown" was invented in 1923 ($11.50). Sure, the turkey sandwich smothered in Mornay sauce, cheese, and bacon makes fried chicken seem like a light repast, but in this case a full belly might be good. John's favorite drink is bourbon, and his favorite bourbon of all is Jim Beam. The distillery is but a half hour outside the city, and everyone knows about the perils of drinking on an empty stomach. "We're willing to drive a little out of the way for cool side trips," says Lisa. Bearing that in mind, as well as the fact that Lisa and John mentioned their interest in food time and again, they might not want to take the interstates straight to Memphis. Instead, they should drive along the Western Kentucky Parkway to Princeton, home of Newsom's Aged Kentucky Country Hams--the best hams anywhere outside of Spain. John requests "great hikes with amazing views," and 20 miles north of Princeton, an easy walk leads to Mantle Rock, a 30-foot-high, 188-foot-long natural sandstone bridge. One big reason this trip is possible is because John and Lisa are selling most of their stuff, particularly furniture. If it doesn't fit into their two cars, it isn't leaving Massachusetts. "We're pretty much going to be traveling with books, CDs, clothes, only the important things," says John, a musician as well as an actor, whose prize possession is a Martin guitar. John should especially dig Memphis. To really put him in a Memphis state of mind, we recommend he read Peter Guralnick's book Sweet Soul Music and pick up a few Stax-Volt CDs for the car. Lisa likes museums that are "different or offbeat," so if Elvis's memorabilia-strewn racquetball court at Graceland doesn't completely fill the bill, the art, weaponry, and artifacts at the National Ornamental Metal Museum--a perfect picnic-and-sunset spot overlooking the mighty Mississippi--ought to do the trick. For John, the guitar factory at the Gibson Beale Street Showcase is a must. And for the required dose of Memphis barbecue, we suggest Cozy Corner, where they'll get not only the usual dry-rubbed ribs and falling-apart pork shoulder, but also Cornish game hen. There's enough to do in Memphis that they'll want to stay a night or two, and the spacious junior suites at French Quarter Suites come with a whirlpool tub for a mere $89. Last summer, while dreaming of their cross-country trip, Lisa and John checked off the places they wanted to see, and New Orleans was high on the list. "There has been so much devastation, but we still want to visit," says Lisa. "We're hoping that maybe we could volunteer for a couple of days and help in some way, with animals or people." On Wednesdays and Saturdays, grassroots group Katrina Krewe welcomes volunteers willing to put rubber gloves and garbage bags to use in various neighborhoods. Contacting the organization ahead of time is a good idea. The city's needs change from day to day, so John and Lisa should remain flexible and proactive in seeking out volunteer opportunities. Another contact is Best Friends Animal Society, an organization that links volunteers to local outfits helping pets left without homes after Katrina. Some of the Big Easy is ready for visitors, so John and Lisa can even be tourists, checking out the Rebirth Brass Band or Walter "Wolfman" Washington at the Maple Leaf Bar, and having a beignet--or three--at Café du Monde. When it comes to accommodations in New Orleans, the options certainly aren't as plentiful as they once were. Vacancy rates and prices are a bit unpredictable, so John and Lisa should absolutely book in advance and not be picky; neworleanscvb.com lists "rebuilding status" among the hotel features. "I don't necessarily need to spend a ton of time in Texas," says Lisa. "I'm curious about Austin and the desert and really good barbecue, but don't need to see Dallas or George Bush's ranch or anything." In that case, the bad news is that there are 800 miles of Lone Star State between Louisiana and New Mexico, so Lisa and John will have to spend a fair amount of time in Texas. The good news is there's tons to enjoy. Using the Austin Motel as their home base in the state capital, John and Lisa can try migas (eggs scrambled with tortilla chips, $5) next door at El Sol y La Luna and listen to blues or roots-rock across the street at The Continental Club. John says he's an "indie-rock guy," so he should also check the calendar for who's playing at Emo's. The shops at the corner of 6th and Lamar seem right for the couple: Waterloo Records (heard the latest Spoon album?), BookPeople (Karen Olsson's 2005 novel Waterloo defines contemporary Austin), and the flagship Whole Foods Market, where customers gorge on free samples and marvel at the chocolate enrobing station, where workers will cover almost anything requested in chocolate. Lisa enjoys yoga, and she can work out the kinks from too much time in the car at Yoga Yoga, which has four locations in the city, classes almost around the clock, and Yogi Tea so good she'll want the recipe. Highway 71 out of Austin means bluebonnets, brush, and yes, more barbecue. They'll have to decide between the huge pork chops at Cooper's, in Llano, or the brisket plate, which combines a choice of brisket and one other meat, beans, potato salad, peppers, onions, and bread, at Mac's, in Brady, because few stomachs could handle both. After a long drive through the austere landscape of West Texas, they can reward themselves with wine in...Lubbock? The truth is, there are more than 80 wineries in Texas, and the vintages aren't half-bad. "I always enjoy going to little vineyards and just checking them out," says John. "It doesn't matter if they're not in famous growing areas." Set on the wide-open plains, Llano Estacado is one of the area's most prominent wineries, with daily tours and free tastings. Continuing on, John and Lisa will head to one of those "hidden gems" that they'd never heard of: Palo Duro Canyon, just outside of Amarillo, is the second-largest canyon in the United States. The couple thought they'd wind up camping at some point on the road trip, and this is as good a place as any; a basic site is $12, and there are miles of hiking trails. After leaving the natural wonder, they should keep an eye out on the left side of I-40 for an unnatural wonder: Cadillac Ranch, built by local eccentric Stanley Marsh and made famous by Bruce Springsteen. "I love to cook, so a cooking class would be fun," says Lisa. "John, too--he likes to cook, but I usually hog the kitchen." Hopefully they'll be able to share space and work together at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, where the Chile Amor class introduces students to all things red and green, plus tortilla making. John should be able to fulfill Lisa's wish for "cute but not too expensive clothes" by getting her something in Santa Fe at Double Take, a hip consignment store. John and Lisa are intrigued by the groovy vibe surrounding Sedona, Ariz., though they're not sure they'll have time to visit. Just in case, we refer them to the comprehensive feature story on the town in last June's Budget Travel, available in our archives at BudgetTravelOnline.com. After a stop at Lisa's father's home near Kingman, Ariz.,the couple will be just five hours from Santa Monica. To finish the journey, we recommend a nice, long walk on the beach to stretch their legs. Surprise! After a long couple of weeks on the road, John and Lisa will certainly be ready to unwind. Thanks to a gift from Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs spa in New Mexico, they're being treated to one night's lodging and access to several hot springs, including a private, clothing-optional pool. Go on--nobody else can see. Lodging   French Quarter Suites 2144 Madison Ave., Memphis, 800/843-0353, memphisfrenchquarter.com, from $89   Austin Motel 1220 S. Congress Ave., 512/441-1157, austinmotel.com, from $57 Food   Brown Hotel 335 W. Broadway, Louisville, 502/583-1234   Cozy Corner 745 N. Parkway, Memphis, 901/527-9158   Maple Leaf Bar 8316 Oak St., New Orleans, 504/866-9359   Café du Monde 800 Decatur St., New Orleans, 504/525-4544   El Sol y La Luna 1224 S. Congress Ave., Austin, 512/444-7770   Cooper's Barbecue 505 W. Dallas St., Llano, 325/247-5713   Mac's BBQ 1903 S. Bridge St., Brady, 325/597-2164   Llano Estacado Winery 3426 E. Farm-to-Market Road 1585, Lubbock, 806/745-2258 Activities   Muhammad Ali Center 144 N. Sixth St., Louisville, 502/584-9254, $9   Jim Beam Outpost 149 Happy Hollow Rd., Clermont, 502/543-9877   Mantle Rock Preserve 859/259-9655, nature.org   Graceland 800/238-2000, elvis.com/graceland, mansion tour $22   National Ornamental Metal Museum 374 Metal Museum Dr., Memphis, 901/774-6380, $4   Gibson Beale Street Showcase 145 Lt. George W. Lee Ave., Memphis, 901/543-0800, tour $10   Katrina Krewe New Orleans, 504/329-7908, cleanno.org   Best Friends Animal Society 435/644-2001, bestfriends.org   Continental Club 1315 S. Congress Ave., Austin, 512/441-0202, continentalclub.com   Emo's 603 Red River, Austin, 512/477-3667, emosaustin.com   Yoga Yoga Austin, 512/490-1200, yogayoga.com, $16   Palo Duro Canyon State Park 806/488-2227, palodurocanyon.com   Santa Fe School of Cooking 116 W. San Francisco St., 505/983-4511, santafeschoolofcooking.com, $35   Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs 50 Los Baños Dr., Ojo Caliente, 800/222-9162, ojocalientespa.com, from $16 Shopping   Newsom's Old Mill Store 208 E. Main St., Princeton, 270/365-2482   Waterloo Records 600A N. Lamar, Austin, 512/474-2500   BookPeople 603 N. Lamar, Austin, 512/472-5050   Whole Foods Market 525 N. Lamar, Austin, 512/476-1206   Double Take 320 Aztec St., Santa Fe, 505/989-8886 How Was Your Trip? "Europe was brilliant!" says Beth Hicken, pictured in Tuscany with Sara Murdock; we coached the two Idaho firefighters in November. "We followed your advice and remained flexible, and everything turned out practically perfect."

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