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    Butte,

    Montana

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    Butte is the county seat of Silver Bow County, Montana, United States. In 1977, the city and county governments consolidated to form the sole entity of Butte-Silver Bow. The city covers 718 square miles (1,860 km2), and, according to the 2010 census, has a population of 33,503, making it Montana's fifth largest city. It is served by Bert Mooney Airport with airport code BTM. The city used to be home to many mines, especially copper, mines, such as the Anaconda Copper Mine. Established in 1864 as a mining camp in the northern Rocky Mountains on the Continental Divide, Butte experienced rapid development in the late-nineteenth century, and was Montana's first major industrial city. In its heyday between the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, it was one of the largest copper boomtowns in the American West. Employment opportunities in the mines attracted surges of Asian and European immigrants, particularly the Irish; as of 2017, Butte has the largest population of Irish Americans per capita of any city in the United States.Butte was also the site of various historical events involving its mining industry and active labor unions and Socialist politics, the most famous of which was the labor riot of 1914. Despite the dominance of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, Butte was never a company town. Other major events in the city's history include the 1917 Speculator Mine disaster, the largest hard rock mining disaster in world history. Over the course of its history, Butte's mining and smelting operations generated in excess of $48 billion worth of ore, but also resulted in numerous environmental implications for the city: The upper Clark Fork River, with headwaters at Butte, is the largest Superfund site in the United States, and the city is also home to the Berkeley Pit. In the late-twentieth century, cleanup efforts from the EPA were instated, and the Butte Citizens Technical Environmental Committee was established in 1984. In the 21st century, efforts at interpreting and preserving Butte's heritage are addressing both the town's historical significance and the continuing importance of mining to its economy and culture. The city's Uptown Historic District, on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the largest National Historic Landmark Districts in the United States, containing nearly 6,000 contributing properties. The city is also home to Montana Technological University, a public engineering and technical university.
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    Seven iconic hikes near Phoenix

    If you’re in the mood for a challenging but rewarding hike, Phoenix is ready to deliver. The city boasts a variety of mountain trails that’ll have you scrambling over boulders, marveling at saguaros, and earning incredible views. Phoenix features over 200 miles of hiking trails, but these seven are among the most iconic mountain hikes in the city. Before you set out, make sure that you’re taking the necessary safety precautions. Phoenix is a dry, desert climate, so bring plenty of water(!!) and a fully charged cellphone, and wear sunscreen and protective gear. And, of course, read up on these Phoenix peaks to decide which is suitable for you before hitting the trail — consider distances and elevation gains carefully, and only attempt hikes that you're confident you are physically capable of completing safely. Piestewa Peak Located smack dab in Central Phoenix, Piestewa Peak is the third highest peak in the city, at 2,610 feet. “The Stairmaster” is an apt nickname for the out-and-back Summit Trail, which climbs 1,200 feet in 1.2 miles. Be prepared for a trail that rises dramatically almost from the get-go and only levels off occasionally. The hike gets more intense closer to the summit, with metal handrails to guide you up the trail. At the very top, hikers scramble up a few rocks to reach the apex. Your reward for all the effort? Epic views of all of metropolitan Phoenix. Camelback Mountain Named after the shape it takes on the skyline, Camelback Mountain is the highest point in Phoenix at 2,704 feet. There are two popular trails on this mountain: Echo Canyon, and Cholla, although Cholla Trail is currently closed for renovation. Some consider Cholla the easier of the two but make no mistake, both trails are a challenge. Expect to get dusty and sweaty as you scramble to reach the top, ascending a staggering and heart-pumping 1,280 feet in 1.2 miles. The steep slope begins not far from the trailhead, with railroad ties used as steps that help hikers navigate the rocky terrain. After the seemingly endless climbing, the work pays off with stunning city views and a deep sense of satisfaction. Mind your footing on the way back down for a 2.5-mile hike. The top of Camelback Mountain. Photo by Reuben Schulz, iStock Tom’s Thumb Located in the McDowell Mountains of Scottsdale, Tom’s Thumb was named after the first person to climb it, Arizona Mountaineering Club member Tom Kreuser. When you reach the end of the trail, you can’t miss the granite formation at the summit of this trail that looks like… yep, you guessed it: a thumb pointing toward the sky. Hikers will get an intense cardio workout as the trail ascends more than 1,300 feet in 2.5 miles. The stellar hike features switchbacks, scenic vistas, dramatic granite outcroppings, and desert flora and fauna. As you’re working up a sweat from start to finish, be sure to pause and take in the sweeping and stunning views of North Scottsdale and the surrounding area. The view from Tom’s thumb is particularly unforgettable. After enjoying the sights and a well-earned breather, simply hike out the way you came for a round-trip that’s about 5 miles. Siphon Draw to Flatiron Trail About 40 miles south of Phoenix, the Flatiron Trail is a hike that is simultaneously iconic, challenging, and totally epic. Part of the Superstition Mountains (“the Supes,” to locals), Flatiron towers high at 4,861 feet. Hikers can anticipate a 2,750-foot elevation gain if they hike this out and back 6-mile journey. Begin your hike at the Siphon Draw trailhead in Lost Dutchman State Park. The hike from Siphon Draw will take you into a canyon of the same name. This trail is 4 miles round trip and offers plenty of scenic Sonoran desert vistas untouched by development. Many hikers will turn around at the end of the Siphon Draw Trail. If you’re up for a steep climb and have the experience and stamina, scramble up Flatiron, sticking to the left to stay on course. Before you reach the top, you’ll have to scale a (gulp) 12-foot wall to reach the summit. Once you’re there, relax, revel in your accomplishment, and take in breathtaking views of the Apache Junction area. Sunset in the Sonoran Desert near Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Brent_1, iStock Images Shaw Butte Trail Back in Central Phoenix, the Shaw Butte Trail in North Mountain Park is well-maintained and one of the easier mountain peak hikes in town. Parts of the trail are even paved, and it all kicks off at a well-developed visitors center. It’s relatively flat for the first mile, after which the course begins its reasonably steep climb. The trail dips and rises a few times before topping out at Shaw Butte, which stands high at 2,149 feet. At the summit, you can’t miss the radio towers and sweeping views of the Central Valley of the Sun. On your way back down, be sure to check out the concrete remnants of Cloud 9 Restaurant—a swanky spot that burned down in 1964—for a hike that’s around four miles total. Holbert Trail At more than 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve is one the largest municipal parks in the entire country. Its Holbert Trail is one of the most popular hikes for one key and beautiful reason: Dobbins Overlook. Dobbins is the highest point in the park that is open to the public (at 2,330 feet), and it offers sweeping views of the entire Valley. By following this steep 2.5-mile hike that covers 1,100 vertical feet, hikers can reach this iconic viewpoint. Sure, you can drive to the top… but hiking the Holbert Trail and following the detour that leads to the Overlook is admittedly more rewarding. Once you’ve soaked up all the views, turn back the way you came – by the time you’ve returned to the trailhead, you’ll have hiked about 3.6 total miles. Lookout Mountain Summit Trail Lookout Mountain is a short peak hike that’s tucked away in a North Phoenix neighborhood, making it ideal for hikers who are short on time. Anticipate an elevation gain of about 400 feet in less than a mile. Near the summit, be prepared to do some scrambling on this mostly moderate trail. At the top, take in panoramic views of metro Phoenix before you head back down. __________ SPONSORED BY GEICO This content was produced in partnership with GEICO, Lonely Planet, and Budget Travel.

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    The best US lakes for recreation

    Lake Powell Lake Powell is a reservoir in Glen Canyon National Recreational Area near the Utah and Arizona border. The water is a crisp blue, and snakes through the red rock canyon, offering plenty of opportunities for water sports and recreation. Visitors to Lake Powell can take a boat tour, go waterskiing and visit Cathedral in the Desert, a stunning rock monument located in Lake Powell. Its location near the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley provides an amazing opportunity for adventurers to have the road trip of a lifetime. Lake Lanier Lake Lanier is located in North Georgia, about an hour from Atlanta and a short drive from Chattanooga. It is a man-made reservoir made by damming the Chattahoochee River to provide electricity and flood control for nearby Atlanta. More than 10 million people visit Lake Lanier annually, with many of them using the Lanier Islands as a recreational hub. The Lanier Islands have plenty of lodging and dining options for all budgets, including tent camping and an RV park. Lake of the Ozarks Missouri's crown jewel of a lake sits in the middle of the state and offers a world-class destination. Visitors can find a plethora of land-based activities, restaurants and accommodations. In addition, there are countless marinas available to rent or store a boat. There are also 32 hiking trails near the lake, along with four caves to explore. There is inexpensive camping available nearby at Ozarks State Park and Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Pickwick Lake © Laura Brown / Budget Travel Pickwick Lake, Tennessee The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created a series of 9 major dams across Tennessee during the 1930s and 1940s to bring affordable electricity and jobs to an area stricken by the Great Depression. Today, all the TVA lakes are great for water sports and recreation, but our favorite is Pickwick Lake, on the border of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, just outside Memphis. Yellow Creek Cove on the lake is a constant party for boaters in the summer and features a rope swing into the water below. There is a great camping spot at Pickwick Landing State Park, where there is also a marina and available boat rentals. Big Bear Lake Big Bear Lake in Southern California, the ‘Jewel of the San Bernardino National Forest,’ prides itself on being open all four seasons for water recreation. Located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, it also can be accessed easily from Las Vegas or Phoenix. Big Bear offers a mountain atmosphere, with hiking trails, winter skiing, and summer swimming. The heart of Big Bear Lake is at Big Bear Village, a charming small town that serves as the region’s hub for dining and lodging. Make sure to check out the local festivals at The Village at Halloween and Christmas. Lake Tahoe © MariuszBlach / Getty Images Lake Tahoe Lake Tahoe sits on the border of California and Nevada, near Reno. It is the second deepest lake in the United States (after Crater Lake) and is known for its incredibly clear water and vibrant colors. Tahoe is known as a gateway for recreational adventure. Visitors can access hundreds of miles of beautiful hiking trails, as well as rent paddleboards and kayaks to explore the lake. Lake Mead Lake Mead lies outside of Las Vegas, and is the largest reservoir in the United States, formed by the Hoover Dam. Boating in Lake Mead is a popular activity, with four separate marinas available to rent or store boats. Lake Mead Cruises also takes a nightly cruise to the Hoover Dam and back. Lake Mead is heaven for fishing and offers some of the best sport fishing in the United States. Lake Placid © Chuck Robinson Photography / Getty Images Lake Placid Lake Placid in the Adirondacks is a classic New York mountain town, with views so legendary the town was selected to host the Winter Olympics in 1932 and 1980. In the winter, Lake Placid has amazing opportunities to snow ski and snowboard. In the summer, Lake Placid is a utopia for waterboarding and tubing. For those who own their own boat, there are several public launch points. For those on a budget, there are hostels off the lake for low rates or camping in nearby campgrounds or in the Adirondack backcountry. Lake Winnebago Lake Winnebago is a glacial lake in eastern Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee near Appleton and Oshkosh. It is a relatively shallow lake, known for great fishing in both the summer and the winter, with a prominent ice fishing industry. The lake’s most abundant fish are the Walleye, Perch, Sturgeon and Bass. Boats are readily available for rent at nearby Marinas. Boaters have access to more than 18,000 acres of water, including Lake Butte des Morts and the Fox River. Lake Winnepesaukee You can explore more than 250 different islands in New Hampshire’s Lake Winnepesaukee, or hike in the nearby White Mountains. There are a plethora of small villages on the shores of the lake, which can be reached by either boat or car, and each offers an individual flavor. Rent a boat and go waterboarding in the summer or plan a snowboarding adventure in the winter. When you’re ready to go indoors, check out one of the many breweries nearby, such as the Woodstock Inn Brewery in Woodstock. The nearest major city is Manchester. SPONSORED BY GEICOAs always, prior to travel, make sure you are up to date on your destination’s health and safety restrictions. See how much you could save when you bundle your car and boat insurance with GEICO. Carefully crafted collaboratively between GEICO, Lonely Planet and Budget Travel. Both parties provided research and curated content to produce this story. We disclose when information isn’t ours.

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    Weird American pit stops: why you need to see this toxic open-pit mine

    There’s something remarkably apocalyptic and American about a Superfund toxic waste site that moonlights as a tourist attraction, but that’s exactly what you get from the Berkeley Pit in Butte, Montana. It makes for a fascinating stop on your Montana road trip. The Berkeley Pit was once called “The Richest Hill in the World” for the sheer amount of ore and valuable copper that was mined from it. Now, the Berkeley Pit is a giant hole in the ground filled 1800 feet deep with toxic acid. When the copper mine closed in 1982, rainwater continued to fill the pit, mixing with the heavy metals and minerals found in the rock, and producing an acid so strong that birds die instantly if they happen to land on it, something that has unfortunately happened several times in the history of the pit. The water is an eerie still green color that reflects the sky. At random intervals, loud booms and bangs can be heard from the various technologies installed to keep the birds away. Because the pit contains such a mix of toxic heavy metals, it is a great worry that the pit will ever overflow its boundary into the Columbia River watershed nearby. This would poison Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as well a river that supports over 8 million people. Needless to say, it would be catastrophic if this were to happen.This is why the Environmental Protection Agency has earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the Berkeley Pit. Starting in 2019, a treatment plant located nearby is able to clean 7 million gallons of water a day, removing heavy metals and toxins; lowering the overall water level, and protecting the public. For $2.00 from March to November, tourists can see the Pit from a tourist vantage point, complete with audio narration about the history of the “attraction”. The Berkeley Pit is located in Butte Montana, just off of I-90 and I-15. You can read more about the fascinating history of the Berkeley Pit, as well as ongoing cleanup efforts, here: https://pitwatch.org/

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    How rum is making at comeback at these 6 distilleries

    Quick: what’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions rum? Chances are you think about sticky-sweet, umbrella-garnished beach drinks, fraternity parties, or Coke. But in 2020, this historic spirit is more diverse, sophisticated and, most importantly, funner than ever before, as American small distilleries produce a variety of styles – both classic and creative. Their spirits can hold their own against time-tested legacy brands. Like any craft spirit, rum is arguably best enjoyed at the source, where you can talk to distillers and see how it’s made. Here are a few to check out around the US and Caribbean when you’re passing by. 1. Lassiter Distilling Company: Knightdale, North Carolina Yes, the Caribbean is the heartbeat of the rum industry and rum was a cornerstone of Colonial New England’s economy, but here’s a little lesser known fact: before the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, rum was drunk all along North Carolina’s coast. The region was a hub for the sugar trade, after all. That’s one of the nuggets of info you’ll learn when you visit Lassiter Distilling Company, a rum-focused distillery in Knightdale, a charming town just off Route 64, which connects Raleigh to the beach. Among the many independent businesses that have sprung up here in the past few years is Lassiter, which is located in a gorgeous old railroad depot. Drop in on a Saturday for a distillery tour or schedule a visit for another day in advance. The husband and wife distiller/owners turn out a silver (unaged) rum, one that’s aged in classic American white oak and a clever Rum au Café that's infused with Raleigh Coffee Company coffee beans, each of which you can sample as part of the free tour. Got time? Stick around for a rum drink at their small yet elaborately designed tiki bar, which is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Potted plants dot the tasting room of Lyon Distilling Co. © courtesy Lyon Distilling Co.2. Lyon Distilling Co.: Saint Michaels, Maryland When Lyon Distilling launched in 2013, it completed a drinking trifecta. Now travelers can visit a brewery, a winery and a distillery, all within Saint Michaels, a one-square-mile town on the Chesapeake Bay’s picturesque eastern shore. Located 45 minutes from Annapolis and 90 minutes from Washington and Baltimore, the town attracts makers of all sorts, like boat-builders and brewers. That, along with the fact that the bywaters of the Chesapeake were a rum-running hub during Prohibition, convinced co-founder Jaime Windon that this was an ideal spot to open a distillery and make maritime spirits. “The proper shore is 90 minutes from us. With all the sailors coming through there, making rum feels right on Bay,” Windon says. Situated in a former flour mill, Lyon turns out dark and unaged rums, over-proof expressions, and several special products, like limited-edition holiday releases and coffee rum, a rich, enchanting spirit flavored with fresh ground coffee from a local roaster and cocoa shells from a DC chocolatier. Free tours with tastings are offered every day at 2PM. 3. Hye Rum: Stonewall, Texas Tourists have long traveled to Texas Hill Country, birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson, to visit his ranch. This region, which extends to parts of Central and Southeast Texas, is covered with rocky soil, the kind that lends itself to fine vintages in Europe. Accordingly, it’s long been a draw for winemakers, and there are presently more than 65 wineries along the 25-mile strip of Interstate 290 that connects Fredericksburg to Johnson City. But that’s not why we’re here. Hye – population: 100-plus – sits along that stretch and in addition the nearly dozen wineries you can visit there, you’ll find Garrison Brothers, a whiskey distillery, and Hye Rum, a distillery that opened in 2017. It’s set in a quaint house that co-owner Stephanie Houston describes as “slightly larger than a tiny house.” They produce five different French-island-inspired rums with molasses from Louisiana. Visit for a tour with the distiller then settle in at the low-key bar with a flight of rums, each of which delivers bold flavors befitting of the Lone Star State. A souvenir tasting glass is part of the package. Cocktail classes are also on offer. 4. Havana Club: Havana, Cuba Since the Obama administration relaxed restrictions on travel to Cuba, Americans have headed posthaste to this tropical island to ogle at its colorful architecture, abundant vintage cars, and so much else. The food, of course, is a big draw for many, but for some, the most compelling lure is the preferred spirit of one of Cuba’s most legendary residents, Ernest Hemingway, who penned seven books just outside Havana. The historic and massive Havana Club distillery, which sits in the nation state’s capital, is not open to the public, but you can learn about the rum-making process – from sugar farming to barrel aging – and its history in great detail at the Havana Club Museum of Rum. Located in a colonial townhouse built in the 18th-century, the museum’s exhibits provide a closeup view of the many crafts involved in rum production, from building stills and constructing barrels to distillation. And, of course, you can experience the consumption part for yourself in the 1930s-era tasting room. A bottle of Montanya on the taproom bar © courtesy Montanya / Nathan Bilow 5. Montanya Distillers: Crested Butte, Colorado Situated in the West Elks, a little mountain range in the Rockies, Crested Butte is an incredible Colorado ski town and the wildflower capital of the United States. It’s also a mountain biking mecca and home of Montanya Distillers, a destination not only for its lively bar and restaurant, complete with live music, but for the in-depth lesson you can get on a tour about the quirks and beauty of making rum at 8800ft. Montanya’s staff, from founder and owner Karen Hoskin to the distillers to the bottling line, is 64% women, which is unique among the many producers in the world. Their special release, Valentina, highlights this, as every step in the process involved women. Whether or not you tour the distillery, a flight of Montanya rums, which are made with molasses from Louisiana-grown sugar cane, is complimentary. Come for the samples, stay for dinner and a cocktail. Come for the samples, stay for dinner and a cocktail and live music. The cozy wood- and brick-heavy tasting room/eatery is a lively local hangout. 6. MISCellaneous Distillery: Mount Airy, Maryland Meg McNeill, co-owner of MISCellaneous Distillery in rural Maryland, an hour north of Washington DC, describes her Popi’s Finest Rum as “rum that thinks it’s whiskey.” Like bourbon, it’s aged in new American oak barrels, which imbues Popi’s with its oaky flavors. See for yourself on one of the tours they offer every weekend. Tours are free, but a $5 recommended donation is passed on to a local charity. Go to learn about the distillation and aging process, stay to create your own cocktail with a variety of made-in-DC mixers like Element Shrubb’s inventive vinegar-based drinks (honeydew-jalapeno, anyone?) and natural syrups from Pratt Standard Cocktail Company. In addition to aged and silver rums, the distillery produces whiskey from grains harvested from the surrounding rural property, as well as vodka, gin, and bourbon. They all meet the approval, by the way, of husband-and-wife owners’ pup Jaimee, a friendly Bernese mountain dog. Got one of your own? Feel free to bring him along for a play session.

    Budget Travel Lists

    7 Easy And Affordable Wellness Retreats And Escapes

    You need a break. You’ve worked hard lately; you’re always connected; and you’re feeling a little burned out. These are seven easy destinations for you and/or your family to unwind, disconnect, and recharge both body and mind. Better yet, none of them will break the bank. And in some cases, some of them are downright cheap. Before booking your next wellness retreat, consider one of these: Bluff Dwellings, Utah You’ve heard of Bears Ears National Monument. Now see it for yourself from the area’s brand-new, gorgeously located, and perfectly arranged resort in Bluff, Utah. At Bluff Dwellings Resort (pictured), you can stay on-site for the pool, spa, and surrounding views, or drive 30 minutes to hike or off-road in the new national monument, river raft the Grand Canyon-like San Juan with family, or take in the timeless Monument Valley in nearby Navajo Nation. Far away from the crowds of the rest of Southern Utah, Bluff Dwellings is a fantastic place to lose yourself during an extended mountain stay. Huntington Surf Inn, California Long revered for its beginner-friendly and expert breaks, Hunting Beach is and will forever be “Surf City, USA.” But whereas Southern California can be notoriously expensive, the Huntington Surf Inn is as affordable as it is accessible to the beach—just a few minutes' walk to both the waves and International Surfing Museum. Award-winning amenities include comfortable and colorful rooms, free wifi, parking, complimentary beach toys, and big screen TVs with premium cable to binge on. From here the perfect wave is within reach. The Fox Den, Montana Welcome to one of the finest rental properties within minutes of Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park and still one of the best places to go off grid. This five-star rated “superhost” Airbnb is located in the woods of Soda Butte Creek with easy access to decks with spectacular views, hot-tub overlooking the creek, and many of Cooke City’s best hiking trails. Feather beds, hardwood floors, and full kitchens make staying in a must, but with so much of the great outdoors nearby, you’ll also want to explore. In addition to hiking, fishing, biking, and snowmobiling, be sure to drive the nearby Beartooth Highway, which is considered one of the most scenic drives in America. Casablanca Resort, Nevada If sunbathing by a fantastic, palm tree-lined pool all day replete with waterfall, kids slide, hot tub, and an immense amount of playing room appeals to you, look no further than Casablanca Resort in Mesquite, Nevada. Better yet, this five-star pool at a three-star hotel ranges from $40–70 per night, depending on the season and weekend. What’s more, there’s a lot of great golf courses and hiking trails nearby if that’s your thing. Make no mistake – the rooms and casino are about as bare bones as they come. But you’d be hard pressed to find a better desert oasis on a budget than here. Ocean Village, Dominican Republic While most tourists flock to the resort-filled Punta Cana, you’ll find a lot more affordability, fewer crowds, and more authentic Dominican adventures, food, and culture in Puerto Plata. On a recent visit to Ocean Village, I swam at the on-site private pool, took several naps on the sundeck hammock, lounged around at the nearby beach resort and infinity pool, and even surfed with locals using Airbnb’s new Experience listings. Beautiful, relaxing, and affordable are all three adjectives that perfectly describe Puerto Plata. The Inn at Thorn Hill, New Hampshire Like Southern California, New England can be prohibitively expensive. That’s not the case at The Inn at Thorn Hill, however; this budget stay is a 2019 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice winner located in the famously beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. "The perfect couple’s getaway,” “One of the 10 most romantic inns in North America,” and “Most amazing B&B ever” have all been used to describe the four-diamond lodge. With loads of free amenities, namely parking, internet, hot tub, spa, fitness center, and breakfast, there’s a lot to love about this beautiful property. Hallmark Resort, Oregon Few places on Earth are more timeless, rejuvenating, and/or romantic than Cannon Beach, Oregon. And few places on Cannon Beach are better than the award-winning but still affordable Hallmark Resort & Spa. As the closest hotel to the iconic and Goonies-famous Haystack Rock, this oceanfront property offers panoramic views of one of the most stunning and deepest beaches on the planet. With a variety of rooms to fit a variety of budgets, you’ll never be more than a few steps away from the sand, homemade lobby cookies, and endless scenery.

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    Summer Vacations at Winter Resorts

    With lift tickets at most major ski areas costing well over $50 per person and slopeside condos charging far more, skiing at well-known resorts has become a costly venture - and that's without considering the expense of clothing, meals, equipment, and keeping up with the Joneses of downhill schussing. But when the snow is replaced by wildflowers, these same ski areas get desperate to fill their digs, their lifts, their trendy restaurants and bars. And they've made the effort to do so by building golf courses at the bases of their mountains and keeping lifts running year-round to entice the summer hiker or biker. Yet, would you believe, it hasn't worked? Though the mountain scenery is among America's most majestic, summer tourism at the famous ski resorts has remained a slow trickle to everywhere except Aspen and Vail. Result: a frantic assortment of package offers at remarkably low rates, bargains that often combine lodging with food and activities. Here's how you can enjoy a fine, low-cost, warm-weather vacation at seven resorts mainly known for their winter glamour. Sugarbush, Vermont North of Killington, Route 100 is quintessential Vermont, where freshly painted steeples reach toward the skies, covered bridges built in the 1880s remain intact, and the farmland is so fertile you feel like running out of your car and digging your hands in the soil. Nothing seems to change in these parts, and that's the way locals prefer it. In Mad River Valley, the mountains barely top 4,000 feet, making them an accessible outdoor playground that challenges but doesn't leave you lost in the wilderness for days, howling with coyotes. Welcome to the Sugarbush Ski Area. Hovering above the towns of Waitsfield and Warren, Sugarbush is an ideal summer retreat. You can take a chairlift to the top of 4,135-foot Mt. Ellen and hike the Long Trail (Vermont's state-long hiking trail) south to Mt. Abraham or north to that distinctive mass of rock called Camel's Hump. Road bikers can rent bikes at the resort and ride a 15-mile loop on Routes 100 and 17 through Waitsfield and Warren and their respective covered bridges. Stop at the Warren Country Store for lunch and enjoy a Dagwoodesque sandwich outside overlooking a small waterfall. Mountain bikers can simply use the resort's ski trails to snake through the forest. Golfers will want to know that one night at the Sugarbush Inn and a round of golf can cost as little as $86 in the spring/summer/fall off-season (phone 800/53-SUGAR for reservations). Non-golfers can choose to spend the night at Hyde Away, a 12-room inn in Waitsfield, where rooms start at $59 and include a full breakfast (phone 802/496-2322 or 800/777-4933). Sugarloaf, Maine Viewing moose in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, in summer is almost as easy as seeing squirrels in your backyard in other parts of the country. Take a sunrise stroll along one of the numerous Sugarloaf ski trails and you're bound to see Bullwinkle and friends slurping knee-deep in some pond. Sugarloaf, in the central part of the state, is a great place to get lost in the thick woods and go canoeing, fly-fishing, or hiking. This big, brooding mountain, Maine's second highest peak, towers over the 17-mile-long valley. Across the road from the resort, a former railroad bed lines the Carrabassett River, providing an ideal trail for the novice mountain biker. Yet the highlight for many visitors is the golf course, which is always ranked by golf publications as one of the finest in New England. One of the best packages is the Early Bird Stay and Play. From late May to July 6, you get lodging at the resort's Sugarloaf Inn or Grand Summit Hotel, breakfast, and a round of golf for $99 per person (phone 800/THE-LOAF for both hotels). Keystone, Colorado If mom and dad downhill ski, they know that the best ski areas feature a slew of activities for children. Well, this doesn't stop when the slopes are green. At Keystone, a mere 90-minute drive from Denver, where you stay at the 9,300-foot base of a 12,200-foot high mountain, there's a long list of free summer activities for kids: It includes panning for gold, gathering around a campfire to hear Redtail the Mountain Man tell stories about his mining days, free fly-casting clinics, and children's craft nights. Parents receive two free Mountain Passports with every reservation. This will entitle you to more than a dozen free activities at Keystone, including mountain bike clinics (try white-knuckling down the hardest trail, "The Wild Thing"), nature hikes around Lake Dillon, yoga classes, tennis clinics, and much more. Spring/summer/fall lodging packages start at just $84 a night at the Keystone Inn or Keystone Lodge and $99 for a studio condominium in The Forest (phone 800/468-5004 for rooms at any of the three). They also feature two golf courses (ask about package deals with lodging) and more than 25 restaurants to choose from, including budget-oriented coffee shops. Crested Butte On the crest of the Rockies, stretching from craggy 12,000-foot peaks to winding rivers, Crested Butte has always been a summer playground for hikers, horseback riders, and fishermen. What outdoors person wouldn't be attracted to this vast wilderness where elk, eagles, deer, bear, and bighorn sheep outnumber the small human population? More recently, mountain bikers and golfers have been coming to the area. Bikers try the Gold Link Trail System, a moist pocket of deep-in-the-woods trails that will keep your adrenaline on overdrive for hours. Vast fields of shoulder-high wildflowers line the trails like spectators at a marathon. Indeed, in the summer, more than 600 varieties of wildflower carpet the mountainside in a profusion of color. Golfers savor the 18-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. course. Last year's golf package cost $292 per person for three nights at the Sheraton Crested Butte Resort and two days of golfing (phone 800/544-8448). Non-golfers will find the options more affordable. Stay at the Crested Butte Lodge (800/950-2133; $45 to 65 a night for two), walk the 30 yards to the lift, and pay only $13 to take the chairlift to the summit (your chance for a two-mile-high hike). Park City, Utah Thirty-five miles outside Salt Lake City, Park City is getting ready to welcome the world at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. On historic Main Street, where 64 buildings from the 1880s are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, new boutiques and restaurants have already opened to intrigue the masses. Yet, venture here this summer, before the big hoopla, and you'll have the streets of this former silver-boom town to yourself. Not to mention the hills. Take the $8 lift to the 10,000-foot summit and choose to hike or bike down more than 50 miles of trails, or simply picnic atop the peak. There's also the Park City Stables, where you can saddle up and go on an hour-long horseback ride ($29) through the woods. Kids will enjoy whipping down the Alpine Slide and playing the new miniature golf course. At night, Park City has free weekly concerts in City Park and, in late August, various jazz greats come to town to play in the Park City International Jazz Festival. The resort's accommodations start as low as $80 for a studio condo in The Lodge at the Mountain Village (800/222-PARK). Big Sky, Montana Big Sky, Montana, is the America you visit to leave your urban woes behind and breathe in the crisp, fresh air. Aptly named Lone Mountain rises up dramatically from the town's heavily forested lower slopes to an elevation of 11,150 feet. In winter, skiers carve their perfect turns down the mountain with few lift lines and even less traffic on the trails. The setting is even more serene in summer when the population decreases. This is A River Runs Through It country, where the movie was filmed, so grab that pole and try your luck fly-fishing for trout on the Gallatin River. Trail rides at one of the local ranches and golfing the Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole course in Meadow Village are just as popular. Or put on your hiking boots and explore the miles and miles of trails in the Gallatin National Forest. One of the easiest and most enjoyable routes involves starting at the resort and simply taking a gondola ride up the mountain. Then enjoy a leisurely hike down to the base on a new self-guided nature trail along a roaring stream. If you're feeling lonely, head 18 miles south to Yellowstone National Park and hang with the bison, elk, and black bear. While golfing ($44 to $57 per round) and a lift ticket ($15) are cheaper than at most resorts, Big Sky's lodging tends to be more expensive, with Stillwater studio condos starting at $114 per night (800/548-4486). Or try Golden Eagle Property Management, which will rent its Hill Studios at the base of the mountain for $75 (800/548-4488). Whistler, British Columbia The excitement at British Columbia's Whistler starts long before you reach the resort, on the 75-mile drive from Vancouver, where 7,000-foot snowcapped peaks slope down to the waters of the Pacific. Like other ski resorts in warm weather, Whistler has its share of excellent golfing (including the Chateau Whistler Golf Club, which Golf magazine called "one of the best golf resorts in the world") and the requisite gondola ride to the peak for knockout views. There are also more than 62 kilometers of mountain bike trails for the off-road rider at the Whistler Mountain Bike Zone. Yet, it's the unusual possibilities for outdoor adventure that separate this ski area from the pack. You can take a helicopter ride to hike the untrammeled Coast Mountain alpine meadows, even do a little summertime skiing and snowboarding on Blackcomb's Horstman Glacier. During summer, three lifts run to Blackcomb, with lift tickets costing about $25. Then there's the Westcoaster alpine slide, a bobsled run at the bottom of Blackcomb, paragliding, in-line skating at a freestyle park, and Whistler Kids Windsurfing, which holds both kids-only courses and family camps. Whistler Central Reservations (800/WHISTLER) will place you in one of 450 slope-side condos and houses and include many of these activities in their customized packages. For example, five nights' lodging and one round of golf at each of Whistler's four designer courses is a mere $369 (US) in the off-season.

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