Top 10 winter weekends

Relax, reconnect with family, and reward yourself with one of these classic weekend escapes, from B.C. to Arizona

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  • Down south a horseback ride through Santa Barbara County's Santa Ynez Mountains and a stay at Alisal Guest Ranch make a fun winter weekend.

    Santa Ynez Mountains

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  • Inn Above Tide

    Sausalito is just a short ferry ride across San Francisco Bay; for a waterfront view from your bed book a room at the Inn Above Tide.

7. PAMPER YOURSELF, The Spa at Salishan, on the central Oregon Coast

Why here: Because you can laze in an outdoor soaking tub on the edge of Siletz Bay surrounded by nothing, save for herons, egrets, and bald eagles; be rubbed and scrubbed; then stagger back to your room, at the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort across the street, to do little else but read by the fire till dinner.

Why go now: Storm-watching. If you time it right, a winter sou'wester will hit while you're there ― shaking the Sitka spruce and kicking up whitecaps on Siletz Bay. Between squalls, take a long walk up Gleneden Beach spit, or browse the galleries in nearby Lincoln City.

Where to stay: It doesn't have to be your honeymoon for an excuse to stay in Salishan Resort's most deluxe suites. Rooms 153 and 165 in the Chieftain House North have sunken living rooms and private balconies, but reserve a room upstairs at the Chieftain for prime views of Siletz Bay. Or go all out for the Sunset suite, with its wood-burning fireplace and windows that capture every ray of winter's afternoon sun. From $159; 800/452-2300. - Bonnie Henderson

8. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR SWEETIE, Leavenworth, WA

Why here: Because after the frigid winter air rolls off the peaks of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, it descends on the cozy Bavarian town of Leavenworth, 2 1/2 hours from Seattle, where it nourishes Washington's most remarkable low-elevation snowpack. Snuggle under a warm blanket on a sleigh ride, glide over groomed trails at the Leavenworth Nordic Trail System, or stomp hand-in-hand through the snow-covered backcountry.

Why go now: Christmas crowds are gone, but the serene snowy vistas and the oompah of Tyrolean music remain. Make snow sculptures in the park downtown, or catch the fireworks on Blackbird Island; both are part of the Bavarian Ice Fest.

Where to stay: The Enchanted River Inn has fireplaces, in-suite hot tubs, and hearty breakfasts, but it's the views of the Wenatchee River, Tumwater Mountain, and Icicle Ridge that will take your breath away. Or rent your own new million-dollar manse for the weekend: The Riverdance Lodge starts at $379 for the whole house, which sleeps 10. Enchanted River Inn, from $230; 509/ 548-9797. Riverdance Lodge, 509/668-1145. - Jim McCausland

 

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