Old Course Hotel, Scotland. Courtesy Old Course Hotel
St. Andrews, Scotland
A pilgrimage to Scotland's Kingdom of Fife, where fairways line the landscape and the game's been played since the fifteenth century, is on any serious golfer's bucket list. Start your golf-centric vacation off right at the Old Course Hotel, with views of the shimmering North Sea. Its 144 rooms, including 35 suites renovated by French design star Jacques Garcia, are just a stone's throw from the Road Hole, the legendary seventeenth hole of, yes, the Old Course. After the physical and psychological challenges of eighteen notoriously difficult holes, head to the hotel's Kohler Waters Spa and relax with a "Golfer's Massage," which focuses on the forearms, wrists, hips, and shoulders (44-1334-474-371; doubles from $475; 50-minute massage, $140). Insider tip: To get solid tee times, book through travel specialist Gordon Dalgleish.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Tucked away at the end of a long valley and surrounded by more than a million acres of national forest, this village is a mountain-biking mecca. Hard-core cyclists have access to 300 miles of dirt trails that twist and turn onto U.S. Forest Service paths; for kids and those who aren't quite X Games-ready, there are countless stretches of flat, paved tracks. Base yourself at The Ruby, a six-room B&B in the center of town with gorgeous mountain views and trails less than a block away-bike storage is included, naturally (970-349-1338; doubles from $169). Pre-ride, the best place to carbo-load is Izzy's, famous for its blueberry cornmeal pancakes and breakfast latkes (218 Maroon Ave., #A; 970-349-5630; entrées from $9). There's also Camp 4 Coffee, where the locals get their caffeine fix (402½ Elk Ave.; 970-349-2500). Die-hard bikers should plan their trip to coincide with Crested Butte Bike Week, a festival featuring races, a gear expo, and expert clinics (June 21-24). It's not all about gearheads, though: The Crested Butte Arts Festival-celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year-showcases the best local talent in 12 categories, including sculpture, photography, painting, and ceramics (970-349-1184; Aug. 3-5).
Want the perfect European urban experience without having to pony up peak-season transatlantic airfare? Look to the north. Few cities are lovelier in summer than francophone Montreal, whose streets, cafés, and markets explode with life after months of winter's deep freeze. Take advantage of the popular BIXI public bike program and spend the entire day riding along Lachine Canal, from the historic Old Port to the St-Henri neighborhood ($7 per day). Pedal to Atwater Market, an Art Deco behemoth that houses stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables, butcher shops, boulangeries, and wine merchants. Grab a baguette and a jar of organic Quebecois strawberry preserves and enjoy the greenery along the water (138 Ave. Atwater). After the day's exertions, you'll want a supremely comfortable place to lay your head; luckily, the Ritz-Carlton has just reopened after a four-year, $200 million renovation, with a new restaurant by Daniel Boulud (514-842-4212; doubles from $425; Maison Boulud entrées from $24). If the formality of the Ritz-Carlton feels too grand, head to Mile End, a neo-bohemian enclave, to sip artisanal bourbon cocktails at Baldwin Barmacie (115 Ave. Laurier Ouest).