7 Mountaintop Destinations Perfect for a Summer Getaway

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The beach is fun, sure, but for a certain breed of outdoor enthusiast, nothing beats the dry, temperate climes and recreational largesse on offer in the mountains. Hiking? Cycling? Kayaking? Wildlife encounters? These mountain towns are celebrated for alpine adventures and sophisticated lodging.

Aspen’s outdoor-dining scene.

Aspen, Colorado

Here, culture is taken as seriously as outdoor pursuits. In a day, it is par for the course to enjoy a hike through wildflower-laced meadows, pop into a lecture by an artist of Venice Biennale fame and attend a late afternoon concerto, before dining at the Aspen outpost of Japanese hot spot Nakazawa.

In a day, it is par for the course to enjoy a hike through wildflower-laced meadows, pop into a lecture by an artist of Venice Biennale fame, and, perhaps, attend a concerto before having dinner at Matsuhisa’s Aspen outpost. The town is jubilant with the return of the Aspen Music Festival, Jazz Aspen Snowmass JAS, and Theatre Aspen. Also on tap: new exhibits at the Aspen Art Museum (specifically Precious Okoyomon, who will transform the rooftop into a garden installation where invasive and indigenous plants cross-pollinate to music); workshops on sculpture, printmaking, photography, and fine art; lectures at the iconic Anderson Ranch Arts Center; and the opening of new galleries, such as Almine Ruiz-Picasso’s Almine Rech and White Cube.

Stay: Rent a tucked-in-the-trees house, or book the Little Nell, known for its glamorous restaurants and adventures such as “Ride and Dine,” a 15-mile trek to a ranch in Old Snowmass for a stylish alfresco meal.

Hutton Brickyards in the Catskills.

The Catskills, New York

The pastoral peaks and valleys of upstate New York are prime for thigh-burning workouts, while the towns serve up cool-kid charm. Picturesque hikes: the Ashokan Rail Trail, which runs along the Ashokan Reservoir; Overlook Mountain, which follows a 19th-century carriage road to Echo Lake; the switchback-filled Tanbark Loop; and 47,500-acre Slide Mountain Wilderness, home to the Catskills’ tallest peak (4,180 feet).

In the evenings, hear music at the legendary Bearsville Theater in Woodstock (where Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Muddy Waters have performed) and Maverick Concerts, the oldest summer chamber music festival in the U.S.

Stay: Hutton Brickyards

Thirty-one cabins with pine interiors and all-glass, river-facing sides dot the verdant, rolling hills of Kingston, once part of the thriving bricklaying industry. Guests enjoy feels-like-camp activities such as archery, croquet, and kayaking, along with easy access to the town’s art galleries and restaurants.

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