Visit artisan cheese-makers in Vermont; venture throughFresno county's agricultural heartland with the help of Fresno County's free Fruit Trail map; and enjoy outdoor fish boils in Door county, Wisconsin.
Credit: From The Vermont Cheese Book by Ellen Ecker Ogden (Countryman Press, 2007)

Vermont's Cheese Trail

Follow the byways from Brattleboro to Burlington to visit the award-winning artisan cheese-making operations on the Vermont Cheese Trail.

Eat smart: At the casual, candlelit Smokejacks (802-658-1119) in Burlington, you likely find local artisan cheeses in everything from the sprightly organic green salad with Doe's Leap goat cheese to a cheese board that features samples of the state's best.

Be fit: The Moosalamoo National Recreation Area is home to some of the top cross-country skiing in the region. Rent equipment from the Blueberry Hill Inn Ski Center and enjoy 43 miles of groomed trails.

Live well: Cheese isn't the only dairy product for which Vermont is famous. Tour Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory (866-258-6877) in Waterbury where you can try new flavors like strawberry banana frozen yogurt and visit the "flavor graveyard" where discontinued flavors are marked with mock headstones.

Where to stay:  Blueberry Hill Inn (802-247-6735), in rural Goshen, features a sunny reading room filled with potted plants and cozy handmade quilts on the beds. 

 Door County, Wisconsin

Festive outdoor fish boils and miles of sparkling shoreline beckon visitors to Door County, the 75-mile-long peninsula that separates Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

Eat smart: Fish boils―tender local whitefish and potatoes boiled in huge cauldrons over leaping flames―are a throwback to Scandinavian fishermen who settled in the region. The tasty tradition is preserved at several restaurants on the peninsula, the most popular (make reservations) is at The White Gull Inn (920-868-3517).

Be fit: Ferry from Washington Island at the tip of the peninsula to Rock Island State Park (920-847-2235). The car- and bicycle-free 900-acre island has 10 miles of hiking trails through cedar and pine forests that lead to towering lakeside bluffs. The Pottawatomie Lighthouse, built in 1858, is the oldest in Door County.

Live well: Get your creative juices flowing at the Hands On Art Studio (920-868-9311) where the upbeat staff are happy to help you spin clay pots, make mosaics, or paint and fuse glass into an unique souvenir.

Where to stay: The elegantly restored Washington Hotel (920-847-2169) housed boat captains who navigated the Great Lakes 100 years ago; now travelers are drawn to the comfortable rooms and bucolic grounds. The hotel's restaurant and cooking school feature local organic produce, including ale made with the island's wheat.

Fresno Fruit Loop

Take a spin through California's agricultural heartland with the help of Fresno County's free Fruit Trail map. You can visit any of the 35 orchards, fruit stands, and country stores within an easy afternoon drive.

Eat smart: The upscale California cuisine at The Chef's Table (559-227-3200) focuses on the bounty of the area. Fall brings creative fig dishes like swordfish with Port wine and fig sauce.

Be fit: Put paddle to water on the San Joaquin River Parkway (559-433-3190), where expert guides offer canoe trips with stops at ancient bedrock mortar milling stations used by Yokut Native Americans.

Live well: The Artes Américas museum (559-266-2623) in Fresno features Latino art and cultural activities. Every Friday evening from May to September the museum hosts outdoor concerts.

Where to stay: The Wonder Valley Ranch Resort (559-787-2551), set in the Sierra Nevada foothills on 75 acres shaded by sycamore and oak trees, offers horseback tours and small cottages with fieldstone fireplaces.