Alaska, Iceland, Andes are cool destinations — the hottest trend for trips

Gullfoss Falls, Iceland. Courtesy photo

Cool Cruise

Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Iceland.
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Iceland.Ralph Lee Hopkins

Circumnavigate Iceland with new 11-day cruises launched by Lindblad Expeditions. Even in summer, Iceland offers snowmobile trips and hiking on glaciers, kayaking outings in majestic fjords and warming soaks in geothermal pools. Trips start at $9,130 per person and depart in July. Or wait until August and take 14 days to connect the island dots from Norway to Iceland via Scotland’s Orkney Islands and the Danish Faroe Islands in the company of food writer Francis Lam on a Nordic cuisine cruise (from $13,690 per person). 800-397-3348,


Access Trips’ inaugural Alaska culinary tour includes cooking classes.
Access Trips’ inaugural Alaska culinary tour includes cooking classes.Courtesy photo

Edible Alaska

Explore the bounty of the last frontier with Access Trips’ inaugural Alaska culinary tour. The seven-night Fairbanks-to-Anchorage trip starts with a cooking class near Denali National Park led by two-time James Beard nominee Laura Cole and continues to scenic Talkeetna for pancakes made from a sourdough started in 1902 (non-foodies: this is a good thing). Visits to a birch syrup maker, an oyster farm and the famous cooking school at Tutka Bay Lodge are interspersed with wilderness adventures including dog sledding on a glacier and wildlife watching. The Sept. 2 trip starts at $5,790 per person. 800-567-9400,


 Blue Ridge Racing

Primland is a 12,000-acre resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Primland is a 12,000-acre resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.Courtesy photo

Put your driving skills — and your nerve — to the test racing against nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and Swiss endurance driver Harold Primat during the Primland Racing Experience at Primland, a 12,000-acre resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Participants will spend three days, Aug. 13-15, with the elite drivers, using helicopters to transfer to Virginia International Raceway for laps in Radical RXC race cars. Heli back to the highlands for golf, clay shooting and glasses of moonshine on the treehouse deck. The trips costs $8,500 per person. 866-960-7746,


The Swag, a seasonal hideaway in the Smoky Mountains.Matthew Lovette

Trail Mix

Head 5,000 feet up to The Swag, a seasonal hideaway in the Smoky Mountains about 50 miles west of Asheville where 14 rustic-chic rooms offer access to hundreds of miles of trails in the national park next door. The North Carolina retreat will host special guest Gay Bryant, an artist who has hiked all 900 miles of trails in the Smokies, for several weeks July through October. Join her on morning hikes, then channel your inspiration into watercolor paintings in lessons with the pro. Rooms from $520, with a two-night minimum, all-inclusive. 828-926-0430,


Machu Picchu
Machu PicchuCourtesy photo

Andes in August

Visit Machu Picchu and other Andean highlights during the Northern Hemisphere summer to take advantage of the cool-not-cold South American winter. Abercrombie & Kent’s new nine-day Family Peru trip combines adventure and culture, including a kayaking trip on a mountain-ringed highland lagoon, a meeting with alpacas and the masterful weavers who spin their wool in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, a visit to a Peruvian home to learn traditional games and two days at Machu Picchu, plus a stop in Lima to swim with sea lions. Departures in July and August from $5,995 per person. 800-554-7016,

Two-Wheel Western Tour

The thought of riding a bicycle 30 to 100 miles daily at home? Wilting. But in Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon? Energizing. Timberline Adventures’ new guided Great Lodges Odyssey cycling tour heads west from Jackson, Wyo., July 29 and winds up 42 days later at Crater Lake in Oregon. Riders hit Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks en route, as well as adventure towns, wine districts and the Pacific coast with overnights at historic lodges, including Crater Lake Lodge. The trip costs $17,200 per person, with shorter 13-day legs at $5,200. 800-417-2453,

Elaine Glusac is a Chicago-based freelance writer.





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