Jiminy Peak, Mass.
Rich folks from New York and Boston have long made the hills and villages of the Berkshires their summer retreat. Where patrons go, artists follow, so it's no wonder the region bills itself as "America's premier cultural resort."
Jiminy's backyard is rich with summer-kissed arts¿and we're not talking popsicle-stick picture frames and plastic lanyards. For starters, there's the Boston Symphony, which sets up summer camp at Tanglewood. For drama, there's the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which stages high-powered works starring actors you've heard of (or soon will), as well as first-rate Shakespeare. For dance, Jacob's Pillow is world-renowned. For visual arts, two prestigious museums present wildly differing experiences: at the Clark, an impressive array of old-guard masterpieces; at MassMoCA, outdoor installations by the avant-garde.
If all that just sounds stuffy, blow out the cobwebs with a thrill-ride on Jiminy's alpine slide. Or hike to 3,478-foot Mt. Greylock, home to one of the country's oldest ski trails, the Thunderbolt. Best of all, Jiminy's inns and condos make lodging comfortable, affordable and family-friendly. So you don't have to be rich to vacation here¿just smart. ¿Joe Cutts
Don't Miss Slaying the stockies in Jiminy Peak's trout pond, where any kid can bag his limit.
best Deal Midweek packages at the Country Inn at Jiminy Peak are $159 per night for two (kids stay free) and include activities; 800-882-8859; www.jiminypeak.com.