SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
Blending Spanish and Native American cultures, Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the oldest capital city in the United States, featuring one-of-a-kind adobe architecture, stunning cathedrals and a charming downtown. The city is best known for having one of the most vibrant art scenes in the United States and being the inspiration behind many of Georgia O'Keeffe's famous pieces. The beautiful landscape provides not only a picture-perfect background for artists, but also a wealth of routes for the trail enthusiast. Runners looking for beautiful views of high desert scrub brush, aspens and evergreens will not be disappointed. Mild temperatures and minimal precipitation makes running feasible year round.
Must-do runs: The Dale Ball Trails consist of 22 miles of looped single-track trails close to town. Terrain ranges from easy to difficult. Don't forget to slow down and enjoy the desert views that make these trails so popular. The Windsor Trail starts near the Santa Fe ski area and heads into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, climbing up to 12,000 feet for hours of alpine running. For a flat recovery run, try the Rail Trail that runs from Santa Fe to the Lamy Amtrak station.
Post-workout fun: Visit the Ten Thousand Waves spa resort (tenthousandwaves.com) or Absolute Nirvana Spa Tea Room and Gardens (absolutenirvana.com) for some pampering, including massages, facials and post-run soaks. Spend a day strolling the plaza and browsing through art galleries, such as the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art. Guided walking tours showcasing the capital city's unique history and architecture is a popular post-run activity.
Good eats: Stop by the Santa Fe Baking Company for award-winning burritos. For a true taste of local cuisine, try TIA Sophia's or Coyote Cafe. Sweet dreams: Stay at the Inn at Santa Fe (innatsantafe.com), located in the heart of town, for close proximity to the area's attractions. For a true lodging splurge, try the Encantado Resort (encantadoresort.com) at the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Fine dining, luxurious casitas lodging, peace and tranquility await you.
Info: Contact The Running Hub at (505) 820-2523 or visit the Santa Fe Convention and Visitor's Bureau at santafe.org.
UPPER PENINSULA OF MICHIGAN
The land above the bridge--the Upper Peninsula--is the northern of the two landmasses comprising Michigan. Despite the harsh winters, the residents of the U.P. (known as Yoopers) love the 1,700 miles of shoreline, endless recreation opportunities and the Nordic and Finnish heritage of the area.
Must-do runs: The Algonquin Trail in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, offers a peaceful run through birch and oak tree forests, over wooden bridges and past rolling creeks. Take the ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island and run the numerous trails around the island. The famous North Country Trail, which runs from North Dakota to New York, is a must-run while in the Upper Peninsula.
Post-workout fun: Tour the Lake Superior lighthouses, stop for fudge on Mackinac Island or go blueberry picking in Paradise. Visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior for beaches, sand dunes and sandstone cliffs.
Sweet Dreams: Enjoy views of the Mackinac Straights on the wraparound deck of the Colonial House Inn (colonialhouseinn.com) while staying in St. Ignace. Just minutes from the ferry to Mackinac, the Colonial House is part of the Green Lodging Program.
Good eats: Try the local specialty, a meat and vegetable-filled pasty, at Dobber's Pasties (dobberspasties.com) in Escanaba.race.