Catalina Island, just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, has long been a favorite Hollywood getaway. Stars like Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood and John Wayne vacationed here, and a young woman named Norma Jean Baker, who’d become far better known as Marilyn Monroe, lived here with her first husband. The island, accessible by ferry or a 15-minute helicopter flight, has updated its Descanso Beach Club and launched a new spa and Catalina Aerial Adventure; it features both beachfront and ocean-view meeting venues that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests. This 1940s photo shows a “jaunting” car on a scenic tour. 

Who says you can’t have a meeting without some pampering mixed in? Several hot springs resorts in the U.S. Mountain West can accommodate smaller meetings complete with lodging, function space, din- ing and soaking. Some even have on-site spas and other standout features like an ice museum or microbrewery to include on an itinerary.

 

Erase any vision you might have of a dude ranch, especially the “City Slicker” version. For the purposes of this story, let’s use the name ranch resort and picture a big dose of vision and thousands of acres for both herds and people to roam. It’s a fairly different option, but one with similar friendliness and the Western spirit of a dude ranch.

 

To say Wisconsin is having a moment would be an understatement. A statewide renaissance resulting in plenty of new developments, impressive renovations and entrepreneurial ventures has been years in the making and shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.