majestic yosemite hotel
Starting price: $511 a night in January
Art deco, Native American, Middle Eastern, and Arts and Crafts architecture come together in this 1927 lodge that is now a National Historical Landmark. It took 5,000 tons of stone, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of lumber that were carted through the mountains during the park's early years to build it, and a renovation looked into Yosemite's archives to match the textiles and colors of the original English country-house interior.
majestic yosemite hotel: stunning views and afternoon tea
cocktails on air chathams
Starting price: $127
The Douglas DC-3 is the airplane that helped launch commercial air travel in the mid-20th Century. Fresh off military service in World War II, the DC-3 was pressed into duty carrying well-dressed passengers and crew from city to city, with lots of legroom and tons of free food and booze. The downside? It was really loud, required lots of layovers over long distances, and luggage took forever to retrieve. They're hard to track down outside of museums these days, but Air Chathams still flies them.
air chathams: chartered "flight back in time"
Starting price: $3,500
The Simplon Orient-Express first ran in 1883 and made the trek from Paris to Istanbul until 1977. The line was shortened several times thereafter, but runs now as a tourist train. With cabins lovingly restored to resemble those in Agatha Christie's 1934 novel "Murder on the Orient Express" (as well as the ensuing films), its routes now serve Berlin, Istanbul, London, Venice, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Verona, and Bucharest.
simplon-orient express: vintage cabins and upscale dining
Starting price: $937
How much of a throwback is the Grand Hotel? Enough that the 1980 Jane Seymour/Christopher Reeve time-travel romance "Somewhere In Time" was filmed here. Overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and wedged between Michigan's lower peninsula to the south and its upper peninsula to the north, the Grand Hotel has been greeting Mackinac Island travelers since 1887 and has maintained much of its Victorian charm.
grand hotel: horse-drawn carriages, golf and spa treatments
Starting price: $236
Oh, the luxury! Granted, the Zeppelin flying today isn't a whole lot like the rigid, steel-framed Zeppelins of the early 20th century. But considering that most Americans know those Zeppelins either from Indiana Jones films (where they're piloted by Nazis) or from the Hindenburg disaster, perhaps that's best. Built for 12 to 14 passengers, the airship's gondola has a toilet as its greatest luxury. But with gorgeous views of the countryside and sumptuous meals and Champagne waiting in the hangar, there are glimpses of the Zeppelin's more glamorous existence.
zeppelin flights: pilot for a day
Starting price: $569 per person per night
Want to go on safari, but feeling too lazy to actually go anywhere? Giraffe Manor brings much of the wildlife to you. Built in 1932 and modeled on a Scottish hunting lodge, this lodge has had giraffes on its lawn since the 1970s, when Jock and Betty Leslie-Melville first adopted an orphaned Rothschild's giraffe. It's been a hotel since 2009. You'll get giraffes peeking their heads into the lodge to join you for breakfast, and room fees include airport transfers, local transportation, all meals, house wines, beers, soft drinks and spirits, laundry, wireless internet, croquet, and entrance to the Giraffe Centre. Massages and tips are extra.
giraffe manor: adopt a baby elephant
vintage car tours
Starting price: $1,110 per person, plus $1,948 for car rental
You could drive less than 200 miles and spend four days seeing England's oldest brewery, Winston Churchill's house, and numerous castles in Kent, or you could stay closer to home and spend nearly three weeks watching the leaves turn color in New England. In any case, you'll be doing so behind the wheel of either your own classic car or one of several available for rent.
vintage car tours: roadside perks
Starting price: $499 a night
The Equinox has been at the center of Vermont's winter fun since 1769 — it's close enough to ski slopes, dog sledding trails, snowshoeing grounds, and ice-skating rinks to be a true winter retreat, and it has a spa and Land Rover Driving Experience that lets you plow through the snow.
the equinox: fly-fishing, falconry and fireside reads
golden eagle trans-siberian express
Starting price: $13,395 for 15 days
The Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express runs on the longest continuous railway line in the world and operates on 15-day itineraries along a route that typically takes seven days. You'll tour cities, see the endless steppe, ride along Lake Baikal, see the yurts, and end up in Russia's key pacific military port — it's straight out of "Doctor Zhivago," only with nicer cabins and none of the hassle of the Russian Revolution.
golden eagle trans-siberian express: imperial suites
dda classic airlines
Starting price: $155 to $260
There are only two places in the world to fly in a DC-3, and The Netherlands are one of them. This particular DC-3 dates back to 1944, dropped paratroopers into Normandy on D-Day and participated in Operation Market Garden in what was then Holland. Prince Bernhard bought the aircraft from U.S. General Dwight Eisenhower himself, and flew it until 1975. It was restored in 1998 and has been flying ever since. Flights are 30 to 60 minutes, feature uniformed pilots and flight attendants, and fly out of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Lelystad.
dda classic airlines: custom itineraries
trans-canadian rail trip
Starting price: $10,330
Canada's old coast-to-coast Dominion train hasn't run in years. But the Rocky Mountaineer excursion train and Via Rail Canada combine for a 22-day, 21-night trip that recalls the Dominion's former glory. The Rocky Mountaineer operates on the Dominion's Canadian Pacific tracks and passes through the scenic mountains along Banff and Lake Louise, but you'll also see Vancouver, Jasper, Toronto, Old Montréal, and broad portions of Quebec.
trans-canadian rail trip: 5-star lodging
napa valley wine train
Starting price: $224 per person
Established as a passenger line in 1864 and maintained through the 1930s, the Napa Valley Wine Train wasn't known as such until it opened as a tourist line in 1989. The train's Pullman cars were built in 1915 but have been restored completely with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions, and velveteen fabric armchairs. Its locomotives and Vista Dome Car with glass ceiling panels were built in the 1950s, but all now exist solely to shuffle wine tasters around Napa.
napa valley wine train: winery tours and murder-mystery rides
Starting price: $20 per person
Yes, the Airlander folks know: The world's longest aircraft looks like a giant posterior. But, that hasn't stopped its developers from bringing it out on test flights and preparing to market it elsewhere around the world.
airlander 10: vip tours
american queen steamboat
Starting price: $599
Call it a steamboat, call it a paddle boat, call it a sternwheeler: These ships still run along the Columbia River and Snake River between Washington and Oregon, the Ohio River from Pennsylvania through to Missouri, and both the upper and lower Mississippi River. You can do new year's in New Orleans or spend more than three weeks heading from Minnesota all the way to the Big Easy.
american queen steamboat: live entertainment and private butlers
wentworth by the sea
Starting price: $234 a night
It's owned by Marriott, but it by no means looks like a chain hotel. Opened in 1874 and given a $30 million overhaul in 2003, Wentworth by the Sea is one of the last of the area's grand hotels. It features a full-service spa, exercise studio, indoor and outdoor pools, a tennis court, historic gardens, 10,000 square feet of event space, four dining facilities, and a 170-slip marina.
wentworth by the sea: luxury suites and jazz brunch
queen mary 2
Starting price: $699
Rumors of attempts at building a new Titanic are true, but why not enjoy turn-of-the century charms on an ocean liner built at the turn of this century with a clean reputation? Cunard isn't new to transatlantic cruises — it was actually a competitor to the Titanic's White Star line — and in 2004 built the Queen Mary 2, exceeding Titanic in numerous ways (not the least of which is still floating on the Atlantic rather than resting on its floor.
queen mary 2: onboard theaters, spa, and luxuries galore
steam ship sudan
Starting price: $2,183 to $3,103
Built in 1885 for Egypt's King Fouad, this steamship inspired tourist Agatha Christie to write "Death on the Nile" in 1937. There are just 23 cabins, five of which are suites, with period furniture (including wall-mounted telephones and brass beds). There is a sun deck, and each voyage includes buffet breakfast and lunch, followed by a four-course dinner.
steam ship sudan: touring the chambers of the pharaohs
abercrombie & kent safaris
Starting price: $13,995 per person
From bustling, cosmopolitan Cape Town in South Africa to towering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to the extraordinary Okavango Delta in Botswana, this Southern Africa safari is indicative of what Abercrombie & Kent has been booking since 1962. Founder Geoffrey Kent was born while his parents were on safari, raised on the family farm in Kenya, and was the first person to travel from Kenya to Cape Town on a motorcycle. If you're looking for authenticity, you've found it.
abercrombie & kent safaris: cruising the chobe river
sahara camel tours
Starting price: $575
Seeing the massive dunes of the Erg Chebbi in any circumstance is awe-inspiring. Seeing them from the back of a camel as you make your way to and from camp with help from Berber guides is as authentically "retro" an experience as you can muster. Modernity disappears once your Hyundai minivan picks you up at the airport and drops you into the village. If you had a five-star riad or hotel in Marrakech, staying in a tent in the wind-swept desert or sitting on a carpet by the fire at night will be an interesting change of pace.
sahara camel tours: desserts in the desert
expedition ship charters
Starting price: $35,000 per week
Anybody can rent a yacht and play William Randolph Hearst for a weekend, but chartering an expedition vessel and channeling Jacques Cousteau? That's a far more rare feat. With some vessels dating back to the 1940s with mid-century Cousteau-style design elements, and others retrofitted with luxury features (think hot tubs, giant flatscreen televisions, and bars), Classic Charters lets you can follow scientific pursuits or just play adventurer for as long as you desire.