Falling through a Bluegrass Time Tunnel

The sun scorches straight down; the scent of spearmint rises straight up. A bee buzzes into the frame, a crow cackles out of sight.

It's growing season in the Bluegrass, with tomatoes blushing and melons bulging.

But where's the tractor, the harvester and the other farm equipment?

Just follow the hay trail and you'll discover all the power you need on the heritage farm at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, southwest of Lexington. You'll find mighty Bronc and Buck, twin oxen yoked in harness, often shadowed by their little bovine protégés, Moon and Star.

The gardeners of Shaker Village welcome kibitzers, city folk asking questions about heritage breeds the Shakers would have known: Bakewell and Leicester sheep, Percheron horses and cute little Dominique black-and-white chickens.

"We have very loquacious gardeners, and that's a good thing," said David Larson, director of strategic development. "People love to talk with them, good ol' Central Kentucky people wh'™ve had their hands in the earth all their lives."

Book one of summer's special garden-side meals and you'll taste the snap of just-picked produce, starting with Kentucky's own Bibb lettuce. Chef Patrick Kelly will cook outdoors beside the Village's heritage garden, snapping off herbs as he goes. He'll add local grass-fed beef and poultry to the bounty of the Shaker soil.

Shaker Village is always an idyll out of time, whether you're biting into an heirloom tomato, overseeing autumn's harvest, sleigh riding in winter's snow or watching spring's wildflowers pop up in the field.

Cocooned against the modern world, the village is America's largest restored Shaker community. It's a National Historic Landmark with 34 restored buildings and 3,000 acres of preserved farmland, now all open for public use.

This is the place to drop your bags and your worries, to slip back 150 years to the industrious era when Shakers worked the land, crafted furniture and worshipped with their distinctive songs and dance. They are America's longest-lasting communal society, with one community still active in New England.

As the sun drops and the bees head home, why not watch the world float by to the slap of a paddlewheel? Hop onboard the Dixie Belle for a meander past the Kentucky Palisades, the oldest exposed rock in Kentucky.

The Belle, a real paddlewheeler, takes the trip at 5 mph past waterfalls, limestone cliffs and High Bridge, an engineering marvel in 1877.

And as the moon rises and the owls wake up, it's time to turn the key to an original Shaker bedroom, hang your clothes on a genuine peg rail and settle in for Shaker dreams.

Rooms at the Inn at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill are $95-$145, 800-734-5611; www.shakervillageky.org.

Branching Out in Ohio

Wrrrrrrrrrrh! There's nothing like the exhilarating whine of metal on metal as you fly through the tree tops.

Summer is the time to slice through the leaves at two Ohio ziplines.

Ozone Zipline Adventures at Camp Kern soared into its second season this year, with steel cables criss-crossing the forest above the Little Miami River in Warren County, about 10 minutes from Kings Island.

Glide like an eagle out to the Little Miami River and deep into the forest. Each zipline adventure takes about three hours, with time between zips to learn about the area's plants, fossils and history, especially the Ohio Indians who built nearby Fort Ancient. And there's time for physics, to'”what's the science behind flying 30 mph on these galvanized steel cables?

Ozone is a not-for-profit adventure, whose goal is to raise money to support Camp Kern's outdoor education programs for Ohio school kids.

Ozone comes from the original name that Carl Kern gave the camp in 1910. A century later, it seems the perfect name for a zipline, too, that asks you to step out into the ozone with a giant leap of faith and a big gasp of air.

There's plenty of flying and gasping, too, northeast up the road at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours. This ancient landscape in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is a natural spot to strap on a helmet, hook on a harness and step off into the air - 70 feet above the forest floor.

At Hocking Hills Canopy, fliers zigzag through the hills on 10 zip lines, cross five adventure sky bridges and rappel back to the ground at the finish line. It's an amazing way to see this ancient, eroded terrain, whose mountains were once higher than Everest.

Ozone Zipline Adventures at YMCA Camp Kern, 800-255-5376; www.OZONEzips.org. Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, 740-385-9477; www.hockinghillscanopytours.com.

Taking the Big Chill in Indy

Indianapolis, that great flat city famous for car racing and basketball, has morphed into a Midwest powerhouse with high-caliber museums, fine dining and destination shopping. Along with that transformation comes a wave of luxury, and travelers are popping over to ride the crest.

The city may be the 13th largest in the country now, but some of the most indulgent treats come in small packages. The Historic Canterbury Hotel downtown has only 99 rooms, tucked behind doors snapped open by liveried bellmen. Cross the foyer where concierge Douglas Ferrer occasionally plays the piano and it all feels a bit like New York's old Plaza Hotel suddenly plunked down in Indy.

Nearby on Monument Circle, a little pampering time capsule awaits: Suite 2000 Salon and Day Spa in the Circle Tower. Elements of this vintage barbershop have been in place since 1929, with Art Deco medallions of silver inlaid figurines and even a "Lucky Lindy" style plane inspired by Charles Lindbergh's 1927 flight across the Atlantic.

This is the place for a Tranquility Bath and an llluminate facial with Absolute pearl, a skin brightener with pearl powder and extracts of bearberry and licorice.

Segueing from one boutique experience to another, let's book dinner at R Bistro. Chef/owner Regina Mehallick, a James Beard Award finalist, created this cozy spot with just 17 tables.

Mehallick's devoted to produce and meats fresh from the farmer, so it can be hard to capture a menu: it changes weekly. But you might find an herb and leaf salad with raspberry vinaigrette, followed by chicken and sausage jambalaya with smothered collard greens. For dessert, don't be too proud to beg for the chocolate beggar's purse with pineapple and coconut sorbet.

Sometimes, though, a getaway is all about total relaxation: Landing in one spot and not budging until checkout. Indy's one-stop relaxation center is the Villa Inn.

The grand Italianate commands the old mansion row along North Delaware Street. Once you park, everything's here: restaurant, workout room, spa, salon and rooms with two-person Jacuzzi bath and shower. There's even a private rooftop terrace just for overnight guests.

Maybe each half of a couple wants a private, in-room therapy bath and massage. Or they'll share the moment with a Couples' Massage in the Carriage House.

For dinner at the Villa, there's Shrimp Diablo Pasta and Black Angus filet. And for late night, there's nothing like a little "Sin""”a flight of wickedly dark truffles from "Dark Secrets" to "ChocOblivion," a perfect Indy nightcap.
The Historic Canterbury Hotel, 800-538-8186; www.canterburyhotel.com. "¢ Studio 2000 Salon & Day Spa, 317-687-0010; www.studio2000spa.com. "¢ R Bistro, 317-423-0312, www.rbistro.com. "¢ The Villa Inn, 866-626-8500; www.thevillainn.com 
Betsa Marsh is a winner of the Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation. She writes at www.globespinners.com.