Las Vegas

Las Vegas (Steve Marcus, Reuters / May 14, 2012)

Oh, of course there are. Who are we kidding?

But Paul Mello, director of marketing for vegas.com, said a visitor won't necessarily be assaulted by jingling bells.

"People do it all the time," he said. "Vegas doesn't close for Christmas. There is a little less going on. But there's plenty of people who aren't into that whole holiday Christmas thing — single folks, or people not visiting their kids."

There will be holiday shoppers on the strip, he warned. But you can duck them and stick with what makes Vegas Vegas.

"The casino floors look very similar to the summer. The blackjack tables look the same. And the showrooms are the same for the holidays as any time of the year," he said. "It's much more a Vegas experience than a holiday experience."

His final piece of advice: "Vegas is a great place to escape reality. The holidays are a reality."

Fourpeaks, N.Y.: Fourpeaks Adirondack Backcountry Camps (4peaks.com) makes Moab look like a Super Bowl halftime show.

According to owner Martin Schwalbaum, there are no maps that show the 700-acre private wilderness, in New York's Adirondack Mountains, about 17 miles from Lake Placid.

"We're off the grid and off the maps."

Once you find Fourpeaks — and if you appreciate solitude, it's worth the search — you'll discover seven cabins that Schwalbaum built (4peaks.com/fcamp.htm). Generally about a quarter-mile apart, they're rustic and homey, with complete kitchens, fireplaces, handmade and antique furnishings and privies (portable flush toilets are available as an option). Water for washing comes from pumps; you bring in your own drinking water. Propane gives visitors heat and light and is used for cooking too. Television? Electricity? Ha. And ha again. Or ho-ho, if you will.

There is access to the area because it was populated in the 1800s and early 1900s, and the residents built roads. When electricity started coming into upstate New York in the 1920s, they moved to cities to enjoy its benefits.

"The land, the last physical changes were from the Wisconsin glacier, about 15,000 years ago," Schwalbaum said. "The glacier left about 9,000 years ago, and the land is untouched since then."

There are four mountains with 2,000-foot peaks — climb, walk or snowshoe them, or wander 20 miles of hiking and skiing trails.

If that seems too strenuous, sit around the cabin and read, play fetch with your dog (pet-friendly vacations are encouraged) or just observe nature.

Now there is peace on earth.

bhageman@tribune.com