In Crested Butte, Bill Ronai starts his day in a 5,000-square-foot dream home with breakfast and some work--a phone call and e-mail. Maybe the 62-year-old financial consultant will ski in the afternoon. He's part of a new group of professionals around the nation who are escaping smallish apartments in places like Manhattan to foster a career in a vacation home, be it a mountain abode or a beachside condo, writes The New York Times , which references the wonders of the fiber-optic lines that make the Internet zippy, even in remote towns. If you can't live like Ronai, perhaps you can get away to places like Vail's Mountain Lodge & Spa, which is now accommodating shorter visits as consumers worry about spending too much time away from the office, according to The Wall Street Journal . Americans have been shrinking their vacations for decades--to 3.3 nights on average. For those in the mood to get out, 5280 managing editor Lindsey B. Koehler recommends five top outdoor spots for lovers  (or simply lovers of the outdoors).