Miami is constantly reinventing itself, and over the past year, I discovered that Coconut Grove - hip and cool 30 years ago, then declasse and "tired," has been remaking itself in the classic "boom-bust-and-boom" Miami style. Its funky, artsy personality remains as glass-wrapped high rises line up along South Bayshore Drive. Here's more of what to find today in Miami.
Forget the Cape. For a low-key weekend journey, explore the FarmCoast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island - and its villages, creeks and farmlands within an easy day's getaway from Providence or Boston and a weekend journey from Manhattan. Tucked out of the way south of Interstate 195 that heads to Cape Cod these tiny communities along Buzzards Bay, Rhode Island Sound and the tidal Westport and Sakonnet rivers happily let you find them.
National Independent Bookstore Day the last weekend in April is a regular reminder that indie bookstores are travel destinations And why not? Writer Ann Patchett, who owns the Nashville, Tennessee Parnassus Books I've visited, wrote about this eloquently in the recent special New York Times Travel section on bookstores. (There are several fascinating articles in this special section of Dec. 6, 2016 about literary adventures and bookstore destinations. Additionally the National Independent Bookstore Day link provides a long list of some but not all indie bookstores around the U.S.) When I'm on the road and happen upon an indie bookstore, my experience changes entirely. In fact, sometimes I change my experience to accommodate the bookstore. And often there's a two-fer (such as a cafe or cultural series) inviting me in often and keeping me there for hours. In Miami's Coconut Grove, I walk from my hotel to The Bookstore +...
I have strong women on my mind in these recent weeks as courageous women have been petulantly (and liberally) dismissed or vilified in some quarters, so my brief encounter with Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre's first African-American female principal dancer, was all the more significant.
Little Beet Table's vegetable-forward menu is a refreshing change from the rich, heavy fare often layered on at dinner in Midtown Manhattan. The vegetable plates and carefully selected fish, poultry or meat are complimented with 3-4 unusual ingredient combinations that result in tasty but not overwrought dishes. The casual decor also brings with it easy-going, friendly, personalized service - the care that goes with "from my garden to your table."
Hearth Restaurant's Italian-inflected cooking in Manhattan's East Village is, of course, organic and proudly supportive of local, family farms. They recognize that the closer the farmers are to the table, the fresher the food. I look at the restaurant title and can't help noting that the word "Hearth" incorporates "earth" and that you feel here, close to the ground, real.
Parnassus Books, co-owned by writer Ann Patchett and one of the nation's premier independent bookstores, sits in the most unamazing location in a strip mall, tucked in among Chipotle, The Vitamin Shoppe, Ten Thousand Villages and other small businesses whose exteriors are dull caramel trimmed in dark chocolate. Like other independent bookstores, which represent the souls of local communities, you might pass it a couple of times before you actually find it. But persevere on as a reader and you will be home again.
A chef I know uses coffee shops to assess what's hot in the local food scene when he's traveling. So in Nashville, we follow the coffee trail to two neighborhoods that are turning Music City into the next "food destination" in the South -- Germantown and East Nash.
I'm not sure which was more breathtaking - sweeping views in one vast room from the Hudson River on the west to Chelsea rooftops on the east - or the sheer immensity of the new Whitney Museum's dramatic 5th floor gallery.It's nearly one-third the size of a football field - at 18,200 square feet, the largest column-free museum gallery in New York. To celebrate the close of its first year in its new downtown location, the Whitney invited installation and performance artists to realize the grandeur of this one-floor expanse in the five-part "Open Plan" exhibit that closes May 14, 2016. Regardless of timing, check out the space.
As a frequent traveler to a food-powered city like New York, the question is - do I return to a favorite neighborhoody spot or try something new? Ideally both. Here's why Cookshop (at 10th Avenue and 20th Street in the West Village) is on my list as a regular go-to dining experience.