Great Escapes

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. Read more →


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 +... Read more →


Channeling MFK Fisher, the remarkable sage of food writing and gastronomic pleasure, I took off for Glen Ellen in Sonoma County about 40 north of San Francisco, California, knowing the limitations of my adventure even before I started. First of all, Fisher died in 1992, and second of all, her cottage retreat, “Last House,” is now part of the Audubon Canyon Ranch’s 535-acre Bouverie Preserve and is not open to the public - yet. Read more →


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. Read more →


"Bonnie Raitt at the Ryman Auditorium in May?" What a combo!! A legendary lady of a certain generation and a legendary venue for the best of country, rock and rockabilly. From iconic performers to modern-day interpreters, Bonnie - like the experiences of most Baby Boomers - bridges both sensibilities. Read more →


Southern Vermont is sturdy in every season, its winding roads passing both quaint and gourmet country stores, year-round Christmas shops, challenging ski slopes and mountain hiking trails, local playhouses where famous actors guest-star in "the season" and brook-powered grist mills displaying the fundamental engineering of modern technology. Like these snapshots from the 18th century, Southern Vermont reminds us that timeless is good, but updating for modern tastes where pragmatic is OK too. Read more →


Waking up Christmas morning with a view of Saint Patrick's Cathedral and Rockefeller Center and a block away from enchanting Fifth Avenue was a worthwhile tradeoff - at least this once - for the stockings hung by the chimney (at home) with care. If you are thinking about changing up your holiday traditions for Christmas in New York, here are a few tips and lessons learned. Read more →


Visits to Tucson always bring unexpected pleasures but never more than the two days we immersed ourselves in the vibrant arts scene - formal and informal - and we only touched the surface. While there are many fine museums, we stuck to the culture of the Southwest. Here are the must-see excursions: Arizona State Museum of Art: On the University of Arizona campus, this historic building focuses exclusively on art of the Southwest, with deep respect for the history of the peoples. Adriel Heisey's breathtaking arial photography of Southwest canyons and mesas, curated by Archaeology Southwest, presents low-impact archaeological research without excavation. These settings exist in nature but beyond easy access, and Heisey captured them with a hand-held camera while flying his airplane with his right leg. The visual perspective is beyond description. The early 20th century photos by Henry Curtis of Native American peoples are haunting in their expressiveness.... Read more →


After a long weekend in Tucson, I’ve answered a question bugging me for awhile – if it’s so darn hot in the desert, why do so many retirees move there? My answer: the climate may have lulled them to town but the reason they stay is something else – there is so darn much to do here! In three days, we only touched the surface. About 60 miles north of Mexico and surrounded by mountain ranges, Tucson is situated at an altitude of 2600 feet in high desert and across a sprawling 226-square-mile grid of adobe structures hunkered close to the ground. Like many communities I’ve visited in the Southwest and in Florida, there's much more beyond that snapshot – from the sweeping views and challenging terrain in the foothills to the funky historic downtown close to the university. Yet the climate does rule: golfers are out at dawn to... Read more →