Great Escapes

Southern New England's Enchanting Farm Coast

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 →

Independent Book Stores - Dive in for Summer Reading

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, starting with Ann Patchett's personal guide of favorites. 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... Read more →

Channeling MFK Fisher in Sonoma

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 →

Seasonal Palettes and Palates in Southern Vermont

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 →

Christmas in New York - 5 Lessons (and Carols)

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 →

Tucson's Art Scene - Art is Life

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... Read more →

Tucson: A High Desert Cultural Shelter

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... Read more →