Breaking away from the city, I landed in Portland, Maine and drove two-plus hours northeast to the South Thomaston region off West Penobscot Bay. Along the hundreds of miles of coves, summer people and locals co-exist, occasionally uncomfortably. It's an area rich in seabirds, lobstering and family life that sustains communities and protects our environmental treasures. Intrigued by the rare opportunity to see Puffin breeding islands, we bought tickets for the Monhegan Boat Line tour, just a start of our three-day adventure on the St. George Peninsula.
East Coast US
Womantraveler's List of Top Picks for Manhattan Restaurants - business, leisure, family and friends, solo. This article combines many of my New York "food finds" over the years and updates information in previous references, including (sadly) several closings.
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, 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...
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.
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.
If you travel to cities with great museums, enjoying them like a local refines the experience. On a tip from another Womantraveler, I joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with a reasonably priced "National Associate" membership. Then, after more research, I discovered that certain museums closer to home provide reciprocal memberships with those across the country, so, for example, my membership to San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art admits me to the new Whitney in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, the Guggenheim and more than 30 others in the US and Canada.