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C I T Y.


This is where the stories we grew up with happened; where the events that have most profoundly affected humankind took place. No city in the world can match its power to bring the past to life. It is one of the many wonders of Israel – where the history that makes us who we are still lives.

There’s a little bit of Israel in all of us. Come find the Israel in you.

CONTENTS Travel Summer 2010


It’s all about . . . urban renewal, Indian opulence, Uruguay’s emerging art scene, Boston boutiques, airlines’ next destinations, Scandinavian noir, Cambodian cool, on-the-go accessories, Brazilian fusion fare and China’s latest must-see city.

33 TALK 34 Living the sweet life on Lake Michigan. By Ann Patchett.


40 In France, sleepaway camps are maturing into stylish hotels. By Christopher Petkanas. 64 Nowadays, where there’s smoke

there are foodies. Head south to hog heaven. By Christine Muhlke. 68 In Damascus, shopping is an art. By Liesl Schillinger.

83 PLACE California’s Napa Valley buzzes with Michelin-starred restaurants, new hotels and shops, and nearly 150 tasting rooms. Some may grouse about commercialization — to say nothing of weekend traffic — but this is still America’s best answer to Provence. By Jaime Gross.

Copyright © 2010 The New York Times


Stefano Tonchi Andy Port George Gene Gustines Horacio Silva


Maura Egan Jeffries Blackerby


Anne Christensen Bruce Pask Armand Limnander Sandra Ballentine Melissa Ventosa Martin Bifen Xu Lindsey Gathright, Jason Rider


David Sebbah Christopher Martinez Natalie Do Nicole Huganir Kathy Ryan Judith Puckett-Rinella Scott Hall Rory Walsh


Pilar Viladas Alix Browne Andreas Kokkino



Ethan Hauser, Eric Grode Joy Dietrich, John Cochran, Andrew Gensler, Anaheed Alani Adam Kepler, Stephen Heyman


Alison Colby Trina Robinson, Julia Röhl


101 TRIPPING OUT By Peter Max

102 THE GREEN CLIFFS OF DORSET A quiet patch of English coast — long the destination of fishermen and families — is on the cusp of change. Or not. By David Amsden. Photographs by Massimo Vitali.

Christine Muhlke Sylvia Rupani-Smith Dangi Chu Francesco Bertelli

MAGAZINE.COM Go to for the online T experience, including daily posts, more images and exclusive columns, videos and interactive features, all spanning our universe of fashion, design, style, travel, culture and food.

108 THE SLOW LANE With whitewashed villas, olive groves, vineyards and not a mega-resort in sight, Portugal’s Alentejo region feels lost in time. By John Bowe. Photographs by Norbert Schoerner.

114 PROFILE IN STYLE Liz Lambert, the oft-imitated Texas innkeeper, can rustle up a whole lot more than just shut-eye. By Stephen Heyman

116 BEFORE NIGHT FALLS Bogotá has kicked out the narco thugs and cleaned up the streets, but the Colombian capital still walks on the wild side. By Kevin Gray. Photographs by Domingo Milella.

126 TIMELESS In Africa, Bono’s better half, Ali Hewson, looks for style and substance. By Whitney Vargas

WEB EXCLUSIVE • STYLE MAPS Get interactive with our Style Map of Cape Town, which will be the host of eight World Cup matches in June. Go for the game but stay for the fashion, shopping, design and food.

On the cover • One of the small villages in Alentejo, Portugal. Photograph by Norbert Schoerner. Fashion editor: Melissa Ventosa Martin. Calvin Klein Collection dress, $1,795. Call (212) 292-9000. House of Lavande hair comb. Me&Ro necklace. Satya necklace. Fashion associate: Jason Rider. Hair by Raphaël Salley at Streeters London. Makeup by Sharon Dowsett at CLM using Chanel. Model: Iekeliene Stange.



ALI HEWSON Like her husband, the rock messiah Bono, Ali Hewson is known for her serious charitable efforts in Africa. (A shirt from her eco-fashion line, Edun, produced on the continent, is at far left.) ‘‘It’s a place you long to return to as soon as you leave,’’ she says. ‘‘The beauty of the people, their spirit, breaks through all their angst and history.’’ On Page 126, Hewson shares the story behind a recycled necklace she bought in Kenya (‘‘Goodwill Hunting’’). Her connection to Africa was forged during the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980s. ‘‘The Irish DNA is infused with a strong memory of famine from 1845, when our population was decimated,’’ she says. Hewson and Bono keep a residence in their native Dublin, in addition to their Manhattan apartment and a villa in Èze, on the French Riviera. She prides herself on balancing personal success with charity. ‘‘How you spend the dollar in your pocket can say as much about you as what you eat and wear,’’ she says.

LIESL SCHILLINGER ‘‘I like to say I was born in Champagne,’’ Liesl Schillinger says. ‘‘But actually it was Champaign, Ill.’’ Still, as a writer and a traveler, Schillinger got around: from adolescent summers spent in a French farmhouse (‘‘I had to learn how to eat Roquefort; in America, we had barely discovered cheddar’’) to covering Moscow during the freewheeling days after the Soviet Union collapsed (‘‘It was like ‘Cabaret,’ but without Nazis’’). Here she loots Damascus in search of, among other things, an aghabani tablecloth (‘‘Confessions of a Soukaholic,’’ Page 68). A literary critic — her byline pops up frequently in The New York Times Book Review — Schillinger is considering writing a memoir about her trips through Africa, in the vein of Graham Greene’s 1936 classic, ‘‘Journey Without Maps.’’

NORBERT SCHOERNER An haute fashion shoot is not an everyday occurrence in the sleepy Portuguese region of Alentejo (‘‘The Slow Lane,’’ Page 108), but the German photographer Norbert Schoerner said the locals — known for their lethargy — were actually quite attentive. ‘‘Especially,’’ he says, ‘‘to the blonde!’’ He finds travel-focused stories like these ‘‘inspiring’’ because ‘‘a woman immersed in a landscape offers an array of contrasting sketches.’’ Based in London, Schoerner shoots often for AnOther magazine, Dazed & Confused and German Vogue. He recently spent two nights riffling through textiles at the Blythe House archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The resulting pictures appear in ‘‘The Concise Dictionary of Dress’’ (Violette Editions), a book paired with an exhibition at Blythe House (far left) that continues through June.

ANN PATCHETT The ‘‘Bel Canto’’ author Ann Patchett is shameless: she readily confesses to accepting travel assignments only to do background research for her novels. (‘‘Run,’’ set in Boston, is her latest.) A Nashville resident, Patchett is setting her next book in the Amazon and took an assignment from Gourmet (R.I.P.) to prepare for it. ‘‘I feel like I single-handedly brought down Gourmet with my expense account,’’ she quips. That article, about a luxe 12-room riverboat, was never published; a week after Patchett’s trip, the boat was overtaken by pirates. In this issue, Patchett drafts a love letter to pie stands, gingerbread houses and one perfect little bookstore by Lake Michigan (‘‘As American as Cherry Pie,’’ Page 34). STEPHEN HEYMAN



PETER MAX The psychedelic art guru Peter Max’s 25,000-square-foot studio in New York City is part nightclub, part 19th-century salon. A D.J. spins fusion jazz records nonstop and luminous personalities are always dropping by — not just arty types but astrophysicists like Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson. At 72, Max is still wowed by the cosmos. ‘‘Guess how many galaxies there are?’’ he asks, giddily. ‘‘About 350 billion!’’ You can see some of that stardust sprinkled on this issue’s ‘‘T’’ logo (‘‘Tripping Out,’’ Page 101). Born in Germany, Max lived a peripatetic youth, with stops in China, Israel, France and Africa. He first heard bebop on the radio in Shanghai. ‘‘I just thought it was Chinese music.’’ Max is now working on his first animated film, tentatively titled‘‘You Can Trust a Universe That Creates Flowers.’’


IT S ALL ABOUT... Urban Renewal ... Indian Opulence ... Art in Uruguay ... Boston Boutiques ... The Next Hot Spots. Graffiti-inspired art by Santiago Morilla in the courtyard of the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere in Rome.



The Wow Factory Urban wastelands are the latest epicenters of cool.


s the world rediscovers the allure of city living, abandoned districts that once would have met with the wrecking ball are being revamped into cultural hot spots. From Cleveland to Hong Kong, artists, gallery owners, hoteliers and chefs are turning erstwhile areas of urban blight into thriving destinations, reclaiming factories, docklands, even entire industrial zones. It’s the meatpacking-districtTate Modern-Bilbao effect, and it’s reached critical mass. ‘‘Artists bring tremendous energy to any community,’’ says Flavio Misciattelli, the president of the Fondazione Pastificio Cerere, a contemporary art center inside an old pasta factory in Rome’s San Lorenzo neighborhood. Now, what was a dangerous industrial slum, Misciattelli says, ‘‘is someplace vibrant and safe.’’ Likewise, the iconic Red October Chocolate Factory, having sat empty and foreboding on Bolotny Island in central Moscow for years, houses cutting-edge cultural enterprises like the Baibakov Art Project and the Pobeda Gallery. And in Istanbul, a former power station on the city’s fringe is now the Santralistanbul museum, a nexus of both contemporary art and waterside hobnobbing. It’s not just artists who are leading the way. Long-dormant manufacturing areas like the soap factories and breweries of Zürich West have blossomed into all-purpose urban hubs filled with design studios, restaurants, nightclubs and bike routes. It’s happening in the Gulch in Nashville, a former brownfield area now filled with weekend revelers, and in Shanghai’s South Bund, a port district being revived with a hotel in time for this year’s Shanghai World Expo. Of course, plenty of glass-and-steel towers are going up where 100-year-old bricks and mortar once stood. But James Howard Kunstler, the author of ‘‘The Geography of Nowhere,’’ thinks there’s ‘‘a reluctance to tear down such impressive structures. We recognize their magnificence as sheer monumental structures, not to mention investments, plus their historical significance. So we avidly seek some reassignment.’’ Resurrecting the decrepit also meets the needs of eco-minded globe-trotters. ‘‘Anytime you can build up density in a city,’’ explains David Owen, author of ‘‘Green Metropolis,’’ ‘‘you’re putting the people who live and travel there closer to their destinations, and increasing foot traffic and transit use.’’ And it deepens the connection to the history of a place for residents and visitors. Says the trend forecaster Gerald Celente: ‘‘It isn’t green, it isn’t eco; it’s simply smart.’’ ROCKY CASALE 16

Hotels Shanghai’s South Bund waterfront district will soon be home to the Waterhouse (above), a 19-room boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and restaurant, refashioned from a 1930s riverside dockyard building. And in Berlin, the IMA Design Village, which houses studios and theater and dance schools is now welcoming guests to its collection of über-hip, industrial loft apartments, wi-fi and bike rental included.

Neighborhoods The fish-packing district in Reykjavik, Iceland, is a spin on the meatpackingdistrict idea in New York. Redundant fisheries are being converted into bars and design boutiques like Sruli Recht’s Vopnaburid ( Zürich West (above), the Swiss city’s buzzy shopping and dining hub, will get a tram system next year. And in Paris, the Centquatre artists’ compound, in an old casket factory, just added a destination restaurant (


Art Spaces The Fondazione Pastificio Cerere ( in Rome shows new art and provides studios to young talent. At Moscow’s Red October Chocolate Factory, the Pobeda Gallery ( is showing photos by Alexey Titarenko. Barcelona’s 22@ project ( is reviving the Poblenou area with the new Can Framis museum. And this summer, the industrial Ruhr region of Germany (above; will host some 5,000 cultural events.






MUST HAVES • PATRIOT GAMS 1. Balenciaga top, $975. Call (212) 206-0872. 2. Gucci bikini, $595. Go to 3. Prada shorts, $905. Call (212) 334-8888. 4. Havaianas flip-flops, $24. Go to

There’s been some bad blood between Athens and Berlin lately, with the latter city holding the economic fate of the former in its less-than-forthcoming hands. ‘‘BerlinAthens, Why So Much Hate?’’ read a recent French headline. Could there be an element of jealousy? Despite being in the red (or perhaps because of it — cheap rents!), the Greek city is starting to steal the cultural spotlight from the increasingly gentrified Berlin, which seems more interested in spawning an outpost of London’s Soho House than in nurturing the careers of creative types. Athens’s Kerameikos/Metaxourgeio neighborhood — which still has its share of drug dealers and prostitutes, like any good arty neighborhood should — along with the run-down Kypseli district have become the new home for influential galleries like the Breeder and Rebecca Camhi, as well as the biannual ReMap art festival, which included installations in abandoned buildings last summer. And the whole scene just got the stamp of approval from Larry Gagosian, who opened a gallery to cater to the needs of a circle of billionaire Greek collectors. Indie bands and D.J.’s are also flourishing — especially at Six D.O.G.S., a merger of four former hipster bars that’s become a cultural hot spot — and the city’s design credentials are undergoing a substantial upgrade, too. The former editor of Greece’s Elle Decoration recently helped outfit her husband Christoforos Peskias’s chic eatery, Pi Box (above). And scheduled for December, the derelict Olympic Palace Hotel will reopen with interiors by the Brazilian superduo the Campana brothers. MONICA KHEMSUROV




Athens is the new Berlin.

N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0


HANGZHOU HEATS UP WHY IT’S HOT The Chinese city’s willow-fringed West Lake and terraced tea plantations have long inspired painters, poets and travelers. New hotels and the fall debut of a high-speed train from Shanghai (travel time: 38 minutes) are putting Hangzhou on travelers’ must-see lists. SLEEP WELL Opened in January, Amanfayun (above; 22 Fayun Nong, Xihujiedao; 011-86-5718732-9999;; doubles from about $580) occupies a Tang dynasty village, with 42 luxe rooms, suites and villas — along with a spa and restaurants — set along a monks’ pathway. And Banyan Tree (21 Zijinggang Road; 011-86-571-8586-0000; doubles from $450) has 72 villas and suites and a decadent spa within the mangroves of Xixi National Wetland Park. SHOW AND SELL At Oshadai (Unit 9D, 147 Nanshan Road; 011-86-571-8702-6768), the FrenchChinese designer Dai Di creates folksy accessories in lush hand-woven fabrics. Next door, the jewelers at PH7 (Unit 9B, 147 Nanshan Road; 011-86-571-8706-1735) combine silver with wood and jade in chunky pendants and rings. And nearby, Insideco sells (and ships) EuropeanChinese furniture (176 Nanshan Road; 011-86-571-8706-7875). At the Longjing Tea Culture Village, a valley straight out of a Chinese watercolor, farmers harvest and sell Hangzhou’s famous Dragon Well (longjing) tea. HANGOUTS Dragon Well Manor (399 Longjing Road; 011-86-571-8788-8777; fixed-price menu about $260 for six people) sits in the middle of a tea valley and consists of eight private rooms serving organic Hangzhou dishes. Provence (1 Baishaquan, 79 Shuguang Road; 01186-571-8797-6115;; entrees $13 to $30) dishes up hearty French fare to complement a fine wine list. And post-dinner, there are local and international jazz artists at JZ Club (6 Liuying, near Nanshan Road; 011-86-571-8702-8298; and Chinese punk at Reggae Bar (131 Xueyuan Road; 011-86-571-8657-5749). The Liangzhu Culture Museum (Liangzhu Town; 011-86-571-8877-8900) displays ancient relics in its stunning David Chipperfield building, while the past comes to life in the film director Zhang Yimou’s light-and-dance show on West Lake. Contemplate it all with a massage at the Dragonfly spa (176 Nanshan Road, 01186-571-8706-3750; or strike a pose at Yoga Summit, in a temple complex on top of Wu Hill (3 Wushan; 011-86-571-8792-1011; AMY FABRIS-SHI

Ten years ago, Alex Atala’s D.O.M. broke the tradition in São Paulo of culinary colonialism — French, Italian and Japanese were good; Brazilian was bad. Now, after so many bowls of feijoada, a young class of chefs is mixing cuisines and techniques and taking Brazilian cooking to a higher level. Checho Gonzáles, 44, the heavily tattooed chef at the year-old restaurant Ají (Rua Bela Cintra, 1709; 011-55-11-3083-4022; entrees $17 to $27), fuses the flavors of his native Bolivia with the classics of Brazilian cooking. (Each of his knuckles is inked with the image of a popular local bar snack.) The meat stew cozido, for example, is made with tender chunks of picanha braised in red wine, and the caipirinhas are flecked with bright red ají peppers from the mountains of his homeland. At Marakuthai, tucked away in a house in Jardins (above; Alameda Itu, 1618; 011-55-11-3062-7556; entrees $20 to $29), the 21-year-old Renata Vanzetto takes inspiration from Thai food for her cooking, which is based on fresh local fruit and produce, for dishes like shrimp in curry sauce with coconut-crusted banana. And at Kaá (Avenida Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek, 279; 011-55-11-3045-0043; entrees $22 to $37), a high-design Jardins hot spot, Paulo Barros uses Amazonian ingredients like star fruit and bacuri to localize his French-Italian menu. ‘‘Brazil is now being looked to as a global economic player,’’ says Barros, 37. ‘‘So why not bring its power into the kitchen, too?’’ JOSHUA DAVID STEIN

JUST FOR KICKS • THE ART OF THE GAME In anticipation of next month’s World Cup in South Africa, FIFA has commissioned 17 artists to create limited-edition soccer-themed prints. The Cup organizers initiated the art-for-athletics program back in 2006, printing posters by the likes of Andreas Gursky to promote the German games. This year’s portfolio includes a drawing by the South African artist William Kentridge of a player in midkick (right); a latex sculpture of an elephant, its trunk wrapped around the ball, by the German-born Isolde Krams; and a colorful embroidered work by the Sudanese artist Hassan Musa, who reimagines Jacob’s tussle with the Archangel as a center-field struggle. The original artworks were auctioned at New York’s Phillips de Pury, but the signed and numbered prints — 2,010 of each image — go for as little as $121. Go to JILL SINGER 20


Latin Flair

Which Emirates’ destination is this?

It was the only known home of the dodo. Cairo Birmingham Karachi SĂŁo Paulo Tripoli San Francisco Rome Peshawar Kuwait City Ahmedabad Islamabad Bangkok Accra Paris New York Mumbai London Guangzhou Tunis Johannesburg Vienna Newcastle Toronto Entebbe Amsterdam

Singapore Jeddah Doha Thiruvananthapuram Moscow Luanda Lahore Beijing Brisbane Chennai Sydney Khartoum Dhaka Zurich Jakarta Dubai Hamburg Perth Munich Shanghai Lagos Sana’a Delhi Tokyo Prague

Athens Seoul Cape Town Nairobi Malta Hyderabad Venice Istanbul Beirut Durban Osaka Melbourne Damascus Bengaluru Los Angeles Frankfurt MalĂŠ Christchurch Bahrain Casablanca Manila Nice Dusseldorf Kuala Lumpur Madrid

Amman Colombo Tehran Manchester Seychelles Hong Kong Auckland Addis Ababa Kochi Houston Dammam Kozhikode Milan Muscat Abidjan Cochin Riyadh Larnaca Glasgow Kolkata Mauritius Dar Es Salaam Dakar

Find the answer below. Test your knowledge of our global network at Fly Emirates. Keep discovering.

 Mauritius—One of our 18 destinations in Africa. *Amsterdam service begins May 1, 2010. Prague service begins July 1, 2010. Madrid service begins August 1, 2010. Dakar service begins September 1, 2010.           For more details contact Emirates at 800-777-3999. Discover frequent yer beneďŹ ts at

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2. Boston Children’s Museum Renovated in 2007, this LEEDgold-certified museum features interactive art, three green roofs and two stores. The Recycle Shop is filled with reusable fabric scraps, paper, strings and yarn for crafts and fine arts projects; the main shop sells wooden toys and gifts. 308 Congress Street; (617) 426-6500;

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1. Haberdash Vintage A vintage store on wheels, Amy Chase’s silver Bellwood trailer travels around the city with boots, dresses and Bakelite pieces from the ’50s through the ’80s. Summer pit stops include parking lots and private parties along Congress and A Streets. Track it at





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3. Louis The view from the new location of Debi Greenberg’s long-running emporium is nearly as expansive as its offerings, which include edgy labels like Lyn Devon, the Row and Jonathan Saunders; an apothecary stocked with Santa Maria Novella; and, come summertime, a farmers’and-fashion market on the back lawn. 60 Northern Avenue; (617) 262-6100;

MASS APPEAL STYLE MAP • BOSTON If you still think of Boston as the land of ribbon belts and cable knit, the city’s high-profile neighborhood-of-themoment will come as a surprise. Perched along the edge of the South Boston waterfront, the modern-industrial boutiques, restaurants and galleries in and around Fan Pier deliver a destination that’s fully shed of preppy pomp, if not pricey yachts. ALYSSA GIACOBBE

4. The Institute of Contemporary Art Summer evenings at the city’s hippest museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, offer live music and performances in a glass-walled theater and outdoor grandstand. Through Sept. 6, the first solo show of the Mexican tattooist Dr. Lakra features the artist’s handdrawn images over vintage prints. 100 Northern Avenue; (617) 4783100;

5. Front This cheery, spacious shop offers eco-friendly yoga mats from Plank, dog snacks by Polkadog Bakery and stationery and Americana-printed flatware from the house brand, Bob’s Your Uncle. 25 Channel Center Street; (617) 670-3782; 6. Boldfacers The online magazine’s office space transforms into a monthly pop-up shop of clothing, accessories and specialty goods (yoga gear, sex toys). It also hosts panel discussions like the recent ‘‘Infidelity: What Cheating Means.’’ 15 Channel Center Street; (617) 428-0500;



7. Menton Restraint is so 2009. Named after a French village on the Italian border, the chef Barbara Lynch’s restaurant offers two daily menus: a four-course prix fixe and a seven-course tasting of French-Italian fusion. Interior touches like Murano glass chandeliers and antique Persian carpets provide an aesthetic aperitif. 354 Congress Street; (617) 737-0099; 8. Drink This subterranean bar, located in a converted wool warehouse, serves cocktails in vintage barware. Soak up your spirits with snacks like foie gras lollipops. 348 Congress Street; (617) 695-1806;

N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0











Kennedy (JetBlue); Philadelphia (US Airways). WHO’S FLYING Leisure passengers taking advantage of the 38 percent drop in flight prices. WHAT’S THERE A new outreach program for American travelers; resorts offering gentler prices; tons of renovated hotels, including the Crane, Tamarind Cove and the classic Sandy Lane.

N.J. (Continental); Miami (Lufthansa); Singapore (Singapore). WHO’S FLYING Fat cats of the German economy — it’s a regional center for many multinationals like BMW.

(Delta, beginning June 1); Washington Dulles (United, beginning June 20); London Heathrow (Virgin Atlantic). WHO’S FLYING Petrogarchs (Ghana expects to export oil this year), gold speculators and cocoa executives. WHAT’S THERE One of the most stable political landscapes in Africa, after a smooth transition of power last year; distinctive colonial architecture like the Osu Castle, the center of government since British rule.

Washington Dulles (United) WHO’S FLYING The engineers and builders of a mammoth infrastructure plan, along with the requisite soldiers and oil barons. WHAT’S THERE Bahrain Bay, a $2.5 billion development, with apartments, a marina and a Four Seasons hotel to come; and, soon, the estimated $3 billion Bahrain-Qatar causeway, beginning construction this year.

FLIGHTS FROM Los Angeles and San Francisco (both Virgin America, beginning in June). WHO’S FLYING Players in the new Hollywood North — studio heads and their stars — along with tech professionals and venture capitalists from the Bay Area. WHAT’S THERE A hotel boomlet: the Thompson will open in the art and design district this summer, and Ritz-Carlton and Trump will open their first Canadian properties in the next year.


A discreet moneyed class, plus a lively district of design shops and boutiques — not to mention the more-fun-than-itsounds Oktoberfest.


URUGUAY’S VISUAL VANGUARD Never mind the bikinis — the beach towns around Punta del Este, Uruguay, offer up a different kind of eye candy. A nascent art scene has sprung up all around the so-called St.-Tropez of South America, putting a more highbrow gloss on all the hedonism. The area’s latest endeavor is an oceanfront eco-retreat where guest rooms double as art installations. GENEVIEVE PAIEMENT PLAYA VIK JOSE IGNACIO Set to open next month, Playa Vik (left) is the beach-side sister hotel to Estancia Vik, the luxurious ranch on 4,000 inland acres nearby. The sculptural glass-and-titanium main building has a cantilevered pool that juts out toward the ocean and is surrounded by six green-roofed casitas. As at the Estancia, Uruguayan artists were given free rein: Pablo Casacuberta’s colorful suite is graffiti-inspired; Eduardo Cardozo’s minimalist casita centers on a fireplace formed out of mud and hay.; PABLO ATCHUGARRY FOUNDATION The museum

and sculpture park of the beloved Uruguayan sculptor is a cluster of cubic glass and white-painted buildings in Maldonado. In addition to Atchugarry’s large-scale works in Carrara marble, the foundation


displays temporary exhibits of other modernist masters (most recently a Le Corbusier retrospective). GALERIA DEL PASEO Among the surf shops on Manantiales’s main drag, this is the go-to gallery for works by contemporary Uruguayan artists like the sculptor Ricardo Pascale and the digital photographer Ana Tiscornia, who was born in Montevideo and works in New York. RALLI MUSEUM Though its collection is all over the map (16th-century European works, prints by René Magritte), there is a lot of important South American work in this Punta del Este space, like the Venezuelan Henry Bermudez’s psychedelic tableaus exploring pre-Columbian themes.


Much prognosticating about the world’s ‘‘emerging’’ destinations is pure speculation, but consider where the airlines are placing their bets. New routes point to where the money is — and provide a glimpse into travel’s crystal ball. Case in point: Lufthansa is now flying from Frankfurt to Iraq’s newly expanded Erbil airport for the first time in 20 years, catering to workers in the oil and gas industry. So what do the airlines’ latest touch-downs tell us about where to go next? ANDREA BENNETT

ROYAL TREATMENT The Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India, nearly bankrupted Prime Minister Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra when he built it in 1884. A mix of Italian and Tudor architecture, the project took 9 years to build and 22 years to decorate. This summer it will reopen as a hotel from the Taj Group after a restoration that was nearly as ambitious as the original plan. MAURA EGAN

The palace, which played host to King George V and the last czar of Russia, is laid out in a scorpion shape, with the main area, including the lobby, situated in the head while the restaurants are located in the tail. The pincers house several suites.

Once a royal guest house in the Nizam dynasty, the palace had touches of Louis XIV style — carved ceilings, handcrafted mirrors, Belgian cut-glass chandeliers. Guests can eat in the Durbar Hall or in the adjacent dining room, where the table can accommodate 101 people.

GEEK CHIC • POWER RANGER Considering how long stylish travelers have had to cart around less-than-beautiful electrical doohickeys, it’s a wonder that fashion hasn’t come to the rescue sooner. The Yves Saint Laurent travel adapter ($450; is a one-piece electrical dual-voltage plug adapter that connects gadget to outlet in any combination in more than 150 countries (Japanese cellphone to American outlet, German shaver to Australian socket). The circular device swivels to each region’s plug, and a leather bag available in fuchsia, black and violet provides the panache. ADAM KEPLER


Guests are pampered like moguls here. A horse-drawn carriage transports them to the entrance of the 60-room Italian marble building. On arrival, a personal butler receives them, taking care of every whim, from polishing shoes to serving afternoon tea in the hotel’s museumlike Jade Room.


It took nine months to catalog the library’s 5,900 books, which include encyclopedia sets from the early 1900s and several early versions of the Koran. The coffered rosewood and teak ceiling is a replica of one in Windsor Castle in England.

When the Taj Group took over the place in 1995, the new owners were rigorous in restoring it to its former grandeur. Some of the carpets were dyed 300 times to attain the original color, inlaid furniture from Kashmir was repaired, and it took nearly four years to source the century-old fabrics from Europe.

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Nordic Tracks

SWEDEN ‘‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’’ by Stieg Larsson (Knopf, $27.95)

NORWAY ‘‘The Devil’s Star’’ by Jo Nesbo (Harper, $25.99)

FINLAND ‘‘The Priest of Evil’’ by Matti Joensuu (Arcadia, $24.95)

In this last volume of the ‘‘Millennium’’ trilogy, the dragon-tattooed Lisbeth Salander must fend off murder charges from her hospital bed. Larsson, who died in 2004, seems destined for Dan Brown treatment: the Stockholm City Museum offers ‘‘Millennium’’ tours through Sodermalm, where the main characters haunt places like the beer hall Kvarnen (Tjarhovsgatan 4) and the Mellqvist Kaffebar (Hornsgatan 78).

Harry Hole, the Jim Beam-sodden star of Nesbo’s detective series, is Oslo’s answer to Sam Spade. His latest romp opens with the murder of a young woman and eventually leads Hole to meet a source at the Viennese Theater Cafe, almost certainly the Theatercafeen (Stortingsgata 2426). ‘‘This is the only place in Norway where you can get genuine fennel bread with whole fennel seeds,’’ says the source. ‘‘Perfect for herring.’’

In Joensuu’s thriller, the Helsinki metro is the scene of a string of killings with creepy religious overtones. This more-fabulist-than-factual story includes an invisible mountain in the middle of the Finnish capital and a scene in the cavernous Forum center (Mannerheimintie 20), home to H&M’s Nordic cousin, Seppala, and the punk outfitter Back Street, which sells ‘‘Nasty Clothes for Wicked People.’’

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Ah, Scandinavia! Famous for leggy blondes, superb fish and — after a spate of recent crime novels — grisly murders. These whodunits may not be the most obvious travel guides, but each one offers a few clues to the character of its homeland. STEPHEN HEYMAN

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1. Kiester wears this cotton Maui dress ($58 at Wanderlust) by itself in the warmer months or over jeans and leggings in cooler weather.

cotton hobo bag ($38), which she created with Kravan House, an N.G.O. that trains disabled locals to make crafts.


8. She sends visiting friends to the trendy FCC Angkor Boutique Hotel. ‘‘There’s a superchic restaurant and an amazing shop devoted to cool, locally made things like neon Buddha sculptures and brightly colored lacquerware.’’ Go to; doubles from $110 per night.

2. Her favorite snack — bamboo rice — is sold around the Angkor Wat temples and in nearby villages. A bamboo stalk is filled with rice and beans, drenched with coconut milk and cooked over an open flame until it gets ‘‘all sticky and yummy.’’ The best part for Kiester is that it’s eco. ‘‘When you throw the stalk out, it won’t hurt the environment.’’ 3. She goes bananas for mangosteens. ‘‘I used to see them at Dean & Deluca in New York and wonder what these expensive little fruits were,’’ she says. ‘‘Here in Cambodia, they are an abundant, cheap and healthy treat.’’ 4. Kiester gets her gallery fix at the Hôtel de la Paix’s Arts Lounge, which showcases the work of emerging Khmer artists. ‘‘It’s exciting to see the art world taking off here,’’ she says. She particularly admires paintings by the artist Tieng Phalla, like the one shown here. Sivutha Boulevard, 011-855-63-966-000;

9. Siem Reap’s stylish expat set sips Indochine martinis at Miss Wong, a 1940s-Shanghaiinspired cocktail lounge. ‘‘It’s my go-to late-night spot.’’ The Lane; 011-855-92-428-332.

ASIA PROVOCATEUR IN-STORE • WANDERLUST When Elizabeth Kiester, a former New York fashion editor, moved to Cambodia three years ago, she shed her all-black uniform in favor of breezy brights. Fittingly, her Siem Reap store (she recently opened a second location in Phnom Penh) is devoted to colorful fabrics and easy silhouettes. ‘‘Our clothes suit the lifestyle here — cool, fun, comfortable and covert in their sex appeal,’’ Kiester says. Go to SANDRA BALLENTINE 9 7

5. The store owner splurges on long, luxurious pedicures at the Frangipani spa. ‘‘It’s my absolute favorite treat in town,’’ she says. 617/615 Hup Guan Street-Mondol 1; Svay Dangkum Commune; 011-855-12-982-062;


6. A New England-raised preppy at heart, Kiester designed this Sumatra shirtdress to be a more relaxed, feminine version of a men’s oxford shirt. It’s $54 at Wanderlust. 7. Her favorite summer ‘‘It’’ bag? This hand-screened


10 8

10. Kiester collaborates with Chottyavatei Hem on these candy-colored bracelets ($8), which Hem makes by hand from recycled water bottles. ‘‘I love them all stacked up on one arm,’’ Kiester says. ‘‘They also make great party favors.’’ 11. A fellow expat, the photographer John McDermott, has been documenting Southeast Asia for two decades. His new book, ‘‘Elegy’’ ($75 at, features moody photos of the Angkor temples. McDermott has several galleries in town that exhibit other photographers. ‘‘I like to go there and drink in the talent,’’ she says. ■




/ (ē tur´ nəl) / adj. / Forever the same; unchanging, as in places that seem to exist outside time and are immune to the forces of gentrification and globalization, e.g.,

‘‘Even though gastropubs and McMansions have cropped up on the coast, Dorset feels totally eternal. You’re more likely to see fishermen than footballers’ wives.’’


/ (furst ri spän´ dərs) / n. / Travelers who rush to former danger zones or rogue states, like Colombia or Syria, thereby anointing these spots as cutting-edge destinations, as in,

‘‘When it comes to shopping, she’s always a first responder. She just spent a week on her own scavenging the souks of Damascus.’’


/ (rē pur´ pəs) /v. / To use or convert for use in another format, specifically old buildings and neighborhoods, which revitalizes and gives new significance to neglected places, e.g.,

‘‘The hottest neighborhood in Rome right now is San Lorenzo, where a bunch of artısts have repurposed an old pasta factory as studio space.’’ JEFFRIES BLACKERBY AND MAURA EGAN


As American as Cherry Pie Living the sweet life on Lake Michigan. By Ann Patchett


imagine there are plenty of people who travel around the country going to baseball games, and that those people can tell you everything there is to know about the motels near the various stadiums and the quality of the chili dogs. What they know of America’s cities they know insofar as it relates to the game: the convenience of the parking, the freshness of the popcorn. Over time, the things that make us travel can also give us a certain kind of expertise. It could be amusement parks, Civil War battlefields, marinas, museums. For me it’s independent bookstores. Sure, I occasionally go to a city to speak at a library or college, but most of my travel is bookstore-based. I am a novelist, and when I’m not at home writing a book, I tend to be sitting at a small table in the back of a bookstore trying to sell it. I can tell you who has the best selection of birthday cards, who is still serious about poetry, who’s got unusual coffee table books. It isn’t just that I dip in and out of bookstores. I stay there for hours looking at the inventory. At the end of the night, I’ll go to some hotel I won’t remember, eat a grilled cheese sandwich at the bar, and then the next morning I’ll fly to another city to see another bookstore. I can remember the fiction sections, the new releases table — I just can’t remember which store was in which town. Like the baseball fan, I blur the details of anything outside the parking lot. Except in this particular story. The first time I was sent to Petoskey, Mich., was in 2001. I wasn’t happy about it. It was sandwiched into my itinerary among cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. I would have to fly to Detroit, take another flight to Traverse City, rent a car, drive an hour and a half, give a reading, sign some books, get back in the rental car and do the whole thing in reverse. It was such a tight trip that I wasn’t even going to get the cheese sandwich. ‘‘It’s supposed to be a really great bookstore,’’ my publicist said. I said I didn’t care. I had already seen really great bookstores, loads of them. She told me I was going anyway. Here’s a universal truth: The really great places are often the ones that are a drag to get to, and they have been able to remain great places for exactly that reason. Try going to Spear-OWigwam Ranch in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming (rutted dirt road, straight up) or Isle au



Haut, off the coast of Maine (you arrive on the mail boat). Petoskey isn’t that challenging, but it’s certainly off the beaten path. I drove my rental car down two-lane highways that were riddled with fruit stands, vegetable stands, pie stands, all of them nestled in orchards. Maybe I could have driven past one offer of homemade cherry pie, maybe even three or four, but the fifth time I saw the sign I pulled over. I gobbled down my slice by the side of the road: tart cherries, flaky crust, none of that viscous red slime that gave the pie a bad name in the first place. I can’t tell you where that particular stand was, and it wouldn’t matter anyway. In the intervening years I’ve eaten a great deal of pie while standing by the side of the road in Michigan. It’s all been good. This was only the beginning. That first afternoon when I pulled into town I was short on time and sticky from pie. I was tired and distracted. I had work to do and still another plane to catch. But that didn’t mean Summer catch Clockwise from left: one of the area’s many grand lakeside houses; fresh fruit and pies at a roadside stand; McLean & Eakin Booksellers.

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Imagine the cast of ‘Mad Men’ driving out to Michigan in WOOD-PANELED STATION WAGONS

True blue Above: a classic gingerbread house in Bay View, Mich. Right: the view over Harbor Springs.

I was blind. There I was in Petoskey. The houses were wide of porch and steep of gable, many of them painted in the colors favored by seventh-grade girls. Petunias dangled from window boxes. Below the town the sun spread its diamond light over Lake Michigan, over the boats and the swimmers and the shore. The small downtown was a throwback to some simpler idea of American vacations, a couple of ice cream stores that sold taffy and fudge, a gift shop with T-shirts in the window that said LAKE. Imagine the cast of ‘‘Mad Men’’ driving out to Michigan in wood-paneled station wagons for the summer. Frank Sinatra playing in the hotel bar. Sophisticated restaurants commingling with pie shops. The world was leafy and dappled, quiet and cool. Within 10 minutes I started to wonder how I could spend the rest of my life in Petoskey. Of course the desire to stay in Petoskey has been around as long as the town itself. The 36

Gamble family came without the Procter family. The Wrigleys came, no doubt loaded down with chewing gum. In their day one could expect to see the Quakers of the oats and the Armours of the potted meats in these parts. The C.E.O.’s of the auto industry had homes around here in the era of auto grandeur, and they could still be coming today — there really is nothing ostentatious about the place that might cause a taxpayer to wonder why the C.E.O. is taking such a fancy vacation. After all, Mario Batali vacations in this region, but so do the regular folk of Michigan, along with the occasional novelist. I was already thinking it would be a fine place to write. When I walked into the bookstore of this dreamy little town, at that moment, all the other bookstores I’ve known in my life fell away. Julie Norcross founded McLean & Eakin Booksellers in 1992, naming it for her two

grandmothers. Like the town she comes from, she must have a long history of people falling in love with her at first sight. She’s one of those supremely competent individuals who would have made an excellent pioneer. One imagines she could build a sod house in a pinch, but she can also tell a joke, drink a martini, run a business. The books at McLean & Eakin are arranged to beckon, and there are plenty of big chairs to fall into once you heed their call. It is the kind of store where I could happily spend a summer. But on that particular day, I only had minutes before I had to get back in the car. Back at the Traverse City airport I bought a paper cup full of cherries (in the airport!) and ate them while I waited for the plane. I cursed the world that would come between me and the place I loved, and I swore an oath on my cup of cherries that I would return. I’m a big one for keeping my oaths. The upper tier of the lower peninsula of the state of Michigan is not the most sensible place to vacation when you live in Tennessee, but when did love make sense? I went back that same summer with my husband, who thought that I had, if anything, undersold the charms of the place in my descriptions. We went back many summers after that. Last summer I had to make two stops for work in southern Michigan, a region of the country that has been the hardest hit by the bad economy. There’s an eerie sort of quiet down there. There aren’t too many cars on the highways, and downtown stores are boarded over. People are home having yard sales. It wasn’t exactly the climate to put one in mind of rest and relaxation, but it would have been impossible for me to be within a 200-mile radius of Petoskey and not stop in. Finished with work, I turned the rental car north. For all of Michigan’s woes, Petoskey was holding steady. It was the very start of the summer season, and there was a cold wind


for the summer.

Greener pastures A cart of watermelons at Bill’s Farm Market in Petoskey.

I’ve got no business speaking of tradition in this place. I’ve never stayed for more than a few days at a time. I’ve never gone in winter (which, from what I understand, can test the limits of love). Still, I know what I like: strolling through Bay View, a Chautauqua-type summer assembly that was put together by Michigan Methodists in 1875 ‘‘for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotion of the cause of religion and morality.’’ If you’re just walking through, there’s an amazing collection of three-story houses gingerbreaded up to the fare-thee-well. Jesperson’s Restaurant is where people go for the famous homemade pies (raves for the banana cream), and American

ESSENTIALS • MICHIGAN HOTELS Bay Harbor Upscale lakeside development with a hotel and conference center. 4000 Main Street, Bay Harbor; (231) 439-2400;; doubles from $175. Stafford’s Bay View Inn Old but nicely renovated hotel operated by the owners of the Perry. 2011 Woodland Avenue, Bay View; (231) 347-2771;; doubles from $149. Stafford’s Perry Hotel Sought-after inn with 79 rooms overlooking Little Traverse Bay. 118 Lewis Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-4000;; doubles from $129. SHOPS American Spoon Offers crackers and countless open jars of preserves so you can make your own decisions. 411 East Lake Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-1739; Cutler’s Exquisite kitchenware. 216 Howard Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-0341; Dave’s Boot Shop Worth the trip to Petoskey alone for the its galoshes, embroidered felt slippers and a bargain basement. 403 East Lake Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-1941. Gattle’s Beautiful linens, nightgowns and embroidered handkerchiefs. 210 Howard Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-3982; McLean & Eakin Booksellers The bookstore of your dreams. 307 East Lake Street; (800) 968-1910. RESTAURANTS AND CAFES Andante Pricey and chic, with great views and extraordinary food. 321 Bay Street, Petoskey; (231) 348-3321; entrees $33 to $39. Crooked Tree Breadworks The place for transcendent Parmesan bread and ginger cookies. 2264 Route 119, Petoskey; (231) 347-9574; Chandler’s Cozy and romantic spot for superb New American cooking. 215½ Howard Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-2981;; entrees $28 to $40. Jesperson’s Restaurant Family-owned since 1903 and famous for its homemade pies. 312 Howard Street, Petoskey; (231) 347-3601; lunch plates $6 to $9. Julienne Tomatoes Adorable spot for breakfast and lunch, with the best chocolate chip cookies in town. 421 Howard Street, Petoskey; (231) 439-9250;; lunch plates $6 to $9. Legs Inn Authentic Polish restaurant where the main draw is the woodwork. 6425 North Lake Shore Drive, Cross Village; (231) 526-2281;; entrees $14.50 to $25. Walloon Lake Inn Refined American cooking on the lake. 4178 West Street, Walloon Lake; (231) 535-2999;; entrees $19 to $33.


Spoon is a jam and jelly store where I have been known to while away entire afternoons picking out gifts. If you never get to Michigan at all, do yourself a favor and order a jar of its sour cherry preserves. If you feel like leaving, and I can’t imagine you would, you can get mildly ambitious and drive 15 minutes to Harbor Springs to see the houses on the lake that will remind you that the rich are indeed different from the rest of us, or, if it’s late July, you can drive back to Traverse City and catch the film festival that Michael Moore, Michigan’s most outspoken son, has brought to his beloved home state. Or you can head up to see Mackinac Island and sit in a rocker on the porch of the Grand Hotel. They will charge you for the pleasure. Or, like me, you can go back to the bookstore. I know this is a modern world where books are overnighted to your doorstep and beamed to your hand-held device in under a minute. But even if I went to Petoskey in February and there were no morels and no cherries and no pie, I would still have a good vacation at McLean & Eakin. It is just so thrilling to be around people who read, people who will pull a book off the shelf and say, ‘‘This is the one you want.’’ People who want to know what I’m reading and will tell me what they’re reading so that while we talk, stacks of books begin to form around us. It’s my own personal idea of heaven. It is also, in this age of the overnighted electronic hand-held, a bit of Americana you aren’t going to see everywhere. Like the town of Petoskey itself, a very good bookstore feels a little nostalgic, a place out of time. Look at all those people looking at books! It is at once as rare and ordinary as really good pie. ■


blowing off the lake, which meant that nothing much was crowded, which meant that I was able to score a premium room at Stafford’s Perry Hotel, top floor, end of the hall, balcony overlooking the water. And while the region was still months away from cherries, the orchards were covered over in white blossoms so delicate that the slightest breeze stirred up a blizzard of petals. It makes a person wonder why anyone ever bothers with Japan. I called Julie, who immediately invited us for dinner. It was a cold evening and still plenty light out when my husband and I drove out to the Norcross house on Walloon Lake, deep in a piney forest. There we piled into their 1960 Chris-Craft along with various members of the Norcross family and, wrapped in blankets, sped across the lake, past the slender docks, past a summer camp for boys, past Hemingway’s boyhood summer home (which, when you see the place, makes so much sense for Hemingway), to the Walloon Lake Inn. It turned out to be a night of much anticipation and celebration, because even if the cherry trees had yet to bear fruit, this was the start of morel mushroom season. Walloon Lake Inn, which has some rooms but is mostly about the restaurant, had thrown its whole heart into the moment of the mushrooms. We ate them in soup and grilled on salads and sautéed on whitefish. We would have happily soaked them in our gin and tonics and eaten them on ice cream. Tender, chewy little marvels, they were the harbingers of every good thing that lay ahead in summer.

Everyone Into le Pool! In France, sleepaway camps are maturing into stylish hotels. Christopher Petkanas grabs a bunk.




Notes on camp Clockwise from top: La Maison de la Prade in Messanges, France; the old dormitories; the hotel’s pool.

nostalgia for the less prosperous and more solidaristic nation in which the colonies flourished,’’ says Laura Lee Downs, the author of ‘‘Histoire des Colonies de Vacances, de 1880 à Nos Jours’’ (Éditions Perrin). Colonies were born in the late 19th century as a social welfare movement, shuttling legions of sickly children of the working poor from industrial cities to rural locations in summer — the anemic were sent to the seaside, the pretubercular to the mountains and the ‘‘nervous’’ to the countryside. (Companies like Air France and the SNCF rail system still sponsor camps for the children of employees.) A colonie is probably not what you think it is. There are no damp, rickety cabins à l’Américaine. Neither are there usually tents — this is France. You could mistake La Prade for the sprawling whitewashed weekend crib of deep-pocketed Parisians. (Tri Men is a belle époque villa, Montvianeix a 35-acre farm complex.) Purpose-built in 1930, it was

designed with a surprising sensitivity to detail. A lovely frieze of marine motifs swims under the eaves at La Prade, and COLONIE DE VACANCES is spelled out in smart, Deco-ish letters over the door. Owned by the council of the Landes département, the camp operated until 1987, at times with the SNCF as benefactor. Then for almost 20 years, the property was abandoned except for ‘‘the squatters who graffitied the old dormitories and tore through them on skateboards,’’ says Sylvie Ducousso, one of the hotel’s current owners. When the colonie was finally put up for sale, every offer except one was for razing it and developing a résidence de vacances (translation: nasty subdivision). Only Ducousso and her husband, Franck, a golf pro, planned not just to keep the place but enshrine its past. The lobby is hung with fuzzy blowups of old sepia postcards of young La Prade inmates refusing to pretend they’re having a good time. Sixteen


he French are so good at drilling down, at paring and distilling, that hardly anyone thinks twice when a saffron farm in Provence opens its doors to paying guests these days. On what seemed like an absurd hunch, the owners of l’Aube Safran gambled correctly that there are enough people in the world whose idea of heaven is to spend their vacation harvesting crocuses, tweezing out the stigmas and eating bouillabaisse. With its historic appreciation for the charms and excesses of a good fetish, France today is all about the delightfully eccentric, microniche hotel. If a guest experience built around a spice sounds too precious for words, you can always go the bohemian route and spend the night in a marooned Gypsy wagon. (My favorite is at Le Mas dou Pastre in the Alpilles.) Or maybe you take an extreme view of tree hugging and book at Les Folies d’Amédée, in a forest near Limoges, where the adventurous can sleep in an egg-shaped frame of chestnut branches, stretched with cowhide and hung high from a limb. So it was only a matter of time before someone hit on the idea of transforming an old summer camp into an alluring hotel that trades on the sentimental feelings the French have for the colonies de vacances they were packed off to as kids. A beachy mix of bamboo, sisal and beadboard paneling, La Maison de la Prade is 40 miles north of Biarritz in Messanges and a 10-minute walk from the Atlantic. (Other colonies-turned-hotels include the swanky Villa Tri Men in Brittany and the rustic Domaine de Montvianeix in the Auvergne.) ‘‘The hotels play off the great wave of

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Sun worship Left: one of the rooms at La Prade. Below: the region’s pristine beaches attract a mellow crowd.

AT THE POOL. guest rooms were sliced out of the dorms and filled with shipshape furniture made locally in pine and oak and modern versions in fruity colors of the traditional striped fabrics of the neighboring Basque region. The facade remains intact thanks to a covered gallery built onto the back. Guests enter their rooms via this addition, an architectural wink at the vernacular farm buildings dotting the surrounding landscape. The former private quarters of the counselors are now two suites. The Ducoussos’ management style hits just the right note: not too slick, not too relaxed. La Prade must be the last hotel on earth not to demand a deposit. The racier and more touristy attractions of Biarritz and, to the north, Bordeaux, make Messanges all but American-proof: few can be bothered to make it this far up or down the coast. Mostly what you get are Messieurs and Mesdames Toutlemondes biking, hiking, wearing out the bean bags around the pool at La Prade, picnicking on the side of the road (the hotel prepares hampers of foie-grasstuffed goose neck and fresh sheep’s cheese with black-cherry jam), sunning and swimming. French beaches get a bad rap, 42

but Messanges’ three miles of satiny sand is stunning, a precious stretch of oceanfront in Landes blessedly free of eyesores. By the 1930s, according to Downs, colonies mutated in a trickle-up effect to include middle-class campers, who mixed with the sons and daughters of ‘‘prolos,’’ to the benefit of all. ‘‘Hundreds of thousands of kids still go,’’ Downs says, ‘‘but most camps are not the broadly shared experience they were until the ’80s: the original target population can no longer afford them.’’ Since by definition colonies accept children only, hotels like La Prade are really quite clever, making echoes of the colonie life available to families. When I mentioned this at a recent dinner party in Paris, everyone perked up with misty tales of lost innocence: straw mattresses, human pyramids and care packages from Mamie filled with indestructible Président Camembert and tubes of Nestlé sweetened concentrated milk. I’d gone to Boy Scout camp as a kid, but there was no point in trying to share my own sleepaway experience with French friends, because like so many experiences, the French feel they own it. ■

ESSENTIALS • FRANCE HOTELS Domaine de Montvianeix Saint-Victor-Montvianeix; 011-33-4-73-94-02-95;; doubles from $115. La Maison de la Prade Avenue de la Plage, Messanges; 011-33-5-58-48-38-96;; doubles from $160. L’Aube Safran 450 Chemin du Patifiage, Le Barroux; 011-33-4-90-62-66-91;; doubles from about $180. Le Mas dou Pastre Quartier Saint-Sixte, Eygalières; 011-33-4-90-95-92-61;; twoperson wagons from $170. Les Folies d’Amédée Saint-Pierre-de-Fursac; 011-33-5-55-63-62-18;; cabanas $40 per person. Villa Tri Men 16 Rue du Phare, Sainte-Marine; 011-33-2-98-51-94-94;; doubles from $245.


At La Prade, what you get are Messieurs and Madames Toutlemondes biking, hiking and wearing out the BEAN BAGS



THIS SUMMER’S BEST DEALS, DIVERSIONS AND DESTINATIONS. Have you booked the family vacation yet? If not, it’s time to get dreaming, researching and booking. Summer is just around the corner; destinations, resorts and cruise lines are angling for your business with evermore-inventive programs, activities and kids clubs; and the best deals of the year are up for grabs and going fast. INSIDE: The Real Deal: “Affordable family vacation” is no longer a contradiction in terms Kids Camp 2.0: Forget building sandcastles on the beach. Today’s kids clubs are getting serious about fun Targeting Teenagers: Total engagement in a world without video games Animal Magic: Few experiences are as moving as a close encounter with a dolphin, turtle or other large creature This special advertising feature is sponsored by participating advertisers. The material was written by Andrew Bill, and did not involve the reporting or editing staff of The New York Times. ©2010 The New York Times N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0




THE REAL DEAL “AFFORDABLE FAMILY VACATION” IS NO LONGER A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS After a sluggish couple of years, families are traveling again, and the travel industry is trying to make up for lost time — bidding for your attention with never-before-seen discounts, free nights, companion airfares, incentivefilled packages and plain old great value. Long regarded as one of the most familyfriendly destinations in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands ( recently announced “Summer Splash 2010.” From now to September 6, caymansummersplash. com lists great travel deals on resorts, activities and adventures such as wildlife tours and cultural experiences. If you book five nights at participating resorts — such as Grand Cayman Beach Suites and the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman — you get the fifth night free and a free trip to Stingray City. That’s not all. Kids aged 10 to 17 years can explore the Cayman Islands’ famous diving waters using free rental gear, 50-percent discounts on diving and a two-for-one deal on a Discover Scuba Diving certification course and/or Junior Open Water certification. When accompanied by an adult, children 11 years or younger get 30 percent off when flying on Cayman Airways. Children 11 years or younger stay free at some of the island’s best accom44

modations, eat free at participating restaurants and enter many top attractions for free — including Sea School with SpongeBob SquarePants, which teaches kids 5 to 11 about local marine life, historic shipwrecks and Caymanian heritage and culture. Another destination-wide promotion is “Summer Sanctuary,” offered by The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel ( on southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. Between May and August, take advantage of special rates and incentives at 20-plus participating properties. South Seas Island Resort ( on Captiva Island has its “Seven Days to Play” deal, offering a 20-percent discount for single

Splash,” which features 30 percent off its room rates, and throws in buy-one-get-onefree breakfasts at Tanglewood Restaurant plus a water taxi to Big Hickory Island’s private beach. For more details, follow the “Summer Sanctuary” link at All the other Fort Myers attractions are also at their best in the summer months: 50 miles of white-sand beaches, some of the world’s best shelling, island-hopping by ferry or water taxi, watching wild bottlenose dolphins and manatees and spectacular sunsets. There is Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge mangrove ecosystem, the Sanibel Lighthouse and the Boca Grande Lighthouse, and the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. Cross the state to Greater Fort Lauderdale ( on the Atlantic coast and you’ll find other persuasive offers. Fort Lauderdale

THE LIST STARTS WITH 50 MILES OF WHITE-SAND BEACHES, SOME OF THE WORLD’S BEST SHELLING, ISLAND-HOPPING BY FERRY OR WATER TAXI, WATCHING BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS AND MANATEES IN THE WILD, AND THE END-OF-THE-DAY SPECTACULAR (WATCHING THE SUN SET) or double occupancy with a minimum sevennight stay in Harborside guest rooms (valid June through August). The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa (coconutpoint. in Bonita Springs has “Summer

has long been known as one of the U.S.’s great scuba destinations. June is “Learn to Dive Month,” an ideal time thanks to perfect water conditions, online training, a free graduation dive, plus a free fourth night (for bookings of

If everyone wants to do something different, then you’ve come

to the right place. When you’re Freestyle Cruising ® on Norwegian Cruise Line, you get what you want and so do your kids. With thousands of choices like plunging water slides, a two-story WiiTM wall and NickelodeonTM at Sea, there really is something for everyone. And our supervised activities just for kids will give you plenty of time to sneak away for a spa treatment, a romantic dinner and even a live show. A vacation the whole family can agree on — that’s Freestyle Cruising. Visit, call your travel agent or 1.888.NCL.CRUISE.

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three nights or more). Participating resorts include Ocean Point Beach Resort, Embassy Suites, Beachcomber Resort and Residence Inn. More information on the “Learn to Dive” training and special hotel rates can be found at Deals also abound for St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, in the middle of Florida’s west coast. At press time, the region’s official site ( listed 36 seasonal offers from resorts and service providers, starting under $100 per night for spring travel. Hollywood Beach, the beautiful seaside town just south of Fort Lauderdale, recently posted its hot summer deals on its official site, So now you can enjoy all the destination’s attractions, starting with seven miles of Blue Wave–certified beach, for room rates as low as $89., the site for North Carolina, now publishes so many special offers it breaks them down by region (Mountains, Piedmont and Coast). At press time, there were deals posted by Darlings by the Sea on Kure Beach, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, a spa sojourn at the Biltmore Village Inn, and Asheville city stays at the Sourwood Inn and the Grand Bohemian Hotel. Given the extraordinary number of golf courses in the state, it’s not surprising that there is a dedicated page just for golf deals — And it’s not just the destinations; the resorts are also rolling out the red carpet

for families. Just look at Dreams Resorts & Spas ( with its 11 resorts in some of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico. In addition to their “Unlimited Luxury” pricing, the Dreams Resorts & Spas properties have an annual “Kids Stay Free” promotion representing $700 savings per week for a family of four. In addition to reduced nightly rates, the deal includes $200 in resort coupons and all the usual inclusions of the “Unlimited-Luxury” program — full breakfast, lunch and dinner, unlimited premium beverages, 24-hour room service, daily refreshed mini bar plus activities and classes, and supervised Explorers Club for kids. RESORTS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE Just above Miami on Florida’s east coast, the town of Bal Harbour (balharbourflorida. com) recently announced great summer deals at both of its hotels. The historic Sea View Hotel has a “Book Three, the Fourth is Free” package. Stay for four nights or longer in a standard room between now and September 30 and you get savings of 25 percent off the usual rate. The town’s other hotel, the beautiful new ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, has two other deals to consider (also through September). Perfect for families, the “Family Suite Escape” package offers 50 percent off an adjoining bedroom when you book a suite, plus free Continental breakfasts for parents and kids under 12. The “Family Love” package


Miami to the south of us. Fort Lauderdale to the north of us. Not a single destination above us. Experience shopping like never before at the fashion-forward Bal Harbour Shops, just a stroll away from our beachfront hotels. Nourish the mind, body and soul with exclusive beach side workouts, and Kids Club programs designed by the Miami Children’s Museum. Stir the senses with the cultural offerings of the New World Symphony and culinary originals at one of several taste-tempting Bal Harbour restaurants. Bal Harbour, where life meets style.

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THE HISTORIC SANIBEL LIGHTHOUSE WAS BUILT IN 1884. Photo: Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

takes 25 percent off the adjoining bedroom when you book a suite, and throws in valet parking, two in-room movie rentals plus popcorn, candy and sodas for four people. Another luxurious South Florida property, Miami’s Fairmont Turnberry Isle (fairmont. com/turnberryisle), is offering its lowest rates of the year — starting at just $99.50 per person, per night, double occupancy — from June 1 to September 30. Kids under 18

stay free with their parents and kids 5 and under eat free at the resort’s restaurants. Golfers should note that during the same period the resort is offering guests free golf (no greens fees) for its two Raymond Floyd– redesigned golf courses, the Soffer and Miller. Kids accompanied by a parent can golf at no charge, too; just pay the $40 per-person cart fee. And there are plenty of other activities to keep kids busy. Trump International Beach Resort ( in nearby Sunny Isles Beach also makes summer sizzle. The oceanfront, Mobil 4-star resort recently announced “Burn Notice,” a deal designed for families (two adults and two children) who stay in a suite between June 1 and August 31. Based on a two-night stay, the package allows you to enjoy South Florida’s sunshine without getting burned by extra charges. It includes full American breakfast daily for the whole family at Neomi’s Grill, valet parking and Internet access. The hotel waives the $15 resort fee and provides guests with a sun-protection amenity upon check-in, daily cool-down ice cream for the kids and one in-room family movie rental. The deal also adds in a $100 dining credit that can be used at Neomi’s Grill or Sushi Lounge or a $100 spa credit for the resort’s full-service Aquanox Spa. The “Family Fun” package (specialoffers. offered by the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa ( in Fort Lauderdale includes a $100 resort credit per day, special meal deals for the kids (ages 5 and under eat free from the kids menu; ages 6 to 12 get 50 percent off items on the regular menu) and evening entertain-

ment arranged by the property’s “Director of Fun.” Fans of SpongeBob SquarePants should check out the “Nickelodeon Family Weekend” package posted by the Harbor Beach Marriott ( Farther north, in the town of Ponte Vedra Beach 20 miles southeast of Jacksonville, the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club ( has an attractive summer-value rate available for travel between June 15 and September 14. A 25 percent discount from the same period in 2009, it means you can stay in this landmark resort for a nightly rate starting at just $189.

KIDS CAMP 2.0 FORGET BUILDING SANDCASTLES ON THE BEACH. KIDS’ CLUBS ARE GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT FUN. Most kids camps used to be places where parents parked their offspring while they stole a few hours of adult-time on the golf course or in the spa. Not any more. Resorts have suddenly cottoned on to an eternal truth of parenting — if the kids are happy, the parents are happy — and are creatively fusing skill-development with fun time, in the process showing a true understanding of what makes contemporary kids tick. The exclusive beach town of Bal Harbour ( wanted to add a Kids Club that would blow the lid off the old concept, so it turned to the nearby Miami Children’s Museum, which has been earning accolades since it opened 27 years ago. When Bal Harbour’s Kids Club opened in



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January, it lived up to its lofty goals, appealing to children’s definition of fun while satisfying their curiosity and imparting genuine skills and knowledge. Based in Bal Harbour’s historic Sea View Hotel, the Club runs daily workshops including “Eco-Explorers” (educating kids about recycling, conservation and sustainable living), “Little Masters” (encouraging budding artists to create their own mini-masterpieces), “Cultural Connections” (focusing on the cuisine, dance, music and traditions of a different country each day), “The Entire World’s a Stage” (teaching burgeoning thespians about set design, costumes and performing) and “Nutrition Mission” (introducing kids to yoga, aerobics, and healthy eating and cooking). Designed for kids 5 to 12 years of age, these daily workshops run Thursdays through Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and cost just $25 per child, per day, including snacks. The Club is open to all guests at Bal Harbour’s two hotels and any of the village residents or their guests. When shopping for kids’ fashions at Bonpoint and Mini Oxygene, just two of the 100-plus boutiques in the famous Bal Harbour Shops, families can duck into Books & Books to browse its extraordinary selection for young readers. The bookseller also has a robust children’s and teen program that stages in-store activities and readings from best-selling young-adult authors such as Ally Carter, who writes the Gallagher Girls series; Ann Brashares of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” fame; and Sarah Mlynowski of the “Bras and Broomsticks” series. Every week at 12:30 p.m., there is “Sunday Story Time” featuring a classic children’s picture book and an arts activity. Another reinvention of the traditional kids camp can be found at the nearby 390room Trump International Beach Resort 50

(, in exclusive Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Its Planet Kids program is free for guests’ children ages 5 to 12, except for meals and art fees, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Its diverse and engaging activities include Art, Music and Movement, Fun and Fitness, Water Play and Sport Skills. Every Saturday, a special evening program ($60 per child) runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and includes dinner, a movie and a special art project. In keeping with the resort’s environmental awareness, Planet Kids incorporates a daily eco-themed activity, such as an oil-spill beach clean-up or science lesson in which children view marine life through a microscope. Globie, the resort’s earth-shaped mascot, makes regular appearances at Planet Kids, teaching the

little ones about marine life, keeping the earth clean and protecting the environment. While the kids are thriving at Planet Kids, their parents are free to enjoy the resort, starting with its oversized rooms and suites, all with a private balcony and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway. The signature restaurant, Neomi’s, is one of the best dining experiences in the region. Aquanox, Trump International’s 12,000-square-foot spa, lures guests back with its serenity, classic treatments, state-of-the-art fitness center and certified personal trainers. For outdoor relaxation, there is a private beach and grotto-style water complex with luxurious cabanas and two pools with waterfalls. Guests keeping one foot in the work world can take advantage of the fully equipped business center and 22,000-square-foot meeting and banquet space. Miami’s Fairmont Turnberry Isle ( has transformed its club, Kids’ Connection, into a unique adventure. Fully supervised and open for children aged 5 to 12 years, it teaches about the natural world and focuses young minds using a variety of fun-filled activities, including team building and cooperative games, arts and crafts, sports and fitness, drama, pool activities and a character club. Half-day programs (9 a.m. to noon) are $40 per child and full-day programs (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) are $60 per child, including lunch. When not at Kids’ Connection, Fairmont


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Turnberry Isle’s young guests have the run of a private beach club on the Atlantic and the Laguna Pool, with its 800-foot-long lazy river and a 180-foot-long, 35-foot-high waterslide. When it comes to kids’ fantasy vacation spots, few names rank higher on the wish list than Atlantis, Paradise Island (Atlantis. com) in the Bahamas. The long list of wonders starts with Aquaventure, the 141-acre waterscape with heart-thumping rides and slides, the largest marine habitat in the

world and a new 8,000-square-foot kids club, Atlantis Kids Adventures, complete with a LEGO construction room, performance area, game room, a computer room with 13 iMac stations, an arts and crafts room with Mindstorm interactive surface solutions, a wizardology room, a Victorian kitchen, plus the more traditional crafts. As if that wasn’t enough, Atlantis has now entered into a unique partnership with LEGO to conduct LEGO Fantasy Camps this July. During


the three five-day camps, children will work with a LEGO Master Builder, undertaking group building challenges. They will also get a chance to enjoy Atlantis’s other attractions including swimming with rescued Katrina Dolphins in Dolphin Cay, model car-racing sessions at the miniature Speedway and an all-camper ice cream social, pizza and “coketail” party. Offered only in conjunction with a four-night minimum stay at Atlantis, the camps include all activities and LEGO materials (including a full-sized LEGO Atlantis product) and cost $425 per child. There are also air-inclusive room packages in conjunction with JetBlue, the official airline of LEGO Fantasy Camp. Cruise-based kids clubs are also growing more imaginative and sophisticated to attract the family market. The Norwegian Epic, the newest ship from Norwegian Cruise Line (, has Kid’s Crew, two fully supervised areas designed for younger kids (aged 2 through 9) and tweens (10 through 12). Centrally located on Deck 14, adjacent to the family-friendly staterooms, the younger kids’ area has a space-themed play area, an air hockey table, an interactive light-up dance floor, Wii gaming areas, an arts-and-crafts area, a surround-sound cinema and Nickelodeon-themed entertainment including character meet-and-greets and interactive game shows. The Tween Zone has a more futuristic feel that includes multiple Wii and PlayStation areas, along with



a private karaoke performance stage which doubles as a cinema. Then there are Norwegian Epic’s two groupcare services for 2- to 12-year-olds: “Late Night Fun Zone” (nightly from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.) and “Port Play,” for when ship is in port, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — each just $6 per hour, per child. For older kids, there is worldclass entertainment such as the Blue Man Group (ocean-bound for the first time) and Cirque Dreams and Dinner performing under the Spiegel Tent (the only big top at sea).

Contest held annually (this year on June 19) in the tiny village of Spivey’s Corner, about 25 miles east of Fayetteville. Honoring the traditional method of communication in the rural South, this festival is nationally known for the crowd-pleasing (and ear-splitting) hollers that contestants deliver. Entrance to the festival is free. Other equally wonderful generation-crossing events can be found at It’s hard to imagine a video game that can compare with the thrill of skimming through

the tree canopy at 50 mph, suspended by the thinnest of cables. The regular tour at Scream Time Zipline, just minutes outside Boone in North Carolina’s beautiful “High Country,” lasts two-and-a-half hours and consists of six different zip lines, ranging in length from 450 to 800 feet (almost three football fields). The price: $89. If that isn’t heart-hammering enough, what about disconnecting with terra firma altogether? At The Kitty Hawk Kites’ Hang Gliding School (the largest hang gliding school in the world) in Jockey’s Ridge State Park, your teenager can take flight under the guidance of a certified instructor. The three-hour lesson takes place on the soft dunes and is so safe it’s open to students as young as four years. Kitty Hawk Kites is also known for its kayaking tours of the Outer Banks. Depending on your fitness and interest, you can sign up for the Ecology and Natural History tour, the Pirate tour or, if you really want to get serious about your paddling proficiency, Specialized Skills Instruction. One reason that Greater Fort Lauderdale ( has been so successful as a family destination is that it really does have something for every age group, from toddlers to teenagers. For the latter hard-to-please category, there are options from rock concerts and major sporting leagues to paddle-boarding and skimming through the Everglades on an air-boat. Teenagers who want to earn their

TARGETING TEENAGERS TOTAL ENGAGEMENT IN A WORLD WITHOUT VIDEO GAMES It’s easy to blame this age of near-constant electronic bombardment, but the truth is that it has never been easy to find activities that both meet a teenager’s rigid requirements and appeal to the rest of the family. The only hope is to out-sing the Siren call of the pushbutton world. One sure bet to get your teenager out in the sunlight is North Carolina (, where outdoor adventures come in all shapes, sizes … and volumes. You can unplug the iPod and chill out to some real Carolina Beach Music, a classic blues/swing/classic rock hybrid that is the focus of the Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival in Carolina Beach (June 5). Ranking high among the state’s fascinating cultural events is the National Hollerin’ 54


June Is Learn to Dive Month. Free Dive and Free Hotel Night.



board-shorts can sign up with EZride Surf School (, which offers instruction at safe surf-breaks off Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach and Pompano Beach. Experienced surf instructors stand by, ready to help beginners find the perfect wave and more proficient surfers perfect their cut backs and aerials. There are family lessons, personal lessons, full-day surf instruction and, during June and July, special surf camps that take on groups up to 10 people from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. If you need a special incentive to get your teenager into nature, how about a Segway tour? You can tour Hugh Taylor Birch State Park ( on East Sunrise Boulevard using these self-balancing personal transportation vehicles, rolling off through the tropical hammock trees and wheeling down the pathways in search of a perfect picnic spot ( Wedged between the Atlantic and the Intracoastal Waterway, this former private estate offers plenty of other diversions, including a great beach, in-line skating, volleyball, canoes and fishing. If surfing and nature parks are a touch too Zen, there is Xtreme Indoor Karting ( at 5300 Powerline Road in Fort Lauderdale. At this new 90,000-square-foot, $4-million facility, you can race Bowman Race Carts around a halfmile asphalt track (the longest in Florida) at speeds up to 45 mph. When the race is over, you get full analysis of your performance and driver printouts. To keep the adrenaline flow56

ing, the center has more than 100 interactive video arcade games. It might be close to impossible to get your teenager into your average art museum, but then the Salvador Dalí Museum ( in downtown St. Petersburg (, Florida, is far from average. The permanent home of the most comprehensive collection of Dalí’s works, it offers a fascinating tour through the mind of the famous Spanish surrealist painter. His melting clocks, double images and hallucinogenic portraits are certain to reach in and stir even the most video-gamefed imagination. The museum hosts Family Fun Saturdays from 11:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., during which kids of all ages can dally with

Another St. Petersburg museum with whole-family appeal is Great Explorations Children’s Museum (, filled with hands-on exhibits that are guaranteed to entertain and educate. The 24,000-square-foot museum has a climbing wall and a raceway where visitors can build and race a tabletop racecar, and a sailboat exhibit where visitors learn about direction and air pressure. If you are concerned about water safety, what about signing up your young teenager for “Junior Lifeguards,” a special program offered by Hollywood Beach ( During the program, kids aged 8 to 14 learn about ocean and beach safety, lifesaving techniques and procedures, res-

IT’S HARD TO IMAGINE A VIDEO GAME THAT CAN COMPARE WITH THE RAW THRILL OF SKIMMING THROUGH THE TREE CANOPY AT 50 MPH, SUSPENDED ONLY BY THE THINNEST OF CABLES. Dalí using fun games, puzzles and craft activities that both educate and encourage family interaction. The Family Guide brochures are deliberately designed to help families explore the collection on their own and discover the artist’s subtleties and magic. On January 11 of next year, the museum will move to a spectacular new $35-million, 66,450-square-foot home on the city’s Tampa Bay waterfront. Designed by world-renowned architect Yann Weymouth (who assisted with the renovation of the Louvre in Paris), the new building is a work of art in itself.

cue board and ocean-kayak skills, ecology, first aid and competition in ocean lifeguard events. For details, call the town’s Beach Safety Headquarters at 954-921-3423. Other organized activities in Hollywood that will get your teenager out on the water include one-on-one dive training with Private Scuba Lessons ( or sailing instruction, given every Saturday at the Gulfstream Sailing Club on Sailor’s Point ( at the edge of North Lake. Or spend a day in the Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park. In this remark-


Where your alarm clock is the sound of the surf. Your only

priority is to ďŹ nd a starďŹ sh. And your sole appointment is with a sunset. It’s time you hit the pause button on your life.

Visit or call 888-231-6938 for a free traveler’s guide.



CASA YBEL RESORT An island sanctuary, Casa Ybel is Sanibel’s only all-suite, all-beach front, no fees resort. Take in miles of beaches, an Olympic size pool, on-site dining, Kid’s Club and more.

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able 1,500-acre tropical ecosystem, you can rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down one of the three paddling trails, following tidal channels as they twist and turn through the mangroves. You can learn more about the ecosystem through photo exhibits, aquariums and a film screening room. You don’t need to be a hardened hiker to enjoy the Center’s two boardwalks that lead through the animal-lively wetlands to a gazebo overlooking the lake. You can send your teenager up the park’s five-story, 68-foot-high tower for panoramic views, or take the whole family on a 25-passenger covered boat for a narrated tour of the tidal creeks and open waters of West Lake. TAPPING INTO THE TEENAGE MIND Resorts are also pouring their creative juices into engaging, entertaining and, in some cases, benefiting their teenage guests. At a time when one out of every three American children is classified as obese, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts ( has launched “RU Ready?” (, an interactive fitness program that fuses a kid’s contemporary world of computers, video games and social media with outdoor play. Available for younger guests (aged 7 to 17) at select resorts this summer, “RU Ready?” — a partnership with Trick It Out Sports — offers a fun fitness challenge designed to improve kids’ athletic skills for baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, skateboarding, snowboarding and soccer. The curriculum combines the use of playing cards and a Web-based experience to provide instructional and competitive participatory skill challenges. E-mail updates and customized Web pages also make it easy for kids to continue the program at home and virtually compete against other kids ... or just test their own skills. In Miami, Fairmont Turnberry Isle ( has warmed the welcome still further with a raft of teen-centric sports including soccer, Wiffle ball, foosball, croquet, badminton, beach volleyball, jet skiing and the amenities at the Laguna Pool. And let’s not forget the resort’s two outstanding golf courses, the Soffer and Miller. When not giving their parents fierce competition on the fairways, young guests aged 8 to 15 can sign up for the resort’s golf clinics, scheduled every Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. and costing just $45 per child. During these clinics, young novice and skilled players learn everything from the fundamentals of golf to perfecting their swing and technique, putting-distance control, driving the ball, plus practice through games and drills. Private lessons are also available. 58

If your teenager prefers a racquet to an eight iron, then there is Fairmont Turnberry Isle’s equally spectacular tennis center. The resident pros run exciting tennis programs ranging from “Team Practice,” a three-hour clinic with a 4:1 player to professional ratio

a.m. until midnight, these zones have a range of daily programs and activities that vary by resort (mechanical-bull riding, rock climbing, baseball, foosball, Euro bungee and the essential video games). Nightly social events, held from 8:30 p.m. until midnight, include weekly

IT MIGHT BE CLOSE TO IMPOSSIBLE TO GET YOUR TEENAGER INTO AN ART MUSEUM BUT, THEN AGAIN, THE SALVADOR DALÍ MUSEUM IN BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, IS FAR FROM AVERAGE. ($70), “Daily Drills” every morning at 9 a.m. ($40), Junior Tennis for ages 5 to 17 (between $25 and $35) and round-robin tournaments. Another hotel company bending over backwards to please its almost-adult guests is Dreams Resorts & Spas (dreamsresorts. com). All 11 of its properties in Mexico and the Caribbean have Core Zone Teens Clubs where teenagers aged 13 through 17 can cut loose and have the time of their lives. Monitored by an Entertainment Team and open from 9

bonfires on the beach and disco mixers. Since the zones are included in Dreams Resorts & Spas “Unlimited-Luxury” pricing, participation comes with no extra charge. Hidden away in the tony seaside village of Ponte Vedra Beach, just 30 miles southeast of Jacksonville in northeast Florida, Ponte Vedra Inn and Club ( is the kind of place that guests return to year after year, drawn by its home-away-from-home atmosphere, quiet beauty and 250 guest rooms and



Make like a sponge and soak up the fun!

This summer during Cayman Summer Splash, kids stay, play and eat free. They’ll also receive free admission to top attractions AND have a chance to become “Protectors of the Environment” by attending Cayman Sea School with Nickelodeon’s lovable SpongeBob SquarePants. But that’s just the beginning. Your whole family will enjoy a 5th night free when you book a minimum five-night stay, along with impressive deals on watersports and car rentals. So this summer, save a little and make the most of your time together with Cayman Islands Summer Splash.

CLOSE TO HOME. FAR FROM EXPECTED. just one hour from miami.



suites, most featuring dramatic ocean views. The AAA Five-Diamond, 300-acre property is also the kind of place you can let teenagers roam free, confident they have more than enough outstanding amenities to keep them busy. The list starts with one of the most beautiful beaches in the state, ideal for swimming

and beach-combing in search of take-home prizes such as Atlantic Augers, Baby’s Ears, Purse Crab, Coquina and other shells. You can sit on the sand, enjoying a family picnic provided by the resort, and watch your children tire themselves out in ocean kayaks, on sailing catamarans, boogie boards and surfboards.

They can take swimming lessons in the pool, pedal off around the neighborhood on one of the resort’s rental bicycles or cast a lure into the resort’s four miles of lagoon waterways in search of bass, brim and speckled perch. For aspiring equestrians, there is a nearby horseback-riding center. Budding golfers can take a clinic or tee off on the resort’s two aptly named 18-hole courses, the Ocean and the Lagoon. And tennis players can take full advantage of the resort’s Racquet Club with its 15 HAR-TRU clay courts and daily schedule of instructional clinics. For a family with teenagers, cruising is an easy option, combining plenty of age-appropriate diversions within a safe, contained environment. Norwegian Cruise Line ( has made the decision even easier. Its newest ship, the Norwegian Epic, mixes thoroughly creative facilities with the company’s signature Freestyle Cruising philosophy — no pre-set dinner times or dress codes, and lots of engaging activities. There is an expansive Aqua Park with three waterslides of varying intensity, including the only tube slide at sea, the Epic Plunge, that has the thrill of inner-tubing into the core of a bowl slide plus a big drop through a 200-foot-long tube. There is a bungee trampoline, a 33-foot-high extreme rock-climbing wall, and six bowling lanes in two different locations. On the expanded sports deck, teenagers can hone their skills in eight different sports including volleyball, basketball on a fullsized court, and a 24-foot-tall enclosed climbing-cage called the “Spider Web.” When it’s time to slow down, there is a separate teenactivity area. And if they really need to settle their Wii cravings, teenagers can do it here on a jaw-dropping two-story screen. Do you have a picky eater in your family? No problem. The Norwegian Epic has 21 restaurant choices including a family-style Italian restaurant and a neighborhood grill that is open 24/7.

ANIMAL MAGIC FEW EXPERIENCES ARE AS MOVING AS A CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH A DOLPHIN, TURTLE OR OTHER LARGE SEACREATURE Even the most skeptical and urbanized among us realizes that close proximity and interaction with a large mammal, reptile or bird goes beyond “interesting.” It cuts to the core of our sensibility as fellow animals and leaves us deeply and irrevocably changed. How else can you explain the 60

Charlotte’s got a lot

North Carolina’s Crystal Coast

Look closely at Charlotte and you’ll discover a lot. From mindblowing masterpieces at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art to the coolest coasters at Carowinds, visitors will be captivated by Charlotte’s undeniable appeal. Discover how the city’s perfect blend of Southern hospitality and urban sophistication can invigorate your vacation by requesting a free 2010 Official Visitors Guide today.

Enjoy an escape miles away from the ordinary but closer than you could have imagined. Along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast, beaches, nature and history all wait for you to discover. This unspoiled stretch of coastal beauty is home to world-class fishing, the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the historic waterfront town of Beaufort and much more. Leave life as you know it behind and find a new definition of escape on The Crystal Coast.



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Located within driving distance of most major mid-Atlantic cities, the Currituck Outer Banks is the perfect place for your next family vacation. Request a free Visitor’s Guide and start planning today!


Explore the Possibilities

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

Forbidding as its name may be, the Great Dismal Swamp is one of the few natural American gems remaining in the East. Despite its impressive size and age, it remains a mystery to most people. History, beauty and nature combine to impress our guests. Paddle…bird…bike…hike... photograph...Come play in our history!

A truly different kind of place. The Outer Banks is home to 100 miles of dynamic coastline, the Wright Brothers’ first flight and England’s first attempted colonization in the New World. Request or download your free Official Travel Guide today. Outer Banks. Different Experiences.

This project received support from the Golden LEAF Foundation.



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growing popularity of dolphin swims, turtlenesting programs, rescue centers, marine nature tours and other fascinating animalbased experiences? Dreams Resorts & Spas (dreamsresorts. com), one of the growing names in the world of family travel, is a recognized leader in this field. Known for its “Unlimited Luxury” vacation concept, the company brand now has 11

the Olive Ridley sea turtle. Participants help to care for the eggs and then set the hatchlings free in their habitat when the time is right. The “Delphinus Dolphin Experience” is just one of the remarkable activities at Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa. Four times a day, a limited number of guests are given a brief orientation, then they are off to swim with these intelligent and majestic mammals for

FOR A FAMILY WITH TEENAGERS, CRUISING IS AN EASY OPTION, COMBINING PLENTY OF AGE-APPROPRIATE DIVERSIONS WITHIN A SAFE, CONTAINED ENVIRONMENT. properties scattered around the Caribbean and Mexico, all offering highly creative activities and facilities that engage their younger guests in age-appropriate activities and, in other cases, bring together the whole family. Consider “Dreaming of Freedom,” the seasonal turtle conservation program offered at Dreams Los Cabos, Dreams Puerto Vallarta and Dreams Tulum. The hands-on, naturalistsupervised program puts families in touch with the local marine environment and lets them have a direct impact on the life cycle of


45 minutes in the resort’s own sea-water lagoon. Adults and children at least 3'6"-tall may swim alone with the dolphins, and even smaller children can participate if accompanied by an adult (lifejackets are provided and swimming ability is not necessary). Guided by professional trainers, the experience costs just $159 per person. And if that unforgettable experience isn’t enough, you can sign up to become a trainer yourself, learning about the center’s breeding programs, scientific research and unique training techniques. The

program lasts for 8-1/2 hours and costs $220.15 per person. Anyone who has spent time down in St. Petersburg/Clearwater on the west coast of Florida knows that its rhythms and cuisine revolve around the water. So it’s hardly surprising that its visitors have plenty of outstanding opportunities to get close to its marine life, starting with the newly renovated Clearwater Marine Aquarium (cmaquarium. org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of injured marine animals. Visit now and you will meet one of its most famous alumnae, Winter, the bottle-nosed dolphin who got a new lease on life thanks to a custom-made prosthetic tail. One of CMA’s most popular programs, “Marine Life Adventures,” involves participants in ongoing scientific research projects. The “Full Circle” program provides animal-assisted therapy for children with physical and emotional difficulties. In the “Experience the Sea Life Safari,” a professional biologist pulls creatures from the sea, explaining their habits and place in the complex marine ecosystem. For those who prefer feathers to fins, St. Pete/Clearwater has the country’s largest wild bird hospital, the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary ( in Indian Shores. Drop by for a tour and the daily beachside feeding and checkup. The Sanctuary can have 500 to 700 birds at any one time. Leaving the material world behind and connecting with nature is just as easy in southwest Florida’s Fort Myers/Sanibel Island area (, home to more than 100 islands, a million acres of unspoiled beaches, state parks and wildlife preserves. You don’t have to do anything special to catch sight of many of the area’s exotic species — including 300 species of birds, Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, West Indian manatees and Loggerhead sea turtles, raccoons, otters and alligators — all in their natural habitat. But you can increase the odds on a visit to the 6,000-acre J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge ( on Sanibel Island, named for Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist and pioneer environmentalist Jay Norwood Darling. Wildlife sightings are inevitable, no matter whether you are strolling the footpaths through the sea grapes and salt myrtles, paddling the canoe trails or driving the four-mile scenic road. To increase the chance of a marine-animal encounter, sign up with a local operator such as Captiva Cruises (, which runs a Dolphin Watch and Wildlife Adventure Cruise off the dock at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island. Narrated by volunteers from



the Sanibel and Captiva Conservation Foundation, the 90-minute tour leaves daily at 4 p.m. in search of birds, dolphins, manatees and other wildlife in and around picturesque Pine Island Sound. The cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children. And if you want to delve even deeper into the marine ecosystems of the area’s barrier islands, sign up for a class at the Sanibel Sea School ( The kids’ program divides students aged 6 to 13 into small groups and, each day, focuses on two areas of study including animals, people, plants, land, ocean and weather. If you are going to be in or near the southeast Florida town of Hollywood Beach ( during June and July, be sure to catch one of the extraordinary “Sea Turtle Events” held every Friday evening at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park. Every year, hundreds of giant loggerheads return to the same place where they were born, lumbering up the destination’s award-winning beach to lay their hundreds of eggs in shallow holes. The free events begin around a campfire at the park’s Sea Grape Pavilion. A park ranger gives a 20-minute slide presentation about the sea turtle — its past, present and future — then leads the group down the beach in search of nesting turtles. For more information, call the park at (954) 923-2833. One of the most memorable wildlife interactions in the world can be found a short boat ride away from the shore of Grand Cayman ( Stingray City is in fact a pristine sandbar under two to six feet of sun-soaked, Club Soda–clear water. All you have to do is jump off the boat with or without snorkel or diving gear, to touch and swim with friendly Southern Atlantic stingrays. There is a good reason why Stingray City is one of the world’s must-see-before-you-die experiences: watching these majestic creatures swirl about you like possessed matador cloaks has a visceral immediacy that is not easily forgotten. If Stingray City sounds a touch too immediate, head instead for Grand Cayman’s Boatswain’s Beach (, the 24-acre marine theme park that contains the Cayman Turtle Farm. No mere tourist attraction, the farm is committed to educating the public on the benefits of a proactive conservation program for turtles. It’s also home to more than 16,000 of these wise-eyed reptiles. Visitors can even swim with turtles and other marine life in the 1.3-million-gallon saltwater snorkel lagoon. Elsewhere in the park is an aviary and iguana sanctuary, a nature trail and “Blue Hole” sunken cave, and the Caymanian Heritage Street with artisans, crafts and restaurants. ■ N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0


My Old Kentucky Ham Nowadays, where there’s smoke there are foodies. Christine Muhlke heads south to hog heaven.


he smell of hickory smoke clocks you in the parking lot of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, a concrete bunker on unscenic Highway 411 in Madisonville, Tenn. Just as dizzying is the sight of an old case filled with deli meats, bacon and sliced ham, the top lined with bags of local grits and jars of sorghum, honey and the pickled relish called chowchow. In the rooms beyond, you can see more ham, more bacon, in various stages, from curing to cutting. ‘‘We accept food stamps,’’ reads one sign. It’s as humble a spot as you’re likely to find when searching for ground zero of American cuisine’s obsession with pork. And yet Benton’s has become a touchstone (if not a supplier) for chefs from coast to coast. Ssäm Bar, part of David Chang’s expanding Momofuku restaurant dynasty, serves a Southern ham plate: thin slices of smoky, salty American pork with red-eye gravy. In Chicago, Paul Kahan thrills Publican diners with country ham and cracklings. And the Manhattan bar PDT offers a Benton’s Old-Fashioned: bourbon infused with Benton’s extra-smoky bacon. Suddenly, the backwoods biscuit fixin’ has become the new prosciutto. Tien Ho, the former chef de cuisine at Ssäm Bar and now the executive chef at Chang’s Má Pêche, told me that while people are more likely to talk about prosciutto or Ibérico ham, ‘‘Americans have also been doing this for hundreds of years. This is our chance to support little producers that are doing something unique for our heritage.’’ Support I would. When planning a recent road trip to the South, I used Ssäm Bar’s country ham plate as my road map to the great American ham. My husband put a giant cooler into the back of our station wagon, leaving just enough room for our dog, and we headed to Blackberry Farm, the high-end resort in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. It may seem like an unlikely place to start a country ham tour. But it was here that Allan Benton was crowned before the 64


culinary world, beginning country ham’s journey from the backwaters to America’s best restaurants. John Fleer, the former chef at Blackberry Farm, made Benton’s ham and bacon a cornerstone of his renowned ‘‘foothills cuisine’’ and told every visiting celebrity chef about his neighbor in Madisonville. After one such trip, Tom Colicchio brought it back to Craft in New York, where the young cook David Chang immediately took to the bacon’s opaque smokiness and the almost coppery saltiness of the ham. Now, if you look at the index of the Momofuku cookbook, it says: ‘‘Benton, Allan, 147-52.’’ And at the Blackberry Farm front desk, they keep printouts with directions to Benton’s. In his shop, Benton leaned on a rack of moldy-looking hams and told me of life before Fleer: ‘‘I was starving to death in this business. I was country before country was cool.’’ Since 1973, Benton has been rubbing pigs’ legs with salt, brown sugar, red and black pepper and patience, letting them hang from rickety, grease-darkened wooden racks (Chang has his own) until the time is right, anywhere from 14 to 24 months for the aged hams; country Swine tasting From left: Sam Bivens, an employee at Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams; a ham at Newsom’s Old Mill Store.


Southern comfort On a back road in Tennessee, a sign points the way to Allan Benton’s smokehouse.

ham scraps to season soups and beans, along with jars of chowchow and sweet corn relish. We drove past more tree carnage to Trigg County, home of the Trigg County Country Ham Festival every October. If Scott’s is Grandpa’s Sleepy Holler, Broadbent’s is Country Ham Inc. The hightech, two-year-old facility and store is a Big Mac’s throw from I-24. The gift shop sells regional temptations — Derby-Pie from Louisville, Kentucky bourbon balls — to travelers who might not have a cooler. For the rest of us, there’s ham, thick-cut bacon and sausage for every taste, all made on premises. The owners, Ronny and Beth Drennan, made furniture until they bought the business in 1999. Along with it came a 100-year-old country ham recipe, which calls for the hams to be hand-rubbed with salt, sugar, nitrates and dry honey, and then boiled and boned. Nowadays, the Drennans hang the hams from netted bags in pristine white rooms for up to nine months. ‘‘Some are pushing a year,’’ Ronny said. The result is less salty but also less complex than its rustic cousins. ‘‘We sell them some ham,’’ Ronny said of

Momofuku as some truckers strolled into the shop. ‘‘I don’t know a lot about ’em.’’ Actually, they sell more to gourmet groceries, like Stinky Bklyn and Zingerman’s in Michigan. If Chang and Stinky think they’re buying a little slice of mom-and-pop country, they’re mistaken. Allan Benton may still use a rotary phone, but this place runs spreadsheets. I missed the smoky soul. With an assortment of bacon, sausage and sliced ham (biscuit-cut, breakfast and dinner steaks) topping off the cooler and a slice of pie for the drive, we headed east to Colonel Bill Newsom’s in Princeton, a pretty town with old brick buildings and a sleepy town square. The sign marking Newsom’s Old Mill Store boasts of its heritage and its hams. Inside was a blast from many pasts, from the pennycandy sticks to the bulk seeds for farming. But Nancy Newsom Mahaffey and her Kentucky hams are clearly the draw. Colonel Bill’s daughter has taken the mantle with authority. Warm, chatty and opinionated, ‘‘the Ham Lady’’ held court at the counter, talking about a ham conference she was attending in Spain and Michael Pollan’s new book with a couple who had driven from Lexington to buy nitrate-free bacon. This while also discussing planting conditions with local farmers and making sure everyone got in their sandwich order at the two-man counter. If you told any of these people that guys with pig tattoos waited outside in the cold to taste this ham in New York City, they’d take away your cobbler-ina-jar. It was hard to imagine that anything from this timeless store could make its way to a noisy restaurant on Second Avenue and 13th Street. But what a delicious journey to make — in either direction. I ate my BBQ ‘‘preacher ham’’ sandwich in the Trail of Tears Commemorative Park around the corner, sipping a root beer next to a waterfall that was used as an encampment when this was the American frontier. Now it’s another kind of frontier, and just as salty. ■

ESSENTIALS • HAM COUNTRY HOTELS Blackberry Farm (1471 West Millers Cove Road, Walland, Tenn.; 800-273-6004;; doubles from $995) is a working farm with world-class comforts and award-winning food. It is several hours’ drive from here to the ham producers in Kentucky; the most comfortable option is to stop midway in Nashville at the Hermitage Hotel (231 Sixth Avenue North; 888-888-9414; doubles from $219; thehermitage or the Hutton Hotel (1808 West End Avenue; 615-340-9333;; doubles from $189). HAM Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams Salty, smoky, supercountry pork and more. 2603 Highway 411, Madisonville, Tenn.; (423) 442-5003; Broadbent’s Load up on bacon, biscuit ham and Derby-Pie right next to the Interstate. 257 Mary Blue Road, Kuttawa, Ky.; (800) 841-2202; Newsom’s Old Mill Store Through-the-looking-glass country store selling some of the country’s best ham. 208 East Main Street, Princeton, Ky.; (270) 365-2482; Scott Hams Off-road adventure in a mom-and-pop country ham shed. 1301 Scott Road, Greenville, Ky.; (800) 318-1353; RESTAURANT Coach’s Corner Worth the detour, and the wait. Fried-to-order chicken with a shattering crust, plus great pies. 9178 U.S. Highway 60 West, Sturgis, Ky.; (270) 333-4317; entrees $5 to $7.


ham is a simpler recipe and a shorter cure. Bacon bellies are smoked for three to four days. ‘‘It’s pretty intense,’’ Benton said as he popped open the smoker door — which he keeps padlocked — and released a wall of smoke. I tore myself away from this slice of hillbilly heaven (Benton’s words), christening the cooler with a whole bone-in ham, a side of bacon and giftable packages of sliced ham steaks. After two hours in a car, even the dog smelled like smoke. The tour was under way. As Tennessee’s hills and hollows softened into Kentucky’s green, horse-dotted vistas (scarred by trees felled by an ice storm), the concept of terroir came to life. Driving past humble farmhouses, I imagined the generations of subsistence farmers who salted hog legs every fall so they’d have something to eat later in the year. It’s their greatgrandchildren’s hams we’re eating now; they get better every year. Some day, Italians might drive these back roads to explore America’s great ham country. ‘‘Home of 16 National Champions’’ beckoned the roadside sign for Scott Hams in Greenville. The words ‘‘bacon’’ and ‘‘sausage’’ and a brown-on-brown rendering of a ham provided more reasons to make a hard right. There was another sign in front of Leslie and June Scott’s cattle farm a mile down the gravel road, but it was hard to tell if the tidy shed with old tools hung on it was the store. The family Labrador circled my wagon, eyeing our bacon-scented dog suspiciously. Country ham versus city ham. Inside, ribbons, trophies and plaques obscured the walls and tables that weren’t already covered with pig paraphernalia. Refrigerator cases were stocked with spicy breakfast sausage, peppered bacon, and country- and prosciutto-style hams. The Scotts had slapped their rustic label on all things jarred, from blackberry jam to peach butter. The not-so-modern processing facility, it turns out, was built piecemeal off the back. The Scotts are staving off retirement by teaching their craft to 4-H interns, who help cure hams in salt and brown sugar every January, just like June did growing up without refrigeration. The pecan-colored smoked hams are the pride of Greenville. They sell out during Christmas and don’t need any fancy chefs to boost sales. Mrs. Scott wasn’t familiar with Momofuku’s reputation as a country ham catalyst. ‘‘They ordered some stuff from us,’’ she said, her soft face nodding beneath her hair net as she spoke. ‘‘We also give out samples at flea markets.’’ Into the cooler went nitrate-free bacon, cotton sacks of smoked breakfast sausage, packages of sliced ham and 99-cent packets of

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Confessions of a Soukaholic In Damascus, shopping is an art. Liesl Schillinger takes to the streets.


on’t be like me. Don’t fly to Damascus; book a room in one of the exquisitely restored Ottoman-era boutique hotels in the Old City, wheedle an address from a local for the best place to buy embroidered aghabani tablecloths, push through the labyrinth of the Souk al-Hamidiyeh and beyond to find said naperer (Abdalla and Dubbane) . . . and then fail to buy your mother the most perfect aghabani on earth, because you’ve been marathon shopping for three days and are too whipped to hunt down an A.T.M. Know that you may never see that tablecloth again — all 14 feet of cream-colored cotton, filigreed with scrolling garlands stitched by seamstresses in a molten shade of amber, 16 napkins included, for 9,000 Syrian pounds (about $190). I should have realized that this purchase was not optional when I ran into a group of women at Abdalla and Dubbane who’d traveled from Jordan to stock up on new patterns. Their ringleader was Alma Lou Annab, a grandma in gold Nike sneakers and a purple tracksuit, who’d met her husband — a Jordanian — at Arizona State University in Tempe. ‘‘One day I walked across the street and saw those dark eyes and that gorgeous black mustache, and I said to my girlfriend, ‘Get a load of that!’ And then a day or two later, ‘Get a load of that’ walked into the campus coffee shop!’’ A year later, she married him, and eventually they moved



to Amman. ‘‘Everyone in Jordan knows that this is the place to come for tablecloths,’’ Annab said. She offered a lesson in bargaining. ‘‘Never insult the product, just say you can’t afford it and act regretful,’’ she said. ‘‘When the salesman asks, ‘What could you pay?’ offer a price 25 to 50 percent less than you’re willing to pay, and if he says no, sigh and leave. If he wants to sell it, he’ll come after you — you hope.’’ The first time I visited Damascus, in 2005, I had no idea about the shopping. In those days, Syria was better known in the West as a popular destination for war refugees, not for thrill-seeking, bargain-hunting tourists. I’d traveled there on impulse and on tenterhooks. Two expat friends of mine had bumped into one another in Damascus, learned they had me in common and urged me to visit. For a while, I waffled. It was two years into the Iraq war, and the fact that Syria shared a border with Iraq unnerved me. Also, I worried that Americans might not feel welcome in Damascus, given that the Bush administration had recalled the United States ambassador earlier that year. Still, I booked a ticket, with a strict goal of not offending any Syrian citizen in any way. To that end, before leaving New York, I asked a Middle Eastern friend to teach me how to say, ‘‘I like the people of Syria’’ in Arabic, as Market rate Locals shop for everyday items in the Old City’s Souk al-Hamidiyeh.

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an ingratiating ice breaker. But I hadn’t listened well enough, and on the last day of my visit, I learned from an amused cabdriver that what I’d been telling Damascene shopkeepers as I giddily snapped up copper trays, brocade runners, kilims, ouds, camel leather purses and other bounty, was: ‘‘I like young Syrian men.’’ It’s possible that this phrase, misleading though it was, may have generated a fair amount of international goodwill. Still, by the end of that trip, I realized that my pre-journey jitters had been unnecessary. Damascus has been a metropolis for millennia, not to mention a hub of trade on the old Silk Road, and Damascenes have had plenty of time to get used to foreign visitors. At the heart of the Syrian capital is the walled Old City, and within it, the Umayyad Mosque — with a vast marble courtyard that shines like water, reflecting the mosque’s cloisters. Many people enter the Old City through the bustling, shop-lined street known as the Souk alHamidiyeh. Newcomers to Damascus have often heard about Souk al-Hamidiyeh but don’t understand that it’s only one of many souks in the Old City. Locals shop here for household goods, while the choicer offerings lurk in the labyrinth beyond al-Hamidiyeh. Walking those ancient streets, you feel as if you were in a medieval French village, until you come upon a towering Roman column or arch, a reminder of those who came to Damascus before, and left. Besides the impressive columns, the Romans left behind the Via Recta (‘‘Straight Street’’), which Damascenes call Medhat Pasha. The street cuts through the Old City like a plumb line and is a useful orienting tool for non-Arabicspeaking visitors. This spring, when I returned to Damascus, I was curious about the touristic renaissance that has recently overtaken the city with the opening of some magnificent hotels like Beit Al Mamlouka and blue-chip properties like the Four Seasons. Some Damascenes consider this newfound popularity a mixed blessing. They complain of a supposed decline in craftsmanship and influx of cheap imports. Like the parents of a shy, gifted child who suddenly blossoms and turns into a prom queen, they seem wary — suspicious of their city’s newly broad appeal and resistant to overpraise. But to an outsider, the charges are slanderous. At the Seher al-Sharck mother-of-pearl workshop well outside the Old City, where few tourists venture, I had the privilege of watching a team of men adorn a suite of Louis XV-style chairs with shimmering shell. One man carefully chiseled a floral pattern into a walnut chair 70

back, following a paper pattern; another carved out the hollows in the chiseled piece where shell or camel bone would later go; others sanded chips of shell and bone and glued them into the hollows; others smoothed out the finished piece, then oiled it to make it shine. Finally, the chair would be upholstered in Damascene silk brocade. But I hadn’t come to Damascus for chairs; I’d come to Damascus for remedial shopping. I operate under the assumption that you can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want, and the first time I came here I’d been unprepared. This time I knew what to covet — like an aghabani tablecloth. With my priorities in order, I stopped by the opening of a new upscale minimall on Medhat Pasha called the Khan on my first evening. I found myself in a fancy galleria, with a throng of foreign ambassadors, Syrian socialites and television reporters, all of them sipping fruit juices and nibbling petits fours. The Khan’s boutiques offered (in addition to Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren and the like) lace and silk bras with beaded pearl straps that doubled as necklaces; clutch handbags silk-screened with images of the Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum; and even a mother-of-pearl-inlaid foosball table. There were also traditional shops: a handmade-soap boutique and a brocade room dominated by an antique 7,200-needle loom. Throughout the evening, an elderly weaver patiently worked the treadle. ‘‘Rich Syrians who come here will have never seen such a thing,’’ observed Amjad Malki, one of the owners. Is this the future of the Damascus souk? Well, it’s certainly not the past. This was definitely a new Damascus, but I craved the rough-andtumble shopping experience I’d stumbled upon five years earlier. I needed expert guidance, though, and this can be tricky as Damascenes, like Parisians, have a cultivated, contrarian spirit and enjoy disparaging one another’s recommendations. I sought the advice of two locals: Jacques Montluçon, a French-born engineer and specialist in antiquities restoration (he once led a team that preserved relics from the Titanic), and Sameer Hamsho, the owner of the rug shop Old City. As we sat in the back room of Hamsho’s store, the two men argued about whether the continuing conversion of Old City beits (private homes) into chic hotels and restaurants was a good or a bad thing and debated which of the thousands of surrounding shops most deserved a visit. ‘‘Think of Damascus as a giant department store, only instead of aisles there are streets,’’ said Montluçon, who handed me a sheaf of papers containing his top picks. In one ‘‘aisle’’ you’ll find hammered copper and brass trays and coffeepots (Souk Medhat Pasha); in another,


Let’s make a deal Clockwise from right: risqué items at the lingerie souk; dried flowers at Souk al-Bzourieh stall; Amer Naji, the owner of the DanMas shop.

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Sonoma County, California

barrels of spices and candies (Souk al-Bzourieh); in others, mother-ofpearl-inlaid furniture and Bohemian-glass hookahs (Bab Sharqi and Hanania Street). ‘‘Anything you want, you can get in Damascus,’’ Montluçon told me. ‘‘But first you must know where to get it.’’ The Souk al-Hamidiyeh, the main shopping drag of the Old City, mostly sells everyday wares, but Middle Eastern women know to go there for red-hot lingerie. From a cluster of storefronts, middle-aged merchants (men) sell bras and panties in gumdrop colors, trimmed with net, feathers, paillettes or Muppet plush. At these stalls, you will see Iranian matriarchs, dressed in black robes and veils, un-self-consciously fingering purple sequined bras. My friend Pauline took me on a naughty knickers tour and persuaded a merchant to show us his most elaborate line of string bikinis, which are battery-operated and work by remote control. One had a rubber tongue set into the crotch. When he pressed a button, the tongue started to writhe; we shrieked and ran away, as if we were 12. Over the next few days, whenever I ran my compiled choices by opinionated Damascenes, they would raise their eyebrows and offer their picks instead. Ultimately I decided that my own unassisted eye was as good a guide as any. Outsiders must retain the strength of will when shopping in Damascus to beg tips from local cognoscenti; to ignore the cognoscenti and trust their own taste if they see something they like; and to pay cash if the Visa machines won’t work. (They often won’t.) There may be no place on the planet where so many beautiful things are concentrated in a few square cobblestoned miles. It’s worth the effort. And whatever you end up choosing, no matter how connoisseurs may judge it, no matter how well or how badly you bargained for it, it will always retain this indestructible value: You had to go to Damascus to get it. ■

ESSENTIALS • DAMASCUS HOTELS Beit Al Mamlouka Tastefully designed boutique hotel with a lovely courtyard. 011-963-11-543-04-456;; doubles from about $150. Beit Zaman Hotel An elegant restored beit conveniently located on Medhat Pasha. 011-963-11-543-538-088;; doubles from about $200. Four Seasons Hotel Damascus Luxury property just outside the Old City. Avenue Shukri Al Quatli; 011-963-11-339-1000;; doubles from $360. BOUTIQUES Abdalla and Dubbane The best source for embroidered aghabani tablecloths. On Ibn Khaldoun Street, near the Souk al-Hamidiyeh; 011-963-11221-8748. Alkhayat Antiques Three side-by-side shops that offer a wide selection of hand-blown glassware, kilims, Berber rugs and textiles. At the end of Medhat Pasha, right inside Bab Sharqi (the Old City’s east gate); 011-963-11-544-5574. Anat Offering exquisitely embroidered wall hangings, abayas, purses and tablecloths. The shop employs craftswomen from Syrian villages and refugee camps. On Medhat Pasha, near the Bab Sharqi gate, next to the Armenian Orthodox Church; 011-963-11-542-7878; Antiquo A wide selection of tablecloths. On Medhat Pasha, near the giant Roman arch; 011-963-11-541-3750. DanMas The owner designs most of the products, from towels to dog beds. On Qeimariyeh Street, near Al Nawfara coffee shop; 011-963-933-319-180. George Dabdoub A one-stop shop with carpets, kilims, icons, brocade, jewelry, motherof-pearl-inlaid furniture and more. Right next to the Azem Palace; 011-96311-221-6988. Ghraoui Damascenes come here for delicious chocolates, candies and jams. On Port Said Street, west of the Old City; 011-963-11-231-1323; The Khan New minimall in the Old City with high-end fashion and design boutiques. On Medhat Pasha, near the Maktab Anbar house; 011-963-11-544-993-40; Kozah Art Gallery The husband-andwife owners design silver jewelry and also sell paintings and sculptures. On Medhat Pasha, near the Roman arch; 011-963-11-543-4599. Old City Rug shop with Syrian kilims and antique Persian and Turkish carpets. Next to Al Nawfara cafe; 011-963-11-544-3861. Yana Kilims Offering beautifully preserved Bedouin salt bags as well as one-of-a-kind kilims. In the Old City, across from Al Nawfara coffee shop; 011-963-11-542-3229.


A S P EC I A L A DV E RTI S I N G S U P P L E M E N T TO T: T H E N E W YO R K TI M E S S T Y L E M AGA ZI N E , M AY 2 3 , 2 01 0

discover THE



Exploring the wonders in America’s backyard

For most of the year, we see the U.S. as a single country

thousands of differences. Time-hardened and packed

bound by common laws, language and values. But on

with pride, it’s the variations — from musical styles,

vacation, when we look through the curious eyes of a

beers and barbecue sauces to historic heroes, land-

traveler, the view changes. We see instead 50 different

scapes and fresh local foods — that make exploring

countries defined not by their commonalities but by

this, our own country, so utterly amazing.

For more information and free travel guides on our featured states, contact:

“May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely than this, our own country!” —DANIEL WEBSTER

A historic gundalow rests on New Hampshire’s Great Bay.



The New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism Development (800) 386-4664


Texas Tourism (800) 8888.TEX, ext. 5586

A floating forest on Texas’s Caddo Lake.

A vineyard along Chesapeake Bay in Chincoteague, Va.




The Virginia Tourism Corporation (800) VISITVA (847-4882)


Destination DC (800) 422-8644

Cherry blossoms in Washington D.C.


This special advertising feature is sponsored by participating advertisers. The material was written by Andrew Bill, and did not involve the reporting or editing staff of The New York Times. ©2010 The New York Times


new hampshire Miles of lupines and whale-watching cruises, canopy tours and a haunted island


upine season is spring’s answer to New Hampshire’s famously vivid fall foliage. In June, brilliant purple, pink, blue and white spikes of wild lupines transform the fields and roadsides all around the northern New Hampshire towns of Easton, Bethlehem, Franconia, Lincoln, Lisbon, Littleton and Sugar Hill. The display is so extraordinary, there’s even an event to celebrate it — the Fields of Lupine Festival ( Taking place in Sugar Hill between June 4 and 20, the festival has daily and weekend events, a location map of lupine fields, a photo contest, plus special promotions from retailers and restaurants, museums and historic inns. There is an open-air market on Sugar Hill’s Main Street and local greenhouses sell lupine plants and seeds so you can plant your own backyard blooms. 2 For those who need a little bit of beach in their spring and summer, New Hampshire’s coastline runs for 18 dramatic miles, broken by broad, sandy beaches and dramatic granite outcroppings, small harbors dotted with lobster boats and character-filled towns with white-steepled meeting houses and brick sidewalks. More than 400 years of history are embedded in the old stones of Portsmouth, home of the John Paul Jones House and Strawbery Banke, a 10-acre living-history museum. At the docks you can pick up a whalewatching cruise and head off in search of Finbacks, Minkes and Humpbacks. Or board the M/V Thomas Laighton, a Victorian steamship replica, for a tour of historic forts, the “Alcatraz of the East” Naval Prison, lighthouses, the nation’s oldest shipyard and the legendary Isles of Shoals. From Portsmouth you can drive the Coastal Byway to the family-friendly beaches in Rye or North Hampton, or visit Odiorne Point with Seacoast Science

Center, tidal pool exhibits and nature walks. Hampton Beach’s famous boardwalk stages more than 80 free evening concerts and weekly firework displays. 2 Every owner of a pair of hiking boots knows that New Hampshire is the perfect place to go hiking. There are the state’s justifiably famous trails — such as Bald Mountain, Artist’s Bluff and the Basin-Cascades — made for seasoned hikers, plus plenty of shorter loops for Sunday-strollers. There is the outrageous beauty of its topography that climbs above the tree line as high as 6,288 feet (Mount Washington). There is the raw wildness of areas such as the Presidential Range, the greatest contiguous alpine area in the United States east of the Mississippi. And there is the century-long tradition, best represented by the Appalachian Mountain Club, which runs a network of mountain huts aimed at novice and experienced hikers alike. No wonder the state welcomes more than 500,000 hikers each year. 2 If hiking sounds too sedate, then how about zip-lining through the trees, 70 feet above the ground, at speeds of up to 35 mph? The “Treetop Canopy Tour,” offered by Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, takes you careening through the forest on six separate zip-lines ranging from 80 to 900 feet long. There is the optional Zip #7, a 35-mph-free-fall, and a 60-foot-high, 70-foot-long suspension bridge spanning Barron Gorge. The Bretton Woods Tour, run by Mount Washington Canopy Tours in Bretton Woods, is one of the longest canopy tours in the country, descending more than 1,000 feet. On Wildcat Mountain in Pinkham Notch right next to Mt. Washington, you can ride the ZipRider, an aerial chair that zips down a half-mile-long cable at 45 mph, or take the Express Gondola with its panoramic views of the mountain. Above: Fields of lupines surround Sugar Hill, NH. PHOTO: NH DTTD, LISA MARTINEAU



Local Knowledge

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Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals located seven miles off the New Hampshire coast, is reputed to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. The chapel is purportedly filled with ghosts, and there have been reports of a strange red-eyed dog that roams the island. The Oceanic Hotel is apparently popular with both the living and the dead. Such spectral visitors have been the focus of “Ghost Hunters,” a program on the Syfy channel.

New Hampshire’s pioneering spirit has brought the state many notable firsts. It conducts the first-in-the-nation primary each election cycle, adopted the first legal lottery (1963) and has the oldest summer resort in the country (1768). It was Levi Hutchins of Concord who invented the first mechanical alarm clock (1787). And the first and only peace treaty ever to be signed in a state was the Treaty of Portsmouth (1905) that ended the Russo-Japanese War.

Beer lovers should know that New Hampshire is home to some of the best brews in New England. The Brewery Map — the most downloaded itinerary on the Web site — lists 16 micro-brew locations, including the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack and smaller brew pubs such as Smuttynose in Portsmouth or Tuckerman’s in Conway.

You’ll find adventure around every corner in New Hampshire, and it’s all within easy reach. Drive from the seacoast to the lakes to the mountains in just a couple of hours!



New Durham, New Hampshire

Have your kids ever heard their giggles carried miles across a shimmering lake? Their shouts of joy echoing against the walls of a granite mountain? Have they whispered their playful secrets into a seashell? When you bring your family to New Hampshire, natural wonders enhance the sounds of vacation joy and preserve them in your memory forever.

trip ideas / places to stay / event calendar

Call for your free Visitors Guide 1-800-386-4664



Center: Live Music in Austin, TX PHOTO: KENNY BRAUN

Buffalo soldiers and Diego Rivera, star parties and the International Chili Championship


irst-time Texas visitors might be surprised by the caliber, depth and diversity of the culture, seen everywhere from world-class art centers to museums and live-music venues. The AT&T Performing Arts Center, which opened in the Dallas Arts District last October, is one of the most significant additions to the U.S.’s cultural scene since the opening of New York City’s Lincoln Center, providing stateof-the art homes for The Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Texas Ballet Theater, Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico and other performing arts organizations.

2 In the Houston Museum District, some 18 world-class institutions are concentrated within a 1.5-mile radius of the Mecom Fountain. Interested in the role of African Americans in every American war? Then

drop into the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. Paintings and sculpture? The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is one of the largest U.S. museums, with some 57,000 works. Well-being? At the Health Museum you can take a walking tour of the body, ride a bicycle with a skeleton and find out how your heart pumps blood. Private art collections? The Menil Collection, set in an acclaimed Renzo Piano edifice, is considered one of the world’s most important. Other options include the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Houston Center for Photography and The Rothko Chapel. 2 Marfa, a major arts community, is home to the Chinati Foundation. Founded by minimalist artist Donald Judd in 1986 on the site of a former fort, this contemporary art museum was designed to preserve and display permanent large-scale installations.


To better emphasize the link between the art and the surrounding landscape, each artist’s work occupies a separate building (or buildings). Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum are spread through the minimalist interiors of two converted artillery sheds. An installation by Dan Flavin fills six former barracks. Other works are scattered around the 340-acre property, including “Sea Lava Circles” by British artist Richard Long and “Monument to the Last Horse” by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. 2 San Antonio’s Museo Alameda is the nation’s largest Latino museum and first formal affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Built around a restored 1949 theater, it celebrates Latino art, history and culture through exhibitions, performances and educational programs. “Bittersweet Harvest,” running now through

STATE ANIMAL: Nine-banded Armadillo

August 1, examines the experiences of bracero workers during World War II. Other must-see cultural attractions in San Antonio include the famous Alamo, the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the McNay Art Museum, which showcases everything from Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso to manuscripts and sculpture gardens. 2 If you like your culture accompanied by a cold beer, head for Austin, the “Live Music Capital of the World.” The slogan became official in 1991 when it was determined that Texas’s capital had 200 live-music venues, more per capita than anywhere else in the nation. The music bubbles over at the three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival, featuring 130 bands playing everything from rock to bluegrass on eight stages in the city’s Zilker Park (October 8 – 10).

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True Flavor

Nature lovers are flocking to Fort Worth’s newest attraction: the Museum of Living Art (MOLA) at the Fort Worth Zoo. This amazing 30,000-square-foot “herpetarium” houses more than 850 animals representing more than 100 amphibian and reptile species. The only one of its kind in the world, the facility is impressive not only for the diverse and rare animal collection it houses, but also for its architecture and building design.

The McDonald Observatory, atop Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, is home to one of the world’s largest optical telescopes. The Visitors Center runs daily tours of the research facilities, solar-viewing sessions, and “Star Parties” every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Dress warmly, especially for early spring, fall and winter programs.

San Antonio Chili has been prized so highly since it was first introduced at Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair that it’s now the official state dish. To sample a variety of chili, visitors and natives alike make their way to the granddaddy of all chili cookoffs, the Terlingua International Chili Championship, held every year on the first Saturday of November at Rancho CASI de los Chisos in Terlingua, just outside Big Bend National Park.



The Civil War and award-winning wineries, mountain-biking the Creeper Trail and delicious Brunswick Stew


s the nation gears up to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (2011 to 2015), the place to go is Virginia, home to more Civil War battlefields, museums and historic sites than any other state. At Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, you can view gripping films; interact with costumed interpreters; and tour a cutting-edge museum, a battlefield, slave-life exhibit and antebellum homes. You can even live the life of a soldier for a weekend at Pamplin’s Civil War Adventure Camp. At the USS Monitor Center, you can experience life aboard an ironclad warship. Richmond’s American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is housed inside a former Confederate ironworks. At Fredericksburg Spotsylvania National Military Park, rangers lead free History at Sunset walking tours on Friday evenings throughout the summer.

2 Not only are Virginia’s wineries taking top honors in national competitions, they’re also fun places to visit. At Williamsburg Winery, you can spend the night at its Wedmore Place hotel, where each of the 28 rooms is decorated in the style of a European province. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Chateau Morrisette Winery hosts lively festivals such as the Black Dog Wine and Blues Festival (July 10), the Black Dog Wine and Jazz Festival (August 14) and Cinema on the Lawn (September 4). At Barboursville Vineyards, you can eat at Palladio, one of Virginia’s best restaurants, and stay overnight in its 1804 Inn. During Veramar Vineyard’s three-day Wine Camp, participants live with the Bogaty family and experience hands-on the day-to-day life of a winemaker.

railroad bed, is smoothly surfaced, and includes dozens of old trestles along the way. In the town of Damascus, outfitters such as Adventure Damascus ( will rent you a bike and take you to the trailhead on White Top Mountain. From there, it’s 17 miles back to town … downhill all the way. Hardened bikers can challenge themselves by riding the entire 35-mile trail. 2 A hippie haven since the 1970s, the small town of Floyd in the Blue Ridge Highlands is now one of the most outstanding arts communities in Virginia. The Bell Gallery and Garden carries the works of many local artists — pottery, glass, fabric and photography — and the Jacksonville Center for the Arts is a farm-turnedarts-incubator with studio spaces, display galleries and classrooms. Floyd is also a hoppin’ music center. One of the top venues for bluegrass music is the Floyd Country Store; every Friday night, the store and streets are swarmed when bands perform. Floydfest (July 22 to 25) is one of Virginia’s best annual music festivals.

2 Virginia’s Eastern Shore is pleasingly off the beaten track. From Virginia Beach, a trip through the amazing 20-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel brings you to the southern tip of the Eastern Shore peninsula. At Cape Charles, you’ll find a Chesapeake beach where classical music plays at sunset, a charming downtown, and Bay Hill Resort with its Nicklaus and Palmer golf courses. Dave Burden of Southeast Expeditions (, a kayaking outfitter, will take you exploring the coastal ecosystem; he even does the country’s only wine-tasting-by-kayak tour. Farther north is the historic town of Onancock, full of good restaurants such as Flamenco, the Charlotte Hotel, the 2 One of the best ways to enjoy Virginia’s famous mountain scen- Inn and Garden Café and Mallard’s at the Wharf. At Assateague Isery is by mountain biking the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail in land National Seashore, you will find an unspoiled Atlantic beach, the southwest. Easy even for novice bikers, it runs along an old wild ponies, a nature center and hiking trails. Above: Sharp Top Mountain peak looms above Abbott Lake, Bedford, Va.

STATE FISH: Brook Trout


Local Knowledge

Did You Know?

True Flavor

A Virginia staple since Colonial times, Brunswick Stew is made with chicken and lots of fresh vegetables simmered for hours in large pots. Although it’s rarely available in stores, you can find the real thing at fundraisers run by service organizations such as Ruritan Clubs and volunteer fire companies. Brunswick County is said to be where the dish originated.

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond ( has the world’s largest collection of artifacts, manuscripts and photographs from the Confederate States of America. Three floors of galleries bring the past to life through such curiosities as “Stonewall” Jackson’s forage cap, and Robert E. Lee’s field tent. The museum’s centerpiece is the home of Confederate President, Jefferson Davis.

Though there are many variations of the recipe, classic Virginia barbecue is mainly smoked pork shoulder, hand pulled and slathered with a tomato-based sauce. Among the state’s favorite local barbecue joints: Pierce’s Barbecue (Williamsburg), Buz & Ned’s (Richmond), Virginia Barbecue Company (Ashland), Galax Smokehouse (Galax), and Doumar’s (Norfolk).

Culpeper, Virginia Over 250 years young, Culpeper has truly aged to perfection! Today, it’s the perfect blend of small-town charm, natural beauty, history, and hospitality. Walk in the footsteps of history, and enjoy award-winning restaurants, wineries, specialty shops & inns. 1.888.CULPEPER

Hampton, Virginia To experience 400 years of history, attractions like the Virginia Air & Space Center and some great seafood, stay in Hampton, Virginia. For your free Hampton Visitor Guide, call 1.800.800.2202 or visit

Lynchburg, Virginia The hub of Central Virginia offers renowned attractions and adventure amid the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and scenic James River. With ‘fresh and funky’ sites, eclectic shopping & year-round snow sports, it’s not your grandmothers’ Lynchburg anymore! 1.800.732.5821

Prince William County/Manassas, Virginia Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War where the battles began. Explore quaint villages, scenic beauty, history and heritage. 1.888.721.1861

History. Bring the troops. With over 400 years of history to explore, including amusement parks and interactive museums designed just for kids, the Richmond Region has lots of ways to keep little soldiers happy. 1.800.RICHMOND

Virginia Beach In Virginia Beach, it’s all about freedom of expression. Be it a sunrise paddle with dolphins, reeling in a monster, enjoying a seaside appetizer or simply cruising the boardwalk, it’s what we Live For. The unique opportunity to be who you want to be. Your journey starts at


WASHINGTON, D.C. A full calendar and the Civil War, biking tours at night and Ethiopian cuisine


hen people call D.C. a party town, they’re not only talking about Republicans and Democrats — there are fun performances, events and festivals ( scheduled non-stop throughout the spring and summer. Enthusiasts of riffs and rhythms shouldn’t miss the DC Jazz Festival (, which explores the city’s rich musical traditions from June 1 to 13. Budding musicians will love the festival’s Jazz ’n Families Fun Days, a family event hosted by the acclaimed Phillips Collection (June 5 and 6), with live jazz performances (musicians interpret the paintings), an instrument petting zoo, a storyteller and a painting workshop in which children get to create their own works of art. Another festival highlight: free jazz on the National Mall on June 12. 2 Other top festivals cover everything from groundbreaking films to eye-popping performances. Theater buffs should ink in the Source Festival (June 12 to July 3), which presents new and original works by both emerging and established artists. For documentary-film enthusiasts, there is Silver DOCS (, an annual showcase, hosted by the AFI Silver Theatre in nearby Silver Spring, Md. (June 22 to 27). For a taste of international culture, join locals for the DC Caribbean Carnival (June 26 to 27) or check out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June 24 to 28 and July 1 to 5), which turns the National Mall into a global showcase highlighting Mexico, AsianPacific American culture and treasures from inside the Smithsonian. And those in search of the edgy avant-garde should take in the Capital Fringe Festival (, which stages more than 500 audacious and inventive performances from July 8 to 25. 2 The Civil War takes the spotlight in a major exhibition at the National Archives ( marking the sesquicentennial of the

conflict. Peeling back 150 years of accumulated analysis, “Discovering the Civil War” uses letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, receipts and engaging touch-screen interactive screens to bring the war back to life. Free to the public, the exhibition will be in two parts: “Beginnings,” now through September 6, and “Consequences,” November 10 to April 17, 2011. Following its D.C. premiere, “Discovering the Civil War” will travel throughout the country. For more Civil War history, take time to tour landmarks such as Ford’s Theatre, the Library of Congress and the recently renovated President Lincoln’s Cottage. 2 Two of America’s best-known modern filmmakers — George Lucas and Steven Spielberg — have recognized a kindred spirit in artist Norman Rockwell and formed in-depth collections of his work. These collections are coming together for the first time in “Telling Stories,” a special exhibition running from July 2 to January 2, 2011, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum ( The 50 paintings and drawings will reveal the connections between Rockwell’s iconic images of American life and the movies. Look for screenings of films by both directors and related events at the museum, which stays open until 7 p.m. nightly. 2 Not all of D.C.’s attractions are indoors. It’s a great place for exploring on foot; in fact, the District was recently named the most pedestrian-friendly city in the U.S. in a study by the Brookings Institute. Among the best walking tours are the full-day ones led by author and anecdotalist Anthony S. Pitch ( If you prefer pedal power, Bike and Roll ( rents equipment and runs private and group tours, one of which visits the major monuments at night. The two Nightingale tour boats ( ply the Potomac from noon to 9 p.m., leaving on the hour from Washington Harbor, Georgetown. And there are even 90-minute city tours aboard a WWII amphibious vessel ( Above: The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.


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Beer is making a splash on the D.C. restaurant scene. At Logan Circle hotspot Birch & Barley (, beer director Greg Engert offers inventive beer pairings, drawn from the restaurant’s vast collection of 555 artisanal brews. For creative cocktail pairings, check out Georgetown’s Mie N Yu (mienyu. com) and downtown’s PS-7’s (

Home to hundreds of influential members of the media, the National Press Club ( is a true D.C. institution and the only building in the U.S. to have its own zip code. Many events, including its National Press Club Speaker Series lunches, and its restaurant, the Fourth Estate, are open to the public.

D.C. is home to more Ethiopian restaurants than any city outside of Africa. You can learn more about “Little Ethiopia” (the neighborhood around 9th and U Streets) and its culinary traditions on a tour offered by foodie tour company, DC Metro Food Tours (



OMNIVORE’S DELIGHT It’s been a long time since California’s most glamorous wine region felt like farm country. Today, the area buzzes with Michelin-starred restaurants, new hotels and shops, and nearly 150 tasting rooms. Some may grouse about commercialization — to say nothing of weekend traffic — but this is still America’s best answer to Provence. BY JAIME GROSS NAPA VALLEY


hours in the valley

9 a.m.

10 a.m.

1 p.m.

2:30 p.m.

4 p.m.

5 p.m.

8 p.m.

Grab a cinnamon bun or a housemade English muffin at the Model Bakery (644 First Street, Building B, Napa; 707-259-1128; themodelbakery .com).

Ogle more than 1,000 artworks at di Rosa, one of the world’s top collections of Bay Area art (5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa; 707-226-5991;

Linger over lunch at Tra Vigne, where the mozzarella al minuto is made to order (1050 Charter Oak Avenue, St. Helena; 707-963-4444; travignerestaurant .com).

Unwind with a hot stone massage at the 13,000-square-foot Mission-inspired Spa Villagio (6481 Washington Street, Yountville; 707-948-5050;

Nibble a macaron from Bouchon Bakery and wander Thomas Keller’s 2.5-acre garden (6528 Washington Street, Yountville; 707-944-2253; bouchonbakery .com).

Browse the furniture and gothic objets d’art at Ma(i)sonry, then sample a flight of wine in its garden (6711 Washington Street, Yountville; 707-944-0889;

Dine at the new Farmstead, where everything from the olive oil to the grass-fed beef is local (738 Main Street, St. Helena; 707-963-4555; longmeadowranch .com).


N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0




For every big-ticket Napa indulgence, there’s a down-home version of the same experience. Here, a high–low guide to the best of the valley.

LOW Lower yourself into a concrete trough for an old-fashioned, nofrills volcanic mud bath at Indian Springs ($85). 1712 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga; (707) 942-4913;

NIBBLES HIGH Book a one-hour guided

cheese, charcuterie and wine tasting ($50) at the new Kenzo Estate, owned by a Japanese businessman who made his fortune in the video game industry. 3200 Monticello Road, Napa; (707) 2595408;

LOW Pick up some local ash-aged

goat cheese and Frá Mani Toscano Salami at Sunshine Foods, and have a picnic by the boccie courts at Crane Park. 1115 Main Street, St. Helena; (707) 963-7070;

TOUR HIGH Go up in a hot-air balloon

with Napa Valley Balloons for a bird’s-eye view of the valley, followed by a Champagne brunch ($240 per person). 1 California Drive, Yountville; (707) 944-0228;

LOW Rent a carbon fiber road bike from the St. Helena Cyclery and cruise the Silverado Trail ($65 for a 24-hour rental). 1156 Main Street, St. Helena; (707) 963-7736;

COOKING CLASS HIGH Sharpen your knife skills and cooking techniques in the five-day Basic Training Boot Camp at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone ($2,095). 2555 Main Street, St. Helena; (800) 888-7850;

LOW Enroll in a whole hog butchering or salumi-making class at the new Fatted Calf charcuterie shop ($135). 644-C First Street, Napa; (707) 2563684;

BURGER HIGH Splurge on the almond-wood-

grilled American Kobe beef burger topped with Gruyère and winestewed onions at Martini House in St. Helena ($17). 1245 Spring Street; (707) 963-2233;


LOW Claim a picnic table at Gott’s Roadside and chow down on a classic burger topped with pickles and American cheese ($8). 933 Main Street, St. Helena; (707) 9633486;

Going to Town The city of Napa, once a drab drive-by en route to more scenic northerly destinations, is undergoing a major makeover, with many new reasons to linger. SHOP Start at the Oxbow Public Market (610 and 644 First Street, Napa; 707-226-6529; oxbowpublicmarket .com), a covered marketplace chockablock with specialty food stalls, including an organic ice cream shop and an outpost of the Hog Island Oyster Company. From there, meander over to Cake Plate (1000 Main Street, Suite 100, Napa; 707-226-2300; for creative cupcakes as well as bright and graphic women’s clothing by the likes of Trina Turk, Orla Kiely and Leifsdottir. Come dinner, there’s the grand seven-course tasting menu at La Toque (1314 McKinstry Street, Napa; 707-257-5157;; $135) or the vegetable restaurant and yoga studio Ubuntu, which recently earned a Michelin star (1140 Main Street, Napa; 707-251-5656;; entrees $11 to $17). NEXT UP Later this summer, three high-profile restaurants will open in the $72 million Napa Riverfront complex: a contemporary Japanese dining room and shop from the ‘‘Iron Chef’’ Masaharu Morimoto; a Tyler Florence rotisserie and wine bar featuring locally raised meat; and Fish Story, a sustainable seafood restaurant with a raw bar and a boat dock.

EAT For lunch, choose from beer-can chicken at Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ (975 First Street, Napa; 707-226-3976; or authentic Indian food at Neela’s (975 Clinton Street, Napa; 707-226-9988;

LOCATION SCOUT A PRIMER FOR THE VILLAGES OF THE VALLEY. St. Helena Sophisticated shops on an über-charming Main Street. Oakville Cult wineries making topend cabernet sauvignon, and picnic fixings at the original Oakville Grocery.

Napa Newly burgeoning city at the county’s southern end.



Calistoga Mineral springs and mud baths, and a low-key downtown. Rutherford More superlative wineries, along with amazing barbecued ribs at the perpetually packed Rutherford Grill. Yountville Tiny town big with foodies — four Michelin-starred restaurants within a quartermile radius.


at Spa Solage for a customized blend of minerals, clay and essential oils ($98). 755 Silverado Trail, Calistoga; (707) 226-0820;

MUD BATH HIGH Mosey up to the mud bar

From Paris to New York, from Beijing to Cairo, from Amsterdam to Rio de Janeiro, live a magnifique life around the world

N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0




With more than 400 wineries and nearly 150 tasting rooms to choose from, a wine tour of Napa Valley could take all year. How to choose?


Serious culture-trippers should make a beeline for the Hess Art Museum at the Hess Collection Winery, which displays modern

and contemporary art by the likes of Andy Goldsworthy, Anselm Kiefer and Robert Motherwell in a sleek three-story gallery. 4411 Redwood Road, Napa; (707) 2551144;





Drawn from Craig and Kathryn Hall’s personal collection, the 30 or so artworks on display at Hall Rutherford include paintings and sculptures throughout the grounds and wine caves and a bronze grapevine dripping with Swarovski crystals. 56 Auberge Road, Rutherford; (707) 967-0700;; by appointment.

The Castello di Amorosa is a 121,000-square-foot replica of a 13th-century castle, complete with chapel, torture chamber and five stone towers that took the vintner Dario Sattui nearly 14 years to build using medieval materials and construction techniques. The operation is a bit like a theme park, but the impeccably designed building itself is well worth a gawk. 4045 North St. Helena Highway, Calistoga; (707) 967-6272;; tours by appointment.

Darioush Khaledi designed his flashy namesake winery, Darioush, to evoke a palace in Persepolis, the ancient capital of his native Iran. It’s Persia by way of Vegas: picture a travertine-clad villa, an indoor three-story waterfall and 16 uplit granite columns topped with double bullheads. 4240 Silverado Trail, Napa; (707) 257-2345;



At Swanson Vineyards’ stylish new Sip Shoppe, secreted away in a faux circus tent down a rural road, playful pairings reign: think pinot grigio served with domestic caviar and a potato chip, and dark chocolate paired with a dessert wine served in a miniature crystal goblet. 1271 Manley Lane, Rutherford; (707) 967-3500;



ROBERT SINSKEY VINEYARDS ▼ At Robert Sinskey Vineyards,

CADE WINERY ▼ Cade Winery is striving to be

QUINTESSA ▼ At the 280-acre Quintessa

‘‘flight attendants’’ help visitors pair the estate’s food-friendly reds and whites with roasted almonds, gougères and olives picked and cured on site. The $50 farm-to-table tour lets guests pick fruits and vegetables from the orchard and organic garden, sniff kaffir lime and bay leaves, and figure out which herbs go best with which wines. 6320 Silverado Trail, Napa; (707) 944-9090;

Napa’s first Gold-LEED-certified, solar-powered winery and tasting room. The modern concrete-andwood structure is built mostly of recycled and reclaimed materials; the 14,500-square foot wine caves are naturally ventilated; and the tasting room is insulated with denim remnants. 360 Howell Mountain Road South, Angwin; (707) 965-2746;; by appointment.

winery — one of the most scenic properties in Napa — the owner and vineyard master, Valeria Huneeus, grows grapes in a sustainable, biodynamic way, farming in tune with the phases of the moon and cosmological cycles, and applying homeopathic compost teas to the vines. 1601 Silverado Trail, Rutherford; (707) 967-1601;; by appointment.





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This offer is valid for sale between 15Apr10 – 05Jun10 and valid for travel between 01Jun10 – 30Aug10. Seating is subject to availability. This special $19.00 Child fare is valid for up to 2 children ages 2-15 when accompanied by a paid regular full fare adult. The adult and children must travel together at all times and have tickets issued at the same time. This offer is valid on Amtrak’s Auto Train Service only. Upgrade to sleeper accommodations is available upon full payment of applicable accommodations charges. In addition to the discount restrictions; this offer is subject to any restrictions, blackouts and refund rules that apply to the type of fare purchased. Fares and schedules are subject to change without notice. Once travel has begun, no changes to the itinerary are permitted. This offer is not combinable with any other discount offer. Other restrictions may apply. Please refer to discount code H829. Amtrak, Your car, your stuff and you, Enjoy the journey and Auto Train are service marks of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.


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JOLLY RANCHES 1. Auberge du Soleil 180 Rutherford Hill Road, Rutherford; (707) 963-1211;; doubles from $575. LOOK Provence in California, with hillside stucco cottages shaded by olive trees. BEST FOR Hollywood types, honeymooners. DON’T MISS The three-acre sculpture garden. CAVEAT Not family-friendly. 2. Bardessono 6526 Yount Street, Yountville; (707) 204-6000; bardessono .com; doubles from $350. LOOK Weathered steel, polished concrete, reclaimed wood, clean lines. BEST FOR Eco-minded

sybarites (it’s California’s first LEED-platinum-certified hotel). DON’T MISS An in-room spa treatment (every bathroom has a fold-out massage bed). CAVEAT The minimalist interiors can be sterile. 3. Calistoga Ranch 580 Lommel Road, Calistoga; (707) 254-2800;; doubles from $550. LOOK Cedar bungalows nestled in the woods, with decks and outdoor showers. BEST FOR Deep-pocketed nature lovers. DON’T MISS Hiking the resort’s 157 redwood-filled acres. CAVEAT Bedroom and living room are seperated by an

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In Napa, country living gets the glossy treatment.

open-air deck — a drag when it’s cold or rainy. 4. The Carneros Inn 4048 Sonoma Highway, Napa; (707) 299-4900;; doubles from $450. LOOK Haute agricultural architecture by way of tinroofed cottages with porches. BEST FOR People seeking evidence of Napa’s rural past. DON’T MISS The guestsonly spa, which uses local ingredients like goat butter. CAVEAT Off the beaten path — 25 minutes to St. Helena. 5. Meadowood Napa Valley 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena; (707) 963-3646;; doubles from $525. LOOK New England country club — a golf course, tennis courts and gable-roofed cottages — on 250 acres. BEST FOR Preppy families. DON’T MISS Croquet on the lawn and dinner in the Michelin-starred restaurant. CAVEAT It’s spread out enough that you’ll be hitching golfcart rides from the bell staff. 6. Milliken Creek Inn and Spa 1815 Silverado Trail, Napa; (707) 255-1197;; doubles from $350. LOOK Wooden shingled summer house by the river. BEST FOR Romantic getaways

stocks a jaw-dropping array of cookware, books and hard-tofind ingredients. 2555 Main Street; (888) 424-2433. Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company This unassuming barn is famous for its extra-virgin olive oil, bottled on the premises every morning. 835 Charter Oak Avenue; (707) 963-4173.

SHOPPING BLOCK St. Helena’s Main Street brims with boutiques. Martin Showroom Erin Martin’s eclectic shop is filled with furniture and objects like tar sculptures by the Los Angeles artist Mattia Biagi and a chandelier made of rope. 1350 Main Street; (707) 967-8787;


Woodhouse Chocolate Tracy Wood Anderson handcrafts chocolates and truffles in flavors like Thai ginger and pecan-caramel. 1367 Main Street; (707) 963-8413; The Marketplace at Greystone The Culinary Institute of America’s store (above)

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Flats Jan Niemi’s ballet flats are handmade in Tuscany and come in colors from black to tangerine. 1219-B Main Street; (707) 967-0480. Jan de Luz French antiques share space with milled soaps and exquisite linens at this boutique, which can monogram anything while you wait. 1219 Main Street; (707) 963-1550;

(candlelight at turn-down, breakfast in bed). DON’T MISS Wine-andcheese hour hosted by local winemakers. CAVEAT There’s no restaurant, pool or gym. 7. Hotel Luca 6774 Washington Street, Yountville; (707) 944-8080;; doubles from $295. LOOK Fantasy version of an Italian courtyard house. BEST FOR Italophiles and foodies (it’s a short walk to Yountville’s restaurant row). DON’T MISS The house-cured salumi at the hotel restaurant. CAVEAT Noisy courtyard dining is in earshot of guest rooms.

Trail Mix In an effort to protect the valley from overdevelopment, the Land Trust of Napa County has permanently preserved more than 52,000 acres of agricultural and natural land since 1976. You can take one of the organized hikes led by trust members and, once you’ve done that, trek solo through protected areas that are otherwise off-limits. (707) 261-6316;


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SIDE NOTE Twenty-four miles west of Calistoga — and worth a detour — Healdsburg is the stylish, ever-evolving hub of Sonoma County. SLEEP Opening in June, h2hotel will have 36 rooms, a solar-heated pool, a restaurant, and a bar helmed by the mixologist Scott Beattie (219 Healdsburg Avenue; 707-922-5251;; doubles from $195). The minimalist Duchamp Hotel (421 Foss Street; 707-431-1300;; doubles from $350) has six cottages with Donald Judd-inspired wooden beds. EAT Cyrus (29 North Street; 707433-3311;;


SIP The new Prohibition Speakeasy Wine Club (340 Healdsburg Avenue; 707-473-9463; speakeasywineclub .com) — hidden behind a phone booth in the back of a wine shop — specializes in Sonoma vintages. The Medlock Ames Tasting Room and Alexander Valley Bar (6487 Alexander Valley Road; 707-4318845; also runs a farm stand. SHOP Lime Stone (315 Healdsburg Avenue; 707-433-3080;, owned by the chef Charlie Palmer and his wife, Lisa, stocks culinary gifts. Studio Barndiva (237 Center Street; 707-431-7404; features textiles from women’s collectives in Ethiopia and Tibet. And Arboretum (above left; 332 Healdsburg Avenue; 707-433-7033; has organic cotton jeans and handbags made of vintage car fabrics.

Bottle Stoppers Five vintages worth seeking out and stocking up on, in the opinion of David Lynch, the wine director at the acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Quince. The Classics Stony Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay 2007. A Chablis-like chardonnay ($36) with no oak — a somewhat atypical wine in today’s supercharged chardonnay world ( Storybook Mountain Napa Estate ‘‘Eastern Exposures’’ Zinfandel 2006. An elegant white ($45) with a little viognier in the blend ( The Offbeat Scholium Project ‘‘The Prince in His Caves’’ Farina Vineyards white 2008. A yeasty, fleshy sauvignon blanc ($45)

fermented with its skins and seeds and bottled unfiltered ( Keplinger ‘‘Red Slope’’ Knights Valley Grenache 2007. From volcanic slopes above Calistoga, this grenache ($50) is spicy and fragrant (

The Splurge Favia ‘‘Cerro Sur’’ Napa Valley Red Wine 2006. Annie Favia bottles this cabernet-franc-based blend ($120) with her husband, the Napa winemaking celebrity Andy Erickson. The grapes are sourced from the up-andcoming Coombsville area (


tasting menu $102 to $130) is the French Laundry of Sonoma, with inventive cooking by Douglas Keane. For something low-key, check out Barndiva (231 Center Street; 707431-0100;; entrees $20 to $32), where Ryan Fancher uses exclusively local ingredients.



With four Michelin-starred restaurants and several splendid newcomers in tiny Yountville (population: 3,264) — not to mention the resident chef Thomas Keller’s growing empire (his fiancée’s Italian restaurant, Vita, is in the works) — panic, paralysis or second-guessing over dinner reservations is almost inevitable. Fear not: Here’s a cheat sheet to the town’s best and brightest.

Ad Hoc



6476 Washington Street, Yountville; (707) 944-2487;; four-course meal $49. CLAIM TO FAME Thomas Keller’s casual joint was supposed to be temporary, but it’s still here four years later, thanks to wild acclaim. Set menus change daily. VIBE Unpretentious: waiters in jeans, familystyle dishes. SIGNATURE DISH Perfect fried chicken, served every other Monday.

6525 Washington Street, Yountville; (707) 945-1050;; entrees $15 to $37. CLAIM TO FAME Italian fare by Michael Chiarello, a Food Network personality and St. Helena resident. VIBE Buzzing: Chiarello makes the rounds, greeting locals and industry insiders by name. SIGNATURE DISH ‘‘Green eggs & ham’’ (braised asparagus with pecorino budino pudding, egg and prosciutto bits).

6534 Washington Street; Yountville; (707) 944-8037;; entrees $17 to $34. CLAIM TO FAME Keller’s original brasserie, with a Michelin star and outposts in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. VIBE Festive: closely packed tables and a patio overlooking Yountville’s main drag. Popular with local chefs. SIGNATURE DISH Roasted leg of lamb with seasonal accompaniments.

Étoile at Domaine Chandon

French Laundry


1 California Drive, Yountville; (888) 242-6366;; entrees $26 to $38. CLAIM TO FAME At 26, the chef Perry Hoffman is one of the youngest recipients of a Michelin star in the United States. VIBE Insidery: Napa veterans imbibing in the lounge, visitors lingering over a four-course feast.

6640 Washington Street, Yountville; (707) 944-2380;; nine-course meal $250. CLAIM TO FAME Keller’s three-Michelin-star temple is almost impossible to book — you have to call precisely two months to the calendar day. VIBE Reverent: an awed hush accompanies the meal of a lifetime. SIGNATURE DISH ‘‘Oysters and pearls’’ — a sabayon of pearl tapioca with oysters and white caviar.

6480 Washington Street, Yountville; (707) 944-2222;; entrees $26 to $30. CLAIM TO FAME The first solo venture from Richard Reddington, who worked at Restaurant Daniel, Auberge du Soleil and top restaurants in France. VIBE Hopping: power brokers, C.E.O.’s and Hollywood producers. SIGNATURE DISH Glazed pork belly with apple purée, burdock and soy caramel.


Dungeness crab with shaved fennel and madeira gelée.



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MAY 23, 2010

fresh or in the marvelous applebased vodka at Ironworks Distillery in Lunenburg, which just opened to the public. For a sip of something else that’s superlative, head to the Glenora Distillery in Glenville, Cape Breton Island, on the Ceilidh Trail, which produces Glen Breton Indulge yourself at Nova Scotia’s sensational province-wide festivals, farmers markets and restaurants. Rare, Canada’s only single-malt And experience old-world luxury and hot restaurants at an Adirondack State Park jewel. whisky, along with Glen Breton Ice, an over-proof whisky. Or get a taste of history and fine ale too at Alexander Keith’s Nova Scotia Brewery, where actors in period costumes conduct tours and share tales of Halifax life in 1863.


Culinary Adventure

Culinary News Flash

Located in Nova Scotia’s beautiful Gaspereau Valley, Gaspereau Vineyards produces some of the province’s finest wines.


Breathtakingly beautiful, Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s most magical Maritime Provinces. Wherever you venture — the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site along the Bay of Fundy; Lunenburg, where the Bluenose II schooner is docked; or Halifax, home to Canada’s East Coast Navy base — the joys of maritime culture abound. Lobster lovers craving crustaceans along with adventurers on the hunt for Digby scallops, local wines and maple syrup all find manna on a plate in this province of plenty. Savor Nova Scotia’s delicacies at 1,300 restaurants, particularly those featuring the Taste of Nova Scotia logo, a signifier that the fantastically fresh fare is made with local ingredients. Follow the Adventures in Taste culinary trail, a newly minted, easy-to-drive tour that links winemakers, chefs and farmers, and stop in agriculture-rich Annapolis Valley, famous for its highbush blueberries and wondrous apple varieties. Or visit one of Nova Scotia’s weekend

farmers markets. This year will also usher in the Seaport Farmers Market, an ecological and cultural showcase opening on the Halifax Waterfront.

The Great Scarecrow & Antique Fair, October 1–3, in Mahone Bay, a picturesque artisans’ community on the South Shore. The Wines of Nova Scotia

Festivals for All

Celebrate Nova Scotia’s culinary pleasures at hundreds of yearround food and wine festivals. From May 15–July 1, revel in all things lobster at Lobsterpalooza, a “Feastival” extending 185 miles along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton Island. Enjoy pancake breakfasts and pie-eating contests at the Wild Blueberry Harvest Festival, August 20–September 4, spanning 22 communities in the central region. Let your crustacean obsession run wild — and improve your scallop shucking skills, too — at the Lunenburg Waterfront Seafood Festival, September 10–12. Sip and sup at the provincewide Nova Scotia Fall Wine Festival, September 16–October 17, spotlighting the scores of talented winemakers and chefs. Taste the results of an oldfashioned pie-baking contest at

As French settlers discovered back in the 1600s, the cooler climate and moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean create ideal conditions for growing grapes and making wine. Tour the province’s six distinctive wine growing regions, including Annapolis Valley, Malagash Peninsula and LaHave River Valley, and fall in love with Nova Scotia’s unique varietals. Bottoms Up!

Sample Annapolis Valley apples

Coming up September 18–23: the first 2010 Culinary Tourism Thought Leadership World Summit & Consumer Marketplace, in Halifax, a revelatory conference coordinated by the International Culinary Tourism Association (CTA), bringing together 300 to 500 culinary tourism industry leaders. On the table: discussions about the best industry practices for today and the future. For more information, visit THE SAGAMORE RESORT

Looking for a great escape that’s close to home but feels worlds away? Steal away to The Sagamore Resort, just a fourhour drive from New York City. Set on the southern end of private Green Island — an idyllic 70-acre property in the Adirondack Mountains at Bolton Landing, New York — this storied, seasonal resort has offered guests a respite from hectic life since

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Blomidon Estate Winery

L’Acadie Vineyards

This special advertising feature is sponsored by participating advertisers. The material was written by Randi Gollin and did not involve the reporting or editing staff of The New York Times. ©2010 The New York Times 96 WelcomeToAtlanticCanada




Visit us online or call 1 800 565 0000 op 196 to order your travel planning kit.


1883. Legendary for its hospitality, water sports, championship Donald Ross golf course, posh spa and panoramic view of Lake George, The Sagamore has also earned its culinary stripes. Today, thanks to a multimillion-dollar makeover undertaken by new owners, Ocean Properties Ltd, visitors are even more pampered than before, choosing from a panoply of superb restaurants and lounges. Debuting this spring: The Boat House, a casual lakefront eatery that captures the charm of boathouses. Savor light bites or innovative cocktails made with freshsqueezed juices, herbs, vegetables and fruits at the open-air bar and wraparound deck under the giant oak. Sip wine and share tapas with friends at Caldwell’s Lobby Bar, named after the James Caldwell, a historic steamboat. Polished trappings like a cozy fireplace and

stately bar recall the grandeur of bygone eras, yet the culinary offerings are totally on-trend. For a taste of old-world Italy, head to La Bella Vita, a sublime trattoria with sensational water views. With produce plucked from the organic herb and vegetable garden overlooking the lake, Executive Chef Adam Savage creates dishes such as this season’s signature, Tortiglioni Pesto Genovese — natural chicken with roasted eggplant, Liguria olives, organic heirloom tomatoes and ricotta salata cheese. “I’m always updating and tweaking the menus to reflect seasonality and freshness,” explained Savage. Added Kevin Phenegar, the Sagamore Resort’s director of food and beverage, “We marry authentic regional ingredients to build our plates, resulting in layers of exceptional flavors and textures.”

Get a taste of the good life at the majestic Sagamore Resort overlooking stunning Lake George.

Celebrate, Sagamore Style

From July 9–18, The Sagamore Resort will host its first annual Vintage and Vine Festival. Meet world-class winemakers and celebrity chefs. Savor grand vintners dinners, cooking demonstrations, grand tasting events, flight nights, bubbles and jazz brunches. And marvel at the vintage wooden boats — a delight-

ful aspect of lake life — from the Lake George Antique Boat and Classic Auto Museum. “We’re bringing together three great passions: fine food, fine wine and vintage boats, all in one scenic and captivating place,” explained Scott Luper, regional food and beverage director for Ocean Properties, Ltd. For more information, visit


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The New York Times Style Magazine



N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0





It was easy,

for a brief delusional moment, to feel as if I were among the very few people on Earth to discover Mudeford Spit, a sandbank jutting off Dorset county in the south of England. Getting there, for starters, was no easy task. Though sailboat or sea kayak might provide the most direct mode of transport, being among the nautically impaired meant having to resort to a not unpleasant combination of automobile, ferry and bicycle — I did not encounter a single human during my circuitous two-hour journey through dune grass and groves of wild raspberry bushes. Once I arrived, I found myself meandering along the most charmingly eccentric stretch of beach I’ve ever seen: a half-mile crescent surrounded by water (the crystalline calm of Christchurch Harbor to the north, the infinite whitecaps of the English Channel to the south) and peppered with salt-bitten beach huts the size of Think of England Left: Dorset’s Jurassic Coast attracts geologists from all over the world. Above: the ramshackle shacks in Mudeford Spit command record prices.


camping tents. It was late August, the height of vacation season, yet aside from a woman in a bathrobe walking her poodle along the shore this morning, the place was splendidly deserted. Taking it in, I couldn’t help but revel in my sense of accomplishment: here, on my first day in Dorset, no less, I’d stumbled upon an idyllic swath of coastline that even the British, it seemed, had managed to overlook. Then I made small talk with the poodle walker, who politely shattered my little fantasy. Mudeford Spit, she explained, is widely considered to be one of England’s premier vacation destinations. The beach huts, which can measure a mere 150 square feet and often have no plumbing or electricity, have become some of the most prime real estate in the country, fetching more than $200,000 when they hit the market — a price per square foot that makes real estate in the Hamptons seem almost reasonable. Anyone interested in renting one for the summer, meanwhile, must be willing to take part in what has become a masochistic annual tradition glibly chronicled by the major newspapers: aspiring 104

vacationers arrive in the dead of winter and set up camp outside the local real estate offices with the hopes of securing a key. ‘‘I was second in the queue this year!’’ the poodle walker noted proudly, describing how she and her husband kept warm with the help of a portable grill. ‘‘It’s rather absurd, I know.’’ She then smiled and gestured out to the sea; a morning fog had been burned away by the sun, exposing, in the distance, the mystical brown smudge of the Isle of Wight. ‘‘But once you’re here, it’s absolutely worth it. You feel like you’re in on a secret.’’ Over the next few days, as I ambled across Dorset’s nearly 60 miles of jaw-dropping coastline, I would come to think of this feeling — or, more precisely, this illusion — as an apt description of what makes the area so uniquely appealing. Though it’s only two hours southwest of London’s center, Dorset is best understood as the countryside equivalent of a fringe urban neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Unlike nearby coastal counties like Devon and Cornwall, both well known for their dramatic cliffs and funky

communities and excellent surfing, Dorset has long been considered a quainter, more traditional destination: a place for families, for fishermen, for amateur geologists interested in fossil hunting along its famed Jurassic Coast. Not exactly hip, in short. Recently, however, Dorset been undergoing a quiet transformation, attracting gourmet grocers and hoteliers and London chefs at the forefront of locavore cuisine. Anyone who wants a break from the exclusive rusticity of the huts on Mudeford Spit, for instance, can now head across the harbor to the Captains Club Hotel, a four-star operation with a restaurant serving highbrow spins on classic English fare, a day spa and a lobby filled on weekends with cocktail-sipping businessmen. One rainy morning, I drove to Weymouth, a lively fishing village surrounded by chalk-white cliffs that lies along the middle of Dorset’s coast. Historically visited by working-class families, Weymouth is poised to change radically in the near future when it becomes the center for sailing events during

Coastal living This page, clockwise from top left: Mudeford Spit, just off the coast of Dorset; the crystal blue waters and breezy gusts at Sandbanks make it a popular spot with windsurfers; the Square and Compass pub in Worth Matravers. Opposite, from far left: the town of Lyme Regis feels the same as it did several centuries ago; the colors of the landscape change frequently; Dorset’s chalky white cliffs have recently become more populated with weekenders.

the 2012 London Olympics. The weather had cleared when I arrived — the English weather, of course, is famously fickle, capable of displaying all four seasons in the span of an hour — and I took a walk along the pier and spoke to a fisherman who that morning was only able to catch tangles of seaweed and was happy to take a break to chat. ‘‘Oh, it’s exciting, sure, all that’s happening here,’’ he told me, pointing toward the blue waters of the harbor; in the distance I could see the southern end of Chesil Beach. (This stretch of storm-smoothed pebbles served as the setting of Ian McEwan’s 2007 novel.) Alongside the dozens of windsurfers that afternoon were countless construction crews working furiously to put up glistening new structures for the Games. ‘‘This is going to be a different place when the Olympics come,’’ the fisherman added, sounding, like more than a few locals I made conversation

with, both thrilled and vaguely concerned. ‘‘Change is good, I suppose. We’re just not used to it around here.’’ Weymouth was without question an adorable little town, with its seaside slot machines and cockeyed streets lined with chip shops and dilapidated pubs. Still, after the remote tranquility of the Mudeford area, I found Weymouth to be a bit overrun by tourists. And so on a friend’s tip, I decided to drive on toward the town of Lyme Regis on the far western border of the county. ‘‘Take the coastal road,’’ my friend advised. ‘‘It takes three times as long, but you’ll be blown away.’’ Indeed, the 30-mile drive took two hours, thanks partly to the hilly cliff side that taunted me with its share of hairpin turns, but mainly because I found myself stopping every few miles to get out of the car and gawk at my surroundings. Noting the beauty of the English countryside is a bit like pointing out that a

supermodel is gorgeous — it’s something you know before you witness it firsthand — yet I realized here that no amount of Google Images searching or Jane Austen reading could quite prevent me from being completely bowled over by it. As the weather changed, so did the color of the cliffs, morphing, chameleon-like, from white to sea green to slate gray in a matter of minutes; and the hills to the north were dotted with cattle and sheep, each one looking like it had been carefully positioned by a set designer. The journey was so stunning that I was convinced nothing that came after would be able to compete. Then I arrived in Lyme Regis. I T WA S I N I T I A L LY A D E C E P T I V E

little village, Lyme Regis, seemingly interchangeable with any number of towns in Dorset. The streets are narrow and twisty, the roofs shingled, and were it not for the presence N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0


of automobiles, you’d have the sensation of having been transported back a few centuries in time. But as I made my way up Pound Street, one of the main thoroughfares, I began to see that something subtle has taken place in here, a slight shift in the mood and sensibility that is a relatively recent phenomenon. The people walking the streets, in their Barbour jackets and designer hiking boots, had the unmistakable sheen of city denizens doing their best to appear at ease outside their natural habitat. And the shops, from the Town Mill bakery to the organic Good Food Store and Café, were clearly designed to appeal to the weekender’s vision of country life. The arrival of such places, I eventually learned, owe much of their debt to a celebrity food activist and television personality named Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who in 2006 took over the nearby River Cottage at Park Farm, putting the Lyme Regis area on the map as a destination for urban foodies. More recently, another well-known chef, Mark Hix, opened the Hix Oyster and Fish House, an outpost of his London restaurants. Perched on a small hill affording panoramic views of the town and coastline, the restaurant is widely considered to be among the finest in Dorset. When I called for a reservation, I was informed that it was booked for the rest of the summer. When I begged for a table at any hour, the manager finally acquiesced with a table by the kitchen. Upon arrival, I learned that I had heard the manager incorrectly over the phone. He hadn’t offered me a table by the kitchen but, rather, had set up a stool at the countertop in the kitchen, located in the basement. This was more than fine as I was offered samples of every dish prepared, from the cuttlefish and ink stew with ‘‘hedgerow’’ garlic to the Lyme Bay crab curry served out of the shell. I also listened to the chefs gossip about recent celebrity diners like the artist Tracey Emin and the New York chef April Bloomfield. After the meal, I was invited for a cocktail out

“ ”


on the balcony with the manager, Jonathan Jeffery, who relocated to the area from London a year earlier. The next day I joined Jeffery at the opening of a new restaurant in town, where we met Mary-Lou Sturridge, a fellow London transplant. Sturridge, who had once run London’s ultra-exclusive Groucho Club, was in the process of opening up a hotel in the area, presumably the sort of place that would serve as more incentive for people like them to make the journey from London. ON MY LAST DAY IN DORSET, I MADE MY

way back to the eastern part of the county to visit Sandbanks. The town sits along a sliver of a peninsula that pokes into Poole Harbor, which, depending on whom you talk to, is reputed to be either the largest or second largest natural harbor on the planet. What can’t be argued is that it is a startlingly beautiful place: the extreme shallowness of the water —

ESSENTIALS • DORSET, ENGLAND LYME REGIS Alexandra Hotel is superbly located and offers the ideal mixture of the town’s quaint past and its more polished future. Pound Street; 011-44-1297-442-010; doubles from about $185. Hix Oyster and Fish House is arguably the best restaurant in all of Dorset; it’s quite small, so book ahead. Cobb Road; 01144-1297-446-910; entrees $20 to $75. MUDEFORD For luxury accommodations, head to the Captains Club Hotel in Christchurch, a four-star operation on the banks of the River Stour. Wick Lane; 011-44-1202-475-111; doubles from $350. For those wanting to feel as if they’ve left civilization behind, the Black House offers apartments at the end of the secluded and idyllic Mudeford Spit. 011-44-7855-280-191;; a unit that accommodates four people in summer starts around $710 for one week. WEYMOUTH Perry’s restaurant features inventive dishes like venison with spicy carrot purée and grilled sea bass with cumin and coriander carrots. 4 Trinity Road; 011-44-1305-785-799; entrees $15 to $30. Take a drive out to the Isle of Portland, where the views of the harbor are among the most stunning in Dorset. Regardless of the weather, make sure to take a walk along Chesil Beach.


its average depth is only a foot and a half — gives it the same aquamarine hue found in the Caribbean. The area has long been known among hard-core windsurfers as having some of the most prime conditions in the world, and during the economic boom at the beginning of the last decade, it became the destination of choice for wealthy Londoners looking for a second (or third or fourth) home to add to their portfolios. Over the years, a number of soccer and cricket stars moved in, hiking up prices to the point where, in 2008, Sandbanks was christened ‘‘Britain’s golden Riviera’’ by the BBC. Upon arrival, it was hard to understand what all the fuss was about. Was it pretty? Of course it was. But unlike the rest of Dorset, which has a splendid time-warp quality, Sandbanks is far more reminiscent of, say, Miami: Bentleys and Benzes jockeyed for position at stop lights, and the homes were mainly charmless, newly built mansions hidden behind intimidating hedges. After about five minutes, I was longing for the less tarnished version of Dorset found in places like Lyme Regis, and I was informed I could find it a few minutes away, via a ferry ride and quick drive to Worth Matravers, an awesomely named speck of a village known for its ancient pub and endless hiking trails with some of the most dramatic views of the sea to be found in Dorset. It had been sunny when I arrived, but now a fog had descended onto the area, making it impossible to see 15 feet ahead. Hoping the fog would lift, I stopped for a pint at the Square and Compass, a 234-year-old establishment that, so far as I could see, constituted the only business for miles. After a few drinks, the fog had only grown denser; the views, I realized, would have to wait for another trip. But as I set out, I found that the omnipresent mist, rather than detracting from the area’s mystical spirit, only intensified it. As I spent a few hours hiking through deserted countryside, I was surprised to notice that appearing out of the fog like figures in an Andrew Wyeth painting were herds of cattle and sheep. The wind was mild that afternoon, but it was clear to me that such stillness was a rarity in the area: the trees had taken to growing at strange angles, having been blown for centuries by intense gusts. I had now reached the English Channel and was standing on the precipice of an alarmingly high cliff. People had been here before, of course. But in that moment, I felt I was the only person on Earth to know about it. ■ Rock of ages The Jurassic Coast’s limestone arch is one of the most popular attractions in Dorset.

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the slow lane







common knowledge, at least in Portugal, that Lisboetas are cosmopolitan, open-minded, but slightly aloof. Denizens of the Algarve are, shall we say, thrifty. But the people of Alentejo? They’re nothing but punch-line fodder. Joke No. 1: Why do Alentejanos hide their money in their garden hoes? Well, since they never work, who would ever think to look there? Joke No. 2: Why do Alentejanos place a chair by the bed? So if they’re tired when they wake up, they can plunk down and have a little rest! Alentejo, the big province east and south of the capital, claims about a third of Portugal’s territory but only about 5 percent of its population. There’s a reason for this. While coastal Alentejo can be lush, dramatic and extraordinarily beautiful, the arid and rocky reaches of Alto Alentejo, an inland expanse of small villages, vineyards and olive groves east of Lisbon all the way to the Spanish border, is famous for being hot, sleepy and a bit old-fashioned. Think of it as Portugal’s answer to America’s Great Plains. If you’re the kind of traveler intent on ticking off the alpha-site checklist (Great Wall, Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu), it might not be your thing. If your idea of fun is, say, self-touring the Texas Panhandle, then Alentejo offers a rewardingly under-digested corner of Portugal. Before the recession, the real estate boom had just begun to spur a bit of Spanish-style development across the area, notably the construction of the Rio Guadiana dam in the village of Alqueva, creating the biggest artificial lake in Western Europe. A half dozen golf courses are under way with the hopes of attracting millions of tourists. But the lighter side of the boom has been a flowering of out-of-the-way country inns, highly personalized labors of love built by former immigrants from the region. Casa da Ermida de Santa Catarina, near Campo Maior, sits at the end of a long, bumpy driveway, perched on a hilltop peninsula, jutting out over the radiant blue waters of a sprawling reservoir. The area is surrounded by hills and sparsely planted olive groves and little else. When I arrived, I felt like I was showing up at a dude ranch, without the dudes. Or even the ranch. The breeze was warm and gentle, the pure product of open country, and the owner Carlos Guedes de Amorim’s unobtrusively conceived interiors never let me forget where I was. Some 60 miles south, near Alqueva, Herdade do Sobroso is a plantation-style hotel, vineyard and winery housing the patrician ambitions of its architect-owner, Ginestal Machado. The terrain, newly planted with tens of thousands of cork trees and more than a hundred acres of vines, suggests the Texas foothills, but the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen betrays the fervor of a true culinary evangelist out for converts. Dinner involves lots of game hunted on the enormous property, including javali (wild boar) and coelho (rabbit). At the Refúgio da Vila hotel, in the town of Portel, I spent time cooking with the chef Ricardo Moutinho, who’d come to Alentejo from Lisbon for its food, which he held to be ‘‘more real’’ than in other regions of the country. We breezed through a lesson on canja de perdiz (wild grouse soup), a staple found on virtually every menu in the region, then proceeded to migas, a dish concocted from two-day-old

bread and whatever else a cook feels like adding (in this case, chorizo and bacon). Moving on to the açorda, a common type of soup made with old bread and salted cod, we began the stock with cilantro, garlic and salt. For lovers of peasant food, Alentejo’s cuisine is manna: wild game, pork, muttony mutton and the ubiquitous bacalhau (codfish), all of it marinated with medieval quantities of garlic. Alentejo’s food may parallel its people — simple, hearty and unfussy. When Moutinho told me about his rigorous culinary training at a school in Lisbon, I assumed his ambitions extended toward three-star Michelin knighthood. But when I asked if this was so, he shrugged: ‘‘I just want to be a good cook.’’ When I told Moutinho about some mutton I’d enjoyed at a local restaurant, he got annoyed. ‘‘I don’t eat there anymore,’’ he said. Beyond the sacramental mix of bay leaf, cilantro, mint and pennyroyal, the rival chef had had the gall to add clove to the mix. Clove! ‘‘That’s wrong,’’ Moutinho said. It’s precisely this resistance to change that makes the province unique and hard not to like. As the rest of the global-industrial complex morphs into one gigantic Dunkin’ Donuts and Sunglass Hut outlet, Alentejo’s signature and most charming characteristic is its lack of interest in any such fate. One afternoon, I found myself in a restaurant called Taberna do Adro, in Vila Fernando. I was finishing up a delicious meal of cerdo (pork) marinated in massa de pimentão, a red pepper paste. Fado played on the stereo, decorative ceramics adorned the walls, and only half of the restaurant’s 20 seats were filled. The door opened the cool dark of the restaurant to the bright outdoors, and a family entered, the father first, with a low greeting: ‘‘Boa tarde’’ (‘‘good afternoon’’). No one answered. The father and 30ish-year-old son both wore jackets, loafers and three-day beards. The mother wore a conservative brown wool dress, the style of which you would only see on a middle-class matron in a formerly poor, Catholic country — Ireland, Spain and Portugal. The food came, and the family discussed it intently for several moments before drinking. Not in the overenthusiastic way of Food Network loyalists, but like people who have been enjoying meals together for decades. The father called for a toast, glasses were raised, and father, mother and son clinked happily, each with bread crumbs on their face. ■

ESSENTIALS • PORTUGAL HOTELS Casa da Ermida de Santa Catarina Spectacular views, with activities like canoeing, fishing and lake picnics. Herdade da Rocha 7350, Santa Eulália, Elvas; 011-351-917-214-380;; doubles from about $120. Herdade da Malhadinha Nova Country House and Spa Nicely done, slightly less unusual setting with yoga, horseback riding, hot-air-balloon trips and even a ‘‘shepherd experience.’’ Yes, you learn to become a master of sheep. Albernoa-Beja 7800-601; 011-351-284965-432;; doubles from $340. Herdade do Sobroso Set on a beautiful lake, the inn features great food, with an emphasis on wild game hunted on the premises, paired with homegrown wine. Marmelar-Pedrógao 7960, Vidigueira; 011-351-961-732958;; doubles from $130. RESTAURANTS Restaurante Pompílio Traditional fare like grouse soup,

revolto de espargos (scrambled eggs with asparagus), grelhados de porco preto (grilled local acorn-fattened pork) and costeletas de borrego (lamb chops) is served at this classic family restaurant — with a wide-screen TV showing soccer games, of course. Rua da Elvas 96, São Vicente; 011-351-268611-133; $20 to $30 per person. Taberna do Adro Superb regional cuisine. Largo João Dias de Deus 1, Vila Fernando, Elvas; 011-351-268-661-194; about $25 per person (cash only). COOKING LESSONS Refúgio da Vila Learn to cook açordas (soups), heart-stoppingly heavy meat dishes, bacalhau and sericaia — a classic Alentejo dessert of eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon — with the chef of this Michelin-recommended restaurant. Arrange with Sofia Vieira, the owner and general manager. Largo Dr. Miguel Bombarda 8, Portel; 011-351-26661-9010;; about $95 per class.


LIZ LAMBERT The oft-imitated Texas innkeeper can do

ROUGH RIDER Who could have seen anything like a future in that drug-glutted roach motel, the San José? It was 1995, and Liz Lambert — a lawyer, back home in Texas after a stint as a New York City prosecutor — stumbled out of Austin’s famous rock hall the Continental Club, crossed South Congress Avenue and faced her destiny. ‘‘The place looked empty, but it wasn’t,’’ Lambert says about her first hotel. ‘‘It’s just everyone who stayed there didn’t have cars or luggage, or come out much during the days.’’ Lambert took over the squalid spot with plans to renovate it one room at a time. For that, she needed a loan; every bank balked. ‘‘They said, ‘You can’t make one room nice, charge $75 and have a hooker next door turning tricks all night.’ ’’ So Lambert worked the front desk for nearly three years, renting rooms for $30 behind a plate-glass window. She befriended the drug addicts, street musicians and prostitutes who called the place home, and made a documentary about them. Finally, she got financing. ‘‘We stripped the place down,’’ she says. ‘‘Down to the studs.’’








a whole lot more than rustle up shut-eye. But is there room service in that tepee? RIGHT AND BELOW: AUSTIN’S SAINT CECILIA CHANNELS THE ‘‘GLAM BUT DECADENT’’ FEEL OF ‘‘EXILE ON MAIN STREET’’-ERA ROCK MUSIC.


WESTWARD EXPANSION With the renovated San José — cedar gates, longleaf pine furnishings, a pool out of ‘‘The Graduate’’ — Lambert created a winning concept, but she wasn’t content to just duplicate it. After turning the San José into a bungalow paradise in 2000, she dreamed up the Hotel Saint Cecilia as an ‘‘Exile on Main Street’’-inspired paean to rock ’n’ roll, with vintage turntables in each room. Then came El Cosmico, a campground in Marfa dotted with tepees, yurts and vintage R.V.’s. ‘‘Marfa’s full of artists, writers and freaks,’’ she says. ‘‘I’m in that third category.’’ Her latest project, which opened in April, is the Hotel Havana, a plantation-style classic in San Antonio that had ‘‘too many slipcovers, too much floral this-and-that.’’ Now blood-red patent leather fills the elegant parlors, and Smeg minibar refrigerators are stocked with fresh salsas and bottled local rainwater. ‘‘It sounds kind of hokey,’’ Lambert says of her varied hotel concepts, ‘‘but I try to listen to the properties.’’








TEXAS TWO-STEP When she first landed in Austin, Lambert bought the bungalow she still lives in for $1. Covered in graffitti, it looked like a bombed-out Hooverville shanty and also happened to be in the wrong neighborhood. ‘‘It’s such an odd notion for a New Yorker, but down here people are always carting houses around,’’ she says. So she had the home hauled to the artier Travis Heights area, where she revamped it with a cowgirlglam feel. Lambert’s girlfriend is the folk singer Amy Cook, and the two split their time between the bungalow and ‘‘the Bunkhouse,’’ their ranch in the Davis Mountains foothills. Her whole Hill Country-chic shtick has been copied by other hoteliers, but Lambert says a hotel’s personality can’t be faked. ‘‘When we started, at the San José, it was all concrete floors, hippie blankets, antiques,’’ she says. ‘‘I didn’t know if people were going to get it.’’ Shortly after it reopened, a drug addict tried to check in, too strung out to realize the place had been redone until he reached the front desk. ‘‘Oh, my God,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a miracle!’’


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Party centro Above: revelers in Zona T, the city’s high-rent district and a popular night-life destination. Opposite: the streets of La Candelaria, a formerly down-at-its-heels neighborhood that has been transformed in recent years by the arrival of cafes and cultural centers.



page of El Tiempo — waiting outside the carved doors of my lofty room at the Hotel de la Ópera, in the city’s rambling colonial neighborhood of La Candelaria — is a chilling headline. The night before, some 30,000 people had massed in the Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar, the sprawling memorial to the continent’s boldest revolutionary, to see Coldplay. Coldplay? That’s what I came to Colombia for? The safest band on the planet playing the safest three chords on the planet? You can get that sort of flimflam in Orlando, Fla. I had heard Bogotá was safe for travelers, that the guerrillas who once held the Supreme Court hostage were gone, that the narco thugs had taken up jobs in the booming economy, that galleries and cafes were ascendant. But seriously, Coldplay? Not so long ago, Bogotá was a dangerous and deeply sketchy place. In the months after the inauguration of President Álvaro Uribe in August 2002, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the nation’s jungle-based leftist guerrillas, bombed the city several times, killing dozens of people. A few blocks south of the city’s main square — the Plaza de Bolívar, flanked by the national congress and the Palace of Justice — a vast slum once housed 10,000 people, many addicted to pasta de cocaína, or paco, a paste used to process cocaine that can destroy the nervous system. The city leveled the slum in 2005 and built a transportation hub on top. Among the seediest neighborhoods was La Candelaria. Gunfights and knifings were once 118

nightly tragedies. Residents would rush between home and work, then back again, and largely stay indoors. Today the area’s narrow streets, lined with Spanish-tiled roofs and Creole iron balconies, some dating back 400 years, are home to a lively mix of artists, activists and students. Upscale cafes sit beside redolent religious icon shops, and local peasants selling fresh grilled corn or loose cigarettes to gringos stand in the shadows of stately museums. The Hotel de la Ópera turns out to be a good starting place to explore La Candelaria. Set in a pair of 19th-century town houses that once garrisoned Simón Bolívar’s personal guards, the hotel is a block from Plaza de Bolívar and one door down from the Teatro Colon. (I woke to the sound of a fellow guest warming up his

vocal cords for that night’s opera.) From the top-floor cafe, you can see the Escher-esque maze of terra-cotta rooftops and domes and, if your Spanish is good, eavesdrop on the breakfast patter of a congressman and his pretty assistant. Bogotá sits on a plateau nearly two miles high in the Andes. Its largest peak, Monserrate, looms directly above La Candaleria, topped by a white church where hundreds of pilgrims celebrate Sunday Mass (some crawling on their knees to get there). Along the narrow streets heading up toward Monserrate sit several cultural institutions: the Botero Museum, with its whimsically corpulent mistresses and Madonnas; the two-year-old Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez, a modernist structure of blond brick with a bookstore, art galleries and a cafe; and, a few blocks over to the north, the Gold Museum, commemorating Spanish greed and colonial conquest. Around lunchtime I stumble into a 250year-old courtyard lined with iron balconies and palm trees, thinking it was a museum, only to discover La Sociedad, one of the top Colombian restaurants in the city. The tilapia with plantains is excellent, but I have to endure the flat patter of my white-haired Ohio neighbors, lavishly praising their young waiter’s broken English. After a quick glimpse of the statues of the divine infant Jesus at the Almacén Relicario, a few doors down, I grab a tamarindo pastry from La Puerta Falsa, the city’s oldest confectionery, and begin my own pilgrimage. The real Bogotá, for my taste, is farther out and up the hill. Past the tourist cafes and candlelit bars — where the 200-year-old walls are three feet thick — past the graffitied doors that read NO MAS PARAS (‘‘no more paramilitaries’’), lies the Chorro de Quevedo, a tiny brick square where Bogotá was founded in 1538. Its low walls and dirty steps are littered with tattooed skaters, uniformed schoolchildren and partyers waiting for the clubs to open. The narrow alleys are filled with boutiques and bars. At El Balón de Verde, there’s live jazz most days and bossa nova on Sundays. The Merlin, a cavelike cafe in a 200-year-old building with candle wax on the floor and staff in tie-dyed T-shirts, is the gathering place for an underground creative scene — painters, potters, performance artists. Andres Olaya, a 32-year-old with a shaved head and a tuft of green hair sprouting in the back, greets me on the square like a friend. ‘‘There are so many tourists who come here now,’’ he tells me. Olaya began studying art at age 12 at Teatro La Candelaria, one of the many schools that give the neighborhood its bohemian edge. He runs a small circus troupe called Artefacto that plies the tourist squares, but he says the Chorro ‘‘is our backyard.’’

Urban studies From top: Andres Olaya (far left) and his Artefacto street circus, a performance troupe that roams public squares; Plaza de Bolívar, Bogotá’s central hub. Opposite: the Plaza de San Victorino.

Nearby, a chubby young woman in a purple derby practices on a unicycle. A dreadlocked man balances a crystal ball on his forehead. Near a tiny church that flanks the square, a private security guard in a dirty shirt holds a muzzled Rottweiler on a leash. The guards and their muzzled dogs — like canine Hannibal Lecters — are a disturbingly common sight all over the city. ‘‘It’s not as safe here as you think,’’ says Olaya, who has gang-script tattoos on his forearms that read (alternately) CIRKUS CLOWNS. ‘‘The day is O.K., but not the night.’’ The unicyclist, a street performer from Spain, pulls me over to a dusty tree and shows me blood splattered on the paving stones near the tree’s roots. ‘‘Last night, one man stabbed another man right here,’’ she says. ‘‘I never feel safe here.’’


As in any city of 7.3 million grappling with drugs and poverty, you can find trouble or it can find you. For me, part of the city’s appeal is this dark, struggling soul. But it is also true that Bogotá is a safer place today than in the days of Pablo Escobar, particularly in the gentrifying northern neighborhoods of Usaquén and Zona T, on the other side of town from the Chorro. In 1993, homicides hit a peak at 4,378. By last year, it had dropped 80 percent, to 1,307. Robberies, on the other hand, have risen from 7,675 in 2000 to 11,057 in 2008. The drop in violence is thanks to tough-on-crime security measures — the Rottweilers, along with riot cops in body armor, who regularly swarm public squares and have earned N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0


themselves the nickname RoboCops. For the most part, Bogotá has a right to proclaim its status as a safer place, even if the attempt can be awkward. The Colombian tourism office goes out of its way to compare Bogotá’s crime rate favorably with Miami’s. Its unusual slogan is: ‘‘Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay.’’ ‘‘The entire world now looks to Colombia as a place for vacation, conventions, adventure, culture, history,’’ says Luis Guillermo Plata, Colombia’s minister of tourism. The pitch seems to be working. Foreign visitors who once bypassed Bogotá for the north-coast beaches of Barranquilla or the colonial charm of Cartegena are now putting the city on their itineraries. The number of foreigners visiting the city has nearly doubled over the past six years, and 11 new hotels have opened, with 18 more under construction. The city’s striving spirit is on full display Friday afternoons, when the city shuts down Carrera Septima (Seventh Avenue), in the central business district, for its weekly pedestrian-only Septimazo. The streets are filled with handicrafts, jugglers, men who make their living polishing leather jackets and businessmen holding briefcases and eating ice cream. The flashy Club de Billares Londres, with its chrome stairway and brass lanterns hanging over its pool tables, is empty as it prepares for another fashion shoot and film party. Nearby, the family-run San Isidro bakery is desolate — but wait until 5 a.m., when the postbar crowd comes looking for breakfast. ‘‘The workers who come from the south will stay in the center all night dancing,’’ says Margarita María Bedoya, a 35-year-old former commercial TV producer who moved here from Cali a decade ago. We are having a heavy lunch at El Envigadeño, an out-of-the-way place hidden behind a pair of blue corrugated doors. The restaurant serves a meat-rich, northern Antioquian cuisine and is never mentioned in guidebooks. Bedoya likes to salsa dance, but she never goes to the fashionable clubs in the north of the city. ‘‘In the north, you have to be beautiful, and maybe they don’t let you alone, the men,’’ says Bedoya, who is plenty pretty herself. She left Cali because of the drug wars there but has seen many of her countrymen return to Colombia in the past few years. ‘‘Everybody is coming back.’’ A wooden plate the size of a wagon wheel arrives at our table, packed with beef, pork, chorizo, rice and beans. ‘‘Do you know this music?’’ she asks, gesturing to the speaker at our table. ‘‘It is called música del despecho, music of bad woman and broken hearts.’’ I ask if there are dance clubs here in the center where we can go. ‘‘No, it is dangerous for foreigners. You are better off 120

Dark victory The city of 7.3 million people, seen here from the Iglesia de Monserrate, has initiated major crime reduction and cleanup programs in the last few years. Opposite, from top: Luz Beatriz Vélez, the chef and co-owner of Abasto, a popular restaurant in Usaquén; Universidad de La Salle in La Candelaria.

in the north.’’ Then she begins to sing to the music, wagging her finger at me, mouthing no, no, no, no. ‘‘FOREIGN PEOPLE COME HERE TO

escape safety,’’ says Richard, a 32-year-old Scandinavian seafood importer. ‘‘Western countries are too arranged and safe. There’s nothing to be done, no more adventure.’’ (Richard asked that I not use his last name because he’s careful to keep his professional and social lives separate.) It is a chilly spring Saturday night, and we are in a bustling club in the Zona T, the upscale neighborhood in the north named for the T-shaped pedestrian strip at its center. The area has about 50 clubs and bars, each

pulsating with reggaetón, dance, salsa or house music. Richard, a tall, friendly and good-looking blond, is yelling over the chatter of Bogotá’s yuppied classes, fresh from work in blue suits or demure skirts, or else pimped out in Adidas sneakers (men) or sparkly heels (women) and cleavage-baring tops (both). The street is congested with thousands of revelers, each one better looking than the last. By my count — and I am counting closely — women outnumber men three to one. ‘‘Women are the main tourist attraction here, don’t let anyone fool you on that,’’ Richard says. ‘‘That and cocaine.’’ He gives me a knowing wink. ‘‘You know cocaine, ya?’’ Well, ya, I say. But I tell him I had the impression that while Colombia is the largest

exporter of the drug to the United States, it is frowned upon by polite society here. We are with a crowd of a half dozen people, and a young woman looks at me appalled. ‘‘Why do you people always speak of cocaine?’’ she says. ‘‘Where do you see cocaine?’’ I mutter an apology, but a young Colombian pipes up: ‘‘Give me 60,000 pesos right now and I will get you cocaine.’’ I try to explain that I am only doing research. Everyone laughs. ‘‘60,000 pesos!’’ the man says. ‘‘It is no problem. Enough to fill a child’s sock!’’ Partying in the Zona T means three things: drinking, dancing and chasing the opposite sex (or the same sex, depending). To this end, the people I have fallen in with are well disposed to offer their advice and their example, but mostly N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0



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      by way of failure this night. Anders Westman, a 53-year-old Michiganite with tanned model looks and a rooster tail of blond bangs, just arrived in BogotĂĄ after attending Carnaval up north. He is a South American playboy by nature and by admission. ‘‘I had more game in Barranquilla than any place,’’ he says good-naturedly. ‘‘The women in the north are wonderful. They never see gringos.’’ The streets are mobbed with glamour packs checking each other out, looking for the next disco, for more aguardiente — a local sambuca-like liquor — and dancing. We pull into a cavernous club called Spin and sit outdoors beneath a large leafy tree. On a nearby street, Ninja motorcycles roar past, the drivers wearing the distinctive orange vests emblazoned with license-plate numbers that are required by law, to fight drive-by thefts and killings. The night air is aromatic with flowers, cigars, perfume and the drifting exhaust of the bikes. ‘‘Can I use your cellphone?’’ asks a young American man I’d just met. He had recently discovered that his Colombian girlfriend of eight months is married. (He asked not to be indentified because he fears for his safety.) He texts her an angry missive and regrets it. ‘‘I’m starting to feel this place close in on me,’’ he says. ‘‘I need to move to Costa Rica.’’ Inside the bar, the D.J. in his glass booth is blasting Daddy Yankee’s ‘‘Gasolina.’’ A hundred girls are on the dance floor while a two-story-tall projection screen shows incongruously calm images of beach and surf, like the B-roll video in a karaoke bar. The bartender looks like Kim Cattrall. A member of our party excitedly introduces me and she smiles broadly while shaking a cocktail, asking about New York. While the bartender flirts with me, Westman comes in from outside and starts talking in my other ear: ‘‘Your American friend needs to learn about Colombian women. He needs to ask what their daily life was like — growing up in poverty with a complete breakdown of safety.’’ He looks around, his dazzling teeth breaking into a smile as a group of teenage girls staggers past. ‘‘We will never understand Colombians. You fall in love with the first beautiful woman you would never get back home. You must ask: What does she want?’’ The crowd is now jumping up and down to Lady Gaga’s ‘‘Poker Face.’’ Kim Cattrall comes out from behind the bar and starts fist pumping and swinging her hair around. She pulls me onto the dance floor. But I don’t dance and it’s awkward. She doesn’t seem to mind or even notice. Westman comes by and claps me on the back to tell me he and his friends are leaving and says, ‘‘So now you have a Colombian girlfriend.’’


ON SUNDAY MORNING, WITH MY HEAD aching from too much

aguardiente, I hop into an S.U.V. and cruise the deserted but oddly clean streets of Zona T. The driver is Berny Silberwasser, a 36-year-old Bogotano I met through a friend who lives in UsaquĂŠn. He’s one of the city’s biggest success stories. In 2001, Silberwasser (whose grandfather immigrated to Colombia from Germany) started the BogotĂĄ Beer Company. Today the brewery has 10 pubs throughout the city, and his business is still growing. We are headed to UsaquĂŠn, a charming and remote-feeling little neighborhood farther north, where one of the city’s most vibrant and eclectic flea markets sets up every Sunday. A former town that is now part of the city, it’s where rich Bogotanos had weekend homes and ranches. Its green is dominated by a colonial church on the north, and it still feels like a rural village. On Sundays the neighborhood is thronged with tourists and locals escaping the city center. They come to hear cuenteros, or storytellers, who draw crowds of up to 200 people on the steps near the church. They come to buy indigenous bracelets from dirty-fingered little girls, who braid them into images of Che Guevara or scorpions. The sun-drenched streets today are filled with people selling puppies, pushing schnauzers in baby strollers or draping Labradors over their arms as they pass through the crowds. ‘‘There is a generation of Colombians who have never seen parts of N Y T I M E S.C O M / T M AG A Z I N E • M AY 2 3, 2 0 1 0





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Colombia,’’ Silberwasser says when we get to Abasto, a cafe in Usaquén where we are having brunch. ‘‘They could not travel outside the cities because, rich or poor, you would get kidnapped. Now people have little farms outside the city and they can travel freely.’’ We are sitting on vintage stuffed couches and large leather chairs, classical music playing overhead, in the back of the restaurant, a house built in the 1940s. Fresh bananas hang from the ceiling, and the walls are done in Caribbean blues and reds. One of Abasto’s owners and its chef, Luz Beatriz Vélez, appears in a white cook’s coat. She is slight and gentle and friendly and looks an awful lot like Joan Baez would if she cooked. Vélez knows Silberwasser well and makes small talk with our group, asking about families. Manuel Maiguashca, a former deputy minister of energy and mines, has taken me aside to praise the work of President Uribe, under whom he served for six and a half years. ‘‘The security has led to the opening up of oil and energy exploration,’’ says Maiguashca, who biked here from his house 20 minutes away and is wearing jeans and a zip-up sweater. ‘‘Did you hear?’’ Maiguashca says to the group. ‘‘There were 23 private jets from Argentina that arrived for the Coldplay concert. If that doesn’t tell you Bogotá is safe, I don’t know what does.’’ We all dig into our eggs and arepas as Vélez brings around fresh espressos. I ask if it’s at all unusual, having a large band like Coldplay play outdoors in Bogotá. ‘‘Oh, it would not have happened five years ago,’’ Maiguashca says. ‘‘And do you know who is coming next week?’’ I’m afraid to find out. He leans close. ‘‘Metallica,’’ he says happily. ■

ESSENTIALS • BOGOTÁ, COLOMBIA HOTELS Abadaia Colonial This rustic old house in La Candelaria has tidy rooms set around sun-drenched courtyards. 011-571-341-1884;; doubles from about $110. Hotel Andino Royal Walk out the modernist front doors into the flashy night-life scene of the Zona T. 011-57-1-651-3131; doubles from $200. Hotel de la Ópera Bogotá’s colonial-era darling, with 42 rooms in the heart of La Candelaria, formerly the home of Simón Bolívar’s private guards. 011-57-1-336-2066;; doubles from $150. RESTAURANTS Abasto Set in a 1940s house, it resembles a traditional market and serves excellent homemade empanadas. Carrera 6, No. 119B-52, Usaquén; 011-57-1-2151286; entrees $9 to $17. Bogotá Beer Company The best burgers in town are at this English-style pub with multiple locations, a hit with the city’s cafe crowd. Carrera 12, No. 83-33; 011-57-1-802-6737; entrees $6 to $8. Casa Vieja Small colonial-style place famous for its ajiaco (potato soup). Avenida Jiménez, No. 3-63, 011-57-1-342-6752; casa; entrees $17 to $20. El Envigadeño Meat-rich Antioquian cuisine. Calle 23, No. 5-19; 011-57-1-249-5299; entrees $7 to $13. La Sociedad Elegant dining in a 250-yearold building, with Colombian staples like tilapia and plantains. Calle 11, No. 6-42; 011-57-1-336-5849; entrees $9 to $15. SITES Botero Museum Showcases Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures along with some of his private collection, from Renoir to Chagall. Calle 11, No. 4-41; 01157-1-343-1212. Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez A modernist structure (the last project from the late architect Rogelio Salmona) housing a bookstore, cafe and art space. Calle 11, No. 5-60; 011-57-1-283-2200. Usaquén Flea Market Colorful show of craft vendors, storytellers, street food and people selling puppies every Sunday. Parque de Usaquén, Carrera 6 at Calle 118.






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Goodwill Hunting In Africa, Bono’s better half, Ali Hewson, looks for style and substance. Though she’s seen a lot of this world during her 27-year marriage to U2’s frontman, Ali Hewson’s favorite journeys have been her own humanitarian missions. She’s done relief work in Ethiopia; delivered truckloads of medicine to Chernobyl victims; and co-founded Edun, a socially conscious clothing line that promotes fair trade in Africa. On a recent trip to an organic cotton facility in Uganda, she stopped in Kenya and purchased this recycled glass and brass necklace, which was handmade by locals, many from the Kibera slums. For Hewson, the piece serves as a small reminder of the continent’s 126


struggling masses who remain nameless. ‘‘We carry the stories of the people who make our clothes and jewelry with us,’’ she says. ‘‘It gives new and different value to each piece.’’ Upon learning that the London jeweler Pippa Small designed the necklace in conjunction with Made (, a jewelry company with a charitable arm that promotes education and training in Africa, Hewson dreamed up another way to help. Edun teamed up with the charity to create T-shirts that feature drawings by the children of Kibera (; all profits will go toward their schooling. WHITNEY VARGAS


Discover avant-garde architecture, Fallas festivals, authentic Paella and the best venues at

T Travel Summer 2010  

T Travel Summer 2010

T Travel Summer 2010  

T Travel Summer 2010