10/26/2010 | | Travel Writer | Travel

‘Austin is so much fun,” everybody tells you when you say you’re thinking of visiting. And you know what? They’re right.

Many of us from parts East have a sort of love-hate relationship with the whole idea of Texas. The cowboy stuff seems hokey, but secretly we think line dancing looks like fun. (It is.) The gun stuff scares us, but the Western culture is refreshingly singular amid a vast, anodyne heartland of strip malls and chain stores.

10/19/2010 | | Travel Writer | Travel

One of the most universal concerns of tourists is, paradoxically, how not to look like a tourist.

Think for a minute about the fundamental absurdity. Does a student take pains to cover up his notebook and backpack, lest he be identified as such? Does the plumber sidle into your building in a tuxedo, the better to avoid detection?

10/12/2010 | | Travel Writer | Travel

‘I’m nervous about going to Europe,” my mother fretted recently, scanning the headlines about possible Al-Qaeda plots in Britain, France and Germany.

She pictured shifty-looking terrorists on the Thames, evildoers in the Eiffel Tower, villains lurking among the vines of the Loire. But I’m convinced that Europe is a big place, as safe as anywhere these days, and am planning trips abroad with no qualms whatsoever. Even if everyone else is not in the mood.

10/05/2010 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Travel

The swamp trees are already bare-limbed in northern New England, where winter tends to come early and linger late. But the first half of October is unparalleled for hillside leaf-peeping, and where better to do it than amid the lush, maple-clad hills of Vermont?

09/21/2010 | | Travel Writer | Travel

Tossa de Mar is just one of dozens of lovely little beach towns along the Costa Brava, the “Wild Coast” of Spanish Catalonia.

As the bus zigzags and stomachs churn along the looping mountain roads, the Mediterranean comes into view, and you can see where the wild part comes in. Just an hour and a half north of Barcelona, you are already in the Pyrenees foothills, and the coastline is dramatic: jagged golden rocks that slope vertiginously into a sparkling turquoise sea.

09/21/2010 | | Special To The Jewish Week | Travel

The vitality of Jewish life on the Upper East Side of Manhattan can be measured in many ways — in the myriad prestigious day schools, for instance, or the many grand temples filled to capacity with Shabbat congregants.

But perhaps the most telling sign of how vibrant Jewish life has become is the fact that the storied Second Avenue Deli, a downtown non-glatt kosher fixture for most of the last half century, chose First Avenue and 75th Street for its eagerly awaited second location.