The Deep South is astonishingly lovely in the heady days of mid-spring. In the quiet corners of rural Mississippi, the droning hum of tractors and bees provides a lazy soundtrack for a lush green landscape of flower-dotted fields and gently swishing trees in full blossom.
You know that little sign most hotels now put in the bathroom — the one that urges you to re-use your towel to save energy costs?
I don’t know about you, but this sign always makes me feel guilty and annoyed. At home, I would never use a towel once and toss it on the floor. But I confess that wantonly throwing about towels in hotel rooms has long been a guilty pleasure for me, a reminder that I am on vacation and therefore not subject to the workday practicalities of home.
Miami’s coldest winter in memory is finally beginning to abate. For months, daytime highs had barely budged beyond the chilly, crisp 60s, instead of the sultry 80 degrees Floridians adore. Ladies resplendent in their Brooklyn furs could be spotted coming out of the theater on 45-degree nights.
Temperatures are slowly mellowing, and the scene in general is mellower than in years past, too. Throngs of tourists and spring break revelers fill the predictable hotspots, but the continued economic malaise means there are more discounts than ever before.
My first adventure abroad was a summer in the lovely medieval town of Siena, Italy. I was 17 and had never left the East Coast of the U.S., but I made the transition quite easily: Italian food and culture are hardly unknown to New Yorkers, and a background in French and Spanish made the language barrier a non-issue.