Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

Urbane In The Andes

Travel Writer

There was a time when a vacation in Argentina automatically meant Buenos Aires. The country’s capital city — home to tango, Latin America’s biggest Jewish community and a third of the Argentine population — was, for many North Americans, the only place on the tourism radar.

The Bodega Salentein guesthouse is located in the heart of Mendoza’s wine country. Courtesy of Bodega Salentein

A Changeless Summer Idyll

Travel Writer

In the nicest possible way, very little ever changes on Martha’s Vineyard, an island of green cliffs and shingled cottages off the coast of Cape Cod.

For decades, the Vineyard week has followed a delightfully predictable schedule. Wednesday and Saturday mornings bring the farmer’s market at West Tisbury; everyone stocks up on local lettuce, beans and flowers for weekend dinners.

Oxen graze in a Martha’s Vineyard field, top. Above, gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs. Photos by Hilary Larson

Detroit, Beyond The Bad Headlines

Jewish Week Correspondent

You hear a lot about Detroit these days, and not too much of it is positive. You hear about the travails of the long-struggling automobile industry, the staggering unemployment rate and the inexorable population decline. They're all related, of course, and together these facts tend to cement the image of a once-mighty metropolis now past its prime.

The glass towers of GM headquarters dominate the Detroit skyline.

In The Berkshires Mountains, Cultural Peaks

From Great Barrington to Williamstown, a summer jam-packed with arts, music, dance — and Jewish fare.

Special To The Jewish Week

You won’t see James Levine, Tanglewood’s storied music director, onstage at the arts festival this summer. But there are more famous faces than ever in the Berkshires, a favorite Jewish destination for serious culture when the temperature rises.

Amid these placid green hills in Western Massachusetts are world-class performers like Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Emanuel Ax, Leon Fleisher and Alisa Weilerstein, along with the Lar Lubovitch and Mark Morris dancers.

The Balkans’ Great Lake

Travel Writer

‘Macedonia is Greece!” blares a sign scrawled in red paint across plazas in Thessaloniki, Drama and other towns across northern Greece. “Makedonia e Bulgaria!” screams the Bulgarian equivalent, just as fervent, in graffiti along that country’s southern highways.

Despite years of political unrest, Macedonia is a beautiful and affordable vacation site.

Sleepy Beach Towns Waking Up To Tourists

Mikhmoret, Nuweiba and Beit Yanai are close to Tel Aviv — but a world away.

Travel Writer

The tiny moshav village of
Mikhmoret is just a half-hour from Tel Aviv’s glamorous high rises, busy street scene and thumping discos.

Yet to people like Dana Bendik, who moved to Mikhmoret from the nearby resort city of Netanya eight years ago, Mikhmoret is a world away from the Tel Aviv bustle.

Horseback riding along the beach at Cactus Ranch. photo courtesy of the resort

The Arab Spring And Summer Travel

Travel Writer

The biggest factor influencing summer travel this year may not be outlandish fuel prices, packed planes or even that pesky Icelandic volcano.

As far as I can tell, it’s the so-called Arab Spring that’s having the biggest effect. The ongoing political turmoil in places like Egypt, Libya and Syria has completely shifted this year’s vacation landscape across the Mediterranean, sending nervous travelers away from Morocco and Egypt to the European coasts. New Yorkers headed east will have to plan ahead.

Spain’s Atlantic coastline in Asturias is a good travel alternative in Southern Europe.

Historic City, Contemporary Buzz

Travel Writer

Philadelphia may be one of the nation’s oldest cities, but right now it’s basking in the glow of novelty.

In the historic heart of the city, just a few blocks from Congregation Mikveh Israel — the city’s oldest Jewish synagogue — the National Museum of American Jewish History unveiled its new building in November. It has been buzzing with locals and tourists alike ever since.

The recently opened National Museum of American Jewish History.

Lavender And Beyond

Travel Writer

Whether to go to Provence, France’s lavender-scented south, is a no-brainer. But shaping an itinerary from the myriad lovely villages and vibrant cities can be daunting.

The colorful, teeming streets of Marseilles beckon to some, while others head for the winding lanes and rolling fields that inspired Van Gogh — or possibly drove him further into his starlit nocturnal madness.

The Place du Forum in the picturesque Rhone town of Arles. Hilary Larson

Balkan Elegance

Travel Writer

Some of the world’s oldest known civilizations have inhabited the Eastern Balkans, where worn-down mountain ranges punctuate the vast Thracian plain.

Yet many of the region’s cities have little to show for those ancient roots. Centuries of war, imperialism, poverty and even natural disasters have left much of the area lacking in opulent architecture and quaint historic cores like those found throughout Western Europe. And visitors accustomed to those more accessible destinations can find themselves frustrated by a lack of tangible urban history.

The Ancient Theater in Plovdiv, a 1,000-year-old amphitheater with preserved steps and graceful white columns. Hilary Larson
Syndicate content