Travel

Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

Welcome To The ‘Greater’ Five Towns

Orthodox-heavy L.I. area moving
beyond its traditional borders.

06/15/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

When Stuart Katz moved into North Woodmere 18 years ago, his neighbors in Long Island’s Five Towns area were mostly Jewish families with children, and a lot of them commuted to Manhattan every day from this peaceful waterfront enclave.

The homes of Jewish residents of Woodmere house a growing number of people who work in the area, instead on commuting into Man.

On Upper West Side, A Jewish Youth Boom

As young families stream in, development running strong.

06/09/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

According to Dava Schub, the Upper West Side of Manhattan “is a neighborhood full of baby carriages, dogs, families of two and three and five.”

Schub should know: as associate executive director for programming at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, she sees 2,000 locals of all ages stream daily in and out of the building at Amsterdam Avenue and 76th Street.

The Harrison, a new condominium on West 76th Street, is part of the Upper West Side building boom.

San Francisco's Mission District, Updated

06/08/2010
Travel Writer

I remember my first visit to San Francisco’s Mission District.

It was in the mid-1990s, and while the commercial boulevards teemed with shoppers and families by day, much of the area felt run-down and seedy.

The Daniel Libeskind-designed Contemporary Jewish Museum is part of the Mission District’s new resurgence.

From Jerusalem to Miami, Simple Tips for Safe Travel

05/25/2010
Travel Writer

I am a passionate swimmer who can’t pass up a beach. I jump into the sea every chance I get, even if the breeze is a mite chilly and the water temperature barely grazes 60.

From Miami to Scotland, Brooklyn to Uruguay, I have left my bag on the beach while splashing in the surf, and in 15 years, I have never had anything stolen. That’s partly because I’m lucky. But mostly, it’s because I have a careful system designed to minimize both theft and the damage such theft would cause to my trip.

Barcelona, above, is a beautiful city, but it’s also known for its pickpockets.

Laid-Back But High-Powered

05/11/2010
Travel Writer

Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be the most famous Jew currently spiriting away for Bermuda weekends. But he has plenty of company.

After all, this easy-to-reach island paradise — just 700 miles off the Carolina coast — mixes the pastel, palm-fringed prettiness of the Caribbean with the East Coast’s temperate seasons. Winter feels, and looks, springy; late spring and summer bring perfect 80-degree days, a bathtub-warm ocean and a convivial, but never crowded, feel in the city centers.

Paradise found: Two views of Bermuda. Photos by Hilary Larson

Well Worth It In May

05/04/2010
Travel Writer

Palm Beach in May? Why not? New Yorkers tend to regard Florida as the ultimate winter destination — a balmy, palm-shaded escape from frigid wind chills around Chanukah time.

But May and June are my favorite Florida months, with more reliable weather and a deliciously warm ocean. When the official high season ends as snowbirds fly north for Passover, all of a sudden Palm Beach takes on the feel of a friendly small town, with locals making small talk at the deli and fishing off the beach. And this year the deals are as sweet as the temperatures.

CityPlace,  a shopping and residential complex, is the centerpiece of West Palm’s gentrification. Hilary Larson

A Deep South Spring

04/27/2010
Travel Writer

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.
 

Southern comfort: Melrose, an antebellum mansion in Natchez. Hilary Larson

A Deep South Spring

04/27/2010
Travel Writer

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.
 

Southern comfort: Melrose, an antebellum mansion in Natchez. Hilary Larson

What Awaits In Finlandia

04/20/2010
Travel Writer

A reader recently wrote to ask me about Jewish activity in Helsinki, where she’ll spend a few days as part of a tour of Russia.

The Helsinki Lutheran Church, with a statue of Czar Alexandr at right.

Going Green, When You Go

04/13/2010
Travel Writer

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.

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