Philadelphia — Uriah P. Levy, the first Jewish commodore of the U.S. Navy, was one for voyages.
His first came in 1802, at the age of 10, when he offered his services to the captain of the USS New Jerusalem, stipulating that he be returned to Philadelphia in time for his bar mitzvah at Congregation Mikveh Israel, then less than a century old.
The smallest nation in the Americas still looks, in many respects, the way it must have looked in 1492, when Christopher Columbus glided by.
One of the islands resembled St. Christopher, to his way of thinking, so Columbus named it after himself. The other, a volcanic peak capped with frothy white clouds, looked snowy from afar — “nieves” to the Spanish crewmen.
After Athens, Madrid might be the most-scrutinized world capital this month, as global leaders anxiously train their eyes on the Mediterranean financial meltdown.
But while cultural offerings are taking a hit in other cash-strapped cities, Madrid is the defiant exception. From the lavish gardens of the Royal Palace to expanded hours at the Prado, visitors to the Spanish capital will see scant evidence of crisis.
We were in Apulia, lounging on beaches along Italy’s coastal heel, when it occurred to my husband and me that both we and our rental car needed to be dropped off in Rome — 400 miles and two metropolitan traffic jams away.
We could have booked an airport hotel and written off the last day as a multi-hour schlep. But we wanted to extend our beach vacation to the very last possible hour — and in doing so we hit upon some inspired, even under-sung corners of Roman charm.
Lungomare is the Italian word for a seafront promenade. Every coastal town worth its dot on the Italian map has one: a stretch of travertine where lovers snuggle on benches, locals walk their dogs and everyone comes to contemplate the sea.
Almost purely by accident, my husband and I ended up in a wild, raw landscape of olive groves, crumbling white-stone walls and vast blue sea views at every bend in the road. We were in Apulia — or Puglia, as the Southern Italian region is known locally — in search of that perfect Italian beach vacation: a little culture, a dose of history, but mostly gorgeous scenery and golden sand.
If you think New Englanders are friendly, you’ll love New Scotlanders, inhabitants of the region more commonly known as Nova Scotia. The liveliest and most diverse of Canada’s three maritime provinces offers a warm welcome to travelers, a wealth of Jewish heritage and plenty of local culture — from fiddling in pubs to Titanic artifacts.
This time of year, as beaches still beckon on warm afternoons, fall foliage explodes with color to charm the most ardent leaf-peepers.