Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

From Copenhagen To Knoebels

Travel Writer

Cartoon characters come to life, heart-stopping adventure rides, a smorgasbord of virtual worlds — all wrapped up in a sunny Florida package. This is the classic American family vacation Disney World has promised for generations.

Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, an Old World amusement park, at night. Wikimedia Commons

The Prettiest Spanish City You’ve Never Heard Of

Travel Writer

Given the violence rattling the world today, escape is certainly in order. And few escapes are quite so ideal as Las Palmas, a pastel Spanish city in the far-flung Canary Islands.

Christopher Columbus used this mansion in Las Palmas as a base for his Atlantic voyages.  Wikimedia Commons

A French Kiss

Travel Writer

Paris, the shimmering City of Light, is under siege as I write this. For many Americans, the coordinated terrorist attacks that paralyzed the city felt like a punch in the gut — a sensation all the more sickening because Paris is among the most familiar and beloved of foreign destinations.

Chez Marianne in the Le Marais district of Paris.  Wikimedia Commons

Where Chanukah Is Really Big

Travel Writer

A little light is nice -- but since everything is on a grander scale in Houston, winter truly is a festival of lights, thousands of them, for Chanukah and beyond. You’ll find them twinkling from the windows of houses; illuminating trees and streetlamps in the city’s many characteristic neighborhoods; and even lighting up the sky for one of the South’s premier Chanukah events.

Holiday season ice-skating inside the Houston Galleria mall. Wikimedia Commons

Low-Impact Vacations

Travel Writer

Recently, a colleague wrote asking for vacation advice. She and her husband badly needed a getaway, but her prematurely deteriorated hip joint made walking more than two blocks painful, and she would have to wait a year for surgery with her preferred doctor. With her limited mobility, she wondered: What were her options?

For those with balky legs or hips, car travel in the American West (above, the mountains of Utah) is the perfect trip. Wikimedia

Tipping, Ethics And Travel

Travel Writer

This week, like everybody else, we’re talking about tipping.

Tipping is an essential part of travel — whether parking the car in a Midtown garage or dining out in Milan. From spas to bars, hotels to guided tours, trips are full of moments that call for some kind of gratuity.

Dinner at Danny Meyer’s the Union Square Café.  Courtesy of Union Square Hospitality Group

Not Just For Pols

Travel Writer

Roaming around southern New Hampshire, I could see why politicians enjoy hanging out in the state.

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House in Manchester, built in 1950 for a Jewish doctor. Hilary Danailova/JW

Heritage Tourism In Europe

Travel Writer

From Poland to Portugal, nobody knows Jewish Europe like Ruth Ellen Gruber.

On a given week, the Philadelphia-born journalist might be checking out a newly opened museum, inspecting the restoration of a prewar synagogue, or picking her way through forest brambles in search of long-lost tombstones. That explains how Gruber found herself recently in the wilderness south of Prague, where she stumbled onto an 18th-century Jewish cemetery in a clearing near a faded sign marking “Synagogue Street.”

The synagogue at Ustek in the Czech Republic, one of the highlights of the Czech 10 Stars Project. Wikimedia Commons

A Scent Of Paradise

Travel Writer

It’s hurricane season in the Atlantic! That’s plain to anyone suffering through a wet, dreary East Coast fall. With the onset of chilly nights, it’s time to think about a winter escape.

The idyllic harbor in Grenada.  Wikimedia Commons

A Visit That Computes

Travel Writer

Every morning in San Francisco’s trendy Mission District, as artisanal bakeries fire up their ovens and hipster coffee shops pour $6 brews, a quiet army of Dockers-clad engineers climbs aboard buses and heads out of town.

Victorian architecture in downtown Los Gatos, home to one of Silicon Valley’s most established Judaica shops. Wikimedia Commons
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