Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

Finland’s Turku Archipelago; Gateway To The Baltic

06/14/2016 - 13:27
Travel Writer

When the sun breaks through the clouds over Finland’s Turku Archipelago, the reward is a shimmering vista of sea, sky and rocky green islets. More than 20,000 islands, many no larger than a kiddie pool, stretch out into the Baltic Sea from the mouth of the Aura River.

The 13th-century Turku Castle, the city’s most enduring monument. Wikimedia Commons

Banff, Albert: A Peak Vacation

Jews on the prairie in Banff, Alberta.

06/07/2016 - 13:07
Travel Writer

I was first acquainted with Banff when two good friends married in a spectacular mountaintop setting there about a decade ago. I still remember her twirling in a red dress, the vivid scarlet contrasting with the brilliant white of Alberta’s snowcapped Rockies.

The main drag in Banff, framed by Alberta’s snow-capped Rockies.  Wikimedia Commons

An Eye On Packing

05/31/2016 - 15:06
Travel Writer

Recently on Twitter, I came across a vacation-packing checklist that included such items as a pocket square, binoculars and a travel steamer. There were 10 boxes to check in the shoe section alone.

With summer travel right around the corner, sometimes it makes sense to pack binoculars. Wikimedia Commons

As American As Cherry Pie (And Challah)

Traverse City, Michigan makes for an ideal summer destination.

05/24/2016 - 12:41
Travel Writer

If cherry pie on July 4 is the ultimate expression of Americana, then the ultimate American destination for Independence Day weekend might be Traverse City, Mich. — home to the oldest and biggest festival celebrating the red, juicy summer fruit in all its glory.

Traverse City is home of the country’s oldest cherry pie festival. Wikimedia Commons

Cultural (And Jewish) High Notes

05/17/2016 - 12:35
Travel Writer

There was a time when Aspen meant two things: classical music in summer, skiing in winter.

Both pursuits are going strong — but if you haven’t been to Aspen in awhile, it’s worth going back to enjoy a resort that has come of age. As elsewhere in Colorado, a steady influx of year-round residents, many of them Jewish, has brought a new sophistication and a burgeoning array of Jewish and arts institutions to this mountain town.

The $80 million lakeside Matthew and Carolyn Bucksbaum Campus. Wikimedia Commons

A ‘Premier’ Jewish Destination

A fixture in central England since classical times, Leicester has literally never gotten so much attention. Until Now.

05/10/2016 - 13:04
Travel Writer

The English city of Leicester has waited 2,000 years for this. Against improbable odds — 5,000 to one, according to local bookmakers — the Leicester City Football Club won this year’s English Premier League, the most competitive national derby on the Continent.

Leicester, following its soccer team’s improbable Premier League championship. Wikimedia Commons

Tips For The Campus Bound

04/26/2016 - 12:00
Travel Writer

The summer I was 16, my parents made the classic mistake of organizing a college tour when school was out of session. Devoid of regular, academic-year activity, the dozen or so Northeastern campuses were a pleasant blur of ivy-clad brick walls, Greek columns, and tour guides walking backwards — all more alike, alas, than they were different.

Students on a college tour, a spring ritual for many families. Photos by Wikimedia Commons

Land Of The Lingonberries

Midsummer is coming! There may be no better place to celebrate the warm-weather solstice than in Sweden.

04/19/2016 - 12:46
Travel Writer

Midsummer is coming! There may be no better place to celebrate the warm-weather solstice than in Sweden, where the longest, sunniest days of the year are cause for weeklong festivities. Aquavit is drunk, toasted, and drunk some more; families pack up for the country’s many beaches. If you find yourself in the land of Ikea this summer, make like the Swedish royals and head to Småland, a region of thick forests, crystalline lakes and idyllic beaches in the country’s southeast.

A typical scene in rural Småland. Wikimedia Commons

Bauhaus And Beer Tours, Anyone?

04/12/2016 - 15:57
Travel Writer

This modernist apartment building in Tel Aviv is part of architectural tour of the city. Ross Belfer

Are you interested in the Tel Aviv art market, but unsure which galleries to explore? Heard about the city’s nightlife scene and wish you knew a local to take you somewhere cool? Find yourself in Israel on business or for the 14th time, wondering what could make this trip memorable?

Tel Aviv, a city with intoxicating energy and industry, plus incredible architecture. Ross Belfer

Who Said Only Adults Get To Have All The Fun?

04/05/2016 - 16:27


"Exploring’s Israel’s outdoor activities and beautiful nature is always a wonderful way to spend the day."


Israel Ministry of Tourism
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