Travel

Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

A Jewish Cultural Olympiad

02/14/2012
Travel Writer

The Olympics are coming!

All over London, cloaked in yet another layer of once-unthinkable snowfall, people look to this summer’s Games for much-needed cheer. The record chill that has seized Europe this winter seems to mirror the mood across the Continent. From the British Isles to the Urals, Europeans are depressed about falling incomes, rising taxes and bleak prospects, and the punishing cold just seems to rub it all in.

A Lucian Freud self-portrait from National Portrait Gallery show. A Lucian Freud self-portrait from National Portrait Gallery

Napa, Watch Your Back!

For oenophiles, Israel is becoming a serious destination for wine tourism.

Travel Writer
02/07/2012

About five years ago, I was scanning reds by the glass in a Park Slope wine bar when something unusual caught my eye.

“Recanati,” read the listing. “Cabernet Sauvignon, Israel.”

Suddenly, in the last few years, it’s Israel’s turn to be one of the world’s hot new regions for serious wine. And boutique outfits like Recanati, with vineyards throughout the Galilee, are turning their wineries into a destination for oenophile vacationers — a kind of Napa Valley for the Holy Land.

From Mournful To Cool

02/07/2012
Travel Writer

Lodz, Poland’s third-largest city, has long held a special resonance for Jewish visitors.

This onetime outpost of the Russian and German Empires was among the world’s most Jewish cities before the Holocaust, with a quarter-million Jews, a good third of the city’s total. Every year, thousands of heritage travelers come to bear witness to Lodz’s wartime ghetto and the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe.

So fixed is that mournful image that it takes a mental leap to consider what Europeans already know: Lodz is suddenly the coolest place in Poland.

Lodz’s Manukaftura entertainment and shopping complex, above.

The Art Of The Midwest

01/31/2012
Travel Writer

For art lovers, the great American road trip has a new pit stop.

That’s because the arts are in bloom in Kansas City, Mo., the major stop between St. Louis and Denver on Interstate 70, which slices through Middle America from Baltimore to Utah.

The exterior of Moshe Safdie’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, above. Top, the center’s Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

Lag Time

01/17/2012
Travel Writer

A frenzy of chatter greeted the recent announcement that Virgin Galactic would begin offering commercial flights into space for $200,000. Those wishing to see Planet Earth from afar may have to wait until later this year, when space flights are expected to take off from New Mexico.

Virgin Galactic’s announcement about its space trips got our frequent flier thinking about time and travel.

High Culture: Santiago’s Moment

01/10/2012
Travel Writer

Santiago, the blossoming capital of Chile, has long been the Latin American also-ran — overlooked as travelers flocked to the tango of Buenos Aires, the Inca wonders of Machu Picchu and the sexy shores of Brazil.

That’s precisely what makes Santiago such fun to discover. As one of the hemisphere’s most vibrant economies, crisis-defying Chile is becoming an international destination for investors, professionals and tourists, and one of my top picks for 2012.

Snowy-peaked Santiago is home to stunning vistas, cultural and artistic attractions.

South By Southwest

01/03/2012
Travel Writer

The first thing you may notice about Tucson is the profusion of flowering plants, blossoming cactus and exotically shaped greenery. “I expected it to be dry and arid, like Phoenix,” commented my mother in surprise.

The DeGrazia Gallery in Tucson, a landmark of Southwestern art, architecture and natural beauty.  Jeri Larson

The 2012 Forecast

12/27/2011
Travel Writer

A few weeks ago, I boarded an Air Europa 767 in Barcelona, bound for Miami — and found it 80 percent empty, with room to stretch out and snooze across three seats. It felt like 1995. The price was retro too: about $550 for a trans-Atlantic flight.

This was not, however, the luxury of a bygone era. A Catalan friend explained to me that many thousands of Spaniards have recently run out of their two-year unemployment benefits, a scenario repeating itself across recession-stricken Europe.

The Northern Greek coast is cheap, lovely and all yours in 2012.

‘The Westchester Of Paris’

12/13/2011
Travel Writer

The chilly fog of Paris, and its neat rows of Hausman-era rooflines, receded as we drove north on the highway toward Lille, the city giving way to thick forests and wide-open fields of green still vivid on this late-fall weekend.

It was Thanksgiving weekend, to be precise, and my husband, Oggi, and I were spending the holiday with cousins who settled awhile back in French horse country. Twenty-five miles northeast through thick woods dotted with streams and the odd chateau take you into the Department of Oise.

The ruins of a royal castle ruins and Roman walls in Senlis. Photos courtesy of Office de Tourisme de Senlis

On The Art Trail In Arkansas

12/06/2011
Travel Writer

When I heard about a new museum of American art opening in the Arkansas Ozarks, I had two equally shameful reactions.

The New Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a state-of-the-art collection in the Ozarks. Hilary Larson
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