The best time of year to visit Florianopolis is summertime — which, in this idyllic corner of southern Brazil, starts sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
That’s when a mild, pleasant spring gives way to the glorious Miami-like weather and spectacular sunsets that make this one of South America’s most popular resorts. For North Americans, Florianopolis offers an appealing alternative to the Caribbean: a winter escape to a land of wide, sandy beaches, sparkling lagoons and green mountains, wrapped in an affordable package of cultural exoticism.
A full-service kosher winery tucked along the Silverado Trail.
Special To The Jewish Week
Napa, Calif. — Hagafen Cellars sits at the end of a country lane bordered by vineyards and olive trees on the Silverado Trail.
There are many wineries on the trail, but what makes Hagafen Cellars different is its distinction as Napa Valley’s only full-service kosher winery. And the man behind it all is veteran winemaker Ernie Weir.
Just a few hours’ drive east from Venice, one of the most-visited places in Europe, lies a magical land that few Americans ever consider: Slovenia.
While Europeans have discovered Slovenia in droves, there are reasons for its obscurity among us Yanks. Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, is hard to pronounce — Lyoo-blee-YAH-na — and impossible to spell. Many of us secretly sympathized with President Bush when he confused Slovenia with Slovakia, another country that didn’t exist when most of us learned geography.
My mother always counseled us not to have a nervous breakdown in August. “That’s when all the psychiatrists go on vacation,” she explained. If you needed medical guidance in the month before Labor Day, she added, your best shot was to hang out on the beaches of Cape Cod and the Islands, because that’s where they all went.
There’s something about the sight of snowy peaks that instantly cools you off, even in the midst of a long, hot summer.
Whether wandering around the stately red-brick buildings of downtown Denver or prowling its pretty Victorian neighborhoods, one never loses sight of the shimmering Rockies that make the Mile-High City so picturesque. Amid the bright, clear mountain sunshine, Colorado’s capital offers a breezy, verdant summer retreat, along with plenty of culture to fill the non-skiing months.
Barcelona may be famous for its elegant and surrealistic architecture, but in summertime all the action is out of doors.
The city has its interior pleasures too, of course, but its museums take second place compared to the allure of its beaches, parks and neighborhoods adorned with Gaudi buildings. (Madrid, in contrast, is an indoor city the way New York is: its top sites are museums, and I once spent a half-hour vainly searching for a park — even just a shady bench — to enjoy a picnic lunch.)
There is nothing that makes me feel as alive as walking the streets of a new city — with a notebook, a map, and a camera — waiting for a portrait to take shape out of color and sound, clamor and empty space, concrete and stone and sky. A city is, first and foremost, a rhythmic organism: It takes a lot of patience and attention, and many miles on foot, to be open enough to hear the particular music of a place, and to feel how a city situates itself uniquely on the earth.
If you prefer the strains of Mozart and the strokes of Picasso to the feeling of sand between your toes, head to the Berkshires this summer.
New England’s most storied arts retreat is nestled into the deceptively rural swath along the New York-Massachusetts border, a region named for its lush green mountains. I say deceptive because the bucolic setting, with its fresh breezes and homespun clapboard buildings, has a low-key vibe that belies the intensity of its fine-arts scene.
If you enjoy mystery novels, you’ll love planning a trip this summer.
Prices are on a rollercoaster, the euro is diving and the Icelandic volcano periodically throws a little entertainment into the mundane business of flying. There are terrific bargains out there, but the rapidly shifting travel scene is a bit disorienting.
Krakow, Poland — In January 1994, an American tourist stepped out of a taxi into a cold, drizzling rain and entered the Jarden Jewish Bookshop at the far end of the square in the Jewish quarter of Krakow.
On the counter he splayed a weeks-old copy of The New York Times before bookshop owner Les Zdzislaw.