Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

One Whale Of A Town

10/08/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

It’s Indian summer on the south coast of Massachusetts; a languid heat settles over the cranberry bogs, and the swamps shimmer red and russet in the October sun.

This replica of the Lagoda, a 19th-century whaling ship, is the largest anywhere. Photo courtesy New Bedford Whaling Museum

Traveling Lighter

09/30/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am the queen of packing light.
For years, I’d show up for a summer visit of a month of more with only an L.L. Bean backpack, then enjoy the incredulous looks on my hosts’ faces when they realized there was no checked suitcase. “Just this,” I’d crow, “and I probably could have packed it lighter.”

Radical lightness: The author’s new backpack. Hilary Larson

Southern Andes Hideaway, With Chabad House

09/23/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Ah, Bariloche. Even in the ’60s, when much of Latin America was terra incognita for North Americans — a realm of dodgy dictators and exotic, uncharted landscapes — Argentina’s premier mountain resort was a cosmopolitan hub. My mother has fond memories of that era, and how civilized it all was, with cocktails in the chalet and suave waiters who spoke fluent English.

Refugio Laguna Negra, in Bariloche, above. Bottom, a Patagonian lake. Photos courtesy Argentina Tourism

The Other Mount Vernon

09/16/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

The glittery, rejuvenated Baltimore harbor is the city’s current showpiece, attracting visitors to its shops, museums and water views.

A fountain in the stately Mount Vernon section of Baltimore, home to the Peabody Institute. Hilary Larson

History (Jewish And Otherwise), Always Close At Hand

09/09/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Many people are surprised to learn that one 18th-century historic district called Old Salem is not, in fact, located in New England.

Winston-Salem’s historic district features actors dressed in period costumes. Photo courtesy Old Salem Museum and Gardens

The New Jewish Anchor In Anchorage

09/02/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Anchorage, Alaska — Only in the alternative reality of Michael Chabon’s fanciful best-selling novel “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” do three million Jews, rescued from the Holocaust, call Alaska home. The (real-life) reality is that only about 6,000 Jews live in the entire state. As I embarked on a recent trip up north, I didn’t expect to find much of a Jewish presence.

A display case in the new Alaska Jewish Museum and Cultural Center’s show on the rescue of Yemenite Jews. Phil Barnett

Israeli Flavor In Laid-Back Town

08/26/2013 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Santa Barbara, Calif. — A music fan spots Nir Kabaretti seated at a table in a State Street café and greets him warmly. Kabaretti, sipping a cup of tea this sunny morning, is well known around town.

The hillsides ease their way down to the beach, in Santa Barbara. George Medovoy

Nostalgia On The Black Sea

08/19/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

For a beach resort, the Bulgarian town of Balchik is a bit of a letdown. The setting is indeed beautiful — thickly forested cliffs that slope down to a wide turquoise sea — but try as I might, I could not find any sand.

The botanical gardens surrounding the former palace of Queen Marie of Romania in Balchik. Hilary Larson

Faded History, Modern Spirit

08/13/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

Gazing at the stately Moorish arches and symmetrical domed roofline, I could understand how the Great Synagogue of Constanta, Romania, had earned its moniker.

The Constanta Casino is set on a rocky split of land on the Black Sea coast. Photo via

Craggy Fjords, Edvard Munch And More

08/05/2013 - 20:00
Travel Writer

I arrived in Bergen on a day so spectacular it looked almost unreal. A brilliant blue sky was reflected in the city’s central lake, punctuated by a shimmering fountain; at water’s edge, students sprawled on emerald-green grass under bright-pink cherry trees in bloom.

Students relax fjordside in Bergen, the Norwegian city where the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. Hilary Larson
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