Hilary Larson's travel tales and tips.

Where To Travel This Year

Travel Writer

Where will you travel in 2011? It’s a juicy thought that inspires endless midwinter reverie, and never more so than during a week of waist-high snow drifts and slushy intersections. At times like these, I dream about places where holiday lights coil around palm trees.

When Anti-Semitism Is Part Of The Vacation

Travel Writer

I was in Barcelona, dropping by a friend’s shared apartment, when it started up. “I’ve been so busy here, I haven’t even had time to go shopping!” I laughed, and was met with this teasing response from my friend’s housemate — a Bulgarian cellist I barely knew. “No shopping? Why, for you, that must be as unthinkable as not building settlements would be for an Israeli!”

The Off-Season Advantage

Travel Writer

Wintertime in Florida? Why, that’s so old school. Haven’t you heard that the hottest trend is off-season travel?

Make that the coldest trend. As yesterday’s summer resorts have morphed into year-round weekend destinations, beach towns from Cape Cod to Hilton Head have quietly developed a 12-month-long scene. Increasingly, people are willing to sacrifice an August dip in the ocean for a soulful, solitary beach in February — and a chance to spot wildlife that isn’t toting a keg.

The cliffs of Martha’s Vineyard, top. Above, a deserted stretch of beach in Hilton Head, S.C.

Under African Skies

Travel Writer

Years ago, I found myself studying German at the Berlitz school in Rockefeller Center. My classmates were a fascinating lot: international business people, Austrian Airline workers, diplomats and their significant others, all learning German for love or money.

They were also a well-traveled lot, so one day when the teacher was late, the conversation fell to favorite travel destinations. Would the consensus be Paris, Italy, Hawaii? Not even close: to a one, they all replied, “Cape Town, South Africa.”

Table Mountain, a flat-topped plateau, looms over Cape Town, a captivating, multicultural city. Cape Town Tourism

White Sands, High Waves

Travel Writer

A scantily clothed man sprints along the shore, fire blazing from the stick in his hand. As he pauses to light each of dozens of torches, the sound of ukuleles wafts from a hotel patio, and the flickering fires cast a shimmering golden glow across the lapping waves.

Waikiki Beach with the Diamond Head promontory in the distance. Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

Traveling With A Senior

Travel Writer

My father once made a trip overseas. The year was 1955, Europe was struggling to rebuild itself from postwar trauma, and my dad shipped out for Lausanne, Switzerland, to spend a year at conservatory. When his studies were finished, he went to Paris for a week to tour the Louvre. Then he came home, satisfied that he had seen Europe.

The Greening Of Israeli Tourism

Eco-travel, though lagging behind that of other countries, is picking up steam in the Jewish state.

Travel Writer

When Dutch-born Hilda Zohar
met her husband, Moshe, on a kibbutz
years ago, it was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with, if not only with, the Israeli land.

Eleven years ago, the couple settled on a barren plot in the Negev Desert and planted the first grapes for what would blossom into the Boker Valley Vineyard and Farm. The cold winters and long, hot summers were ideal for red wine production, and the arid climate eliminated the need for pesticides — though it did force them to get creative with sustainable irrigation.

Tourists at an Israeli wildlife reserve, left, mud building on an eco-kibbutz and working the fields at an organic farm.

A Late-Autumn Viennese Waltz

Travel Writer

Vienna regularly tops those lists of cities with the world’s best quality of life, and amid the happy buzz of wintertime, you’ll understand why.

An annex of The Jewish Museum on the Judenplatz.

Romantic Setting, Reasonably Priced

Travel Writer

It is already snowing in Romania’s Transylvania, and winter there is a fairy tale. It is situated deep in the cold heart of Europe, where freezing temperatures arrive in September, and a chill descends over the Carpathian mountains until May.

Sighisoara, a windswept hilltop citadel, in the snow, top. Above, the Brasov town center. Photos by Hilary Larson

Continuity In Queens

In the Forest Hills-Rego Park area,
diversity and middle-class stability.

Special To The Jewish Week

The stately brick buildings with their white-mantled entryways, elegant blocks of Tudor houses and tidy tree-lined sidewalks of Forest Hills connote solid American values. They speak of community, continuity, middle-class stability.

Austin Street, an upscale shopping zone in Forest Hills. Photos by Michael Datikash
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