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My children are upset. With a travel alert in effect and episode after episode of terrorist induced violence unfolding in Paris, they feel that my upcoming trip to France is reckless. I get it. I have taught them the motto “safety first”, invited police officers to our home to discuss how to safely navigate public transportation in Chicago. We have an alarm in the apartment to keep the bad guys out. So, why do I...

Sleek design has its place. But in Honolulu, land of Polynesian charm and turbo charged Pacific vistas, the best perches are often the ones that have been around for decades, updated but maintaining the midcentury glamour of an Elvis film. For decades, The Halekulani has reigned as Grand Dame of Waikiki (Erroll Flynn, Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell were all guests) her hospitality and “tropical modernist” decor delivering a sense of place that blows contemporary corporate-crafted “island...

The San Juan Islands were not on my radar until last March. Not even a peripheral blip. But, an engaging call from a publicist piqued my interest and suddenly a family trip to the Pacific Northwest fell into place. The San Juans were a perfect stop between Vancouver and Seattle. We thought about visiting Orcas; everyone raves about this island. But, it was San Juan Island that I ultimately chose. First, because of Friday Harbor,...

To me, a trip is very much about where I will lay my head.  Hotels are a major part of the travel experience. Without a comfortable (veering luxurious), recently renovated, de-shag carpetized hotel/inn, the destination won’t work. Translation:  no skanky bedspreads, no lumpy mattresses, no flattened- by -age pillows, no dried flowers, no doilies and no staying in a hotel without photos on the website. Another thing: if the term “historic accommodations” is used, it...

I almost never deviate from carry-on luggage. Black dress, black pants, a few shirts and two pairs of shoes. But, last month, I did. And, boy did I regret it. While packing for a nine day odyssey from the Rhone to Paris, I allowed visions of linen clad afternoons in Provence and swanky evenings at the Ritz Paris cloud my instincts. Though my brain screamed, “non!” to that extra dress, heels and snakeskin clutch, my...

An Under Canvas tent that fuses design and comfort. CreditTiffany Rose The notion of nodding off under the stars to the crackle of a fire in the shadow of ancient ponderosa pines sounds dreamy. Here’s the catch. Though I love communing with nature, I detest discomfort. This includes interacting with moist soil and insects as well as partaking in tiresome camp chores like tent pitching, fire making, food schlepping and foraging for makeshift, leave-no-trace toilets. Sleeping on...

Whenever I'm traveling, I pick up beautiful things for my kitchen, a tray and quirky bottle opener from a flea market in Paris, a salt cellar from Morocco, oils from Budapest, spices from Provence. I am always cooking. So, having the spoils of my travels displayed throughout the kitchen reminds me of my many adventures.  Each time I reach for the garlic housed in a Cafe Flore ramekin, I remember the heaven of a gooey...

Yes, there have been multiple terror attacks in France. And strikes. And financial malaise. Which, of course, does not make such an appetizing tourist scenario. And, can almost make you forget the abundant charms of France: the cheese, the wine, the pastry, the way golden light bathes the architecture at sunset, the joie de vivre derived from meandering through Paris, Provence and so many other villages that exude a unique sense of place. Terror is, unfortunately the...

A few years ago, I took my daughters to a manor house turned hotel in England. It left a big impression.   Falconry. Horseback riding.  An old-fashioned canal boat ride. The entire family was so engaged in enjoying the rugged landscape  that we didn’t give electronics a thought for an entire week.   Inspired by the return of Game of Thrones (yes, I am obsessed), I began researching actual castle hotels that offer the type of “leisure pursuits” (archery,...

If you are thinking about a family trip to Costa Rica, pull the trigger and go. The beaches are pristine, the food is excellent and the ability to see an abundance of wildlife-monkeys, parrots, iguanas and technicolor birds-at any given moment of the day is awe inspiring. The journalist in me wanted to zip across the country trying to fit everything into a single week. But, my family craved downtime so we decided to spend...