>> Hop into the newest, Swedish dream-drive from Volvo— the XC60 coupe— that’s outfitted to technological perfection. Forget the 12 Dyn-audio loudspeakers. Forget the panoramic sunroof that even lets the backseat drivers have a view of the sky. Forget that the tinted windows come with power curtains, or that this is the roomiest Volvo ever. What’s knocking us out is that if there’s danger of an accident, the brakes automatically stop the car before the driver even thinks to react. No more city fender benders. So with that in mind, it’s time to hit the road to New York City…
>> While on the road, keep in touch with loved ones Swedish-style by dialing them on your new Bang & Olufsen cell phone, the Serene, which can operate with any service provider that supports a tri-band GSM system (T-Mobile and AT&T are recommended). bang-olufsen.com
>> Once in Manhattan, hit the Scandinavia House (The Nordic Center in America)— which culturally links America to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It offers lectures, courses, concerts, exhibitions and more, including the Jan. 5 to 9 retrospective of Victor Borge— the Danish-American humorist (the Great Dane and Clown Prince of Denmark). Besides being a comedic entertainer (“The soprano is about 4 1/2 feet tall… lying down”), Borge won a piano scholarship to the Royal Danish Academy of Music at the age of 9, and studied under the direct students of Liszt and Busoni. If you can stay longer than a weekend, make sure to hold over until the middle of the week, because every Wednesday night, the most recent Scandinavian films are screened. You’ll also want to hit the gift shop and stock up on the Icelandic Spa Line (including the nourishing egg soap), Norwegian jewelry by Bjørg and Finnish jewelry by Aarikka. They also sell the famous Swedish Klippan blankets— great for the ride back to Baltimore.
>> For fine Nordic dining (and do make sure to call ahead for reservations), the James Beard-awarded “Best Chef in NYC” Marcus Samuelsson serves up delicious, inventive fare at Aquavit. Highly recommended: the oyster starter, cooked in a fennel cream and served with green apple sorbet and caviar, or the smoked salmon on flatbread, presented with goat cheese ice cream and port mustard. For the main course, the roasted cod with braised beef cheek, spaghetti squash and Meyer lemon is exquisite. And nothing says tummy-splurge quite like the poppyseed ice cream sandwich with a spiced red wine reduction (reason alone to make the trip!). 65 E. 55th St., between Park and Madison avenues; 212-307-7311.
>> After dinner, you’ll definitely want to bed down at 70 Park Avenue, a Scandinavian-styled boutique hotel, heavy on technology, eco-friendly philosophy and design. Even the Kerstin Florian bathroom amenities have a Nordic mark. And if you’re traveling with your Swedish Mastiff, Finnish Spitz or your Norwegian Forest Cat, you’re in luck, because not only is this hotel pet-friendly, it’s pet-pampering: manicures, pedicures, umbrellas, beds and toys are available at the snap of a finger. And with your pet happy, and that 42-inch plasma screen helping to wind you down to sleep, you’ll both be purring pretty. 70 Park Ave., at 38th Street; 877-707-2752.