Getaways

Mountain Majesty

It’s like discovering a pearl in the wilderness,” says a Versace-clad woman to her dinner companions while I sip a glass of Cabernet and savor a bit of eavesdropping at Blackberry Farm. It is the perfect description.  Few would expect such refinement in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains …

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Traveling With The Queen

“Since the discovery of America by Columbus, nothing has occurred of so much importance to the new world as navigating the Atlantic by steamers.” I may not have the maritime chops of shipping magnate Samuel Cunard, who uttered those words in 1840 as he was set to launch the first …

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Roman Holiday

Better than any other art form, film reveals the nature of the world’s great cities. Even if you’ve never visited New York, London, Paris or Tokyo, movies have very likely given you a strong sense of those cities—from their streets and buildings to their personality and vibe. Before I recently …

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Flash Dance

The minute I grasp the drumsticks—the percussion variety, not turkey—I am hooked. My inner rock star springs to life and I’m tapping everything in sight. I am not alone. Everyone is tapping right along with me and the class hasn’t even started. When it does, this band of strangers morphs …

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Postcards from the Edge

I’m driving north on the New Jersey Turnpike, it’s raining and I have approximately 2,000 vintage postcards of Asbury Park, N.J., in the trunk. If it sounds like I’m on a mission, I am. My father, who grew up in Asbury Park, started collecting these cards late in life as …

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Music to Her Ears

Nashville makes me want to sing. Granted, my vocal skills are best heard in a car and with radio accompaniment. But in Music City, melody really is omnipresent, from the notes that tumble out of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, a classic honky-tonk on Broadway, Nashville’s main drag, to the vintage tunes …

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Scrapple and Shakespeare

I’d already told about 10 people in Baltimore that my husband and I were planning a visit to Staunton, Va., when a friend of mine who is from Virginia whispered in my ear, “You don’t say the ‘u.’” The fact that no one had corrected me until then is evidence …

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It’s a Spa World, after all.

I give $35 to the woman at the front desk and she hands me a shirt and shorts in convict orange and a key on a wristband with a number printed on it. “Don’t lose this key,” she says sternly. “It’s how we keep track of you.” I take the …

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The Butler Did It

At 7:30 a.m., Stephen Sanford, my, ahem, butler, knocks on the door of my cottage, a silver tray bearing a pot of French press coffee and a paper bag of hot sugared beignets in his arms. Only a day earlier he had asked what time I wanted my morning treats, …

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