Bannerman Island: Debunking A Suburban Myth

Bannerman Castle

I grew up believing this abandoned structure on an island in the Hudson River was the home of the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys in the classic film “The Wizard of Oz“. Learning it wasn’t didn’t ruin my 4th of July. And neither did the grey skies and persistent drizzle that accompanied my tour of Bannerman Island. Continue reading

Time for a Quickie? Two Must-See Shops in Nyack, NY

Marzipan ©The Open Suitcase LLC

Nyack is a Saturday destination for many New Yorkers who arrive to bike, hike, and shop in this charming hamlet, located snug up against the western bank of the Hudson River. You can make a day of it, but, if you’ve only got an hour or so, hit up this dynamic retail duo on Broadway: The Chocolaterie and Pickwick Book Shop. Continue reading

A Walk in the Woods

Solo hiker in NYS Rockefeller Preserve.

“Whose woods these are I think I know.” – Robert Frost

Learning to ski when I turned 40 was ambitious. And stupid. I’m sure others do it successfully, but I’m not one of them. We went to the right place  to learn – Breckenridge, Colorado – and I dutifully enrolled the kids and me in ski school. They took to it like penguins to ice. Me? I flipped and floundered and twisted and writhed. When I charged down the mountain, it was beautiful. When finesse was required (the lift, bumps, turns), I was lost. Continue reading

‘Round the World at The NY Times Travel Show

Feeling the winter blues? The easiest way to escape is via a travel show. These industry-sponsored events are held in cities throughout the US during the dead of winter. Attending is one way to combat SAD. Another is pinot.

The Lady from CuraçaoOne of the biggest is the NY Times Travel Show. The weekend features presentations by big names in the travel business such as Pauline and Arthur FrommerPeter Greenberg, Julia Dimon and Adam Richman. The Javits Convention Center is filled with hundreds of promotional booths. You will acquire several bags full of brochures and lots of chip clips, pens and paper fans. I spent much of my day last year chatting with the young ladies promoting France’s Languedoc region. They were quite charming, primarily because they did not mock my pigeon French to my face. Continue reading

Escape from NYC: Overnight Options in the Hudson River Valley

What do you look for in a getaway destination? I’m guessing you seek out a place that offers a variety of interesting things to do, beautiful places to stay and yummy spots for eating and drinking. Editors of travel magazines do the same when they compile their annual “Places You Must See” lists. I scroll through these drool-worthy galleries and long to hop on the next plane to Kyoto or Valparaiso or Quito or the Hudson Valley.

National Geographic 2013 coverThe Hudson Valley? Back it up. Yes, folks. NY’s Hudson River Valley was named one of the top 20 places to visit by National Geographic. I love the region and marvel at the beauty of our river, the diversity of the people, the variety of food and our rich history. I know we’ve got it all but I didn’t know the secret was out. Continue reading