The Daily Traveler: IKEA Designs a Community in London

We Hope London's Ikea Suburb Serves Swedish Meatballs

Ikea devotees, start packing your cheap-but-attractive furniture. LandProp—part of the Inter Ikea Group, which owns the Swedish furniture chain—is converting 26 acres and 2 million square feet of space into a mixed-use community south of London's Olympic park in Stratford. In other words: an Ikea village of sorts. In addition to offices and more than a thousand new homes, LandProp is outfitting the development, called Strand East, with a Graysons restaurant, a 350-room hotel, and Dane's Yard, a waterfront public square marked by an illuminated 130-foot-tall sculpture. The eco-friendly community will have car-free zones (families can stow their minivans underground), water taxis in the surrounding canals, and landscaped bridges and walkways. The big question: How many pieces will be leftover when they’re done assembling the ’burb?

Image Credit: LandProp

The Daily Traveler: Country Music-Inspired Travel


Taylor Swift Makes Us Want to Take a Country-Travel Tour

Taylor Swift took home the Entertainer of the Year statue at Wednesday's Country Music Awards. If her down-home charm—along with performances by Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, and the oft-re-costumed Carrie Underwood—inspired you to put a little more honkey-tonk in your life, here are five places that'll get you in touch with your country roots.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Nashville, Tennessee

No better place to start than Nashville, home to the Country Music Association, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The latter houses a collection of hundreds of thousands of country-music artifacts for fans to pore over, from Carrie Underwood's Grammy dress (though not all of the other  night's CMA outfits—yet) to countless photos, recordings, movies, and interviews. A current exhibition about Hank Williams and his kin, featuring rare and never-before-seen items donated by his family, closes December 31.

Click through to read the rest of the item at the Condé Nast Traveler website.

Photo by Tim Hursley

The Daily Traveler: Quiz - Match the Country to Its Motto


Quiz: Match the Country to Its Motto

This week, the House of Representatives voted to reaffirm "In God We Trust" as the national motto of the United States. This follows a 2002 vote that accomplished the exact same thing. We're not convinced our national slogan is really worth all of that congressional time and effort (does anyone pay attention to these things outside of their own countries, or even in them?) But with the idea that it might actually tell you something about the place you're visiting, we've looked into some other countries' mottos. See if you can match these ten adages to their countries.

Click through to read the rest at the Condé Nast Traveler.

The Daily Traveler: Rum Diary

Johnny Depp and Puerto Rico Star in The Rum Diary

Johnny Depp’s latest, The Rum Diary, opens tonight—an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's semi-autobiographical novel about working at an ailing newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. Filming was done on location on the island (which was recently top-rated in our annual Readers’ Choice Awards, along with several snazzy hotels and resorts). Johnny Depp, no stranger to working in the Caribbean, speaks fondly the two months he spent in Puerto Rico. "It's very vivid; there's a real celebration of life there," he told Entertainment Tonight. "The people there are very warm and welcoming—in truth, the sweetest people on Earth."

Condé Nast Traveler Mini Item: Fall Foliage Tip

Fall Foliage Tip 
A good rule of thumb is that the leaves change later the more south you go and the closer you stick to the coast. “This is because these areas are lower in elevation and tend to stay a bit warmer than inland,” says Marek D. Rzonca of the Foliage Network. If the weather cooperates, leaf season in southeast New Jersey—near Wildwood and Cape May, for example—can continue through early November.

Click through to read the rest of the item on the Condé Nast Traveler Tumblr. They have a great photo up on the site, too.

Fall Travel: The Liberty Hotel, Boston, MA

Give Me Liberty
The Liberty Hotel, Boston, MA

A trendy Beacon Hill crowd starts to arrive at the Liberty Hotel lobby. You grab a drink from the lobby bar—perhaps a Juniper Blossom, made of Tanqueray, St. Germain, and grapefruit—and look out onto the soaring four-story atrium. The grand space is marked with towering arched windows, wrought-iron chandeliers, and mahogany furniture. If you didn’t know, you might never guess that the place was once a jail.

Yes, until the 1990s, the hotel was the old Charles Street Jail, which housed inmates such as Sacco and Vanzetti and James Michael Curley (who was imprisoned there for fraud but ran a successful campaign for alderman while he was interred). Developer Carpenter and Company and architect Cambridge Seven Associates teamed up to repurpose the property. The old cellblocks are now stylish catwalks with sitting areas for guests, the original “drunk tank” has (fittingly) been turned into a bar, and some of the original jail cells are now dining nooks at the on-site restaurants. Eighteen of the 298 guest rooms also are set up within the landmark jail building (with the rest in a newly constructed 16-story tower).

While there are many nods to the Liberty Hotel’s history, thankfully, there’s nothing prison-like about the guest accommodations. Spa-like is more apt, with luxurious bathrooms with separate deep bathtubs and rainfall showerheads. And, with a spot right at the foot of the Longfellow Bridge, many of these rooms look out over the Charles River.

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Fall Travel: The Charles Hotel in Cambridge, MA

Harvard’s Yard
The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, MA

Harvard Square teems with activity. Students crowd coffee shops in the morning and grab beers in bars at night. Bargain-hunters rummage trough bookstores and vintage shops. Couples on dates share falafel sandwiches and sample tacos in the neighborhood’s surfeit of restaurants. Culture-vultures take in an indie film at the Brattle Theatre (617-876-6837, or a performance by the American Repertory Theatre (617-547-8300,

It seems as if The Charles Hotel isn’t just well positioned to take advantage of the life of the neighborhood—it is part of the life of the neighborhood. The hotel’s Regattabar is regarded as one of the best jazz clubs in Boston. (The 26-year-old club has won Boston magazine’s “Best of Boston” award no less than 14 times.) Its Noir, a 1940s-style bar serving classic cocktails like the Mai Tai and the Old Fashioned, was recognized as having the “Best Nightlife” by Food & Wine magazine, and revelers spill from inside to outside on warm nights. Even the courtyard at the entrance to the hotel, which abuts the Kennedy School of Government, is a happening spot for community events, hosting everything from a weekly farmers’ market in warm-weather months to an ice-skating rink in the winter.

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Fall Travel: Hudson House River In in Cold Spring, NY

Hudson House River Inn, Cold Spring

Who needs to travel to New England to see fall foliage? As it turns out, you can drive less than an hour and still catch a spectacular autumnal display over the Hudson River. And the best place to take it all in is the Hudson House River Inn in Cold Spring.

The Inn itself, sitting majestically on Main Street and cozied up to the River, dates back to 1832 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Guest rooms have that comfy bed-and-breakfast feel, with antique-looking furniture, floral bedspreads, and patterned wallpaper. But, opt for a room with a full balcony, and chances are you’ll ignore the rest of your accommodations for a chair out on the terrace, where you can look across the River to the wooded Storm King State Park.

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Time Out New York: Staycations

I contributed two articles to Time Out New York's feature package on New York City staycations.


"Governors Island
What was once a vacated rock in the New York Harbor, abandoned by the Coast Guard in 1995, is now a haven for creative types. This year, find more than a dozen free exhibitions throughout the island. For instance, the artists’ festival Figment is displaying interactive sculptures, while Storm King Art Center hosts a retrospective of sculptor Mark di Suvero. Keep an eye on the schedule for big summer concerts, too, including the The Governors Ball with Girl Talk, Empire of the Sun and Big Boi (Sat 18 noon–11:30pm; $95–$150), or ditch work early and ferry over any Friday to borrow a pair of wheels from Bike and Roll (10am–4:30pm, last rental 3:30pm; first hour free, each additional hour $12). Cool off with a drink (and maybe some grilled kielbasa) at the sandy Water Taxi Beach, which also has the best views of downtown Manhattan. (212-825-3045, Fri–Sun through Sept 25. Travel: Ferries leave from the Battery Maritime Building, Slip 7, in Manhattan and Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn."

Click through to read the rest of the article at Time Out New York.

"Otto and Orient Express
Mario Batali’s pizza joint, Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (1 Fifth Ave at 8th St; 212-995-9559, is modeled after an Italian train station, which becomes apparent as soon as you put your name in for a table and the hostess issues you a “train ticket” bearing the name of an Italian town. When it’s time to be seated, you’ll find that place announced on a departures board—the old-timey kind with flip-down letters. Then you’ll be on your way to your culinary satisfaction—maybe via a garlicky vongole pizza topped with clams, a mini carafe of wine from the extensive 700-bottle list and an award-winning gelato. Continue your journey on the Orient Express (325 W 11th St between Greenwich and Washington Sts; 212-691-8845,, which is set up to look like a bar car on an old-fashioned train. The drinks menu here is similarly themed, with cocktails that have cloak-and-dagger-sounding names like the Mata Hari (Bulleit bourbon, Pierde Almas mezcal, lemon juice, agave, ginger, aloe; $14) or the From Russia with Love (Russian Standard vodka, ginger, lime, rosewater rinse; $12)."

Click through to read the rest of the article at Time Out New York.

June Issue: Summer Fun Cover Story

Summer Fun

For the June cover, I produced a feature package on the best ways to enjoy summer in Westchester County, from driving race cars to seeing Shakespeare outdoors to heading to one of a million local beaches. You can read an excerpt below and follow the link to read the rest of the article, or you can download the PDF.

"Wear Your Favorite Eye Patch

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for…you. Forget the Pirates of the Caribbean—the Pirates of the Hudson have arrived and have laid siege to Philipsburg Manor. If you dare, you can put on your finest bandana, hook hand, peg leg, or shoulder parrot, and mingle among them. There, you’ll see belly dancers gyrating to the sounds of pirate musicians, shop for fenced booty from the Thieves Market, marvel at the Museum of Oddities, feast on foods prepared by Tastefully Yours, and imbibe grog from the Captain Lawrence Brewery. (Just keep an eye on your own wallet—these scalawags have sticky fingers.) Pirates-in-training can take part in a treasure hunt and climb on a shipwreck—or be forced to walk its plank. Pirates of the Hudson: The Siege of Sleepy Hollow comes to us from the same people who brought us the Horseman’s Hollow event on Halloween. The event takes place from July 2 to July 4 and, as with the Horseman’s Hollow, you must have a timed ticket to enter. For more information, call (914) 631-8200 or visit"

Click here to read the full article online.

Two Man Gentleman Band photo by Putnam Bean; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival ten photo by William Marsh; Pirates photo by Bryan Haeffele.