I’m in Cannes for a travel event as I write this letter, having arrived here earlier today from a resort in the Alpine Var region of Provence, where I spent only one night, easing into the time zone and relaxing before a busy few days of meetings. In addition to enjoying a delicious dinner of scallops on a bed of lemon-flavored risotto, I went on a couple of interesting walks in the winding streets of the medieval fortified villages of Tourrettes and Seillans. In Seillans, the longtime home of the surrealist artist Max Ernst, I passed a tiny hotel, Des Deux Rocs, which has what I hear is an outstanding restaurant that might just lure me back.
This short French interlude got me thinking about how long a visit to an interesting destination needs to be before it can be called a vacation. Accessing the island escapes in this month’s cover story, from Portugal’s Atlantic satellite of Madeira to Santorini, Kauai, and Bora-Bora, requires a considerable investment of time and money, but the rewards are high, among them much-needed rest and a remove from pressing concerns that presumably will stretch out over a number of days. My break between busy workweeks in New York and France was modest in proportion, but effective in delivering me to some experiences of place that will resonate. In other words, the net effect will exceed the number of hours spent.
Similarly, Shane Mitchell’s trip through the Mississippi Delta may seem a relatively simple undertaking, but Clarksdale, Greenwood, and Oxford, the three distinctive Southern towns she visits, are rich in regional culture, with lively food and music scenes. Then there’s this month’s Decoder on Las Vegas, by Andrea Bennett, which presents a road map for an entertaining sojourn in that city. As for Peter Jon Lindberg’s report on the best new restaurants in London, such a Herculean mad dash from table to table would be anything but an escape, except for the marathon eaters among us, but I am sure T+L readers will feel free to pick and choose among the dining spots Peter highlights.
Next month, my husband and I will be joining friends in a rented house on the Caribbean island of Mustique. If you follow me on Twitter, you may find a picture or two—no more than that, as I will be on a full-fledged, weeklong vacation.
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