The Great Big Easy
At last, an article that captures the ambience and spirit of New Orleans. Thomas Beller’s piece was a delight for this native New Orleanian. For years, residents have wondered why Bourbon Street and the French Quarter were as far as most reporters ventured. I’m also glad to welcome the story’s photographer, Cedric Angeles, to the city so he can join, in his words, “the charismatic, talented, and proud people who hold this place together.” —Mary Fonseca, Metairie, La.
Virginia, on the Verge
I enjoyed your recent piece, “America's Best Wine Country Restaurants” [Bruce Schoenfeld, November]; however, I was disappointed that Palladio Restaurant, at Virginia’s Barboursville Vineyards, was not covered. Virginia is one of the country’s fastest-growing wine regions, and Palladio is one of the best restaurants in the state—it’s built on the grounds of a now-ruined estate designed by Thomas Jefferson, and the food is as noteworthy as the wine: my favorite dessert in memory is their ricotta crème caramel. —Tara Matthews, Richmond, Va.
Paradise Found: Hawaii
Thank you, Andrew McCarthy, for capturing the essence of Kauai. The island is our favorite vacation spot and you articulated the spirit of its people and places so beautifully. It steals your soul each and every visit. Mahalo nui loa! —Laura Winter, San Jose, Calif.
“Exploring Burgundy, France” is as fine a piece of writing about the holy trinity—wine, food, and travel—as I’ve read anywhere. It articulates precisely why we love exploring and why we cherish that trifecta—because of “the power that place exerts on wine and that wine exerts on place.” Exactly. —Steve Woodward, Burr Ridge, Ill.
La Vie Bohème
Since I love Brittany and Normandy, Yolanda Edwards’s Normandy story caught my eye. But I had hoped she would mention one of my favorite museums: Les Maisons Satie. It’s the former home of composer Erik Satie, and I chuckle every time I think of it. The odd house has a zigzagging stairway and a merry-go-round that you turn by bicycle pedals (and as you spin, things happen: umbrellas open, musical instruments jiggle, etc.). It’s a must-see. —Frances Roberts, San Pedro, Calif.
Hot Topic: Pretty/Ugly Citizens
Readers of TravelandLeisure.com’s “America’s Most and Least Attractive People” (Online, Nov.) took issue with the results of our America’s Favorite Cities poll, proving beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
In Portland, Maine, we’re not all lobster bib–wearing people! I’m glad our city isn’t full of tanorexics (ahem: Miami, L.A.) —Janine Fifield, via e-mail
Gorgeous...and So Modest!!
Reader’s Find: Undiscovered Italia
After years of peeling back inspiring layers of Italy—the monuments, the museums, the medieval towns in one region after another—I was surprised to find that northern Abruzzi is still relatively under-the-radar. An easy two-hour drive from Rome, it has miles of Adriatic beaches backed by endless vineyards; ancient hilltop villages are framed by the majestic peaks of the Gran Sasso d’Italia chain. My favorite hotel is in Colonnella: the Villa Susanna degli Ulivi (doubles from $132). The 28-room salmon-colored manor house has Gran Sasso in its backyard, the Adriatic Sea in its front. —Gary De Paolo, Scottsdale, Ariz.
T+L Asks: What’s your travel resolution for the new year?
Head to Barcelona. I’ve been wanting to go since the last century. :-) —Glenn Castillo, Los Angeles, Calif.
Knock another country off my wish list. This year will either be Italy, China, or Australia! —Angie Belknap
I have no plans to go anywhere...but invite all of you to come to Lahore, Pakistan, if you want to experience an amazing culture and lifestyle! —Zahid Munir, Lahore, Pakistan
I own a B&B and want to stay with all my innkeeping friends. Most of us have never met in person, so it will be fun to put names to faces! —Monica Kissane, Freeport, Maine
Be a tourist in my own city. Life is so much more exciting and fun that way! —Melissa Tomeoni, Portland, Ore.
To start traveling to South America. First destination: Lima, Peru. —Tara Sacco, New York, N.Y.
1) Go back to Tahiti. 2) Go to a new destination that I’ve never been to before. —Jan Mauer, East Brunswick, N.J.
Discipline myself to remain caught up with my personal travel journal (and not write about a trip months or even years later). —Vasthy Flores, Los Angeles, Calif.
Do a spur-of-the-moment trip from L.A. to Philly—just to eat for a day! —Shiloh Sandoval, Los Angeles, Calif.
Coming Next Month in T+L Asks: What’s the one thing you always take with you on a trip?
The T+L Hit List
The most-visited hotels on TravelandLeisure.com last year:
1. Kaawa Loa Plantation
2. Hôtel L’Oursin
3. Çirağan Palace
4. L’Oustau de Baumanière
5. Relais Sant’Elena
6. Ti Jan Ar C’hafe
7. Evason Ma’In Hot Springs
8. Art’otel Berlin
9. W Retreat & Spa—Maldives
10. Inn at Ocean’s Edge