Remembering Île de Ré
Several years ago, I finally succumbed to a friend's urging and visited him at his summer home in Ars-en-Ré. Christopher Petkanas's evocative story about Île de Ré ["France at Island Speed," July] brought back pleasant memories of the five days I spent there; his descriptions and Alexandre Bailhache's photos captured the essence of the place (although the hollyhocks are actually larger and more prolific than your pictures suggest). I had a delightful meal at Bernadette Frigière's restaurant, Le Chasse-Marée, and another at Le Parasol, the hotel where I stayed.
Oregon's Top Chowder
Peter Jon Lindberg's story on exploring the Oregon coast ["Hugging the Pacific," August] was terrific. But Mr. Lindberg missed a great gathering place in Depoe Bay. To tour the coast without stopping at Gracie's Sea Hag for its local color and great seafood is unthinkable. This quaint restaurant and bar just happens to serve the best clam chowder I've ever had.
Last summer, preparing for a long road trip, my husband and I scoured back issues of Travel & Leisure , flipping to the Inn of the Month pages to look for places to stay. We booked three of your selections, and each was exactly what we hoped for. After a night at the Maison des Amis in Breaux Bridge [January 1998], we felt we had truly experienced Louisiana (and the beignets and étouffée the next morning at Café des Amis were delicious). Rancho de San Juan in Espanola, New Mexico [July 1997], was utterly luxurious--and our bed there was the most comfortable I've ever slept in. And when we arrived at the Valley of the Gods B&B in Mexican Hat, Utah [March 1998], we knew we'd found a place where we could stay forever.
Another Coney Island
I was delighted to see a feature in your September issue on my home borough of Brooklyn. But as a fan of Van Morrison's I feel compelled to point out that the Coney Island to which the Ulster-born singer refers in his song of that name is not Brooklyn's, but a less famous one in Northern Ireland. "We stopped off...for a couple of jars of mussels and some potted herrings," goes the lyric. Had Van hailed from Brooklyn, surely the reference would have been to Nathan's hot dogs.
War and Peace in the Pacific
In 1944, when Japanese troops were attempting to build an airstrip on Pohnpei, my U.S. Navy group paid them weekly visits in our B-24's to make sure they never completed it. The one part of the Japanese operation that we never managed to take out was a gun installation that came to be known as the Joker of Jokaj Rock (Sokehs Mountain); he was quite a bother to us. I was stunned to see a photo of that very installation on page 221 of your September issue. Thank you! At last I have seen the guns of the legendary Joker.
Correction: The toll-free number for the Shangri-La Mactan Island Resort in Cebu, the Philippines ["Affordable Asia," August], is 800/942-5050.
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