Jonathan Kidder, puppeteer “I love L.A. The people who call it shallow have probably never been to my neighborhood, Silver Lake. Stop by Berlin Currywurst (3827 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323/663-1989) for the best sausage ever, served with wide Fritten, or fries.”
Malia Grace Mau, jewelry designer; Jeffrey Vincent Parise, actor and painter (pictured) Mau: “We’re regulars at Cru(1521 Griffith Park Blvd.; 323/667-1551), a BYOB vegan restaurant in Silver Lake where we had our first date.” Parise: “Waiters in this town are very plugged-in; be sure to ask yours for local entertainment tips.”
Keri Pegram, physical therapist “The Abbot Kinney area used to be equal amounts hippie and yuppie, but now it’s very chic. Grab a cup of salted-caramel gelato at N’ice Cream(1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310/396-7161) and hit Venice Beach.”
Spencer Aaronson, “professional enigma”; Mijo, pit bull “It’s no small feat driving to East L.A., but any distance is worth it for Teresitas Restaurant(3826 E. First St.; 323/266-6045), a Mexican spot near Boyle Heights. Get the costillas de puerco en chile negro (only available on Wednesdays).”
David Einsiedler, shop owner, and his dog Laban “I own a vintage furniture store called Ply, so I’m a bit design-obsessed. Tide is a small, beautiful café lined with driftwood from the North Sea; I also go to the modern Klippkroog for regional food like Rollbraten (rolled roast).”
Nadira Nasser, costume designer “Speicherstadt, the old warehouse district, is filled with museums now. At Miniatur Wunderland, the ‘chocolate factory’ exhibit actually produces a tiny piece of Swiss chocolate for you while you wait.”
Andrea Schneider (pictured), book cover designer “HafenCity is the next great neighborhood, with many new buildings, including the concert hall Elbphilharmonie, scheduled to open in 2014. It’s right on the river Elbe; I like to watch the container ships coming in and out.”
Kevin Reschka, operations manager of an automotive company “Sometimes after basketball we go to 3 Freunde for their inventive cocktails. My favorite is the Filmriss Deluxe, with vodka, vanilla liqueur, sparkling wine, passion fruit, and lime.”
The takeaway? Despite recent events, seafaring travelers have little reason to worry. According to Michael Crye, Executive Vice President of CLIA, between 2005 and 2011 the industry carried 100 million passengers, with 16 fatal maritime casualties. While 16 is far too many, in this less-than-perfect world that number is astoundingly low. The percentage of risk is minimal: broken down, the number implies a one in 6,250,000 chance of passenger casualty per year (that’s far less than the odds of getting struck by lightning in any given year, according to the National Weather Service).
Still, the International Maritime Organization (an arm of the United Nations with 170 member countries) is reviewing all safety practices immediately. A few items up for consideration:
When my best friend Rachel came to visit recently, I decided to treat us to a one-night staycation (and give her a brief respite from sleeping on my couch). But where to go? New York City is a trove of hotels raring to roll out the red carpet for a glorified pajama party. Eventually I settled on midtown’s iconic New York Palace (once the mansion of a 19th-century railroad baron, it’s now a member of the Dorchester Collection, topped with a skyscraping tower, and remarkably luxe).
Here, three hotels that are reaching for the sky with new ways to stargaze.
Check in to Scottsdale, Arizona’s Boulders Resort(doubles from $119) for a five-course locavore tasting menu in the 5,600-square-foot garden while a resident astrologer decodes the constellations. On evening tours at Cape Cod’s Wequassett Resort & Golf Club(doubles from $580), guests receive iPads with a Star Walk app to help track more than 9,000 stars. Camping goes ultra-luxe in New York City. The AKA Central Park hotel (doubles from $305, one-week minimum) has two penthouse terraces that can be equipped with telescopes and queen-size beds. Bonus: s’mores are included.
Pack your spurs: two ranches are adding a new dose of glamour to Big Sky Country. Opening this June in Wyoming, the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch(doubles from $1,200, all-inclusive) is located on 13,000 sprawling acres. On the itinerary? Twilight tours past a roaming buffalo herd, juniper-oil massages, and plenty of relaxing in the 17 cabins with roaring stone fireplaces. Outside Missoula, Montana’s Resort at Paws Up(doubles from $820, including all meals) is unveiling a new six-tent camp with oversize tubs and butler service this summer.
Our favorite new amenity? Getting your own private escape-mobile. As far as airport transfers go, it doesn’t get much better than Beach House Maldives, a Waldorf Astoria Resort(doubles from $815), where guests are greeted by a DeHavilland Twin Otter seaplane tricked out with everything from iPads to Bose noise-canceling headphones.
Coming this summer to all stateside Fairmont Hotels(doubles from $169): BMW Cruise bikes (plus helmets and locks, of course).
As someone who has lived and worked in three national parks, I know there are some things most tourists will never visit—from hidden hikes and waterfalls to the best happy hours. I turned to ranger Scott Gediman to find insider secrets about California’s Yosemite National Park, an Ansel Adams photograph sprung-to-life.
Q: What’s a surprisingly little-known hike in the park?
A: Yosemite Valley gets a bad rap for being so crowded, but on the 13-mile Valley Floor Loop Trail, you’ll stroll past Yosemite Falls, the base of El Capitan, and Bridal Veil Falls—all with nobody in sight. It’s an old bridle path for horses, so very flat and easy to get to.
The rules of the New York Botanical Garden are very clear: Stay on paths. Deposit trash in designated receptacles. Do not climb trees. That last one makes me smile, because just recently, if you were walking through there at the right time, you would have found me 50 feet off the ground in the branches of one of their leafiest sweetgum trees.