Because…Forget Fifty Shades of Gray—Shipstead’s tale feels salacious enough to satisfy while still allowing you to maintain your literary standards. Shipstead, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, chronicles a family’s retreat to a fancy New England beach town amidst their daughter’s fast-approaching wedding day. You know it’s a WASP satire when the characters names are Winn, Daphne, Livia, Greyson, and Biddy.
Traveling with kids doesn’t always feel like a vacation, but these tips for summer flights and road trips will make things easier for your family.
When/What To Book: To pick the best seats for your family consult a site like SeatGuru.com. Planes will be more full this summer than before, so book your flight early—six weeks or more is a good rule of thumb—to improve your odds of getting seats together. If you use social media, follow @airfarewatchdog and @smartertravel on Twitter to learn about last-minute deals. Both carefully vet price drops and unadvertised sales. As for flying, Saturday mornings at airports are more quiet and flights can often be cheaper. Plus, the first flight out in the morning usually takes off on time.
Opportunities to sleep outside in NYC, safely removed from traffic and filth, are few: The Bronx Zoo offers summer overnight family safaris with a sea lion wake-up call. On select summer nights, families can sleep out in the city parks, watched over by rangers. But for the most part, unless you drag a mattress onto your fire escape like the Kramdens, you’ll probably be sleeping inside.
Except if you go five-star. AKA Central Park, a luxury residence/hotel combo, is offering a night out on the 1,000-square-foot wrap-around terrace of its 17th-floor penthouse suite. You’ll get cocktails, s’mores (ingredients from Jacques Torres) to toast in front of the fireplace, champagne, a Nook e-reader loaded with campfire stories, a telescope, a TV (really?), and a bed under the stars.
It’s either unchecked hedonism or outright
denial that led me to New York’s Fire Island the weekend
after summer’s unofficial demise. While most
vacationers packed up their share-houses and kissed farewell to the spit of
sand off Long Island’s south coast over Labor Day, I
was still dreaming of bike rides, summer ales, and one last coat of sun.
It doesn’t hurt that hotel prices fall off a cliff once
beachgoers pack up their white (I paid $225 per night at Clegg's Hotel, while
rates during summer’s apex can be double that). So I
found myself at the Island Mermaid pulling on a straw filled with its signature
Rocket Fuel (a dark rum piña colada with a Cruzan 151 “sinker” at the bottom and a pond of Amaretto floating on top) and stretching summer out
as long as possible before the looming cold throws its death grip around New
York City. I wasn’t ready for fall, not yet.
Okay okay, I ate at the Black Pearl Restaurant...again. You can stamp “tourist” onto my forehead, but their New England clam chowder is too amazing to pass up. I stumbled out satisfied and wandered into the colorful gallery/art studio, Art on the Wharf. Perhaps it was this tourist-guilt that compelled me to ask artist-owner, Tony Gill (pictured below), for some locals’ suggestions, but it was well worth the inquiry. He had heard the question before and quickly handed me a sheet of paper titled “Tony’s Best Bets.” I now had my work cut out for me.
Artisanal ice cream parlors across the country are whipping up innovative flavors to satisfy our ever-evolving palates. Here, four sweet spots.
Seattle: Molly Moon’s has gone mobile with a just-launched dessert truck that serves house-made flavors and ice cream sandwiches. Favorite flavor: Hibiscus sorbet. 1622 N. 45th St.; 206/547-5105.
New York City: Manhattanites can’t get enough of Italian import Il Laboratorio del Gelato—its new Lower East Side branch is five times the size of the original location on Orchard Street. Favorite flavor: Tarragon-pink peppercorn.
New Orleans: The cherry- and chocolate-walled La Divina Gelateria is known for its decidedly down-home ingredients. Favorite flavor: Peach Creole cream cheese. 3005 Magazine St.; 504/342-2634.
San Francisco: Owners Jake Godby and Sean Vahey have such a cult following at their retro-mod Humphry Slocombe that they’re currently penning a recipe book about their frozen treats. Favorite flavor: Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee.
I know that as an editor at a travel magazine I really
should have more refined tastes. But secretly, I’ve always wanted to ride a
Segway around a city. Whenever happy tourists have whizzed past me in D.C. or San
Francisco, I’ve been a little jealous, but my travel companions are generally
of the type who would rather walk barefoot on burning asphalt than be caught
dead on the funny-looking two-wheeled contraptions.
The North Fork of Long Island has been my family’s beach spot for over 30 years. Still, the suddenly chic spit of land 100 miles east of New York City still has a few surprises. The Southold Fish Market is very much a family shop slinging fresh scallops, flounder, and clams. But if you want some really local shellfish, don’t even bother driving home to cook your catch. This seafood shop has a take-out menu (and dockside seating) to die for.