his is the time of year that I really start longing for unlimited funds, no obligations and endless amounts of time at my disposal. It’s an occupational hazard when the travel issue comes around. Alas, being neither unfettered nor independently wealthy, I will have to find another way to contend with my wanderlust.
But I do hope that all of our readers have some vacation time coming up, because this year’s selection of stories is going to make you want to go. Natural wonders, urban adventures, culture, history, mouthwatering cuisine . . . we’ve got it all this month, and it will provide plenty of fodder for your own globe-trotting dreams.
Hearing the call of the wild? Chuck Graham’s paddleboarding excursion will have you longing for the redwoods, rivers and rugged coastline of Mendocino (Cover Story), where the forests are lush, the surf is unruly and the quaint towns that dot the bluffs make for delightful bases of operation.
There’s plenty of outdoor adventure in Kaua‘i as well (Travel): All four corners of this verdant Hawaiian island offer enviable environments to explore. But when the kayaking, snorkeling and ziplining are through, you’ll want to see the Garden Isle’s softer side. Quirky but delicious dining options, cities where the art and music are as alluring as the beaches, sugar plantations, shopping Meccas . . . there truly is something for everyone on Kaua‘i, where the living is easy . . . and the chickens are everywhere.
On the more metropolitan side is Portland (About Town). This gem of the Pacific Northwest is mocked for being a hipster haven, but Portlandia aside, the city’s many fine qualities speak for themselves. Craft culture (beer and cocktails alike) owes much to Portland mixologists, and the culinary scene is off the charts. There are museums, bookstores, unique neighborhoods and over 10,000 acres of parkland to explore, too — many accessible by public transportation.
This month we feature only one destination that actually requires a passport — and it is well worth the euros and a transatlantic flight. Less than 50 miles from Florence is the idyllic Renaissance town of Lucca (Culture), where every stone breathes with history, from its 2,000 year-old wall to a 12th century tower that has trees growing out of its top to a stunning array of churches. Here you’ll find plenty of culture and cuisine, but Lucca’s most attractive attribute might be its leisurely pace of life, where every moment is meant to be savored like a fine wine.
It’s not exactly a voyage to a faraway land . . . but I hope you’ll find plenty to savor inside these pages as well.