Bali. Bali. Bali. The combination of so many environments that are aesthetically magical and welcoming, and the spiritual cast of the entire island make Bali hard to top for romance.

Romance is not just votive candles and soft music — it is an attitude and almost a feeling of being blessed to be alive. It is also when everything around you is “just right” because a few discordant notes (like being hassled on a perfect beach or hearing raucous noises beneath your balcony all night) can ruin the whole composition.

So what are the specific qualities that make Bali my number one choice for romance? Continue reading »

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There are trips — and then there are romantic trips. A romantic trip is one you take with your honey, or the person you hope will be your honey, or occasionally, a place that helps you find a honey! A romantic vacation is one that cements or improves a relationship, a trip where the magic of the room, the view, the activities or the service make you feel more alive, more special, and more in love.

Romantic trips have a special kind of magic — but that diffuse kind of definition doesn’t give you specific guidance on picking the best-of-the-best choices for your next trip. That’s why I am going to be writing about the great places in the world for romance. I will start with my top ten in the United States and my top ten elsewhere — but it will go on from there. Right now though, I want to tell you what they all have in common — and what you should look for.

They all must have: Continue reading »

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Washington DC is a city built to serve government and tourism. On a recent trip with a group of French executives, the conversation flowed on the bus as we traversed the city. Designed by a Frenchman, the Mall reminded them of the Tuileries, the Washington Monument of Place de la Concorde. We were to do DC in two days, and although the Smithsonian alone could fill a week or more, I do feel like I got a great flavor for Inside the Beltway.

A visit to Mount Vernon on a stormy day launched the dizzying schedule. I opted for a breath of fresh air with a view of the Potomac, a tour of the house and a walk to the farm. George Washington was quite green (which I learned is a term in French that means an older, quite virile man, not ecologically minded) and in his own way farmed and recycled with an eye on the future, employing crop rotation and mulching much of his waste. A lover of rivers, he situated his house so the view from the porch is masterful and remains unmarred. Continue reading »

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