Old Orchard Beach, Maine, is a classic New England beach town. What began in the nineteenth century as a Free Will Baptist revival camp on a stretch of sandy beach south of Portland gradually gave way over the decades to fried clams, Tilt-a-Whirls, and t-shirt shops. The town is one of the last of a dying […]


I’m far from the first person to wax lyrical about New Mexico, and, so long as the chiles ripen and the highways go on endlessly, I’m sure I won’t be the last. People have been discovering the magic of this spectacular corner of the planet for eons, but the magic never ceases to amaze. For […]

The Fog Warning, Winslow Homer (Nathanael Hevelone/Flickr)

Everybody who hates boats has their reason for hating them. Mine is The Cat. The Hai Xia Hao is a high-speed catamaran that plies the waters between Taiwan and Pingtan Island, off Mainland China. But I knew it before, almost fifteen years ago now, when it was still called The Cat. Back then, it plied […]


All photos by my friend and Richmond-based photographer Andrew Rolfe. Check out more of his work on Flickr. Late one fall night, some time ago, in a dark dining room in Washington, I had supper with a writer who had recently published an ebullient piece on the food scene in Richmond, Virginia. When he learned […]

Moai, Easter Island (Nicolas de Camaret/Flickr).

Over the summer, I visited Gotland in the Baltic Sea and St. Thomas in the Caribbean. Ever since, I’ve pondered the allure of the small island. In one sense, on a small island, the planet seems tiny, like an entire world and everything you need and want in it could be contained in a few […]


Earlier this summer, I had the chance to visit Visby, a medieval city on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea off the Swedish mainland, which I write more about in another post this week. Wandering the streets of the old town, I was struck by the beautiful colors of its wooden and plaster […]


You are on a rock- and sand-covered beach. Behind you, there are trees with hammocks strung up between them and a small seawall. In front of you, there is only endless sea stretching to the sunset. Nearby, there is a grassy plain dotted with flowers centered on a small pond and a colony of ducks. […]


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