Autumn Escape up the Hudson River

Give it another week or so and the banks of the majestic Hudson River should be a rainbow of shades from burnt umber and crisp orange to sunny yellow and royal red as the leaves change.  And there’s no better way to enjoy autumn leaf peepin’ than a ride up New York’s Route 9W.  Many spots on both sides of the Hudson are perfect picture spots but when escaping from Manhattan, a day near Bear Mountain or Newburgh’s waterfront offers the perfect day trip from NYC.

River Rose Paddle Boat

Cross the George Washington bridge and head north along the Palisades Interstate Parkway until you get to Route 9W.  You’ll loose your breath as the colors open before you.  Head to Newburgh’s waterfront along Front Street where you can catch a river cruise aboard the River Rose paddle boat.  You’ll see the autumn leaves from the water and glide past the ghostly and romantic Bannerman’s Castle and West Point Military Academy.

Newburgh waterfront

There are plenty of great restaurants along the pier in Newburgh, everything from wings and brews to a Sunday brunch buffet at Torches – a perfect weekend escape from Manhattan.

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Palermo’s Quattro Canti

The corner of winter at Quattro Canti

Only in Palermo can a major intersection called Quattro Canti, Four Corners, actually have eight sides and a whole lot of traffic.  It pulses, as does most of Palermo, with a daily frenetic pace where Via Maqueda crosses Via Vittorio Emanuele.

The Baroque Piazza was laid out by the Viceroys of Sicily more than 500 years ago in an early effort toward town planning.  There are four street sides and four building facades which comprise the eight-sided square.

Palermo Quattro Canti Cavallo

At first you look up and see very similar facades but look closely.  Each depicts one of the four seasons, the four Spanish kings of Sicily and the four patronesses of Palermo.  But do be careful, you’ll need four eyes, two behind your head as cars zip by, people run past and horses bristle at each corner.  Palermo is nothing if not a busy city.

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A Cinematic Stroll through Little Venice

Two of the things that I love the most are travel and film.  So, what better than a new series to take a cinematic stroll through some of my favorite off-the-beaten-path travels, such as London’s Little Venice?  It’s a sweet spot I like to call my favorite London getaway and it sits smack dab in the middle of swanky Maida Vale, although parts of it are now a bit frayed at the rim.

Film in Little VeniceMore movies than you realize have been filmed right in the heart of Little Venice along its core at the Regent’s Canal.  Here’s a Top Five list of flicks in this London neighborhood:

1.  Georgy Girl (1966) is the iconic film of the 1960’s independent woman torn between stereotypes and a blossoming London party scene.

2.  Brannigan (1975) brought John Wayne to Little Venice as a tough Chicago cop chasing bad guys all over London.  His character lived at 6 Maida Avenue and the canal is easily seen in the movie.

3.  A Fish Called Wanda (1988) is a dark comedy which explores the characters who live in and around the canal as they plot to commit an armed robbery.  The character Wanda, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, actually lives at Aubrey House, 7 Maida Avenue, alongside the canal.

4.  Killing Me Softly (2002) is easily my favorite on the list.  Heck, can Joe Fiennes ever not look hot and sexy?  The erotic thriller has Heather Graham questioning the motives of her new husband over a spot of tea at the tiny, charming Cafe Laville (453 Edgware Road, W2) which spans the canal at Maida Avenue and Blomfield Road.  You can grab a cuppa as the canal boats glide underneath.

London film.Church St Mary Magdalene5.  Les Misèrables (2012) goes under Little Venice into the crypt of St. Mary Magdalene Church (Rowington Close, W2).  It is in St. Sepulchre’s Chapel that Jean Valjean resolves to turn his life around.  Actually, St. Mary’s is quite the little location star, having also been seen in the classic British police drama “The Blue Lamp” (1949) and in “The Secret Ceremony” (1968) which starred Elizabeth Taylor and Mia Farrow.

Do you know any other movies filmed on location in Little Venice?  Add a comment below with the movie title and scene.


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