Show Your Work: The Vegetable Butcher Photoshoot

Categories: Behind the scenes, Cookbooks, In the office

This post was written by editorial intern Perry, who has been moved to tears by beautiful cookbooks before.

In mid-December last year, I was given the incredible opportunity to act as the food stylist’s assistant on the photo shoot for The Vegetable Butcher, a cookbook Workman is publishing, all about veggies! I love food and I’ve always wondered what goes into the making of a cookbook, so I jumped at the chance! And I figured that you, our lovely readers, might be interested too, so I took bunch of pictures.

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Day 1: The Fridges

The first day, I met with Nora Singly, the food stylist. For those of you who don’t know, a food stylist’s job is just what it sounds like – she is in charge of making sure the food looks pretty, which sounds easy, but I quickly learned was not. Part of Nora’s job was procuring all the vegetables that needed to be photographed. She had been searching far and wide for beautiful produce, in farmer’s markets and local farms and chef’s personal gardens, so when I walked into the studio that first day, there were boxes and crates of beets, kohlrabi, artichokes, etc. I had never seen so many different vegetables in one place!

My job for the day was to get everything into the two fridges. And since all of these veggies were going to be photographed in the next week, everything had to be stored in such a way that it would still be presentable after a few days. I spent the day wrapping greens in damp paper towels and arranging everything in the fridge, while Nora figured out our shopping list for the next day. This was the result of my labor:

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Few things are more satisfying than a well organized fridge.

Day 2: China Town

The next day, we began shooting the pictures that will become the pretty title pages for the chapters. There were a few new people to meet, including our author…

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Our amazing author, Cara Mangini.

… and our photographer, Matthew Benson.

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I could never manage to get a picture of him away from the camera

Since we were going to be shooting Asian greens, I was sent to Chinatown to find different kinds of bok choy, among other things. I was mostly instructed to wander around the outdoor produce stalls and see what I could find, so off I went on my adventure!

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Baby shanghai bok choy – I quite literally had to fight off an elderly woman to get the prettiest ones!

What I found most interesting on this assignment was the new lens through which I was viewing food. I became suddenly aware of how pretty the contrast between the stark white rib of the bok choy and the dark green leaf was. I was suddenly aware of what Nora called food’s personality.

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Back at the studio, the camera set up looked like this:

PS10Each image featured one particular vegetable, like carrots….

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Carrots, getting ready for their close up!

…. which Nora would arrange in an artistically, visually appealing way on top of varies surfaces, leaving some negative space where the chapter tiles could be digitally added in later. She and Matt would take a couple test shots, adjust the lighting, and then make minor changes to the composition to create a truly beautiful image.

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Nora’s prep station

Sometimes a little trickery was needed to make sure the shot was perfect – for example, we couldn’t always find a carrot that had beautiful greens and a beautiful root so sometimes we would pin pretty greens from one carrot onto the root of another.

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Once we finished up the shots scheduled for that day, we made the shopping lists for the next day, and headed home.

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I named this cabbage Big Mama

Day 3: The Chelsea Market

On the third day, I went straight to the Chelsea Market to pick up fresh produce.

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My new favorite place in New York

If you’ve never been to the Chelsea Market, go now. Right now. Despite living in New York City, I had never set foot in the market before.  Once I did, it was really hard to leave – there were too many cool food shops to look at! But duty called and once I had my groceries, I headed back to the studio.

When I got back, we were ready to do the mushroom shot, except for one thing – no one could find the black truffle! Kylie, our editor, and Cara, our author, had to dig through the trash to see if it was accidentally thrown out. After a while, we all gave up. There were photos to take and the light was already starting to go. This was of course when I happened to move a bag of kohlrabi out of the fridge and found the truffle hiding in the back under the radishes!

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The hunt for the missing truffle!

The truffle made it into the shot just in time and afterward, I got to keep it! Dinner that night was particularly delicious;)

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The mushroom beauty shot, pre-truffle

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Nora, delicately arranging potatoes

The day ended as usual with Nora and I sitting down to discuss the grocery list for the next day.

Day 4: The Union Square Farmers Market

On the final day of beauty shots, I got to go to the Union Square Farmer’s Market. It was raining, but I had a mission, so I got myself some hot apple cider and set about finding all the veggies on my list. I ended up with a bag full of kale, rainbow chard, and spinach.

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I finally had an excuse to use my favorite french market bag!

Day 5: Recipe Shots

After the beauty shots were finished,  the next group of pictures was the process shots and the recipe shots – those are all the pictures of Cara cooking and the pictures of the finished recipes. I was there to wash dishes and assist Christine Malanga, who was our chef for the day.

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Christine spent the day cooking up some of the amazing recipes that Cara had developed and then she and Nora tweaked and adjust bits and pieces until the shot was perfect.

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The photo set-up was also a little different, with the dishes elevated on different surfaces and small additional elements added to the composition to give the shot a bit of a story (like the wooden spoon above).

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The best part was that once the dishes were done being photographed, they were up for grabs! We ended up having a fabulous lunch that day.
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Overall, I had an amazing experience on the photo shoot. It was great to see how much care and hard work goes into making a cookbook look beautiful. I met some incredible people and ate some really good food. I hope I get to do it again soon!

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#TravelTuesday – Northern Territory, Australia

Categories: News

1000 Places 2016_tuesdays_Page_02

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Northern Territory, Australia, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions: 

  1. Uluru and Kata Tjuta (Ayers Rock and the Olgas): Never mind how many times it has appeared in movies or on postcards: The great red monolith of Uluru (Ayers Rock) still stirs those who visit it. The sandstone formation rises 1,142 feet above the desert plain and has a circumference of nearly 6 miles. Revered as a center of spiritual power by the Anagu Aboriginal peoples—whose ancestors are believed to have lived here as long as 40,000 years ago—the orange-red rock subtly changes color during the day, seeming to glow from within at sunrise and sunset. Rich deposits of iron mean that Uluru actually rusts when it rains. Climbing the rock is discouraged because of its religious significance to the Aborigines, who have jointly managed the surrounding 511-square mile national park since 1985. Maintain your respect—and your knees—and opt instead to walk the trail at its base.
    • Where: 200 miles/322 km southwest of Alice Springs.
    • Best Times: May-March and September-November for pleasant weather.
  2. Kakadu National Park and Arnhem Land: The 8,000-square-mile Kakadu National Park is half the size of Switzerland, yet still remote and little known outside Australia. For now, its rugged frontier feel remains intact, while the resident population of 15-foot “saltie” and smaller “freshie” crocodiles still laze undisturbed in the shallows of its rivers and surrounding marshlands. In 1981, Kakadu received the rare double honor of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural wonders as well as for culture: 5,000 rock paintings dating as far back as 50,000 years grace its sandstone caves.
    • Where: 150 miles/241 km east of Darwin.
    • Best Times: May-September for dry season, though some prefer the greenness of wetter months, November-April.
  3. The Tiwi Islands: All but unknown to the outside world, Bathurst and its sister island Melville, are the ancestral home of Australia’s Tiwi Islands, who originally came from mainland Australia and were isolated some 7,000 years ago when sea levels rose. As a result, the Tiwi (or “We People”) developed a rich culture and language distinct from other Aboriginal groups, maintaining religious customs that absorbed bits of Catholicism introduced by missionaries in the late 18th century. Despite the island’s size—at 2,234-square-miles, Melville Island is Australia’s second largest—their population is a sparse 2,700.
    • Where: 50 miles/80 km off the coast of Darwin.
    • How: Darwin Day Tours leads 1-day tours from Darwin. Tel: 61/8-8923-6523; www.darwindaytours.com.au
    • Best Time: May-September for nicest weather.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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#TravelTuesday – South Georgia Island

Categories: News


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Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is South Georgia Island, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Windswept and largely unknown, the utterly isolated isle of South Georgia stands days away from any civilized shore, a white crest of carved ice rising from the cold sub antarctic waters that surround the South Atlantic mountains nearly 1,300 miles east of Tierra del Fuego and 800 miles south-east of the Falkland Islands. Deemed unlivable by Captain James Cook, the first explorer to land on the island, in 1775, and still virtually uninhabited, the 100-mile-long island nevertheless delights intrepid visitors with impossibly high sea cliffs, dazzling fjords, and snowy alpine peaks sloping down to the wave-whipped beaches of fine-grained salt-and-pepper sand.

These seemingly desolate shorelines harbor one of the world’s largest and most important penguin colonies: More than half million breeding pairs of king penguins, the second largest penguin in the world, serve as the island’s biggest draw. Arriving at the glacial valley of the Salisbury Plain, you instantly find yourself surrounded by at least 100,000 of them, all braying in chorus and waddling to and from the sea.

Where: Expeditions ships typically depart from Ushuaia, Argentina.

How: U.S.- based Lindblad Expeditions offer a 24-day expedition that also includes the Falklands. Tel: 800-397-3348 or 212-261-9000; www.expeditions.com.

When: November.

Best Times: November-March (austral summer) when temperatures hover around 40°F; late November for penguins nesting with eggs; December for hatching baby penguins; January-March for baby fur seals and fledgling penguins.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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#TravelTuesday – Le Langhe, Italy

Categories: News

8

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Le Langhe in Piedmont, Italy, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

The vine-covered hills and proud old towns of Le Langhe are as mellow as the famous Barolo, nebbiolo, and Barbaresco wines they produce. Hot summers and misty autumns are also hospitable to the tartufo bianco (white truffle). With this and a number of other culinary pleasures near at hand, it’s not surprising that the now-global Slow Food movement had its origins here. Asti is famous around the world for its sparkling (spumante) whites, as well as for its Palio, an ages-old bareback horse race around the Piazza Alfieri in late September. Explore nearby Alba on a Saturday monring, when a lively food market winds along Via Vittorio Emanuele.

Just outside Alba, the Hotel Castello di Sinio is a restored medieval castle set amid the Barolo vineyards; a stay in one of the stone-walled rooms and suites can include wine tastings and cooking lessons. Villa Beccaris is a delightful 18th-century nobleman’s domain just outside Monforte d’Alba. The Langhe Hotel is a more modest choice, on the outskirts of Alba, within easy reach of one of the region’s finest restaurants, La Libera. This contemporary osteria serves new takes on traditional flavors, such as zucchini flowers stuffed with trout mousse.

Where: Asti is 36 miles/60 km southeast of Turin; Alba is 42 miles/70 km southeast of Turin.

How: Tour Piedmont leads food and culture tours. Tel: 39/0333-900-8947; in the U.S., 203-756-2517; www.tourpiedmont.com.

Best Times: Saturday market in Alba; late September for the Palio race in Asti; early October for Palio degli Asini (Race of the Asses) in Alba; late October – early November for international Tartufo Bianco d’Alba fair.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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Younger Next Year: The Exercise Program

Categories: News

YNYE Webinar w-o Click Here

Order a copy of Younger Next Year: The Exercise Program, and send us a receipt by January 5, 2016 and receive an exclusive invitation to an online webinar with Chris Crowley and Bill Fabrocini, P.T. on January 13, 2016.

What to Do: Email your receipt by January 5, 2015 to promotions@workman.com.

You will receive a confirmation, and details on how to log-on and watch the webinar.

A training program for the rest of your life.

The definitive exercise book that the one-million-plus readers of the Younger Next Year® series have been waiting for—and the exercise book that takes the intimidation out of starting a workout routine. Based on the science that shows how we can turn back our biological clocks by a combination of aerobics and strength fitness, this is the guide that not only shows you how to start an exercise regimen, but provides the motivation and know-how to keep it going for life.

Just as important: Here is the guide that shows the right way to exercise. Here is the revolutionary 10-minute warm-up (critical for maintaining ankle, shoulder, and hip mobility). The five amazing things aerobic exercise will do for your body, and finding the method that works for you. How to get fit better and quicker with intervals. The importance of “whole-body” strength training and “rebooting the core.” Plus, the Twenty-Five Sacred Exercises that will be the foundation for your strength-training routine for life. 

BUY THE BOOK: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieboundEbook | Workman

 

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#TravelTuesday – Tuscany, Italy

Categories: News

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Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Tuscany, Italy, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

  1. Florence: The capital of Tuscany, Firenze (Florence) is, most famously, the cradle of the Renaissance, epitomized by the cupola that Filippo Brunelleschi designed for the Duomo more than 600 years ago. Michelangelo’s David and countless other treasures fill the city’s museums and churches. The Florentine lifestyle is a work of art in itself, to be savored in historic cafes, welcoming trattorias, trendy boutiques, and the city’s medieval streets and piazzas rimmed with forest-like palazzos.
  2. The Hill Towns of Tuscany: Few travel experiences in Italy are more exhilarating than winding along a country road and coming upon the silhouette of yet another Tuscan hill-town on a cypress-lined crest. You will discover enchanting vignettes when you drive south for about 120 miles from Florence to the wine town of Montepulciano. The Chianti region unfolds just beyond Florence, by many accounts the most beautiful wine region in Italy. For lazy vineyard-hopping drive with serendipitous wine-tasting ships, follow the old Via Chiantigiana (Chianti Road) from Florence to Siena through a landscape of rolling hills, medieval castles, and stone farmhouses.
    • San Gimignano is 35 miles/56 km southwest of Florence.
    • Best Times: May for wildflowers; July for sunflowers; October for grape and olive harvests.
  3. Siena (pictured above): Built on a series of hilltops, Siena reached its zenith in the 13th century with an explosion of art and architecture (and a university founded in 1240)—then the Black Death struck in 1348. The High Renaissance largely bypassed the city, leaving its medieval monuments intact. The Duomo of Santa Maria Asunta is the city’s magnificent Gothic cathedral, with an intricate facade and interior that’s striped with black and white marble. At Siena’s heart is the scallop-shaped Piazza del Campo (il Campo), ringed with 13th- and 14th-century palazzos. Climb the 505 steps of the Palazzo Pubblico bell tower for an unforgettable view of the idyllic Tuscan countryside.
    • Where: 21 miles/34 km south of Florence.
    • How: Canada-based Spyns offer 7-day tours for Palio race including coveted balcony seats and more. Tel: 36/0566-2412; in Canada, 888-825-4720; www.spyns.com.
  4. Lucca and Pisa: Blessedly bypassed by mass tourism and protected within its perfectly preserved Renaissance walls, Lucca is a quiet though refined town where you can rent a bike to explore its timeless cobblestone streets. Visit the ancient palazzos that today house handsome antiques shops and food stores or any of its medieval churches, such as the elaborate San Michele in Foro, begun in 1143, and the even older Duomo, both masterpieces of intricate Romanesque stone carving. Follow the 3-mile oak-shaded path atop the city’s ramparts for a bird’s-eye view of the ancient olive groves that unfold beyond the town: The Lucchesia area gives the world its finest olio di oliva.
    • Where: Lucca is 45 miles/72 km west of Florence.
    • Best Times: May-June and September-October for nicest weather; mid-July-mid-August for Puccini Opera Festival in Torre del Lago; September 13 for Luminara di Santa Croce candlelight procession in Lucca; 3rd Sun of every month for outdoor antiques market.
  5. Maremma: The southwest stretches of Tuscany are far removed, in distance and landscape, from the rolling vineyards and art-filled cities travelers usually associate with the region. Here, sun-burnt hills and wide open space are covered in golden wheat and grazing lands where a dying breed of butteri (cowboys) tend the region’s white, long-horned maremmano cattle. Maremma’s acclaimed beaches extend along Italy’s longest stretch of unspoiled coastline, much of it protected by the Parco Nazionale della Maremma. Enjoy grilled bistecca and wild boar in simple trattorias, accompained by excellent local wines such as sassicaia, a hearty read.
    • Where: Porto Ercole is 74 miles/119 km north of Rome.
    • Best Times: May-September to enjoy the seaside; January 5 for celebration of the eve of Epiphany with costumed processions in Sovana and nearby towns.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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Make Chalk Designs like a Pro with Valerie McKeehan’s The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering

Categories: News

When Valerie McKeehan transformed an old picture frame into a “McKeehan’s Cafe” chalkboard for her kitchen, she instantly fell in love with chalk art. In 2012, she launched Lily & Val, an online chalkboard boutique filled with original gifts, cards, and home decor.

Now, in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF CHALK LETTERING, Valerie invites you to the learn the ABCs of the craft in more than 60 lessons, from the basic letterforms to projects for greeting cards, holiday-themed designs, and more. Best of all, the book is a practice space, with three foldout chalkboards!

 

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To celebrate the publication, blogs from around the country are trying out projects from the book and writing about their results. Each blog will also feature a giveaway and share their tips!

 

Official Tour Stops on Valerie McKeehan’s blog tour:

 

Dec 8                     Arrow and Lace Designs

Dec 9                     Girl Inspired

Dec 10                   Handmade Mood

Dec 11                   Rad Mom Cool Kid

Dec 14                   Flax & Twine

Dec 15                   Molly Jacques (instagram only)

Dec 16                   Jaco’lyn Murphy Designs

Dec 17                   A Little Craft in Your Day

Dec 18                   Craft Gossip

Dec 21                   Nearly Crafty

Dec 22                   CraftSanity

Dec 28                   Canary Jane

 

valerie

For more visit lilyandval.com or connect with Valerie

on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter

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#TravelTuesday – Mae Hong Song, Thailand

Categories: News

24

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Mae Hong Song in Thailand, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Once you spend a morning in Bangkok’s traffic, you may be ready to escape to Mae Hong Son, in the cool hills 600 miles to the northwest and near the border of Myanmar. Tourism has left few Thai towns free of Western impact, but the lovely town of Mae Hong Son, known as the “City of Mist,” fits the bill better than most. (Venture to nearby riverside villages like Soppong and slow-paced Pai for an even more authentic ambiance).

Mae Hong Son was founded as an elephant training camp in the 1830s and remained cut off from the world until the late 1960s, when a paved road was build from Chiang Mai, 160 miles away. A distinct Burmese influence lingers, especially in the town’s brightly colored and zinc-trimmed temples and stupas.

Local guides can arrange bamboo rafting trips down the gentle Pai River, bush trekking by elephant, or hiking to tribal villages. It’s a wonderfully peaceful scene; the only time downtown Mae Hong Song really comes alive is for the early-morning market when hill tribe women arrive to buy from and barter with the locals. Things calm down again by breakfast, while the swirling mists that give the town its name lift by late afternoon. That’s the time to motorbike to the top of Doi Kong Mu hill and the 19th-century Wat Phra That temple for a spectacular view of the Pai Valley and the surrounding mountains.

Where: 160 miles/257 km northwest of Chiang Mai.

Best Times: November-February for cooler and drier weather; early April for Poi Sang Long, celebrating the initiation of young boys into Buddhist monk-hood.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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#TravelTuesday – Honshu, Japan

Categories: News

17

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Honshu, Japan, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

  1. Takayama (pictured above): After centuries of peaceful isolation on the Miyagawa River in the mountainous region of Hida, Takayama has retained a traditional touch like few other Japanese towns, particularly in Sanmachi Suji, its beautifully preserved downtown area. Surrounded by dense forests, Takayama was well known for its skilled carpenters who helped to build imperial palaces and temples as far away as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara. As you’ll see, they saved their finest talents for their hometown. Founded in the 16th century, Takayama’s charm lies in its old merchant houses, good small museums, serene temples (the city’s oldest dates to 1588), inns with traditional wood lattice windows, and six small sake breweries (distinguished by a cedar ball suspended at the entrance), all clustered into a compact grid of streets immediately east of the river.
    • Where: 331 miles/533 km northwest of Tokyo, 100 miles/161 km northeast of Nagoya.
    • Best Times: May-August for nicest weather; April 14-15 for Spring Festival; October 9-10 for Autumn Festival.
  2. Hiroshima and Miyajima: It’s hard to imagine that the Hiroshima so devastated on August 6, 1945, is now a vibrant forward-looking city visited by millions every year who come from all over the world to pay their respects. The most prominent reminder of that fateful day is the twisted and charred shell of the old Industrial Promotion Hall, now known as the A-Bomb Dome (Genkaku Domu), left in its distressed state as a symbol of humankind’s self-destructiveness. Across the Motoyasu River is the Peace Memorial Park (Heiwa Kinen Koen), dotted with monuments to the victims of the world’s first atomic-bomb attack, and a sobering museum with displays that relive one of the worst days in histoy, beginning with a watch forever stopped at 8:15 AM.
    • Where: 537 miles/864 km southwest of Tokyo on the Seto Inland Sea.
    • Best Times: August 6 for bombing anniversary, when white doves are released; late May-April for cherry blossoms; October-early November for autumn foliage on Miyajima island.
  3. Kyoto: To stroll through Kyoto is to travel through 12 centuries of Japan’s history. Once the home of the imperial court, the city was also a center of Japanese religion, aesthetics, music, theater, and dance, reaching its height as a center for crafts during the Muromachi Period (1338-1573). Spared by Allied bombing during World War II, the city is said to hold 20 percent of all Japan’s national treasures, including more than 1,700 Buddhist temples and 300 Shinto shrines, all dispersed (often hidden) amid its modern cityscape. Kyoto’s beauty can sometimes be elusive, but thoughtful visitors can still glimpse the Japan of the past in its temples and gardens, while its modern side offers a sophisticated mix of tradition and contemporary innovation.
  4. Tokyo: Japan’s frenetic capital is a trip in more ways than one. By turns reassuringly familiar and unsettlingly strange, Tokyo offers up neon-bright canyons of consumerism, contemporary pop cultural escapades, outstanding dining, and blissful, Zen-calm gardens and shrines. The effects of the catastrophic 2011 earthquake and its aftermath will be felt for years to come. But to the unsuspecting eye, life in Tokyo continues without a blip at high speed and around the clock. An astonishing architectural mishmash, its densely packed neighborhoods include everything from the remnants of a 17th-century castle to high-tech towers wrapped in giant LED displays. With perpetual change hardwired into its DNA, it is the ultimate urban adventure.
  5. Mount Fuji: Revered in the Shinto religion as a sacred mountain, 12,388-foot Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest peak and its national symbol. Elegant, snow-capped, symmetrical—and spellbinding when not shrouded in clouds—Fuji-san (as it is affectionately called by the Japanese people) is particularly beautiful when reflected on the mirror-calm surface of Lake Ashi. The Japanese say that goraiko (sunrise) on Fuji’s summit is a spiritual experience. Prepare yourself for a lot of company and camaraderie on what is reputedly the world’s most climbed mountain: Huge numbers of trekkers show up every summer (an impressive percentage of 10 senior citizens among them).
    • Where: 44 miles/71 km south of Tokyo.
    • Best Times: March-April during cherry blossom season; May when azaleas are in bloom; July-August for climbing Mt. Fuji, bt you won’t be alone.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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#TravelTuesday – Bali, Indonesia

Categories: News

10

Today’s Travel Tuesday destination is Bali, Indonesia, courtesy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day calendar.

Top Attractions:

  1. Ubud (pictured above): The island of Bali stands out in Indonesia not only for its beautiful landscapes but also for its sophisticated Hindu art and culture. The Balinese have always believed that the gods live in the mountains and this is a good reason as any to leave the busy beach areas of Kuta and Sanur and head north into the hills. For years, Ubud has been known as the capital of Bali’s artistic heritage, a significant distinction on an island where art is everywhere and everyone lives to create and embellish as a way of honoring the gods. The town still possesses much of the allure that first drew European painters and sculptors in the 1920s. Jump onto a ramshackle bemo (mini-bus) packed with locals and chickens, and get off beyond Ubud’s congested main strip to take in its fabled rice fields; the same farmers you see cultivating terraced rice paddies by hand may be the very performers or musicians you see in tonight’s temple dance. Or journey by bicycle for a closer look at village life. And if you’re after more excitement, join a river-rafting trip down Ubud’s Ayung River, past towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls.
    • Where:  14 miles/23 km north of Denpasar.
    • How: U.S.-based Back Roads offers 8-day tours including biking, river rafting, and snorkeling. Tel: 800-462-2848 or 510-527-1555; www.backroads.com.
    • Best Times: April-October for the dry season; May-June for Rice Harvest Festival in rural villages; mid-June-mid-July for Bali Arts Festival.
  2. Beaches of Bali: Beautiful Bali is justly celebrates for its palm-fringed beaches. In the south, the graceful arc of Jimbaran Bay is an antidote to the nightclub-enhanced shopping mall that Kuta Beach is slowly becoming, and the best way to cap off a day spent there is with dinner at one of the simple alfresco seafood restaurants nearby. Choose from large tanks or among the offerings presented on mounds of ice—prawns, lobsters, and squid are all popular—and wait for it to be cooked at a surf side table with your toes in the sand. On the bay’s southern edge, Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is a luxurious resort masquerading as a traditional Balinese village. Breezy, bougainvillea-covered guest villas cascade down its terraced hillside leading to a 4-mile white crescent beach. Arrange a lulur treatment, and look forward to being exfoliated from head to toe with sandalwood and spices, splashed with yogurt, then taking a soak in a bath infused with flower petals.
    • Where: Jimbaran Bay is 5 miles/8 km south of Denpasar. Singharaja is 62 miles/100 km north of Fenpasar.
    • Best Times: April-October is dry season.

Read more on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and the calendar line here:

1000 Places To See (2) 9780761183495_500_583_70_int 9780761182771_3d_500_511_70_int

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