Flying With Faber: November 2014

Thanksgiving With Faber

By Stuart J. Faber

I’m a nomad. I make no apologies for my affliction to roam. Just about any time of the year, I will drop whatever I am doing, hop in my airplane (or one operated by an airline), and travel to some distant, or even nearby place. As much as I love my home and my hanger, at least once a week, my airplane and I become overwhelmed with a severe case of cabin fever–or hangar fever. There is no cure for this disease. The only way to palliate the symptoms is to go somewhere.

That being said, rarely, if ever, do I stray beyond my kitchen on Thanksgiving. I won’t even go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving.  After all, the Pilgrims cooked Thanksgiving dinner at home.  

I love to prepare for and cook a Thanksgiving dinner. Not only is it festive, fun and colorful, guests scream with delight as they circle our huge dining room table, which we convert into a buffet.  

As guests pull up to our home, I might peek out the window and observe the smiles on their faces. The kitchen fragrances migrate to the outside like advection fog and fill the noses of the arriving crowd. Generally, we invite a busload of friends.  Some folks who have little, if anything to do with me for most of the years begin calling around mid-October. They’ve heard about my Thanksgiving culinary festivals. Occasionally, we invite a few folks whom we don’t even like that much. I refer to them as Thanksgiving orphans–you know–those obnoxious or grumpy types whom everyone avoids. But at Thanksgiving, they are welcome at our table, well, some of them. Of course most of the guests are dear old friends.

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Flying with Faber

Final Stopover at Auckland, New Zealand

By Stuart J. Faber

A view of downtown Auckland and the Marina. (Stuart J. Faber)Back in the ‘60s, as I was about to embark on my very first trip to Europe, a friend, who had just returned, imparted some sage advice.

“If you plan to visit several countries, from Great Britain to Hungary and from Sweden to the tip of Italy, chances are you will fall in love with each country. This will create severe serial separation anxiety. As much as you love the country you are about to depart, tear yourself away. You will love the next destination even more.”

To this day, that was one of the best travel tips I have ever received. As our B-737 departed Queenstown, I twisted my head back as far as I could for one last look at this magnificent parcel of earth. Saddened, I recalled the words my friend had uttered almost a half century ago.  Auckland will be even better – and it was true.

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Flying with Faber: Queenstown, New Zealand

One of the Most Beautiful Places in the World

By Stuart J. Faber

Part One

Downtown Queenstown. (Stuart J. Faber)For the past 40-plus years, my life as a travel and culinary journalist has taken me to more than 100 countries and every state in the Union. One might assume that I have grown weary and jaded with travel – quite the contrary.  Each time I board a plane, be it my own or one operated by a commercial carrier, a wave of excitement overcomes me.  As I step off the plane for the first touch of the foreign soil, the excitement intensifies – just as if it were my first time away from home.

It has been more than 30 years since my last visit to New Zealand.  Although I have a love affair with many foreign and domestic destinations, I have always cradled a special yearning to return to these South Pacific islands.  As soon as I stepped on the tarmac of Queenstown (the airport has no jet ways), I knew why. It seemed as if nothing had changed.

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Flying With Faber: Ritz-Carlton Resort Dove Mountain - A Gem in the Desert

By Stuart J. Faber

Panoramic view of the casitas. (Courtesy Ritz Carlton)Generally, I am not a desert person. I prefer the forests, rivers and lakes of the Midwest. That being said, I was intrigued with the vastness and splendor of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert and the majestic Tortolita Mountain Range. As the sun moved from east to west, my eyes were glued to the panorama of the desert and its surroundings as they changed in color, texture and mood. With each passing hour, new cascades of sunlight turned the landscape into an ever-changing kaleidoscope of color and design. Before I knew it, I felt bonded with the land. I was converted.

The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain is located near the scenic town of Marana. Nestled in a canyon where the high Sonoran Desert meets the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains, the resort features a destination spa, adventure programming, world class hiking, Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf and richly appointed guest accommodations in a luxurious, yet relaxed ambiance.

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Flying With Faber - May 2014

Cruising Along the Danube 

By Stuart J. Faber & Norman Sklarewitz

Cruising down the Danube at Passau. (Courtesy Passau Tourist Association)For many travelers, cruising the world’s oceans aboard one of those huge, luxury liners or cruise ships remains a primary holiday choice.  Last year, cruise lines carried 21.3 million passengers, more than half of whom were from the United States.

However, the smaller river cruise vessel is a rapidly emerging alternative to the multi-thousand passenger floating resort. These slimmer vessels accommodate no more than 250 or so passengers, often fewer, and travel relatively short distances along placid waterways. The river cruise vessel is bereft of Las Vegas-style production shows, shopping malls, rock climbing walls, midnight buffets, gaudy casinos and room service. But they make up for it in terms of a more peaceful, cozy cruise and daily accessibility to shore attractions.

The emphasis is to enable the guest to enjoy the scenery, learn the history and immerse themselves in the charm of Europe’s riverfront Old World cities and villages. These cruises provide day-long stops in European and other destinations throughout the world. Instead of changing hotels every few days, you return nightly to the comfort of your stateroom.  

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