Oh, The Places They'll Go
New England’s tastemakers don’t need to jet to Rome or Bora Bora to get away; there’s cool enough right in their own backyard. Five local personalities dish on their favorite spots.
Ben Hasty, chef
Dunaway Restaurant at Strawbery Banke, 66 Marcy St., Portsmouth, NH, 603-373-6112, dunawayrestaurant.com.
Running the perpetually packed Dunaway doesn’t allow this Iron Chef alum much down time. Even on rare nights off, when he hits the Press Room or Ristorante Massimo, the 23-year-old has to press palms with the many foodies in town. When it’s time for a holiday, however, he grabs his backpack and skateboard and spends the day roving New England.
Do you get to travel much? I try to take a day trip at least once a week.
A little breather from your legions of fans. Where do you go? Mom and Dad’s farm in South Berwick. We raise beef, veal, pork, and chickens, and have a large vegetable garden to support the restaurant. There’s no cable and little cell-phone reception. It’s a total escape.
What about when you need to escape your family? Portland is beautiful. My girlfriend and I can at least have a conversation without everyone we know interrupting. I love the sushi at Fuji. Freeport also has a lot going on. We go to Wolfe’s Neck Park and walk along Casco Bay.
Christian Schlebach, owner of Re-Sails, 400 Thames St., Newport, RI, 401-849-8622, resails.com.
Last summer, Schlebach, a former Olympic sailor, kite surfed from Newport to Nantucket—50 miles over open water. The South Africa native runs his recycled sail clothing and bag business, Re-Sails, year-round—customers include James Taylor and Laird Hamilton—but he’s always looking forward to his next trip.
Are you one of those adrenaline junkies who’s always chasing the next wave? I usually go to a place for the conditions, like a good wind. My friends and I take our dinghies to a spot on Rhode Island Sound near the tip of Little Compton for kite surfing.
What about outside Rhode Island? Up in Maine, near Rockport—that’s a really tricky sailing area that’s probably one of my favorites.
Any favorite après-sail spots? In Newport, we go for burgers and pints at Pour Judgment.
What do sailors do when winter comes around? Snowboard at Sunday River or Sugarloaf.
Jay Heaps, professional soccer player, dad, New England Revolution, 877-438-7387, revolutionsoccer.net.
For Revolution defender Heaps, summer has always meant a family trip to Nantucket—with his parents when he was growing up, and now with his wife and children. While leaving for ’Sconset can be chaotic—Olivia can’t sleep without her Baby Einstein lullabies, Jack needs his toy cars—feeling the ferry pull away from the dock means instant relaxation.
What’s the perfect island day? I love getting up in the early morning and taking the kids to Children’s Beach. Then we get donuts from the Downy Flake and drive to the beach in Miacomet to set up camp for the day. Lunch is a picnic from Something Natural.
Sounds like eating is a big part of the operation. Yeah. If we’re taking the kids out for dinner, they love Steamboat Pizza. We find a spot by the docks and watch the sailboats come through. The kids love boats—the bigger, the better.
So it’s all family, all the time? My wife and I make sure to get one night alone at the Summer House, or at the Galley. It’s a nice little romantic hideaway.
Jennifer Hill, stationery designer, JHill Design, 617-524-2475, placesihaveneverbeen.com.
Hill’s line of hand-drawn stationery, Places I Have Never Been, typically renders brightly colored, far-off locales like Andalusia and Tuscany. But when she’s not dreaming of foreign landscapes, the Jamaica Plain-based artist is driving around New England, visiting various family, friends, and—most importantly—restaurants.
How does food play into your travel planning? My boyfriend comes from a family of chefs, so we’re very into consuming food. We’re not big on super touristy areas. We just like to find a regular town and see what’s going on.
What regular towns have restaurants worth the trip? In Massachusetts, Jack’s Hot Dogs in North Adams is great. It’s an old-time counter, and the dogs are only a few dollars—and so good. And I could eat a million of the roasted mushrooms served with sea scallops and cauliflower at Mezze in Williamstown. Also, Burdick’s in Walpole, New Hampshire—we crave the chocolate-and-raspberry birthday cake.
It sounds like food trumps art? At least once a year, we load up the car for a trip along Route 2 to MassMoCA. We stay at the Porches Inn, where we have breakfast brought to the room—it comes in an aluminum lunch pail with coffee, juice, a muffin, and the paper.
Suzanne Cats, owner of LuxLash, 232 Newbury St., Boston, MA 617-587-5274, luxlash.com.
For years, Cats’s vacations revolved around satisfying her endless appetite for knowledge—the history buff drove her daughter crazy with "kultchah"-laden trips to Ireland’s Asheford Castle and Venice. Lately, though, as the owner of Newbury Street brow and lash boutique LuxLash, Cats has looked for more therapeutic holidays.
So why the shift from the Great American Adventure to spa-centric getaways? Three days off is a luxury for me now. And since my daughter also works so hard in high school, when we go places, we just want to relax.
What’s the best place you’ve been recently? Last year, for the winter’s first ski weekend, I drove to Waterville Valley in New Hampshire and stayed at a friend’s condo. It was a stunningly beautiful, refreshing, healthy trip.
Do you have a favorite local luxury spot? The Norwich Inn in Connecticut. It’s very quaint. I wanted to check out their customer service for myself and see how I could learn from it. I had an eye mask treatment that was so relaxing—they did an amazing job.Do you shop a lot on vacation? I’ll pick up something I can’t get in Boston. [And] I always get a mug. That’s probably the only tour
isty thing I do.