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It seems like most folks have a grandmother, great-uncle or some other distant relative that used to live in Brooklyn, or perhaps a friend that lives there now. In the early 1900s, it was a mecca for immigrants arriving via Ellis Island. A hundred years later, young professionals and artists left pricey Manhattan digs for Brooklyn's cheaper and more expansive space. Neighborhoods like Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, which had fallen into disrepair over the years, were restored and reborn as funky enclaves. Walk or bike over the historic Brooklyn Bridge (or ride the subway) to Brooklyn Heights for a stroll along the Promenade and breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. Meander through Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for a taste of nature in the urban wilds. Catch a performance at the world-famous Brooklyn Academy of Music. From the delicious Italian restaurants of Bensonhurst to the Irish bars that line the avenues of Bay Ridge, from the hotdogs and rollercoasters of Coney Island to the bagels and handball courts of Greenpoint, Brooklyn is a state of mind as well as a dynamic community. Discover why, no matter where people move on to, they remain Brooklynites at heart.
Princeton, New Jersey, the home of Princeton University since 1756, is one of the most famous college towns in the world. The university, with its massive endowment and long history, has made the town of Princeton an exciting place to visit. The Princeton University Art Museum owns over 72,000 works of art, displaying everything from Latin American folk art to Italian Renaissance paintings. The school also hosts dance, theater, and performance art at the Lewis Center and other assorted venues.
A short ride away from New York City on the Metro North commuter rail, Poughkeepsie sits on the banks of the Hudson River. The close proximity of Vassar College and the Culinary Institute of America guarantees the presence of fun boutiques and fine dining. Main Mall Row, a group of 1870s Renaissance Revival storefronts along Poughkeepsie's Main Street is on the National Register of Historic Places. The twenty-two surrounding parks provide the opportunity to take a relaxing break from city life.
The home to Yale University since 1701, the city of New Haven is packed with an unrivaled collection of arts and antiquities, with collections ranging from natural history specimens to antique musical instruments. The towering translucent marble cube of the Beinecke Library contains 600,000 rare volumes, including one of the only surviving Gutenberg Bibles. The Yale University Art Gallery is as famous for its collection as it is for its building, a Modernist masterpiece designed by Louis Kahn.
The festive city of San Juan is the perfect place to experience true Puerto Rican culture. Get to know its roots by exploring the vibrant neighborhood of El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan), which consists mostly of Spanish colonial buildings. Flesh out your self-guided history lesson with a visit to El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century citadel that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then reward yourself with a cooling dip at Luquillo or Carolina Beach, then a tasty tour of the Bacardi rum plant.
Provence in southeastern France is divided into six departments and stretches from Orange to Nice. Many consider the Luberon in Vaucluse to be the "real Provence." Gently sloping vineyards and lavender fields are the backdrops that enthralled Cezanne, Van Gogh and Chagall. An excellent train network makes travel between cities easy. To explore villages, drive or catch a bus. Particular highlights include Palace of the Popes at Avignon, the Roman amphitheatre at Arles and the craft center of Les Baux.
With its gondolas, canals, amazing restaurants, and unforgettable romantic ambiance, Venice is definitely a city for one's bucket list. Waterfront palazzos, palaces, and churches make drifting down the Grand Canal feel like cruising through a painting. To really experience Venice you must go to the opera or to a classical music performance, nibble fresh pasta and pastries, and linger in the exhibit halls of an art gallery. Label lovers will drool over the high-end shopping in Piazza San Marco.
A Puglia port town that’s equal parts historic and functional, Monopoli makes a splash with medieval churches and castles jutting above the Adriatic. It’s also a painter’s dream, with bright blue fishing boats adding a pop of color against whitewashed harbor walls.
Tirana, the Republic of Albania's largest city, is blessed with a mild Mediterranean climate, a plethora of beautiful churches and lush parks. Founded in 1614, some striking Mussolini-era architecture dots the city center. Walk between sights such as Skanderbeg Square's 1789 Et'hem Bey Mosque, the 1830 Sahat-Kulla (Clock Tower) and the Puppet Theater, once home to King Zog's puppet parliament. Visit the Peace Bell, built with old cartridge shells, a reminder of Tirana's stormy past.