Go Away With … Peter King

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
October 6, 2009

Sports Illustrated writer Peter King knows his football. The winner of this year’s Dick McCann Memorial Award for his coverage of the game, King has written a new book — Sports Illustrated: Monday Morning Quarterback: A Fully Caffeinated Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the NFL, which will be in stores Oct. 13.

The 52-year-old Boston resident includes his list of all-time favorite players in the book. But here, King tells us about some of his favorite places to travel.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Italy, by far. Tuscany, in particular. My wife and I have been there twice and we had a family reunion two years ago at a villa in Greve in Chianti that produced its own Chianti. It was one of the best times of our lives. How wonderful it was to not only discover great wines at vineyards on the sides of winding roads, but also olive oil. I learned to love olive oil on that trip.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. Manhattan, Cape Cod, our former hometown in Montclair, N.J., or anywhere there’s a baseball game.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A. For hotels … The Meadowood (www.meadowood.com) in Napa Valley. It’s 15 to 20 minutes from 10 of the greatest vineyards in the world. You feel like your bed is up in a tree. The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa (www.arizonabiltmore.com) in Scottsdale. Every time I think of the hotel, I think of the cleanest air and the citrus smell wafting around the property. The Conrad in Indianapolis. There’s something great about a spacious hotel room with a high-def big-screen TV, in walking distance to the football stadium and to all the restaurants in an underrated downtown. For restaurants, Osteria Giotto in Montclair. There’s something about the mista salad and the overstuffed lasagna that has me drooling. Bob’s Steak & Chop House (www.bobs-steakandchop.com/dallas.html) in Dallas. Best steak in the United States, and they give you a gigantic cooked carrot with every one. I’m no fishaholic, but I’ve had three fish dishes at the Union Bar and Grille (www.unionrestaurant.com) in Boston and they all were grade A.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. Comfortable sneakers, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, my MacBook Air.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. My wife is the researcher and she uses Frommer’s, Lonely Planet and Fodor’s. We found the best vineyard in the world that way — Rubicon.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. Probably China or New Zealand. I’ll go to both before I die.

Q. What is your worst vacation memory?
A. What a lucky life I’ve had. I can’t think of one, other than losing a day on a four-day getaway to Puerto Rico a few years ago when we got snowed in at JFK. I think it’s because I travel so much and know that occasionally you’re going to get a flight canceled or you’re going to have four days of rain when all you want is a couple of hours of sun. I guess I’m calloused to little things going wrong while traveling, so things that go wrong don’t turn into nightmares.

Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?
A. When I was a kid, my family didn’t take many vacations. We just didn’t have the money. So I learned to treasure any travel that we did. I’m fortunate to take that attitude into adulthood. I actually enjoy the Fairfield Inn in Bourbonnais, Ill. I like to see America, and so traveling anywhere is fun for me. Fitting in is not hard. I love being in tour groups, particularly at vineyards, because it gives me a chance to hear smart people talk about a subject I know so little about.

© 2009 JAE-HA KIM


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