Go Away With … Robin Meade

CREDIT: Justin Larose © 2011 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company

CREDIT: Justin Larose © 2011 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Media Services
October 18, 2011

As the lead anchor on HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade,” Meade is known for her reporting and interviewing skills. What may surprise some viewers is that she’s a singer, too. Her debut country CD “Brand New Day” is available at Target and on iTunes. “I spent a lot of weekends and vacation days driving from Atlanta to Nashville to write and record my album,” says Meade. “In Nashville, you can walk from honky-tonk to honky-tonk, and every single one you walk into has a fantastic live band. You might be at one place, look over and realize Lady Antebellum is jamming to the no-namer on stage. If you’re passionate about music like I am, you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven there.”

Q. Where are some of the places you have lived?

A. I live in Atlanta and have for about 10 years now. I moved here from Chicago, but I am originally from Ohio. So honey, you wouldn’t believe what a diva I looked like here, when the first winter I arrived with all my winter gear from Chicago. I had coats, scarves, gloves, boots to match. And here, you wear that winter coat just a few times! But the summers … oh, the summers are roasters!

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I’ve recently fallen in love with St. Thomas. It’s so convenient. It’s the U.S. Virgin Islands, so you aren’t standing in line forever at customs like you would be if you were going to other tropical locations. Your money works there just like it does on the mainland, obviously. And the plane flight is pretty short, yet you land a world away from where you first started! St. Thomas is home to Magens Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And you’re a hop, skip, and a ferry ride from St. John, another U.S. Virgin Island with beaches that aren’t so crowded or populated. My favorite thing to do for vacation there is to rent out a villa from vrbo.com or homeaway.com. You get complete privacy, but then can head over to the hot spots for a night out.

Q. Can you tell us about some of your favorite quick getaways?

A. As much as we can, my husband and I take off for Lake Sinclair in Georgia. It’s about 100 miles outside Atlanta, which is a perfect distance for a weekend getaway. It’s not fancy. You’ll see a considerable amount of people wearing camouflage. And date night for many in the nearby towns seems to be Friday night at the Wal-Mart. I’m half-kidding. What we like best is that its lake country. You get on a pontoon boat and slide into some reset-zone in your brain. I joke it’s the “no makeup zone” for me, and a chance to just do nothing but stare at the water! The nearby town of Milledgeville features antebellum homes with the kind of columns you picture in old Southern towns.

Q. What is your favorite hotel?

A. I love the Ritz-Carlton in St .Thomas. The service is incredible.

Q. Name some of your favorite cities.

A. Chicago. I love the food, spirit of the people and architecture. I used to live in Miami when I was a reporter and anchor in my early 20s and I love how it’s such a mash of cultures. And I’m not joking when I say, it seems like everyone is beautiful, tan and toned. What’s cool about Miami is that you can move from one area of the city to another and feel like you’ve gone from one culture to another: There’s fantastic people-watching to be done on any beach there, for sure! Another favorite of mine is New York City. You have access to so much there, whether its fashion, shows, music, stars. … It’s like everything comes to you in that city.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. There are two places I’d like to go if I could go long enough to actually acclimate to the time change. One would be Australia. The second would be Italy. Just to see the views and taste the food and enjoy the culture.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. My absolute must-have is a white noise machine by Hammacher Schlemmer. It helps drown out hotel or traffic noise and is compact for packing. If it’s a warm climate I gotta have my OKA b flip-flops. You can buy them at the drugstore and they are the most comfortable sandals you’ll ever wear. For flights, I make sure I have my Burt’s Bees lip balm and eye drops.

Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?

A. I would like to spend two weeks or more in St. Lucia. I’ve never been there and have seen some great hotels there where the fourth wall is missing. Your room is open to the elements! Can you imagine how relaxed you’d feel after a few days of that? Plus the view of the Gros Piton from that missing fourth wall must be something else.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I love getting to a hotel room, ordering up room service and maybe, just maybe, a side of fries. Worth the calories, or not? You never know until you try.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. I’m a journalist, so you bet I do a lot of research online. The most valuable info for me comes from other travelers’ reviews of places. However, you sometimes need to take some of that feedback with a grain of salt. Because human nature is that you’ll give feedback mostly when you weren’t happy with your experience. If you’re happy, you get home, unpack and make everyone look at the pictures you took.


© 2011 JAE-HA KIM


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