Go Away With … Lara Spencer

LARA SPENCER

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
September 30, 2014

Lara Spencer has a lot on her plate these days. A co-anchor for ABC’s “Good Morning America,” she’s also the host of “Flea Market Flip” on Great American Country. She also has a new book out, “Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, $25.95). A resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, Spencer says that even though she travels constantly for her work, if the opportunity arises, she will never pass up the opportunity to head out for a few days with her family. Fans may follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/laraspencer.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. I love destinations that combine a little lazy time, a little athletics, a little nightlife and a little shopping. I have never been to Capri, Italy, but I imagine that is exactly how it must be. As for places I have actually been, I love Paris, Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico, Cabo San Lucas and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. If I have to pick just one, I would say Jackson Hole, because my kids love it so much.

Q. To someone who was going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?

A. If you go to Jackson Hole, I recommend you go during the summer. The landscape is spectacular and a hike at Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park is not to be missed. I also highly recommend whitewater rafting on the Snake River. There are several companies that will take you. We used Mad River and the instructor we were with was the best. He was fun, informative and terrific at navigating the rapids. I recommend you go in the afternoon when the water is a little warmer. It’s still cold, but well worth it!

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child? And did you love it, or not so much?

A. Williamsburg, Virginia. I remember loving it. It was so cool seeing what life was like in 1776, walking through the colonial village and getting rock candy at the gift shop. I brought my kids there last year and took the same picture of them that I have of my brothers when we were very small in the town square with hands and heads in the old-time stockade. It’s a classic.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. To call ahead and find out if your flight is on time! There’s no reason to leave the resort if your flight has been canceled. That has happened to me. I am having the greatest time and reluctantly pack up and head to the airport, only to find out the flight is canceled and there isn’t another one until the next morning. Meanwhile, I drove an hour and a half from the resort and could have just continued sipping my pina colada and extended my stay for the night. That was painful.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Palm Beach is definitely one of them, but I am pretty courageous. Because I have traveled so much for work and had to do incredibly long trips in short periods of time, I am not afraid to go for it. I did a one-day round trip (to London) when Prince George was born. Paris for a weekend? Why not! Los Angeles for two days? Let’s go! I don’t have a lot of free time, so when I do I try to make the most of every minute!

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?

A. Paris is incredible. I know it’s cliche, but it just is the sexiest, most romantic city in the world.

Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A. Maui for Thanksgiving, though it was strange having turkey on the beach!

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Rome, Paris, London, New York, Miami.

Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?

A. Camden, Maine. It was quaint and the coastline is so stunning. I felt so relaxed and at home when I was there. The town is quaint and steeped in history, and the lobster rolls are to die for.

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

A. I have always dreamed of lying on an empty beach in Bali or the Maldives. That would be really nice. And while I am over there, I have always wanted to see Australia. The people are the best and I would love to see their friendly, outgoing culture firsthand.

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

A. I bring a cozy coral colored cashmere wrap that doubles as a blanket. I bring it on every flight because I am always cold.

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

A. Gummi bears from the airport newspaper stand.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I look up hotels and read reviews. I look up the city and read up on places to see and activities to take in while I am there so I don’t miss anything. And I always look up the weather before I pack!

Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. The Ritz in Dorado Beach PR. The Four Seasons in Maui. The Georges V in Paris. The One and Only Palmilla in Cabo San Lucas. And I am dying to go to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. It’s on my bucket list.

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?
A. Palm Beach, Florida. A favorite weekend getaway and a place I try to find reason to shoot stories in any chance I can!

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. The North Fork of Long Island. Everyone’s heard about the Hamptons but not a lot of people know that the “other fork” is fabulous! Imagine Long Island is a fish and the tale is the Eastern End. The Northern part of the “fishtail” doesn’t have the Atlantic ocean beaches like the southern fork (The Hamptons), but the views of the Long Island Sound are spectacular, and the rocky beaches are much less crowded. It’s a more relaxed vibe over there – no need to pack a little black dress or heels. It’s a shorts and flip flips kind of place, with quaint little towns, great restaurants serving fresh fish and vegetables grown on the farmland that still exists out there. There are also several wineries that make some excellent wines. All of them are open to the public and offer tastings, live music, and other fun events. Greenport is a great place to stay once you are out there. It was a bustling whaling town in the 1800’s, and you can see some of the beautiful ship captains homes lining the main streets in the village. There’s a bar/restaurant named Claudio’s that’s always fun, great antiquing, and a ferry that can take you over to Shelter Island or Sag Harbor for the day.

Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?
A. Two weeks exploring Greece and then Morocco.

Q. What is your best vacation memory?

A. Best memory is being in Dorado, Puerto Rico, at the Ritz with my family last New Year’s. The weather was absolutely perfect. The food was incredible. The ocean was the perfect temperature with great waves. We bodysurfed with the kids for hours. I didn’t want it to end.

Q. How about your worst memory?

A. It’s all too recent. After a magical four days in Jackson Hole with the family — hiking in Grand Teton National Park, boating on Jenny Lake, horseback riding, mountainbike riding, and white water rafting — we packed up and got to the airport on time and ready to go. For the first time, I actually looked up the flight and it was scheduled to be on time, no issues. And then…we waited. And waited. And waited. The wait wasn’t the problem though. I expect delays as just part of the travel experience. It was that I had to work the next morning at 3:45am in New York City, and because we had no warning about the delay, we didn’t have a back-up plan to get us out of Jackson. And if you have been to Jackson Hole, you know, there aren’t a ton of back up options to begin with. We did eventually get out of there and back to the east coast with enough time for me to lie down for 35 minutes and get back in the car to head to the studio for “Good Morning America.” Coffee has never been more necessary in my life!

© 2014 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC. 

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