Instead of Hurricane Sandy

Get your mind off of Hurricane Sandy by escaping to one of these destinations


Here I sit, safe and sound in my Upper West Side, NYC apartment several days after Hurricane Sandy swept through. I am one of the lucky ones, I never lost power and thus, I never lost heat, water and the like. Some of my family members were not as lucky, but we fared much better than those living on the coastlines of New York and New Jersey.

It’s a challenge to remain upbeat right now. Things are getting worse for many instead of better and the myriad of power outages are something to get used to. Predictions for the restoration of power stretch out until the end of this week, that’s 10 days today from the storm while I write this.

So what’s a person to do? Watching the images in print and video of the destruction Sandy has wrought makes me want to escape. Escape to where? I can think of quite a few places, but indulge me as I focus on five great destinations that can help get all of our minds off of Sandy.

Airplane image via Shutterstock

Molokai, Hawaii

There is no winery on Molokai, but Tedeschi Winery is located just across the channel on Maui. If you ever get the chance try Tedeschi’s Pineapple wine, it’s actually delicious and festive. As a non-vintage wine, though, the chances of an unsuspecting consumer finding a bottle beyond its prime is rather high.

Molokai is probably Hawaii’s least visited island, with only a few hotels and condo complexes catering to the intrepid tourists who venture over from the other, more popular islands. Being mostly rural and sparsely populated, Molokai defies the stereotypical image most travelers have of Hawaii. It’s a place where you can step back in time. You don’t need much to enjoy yourself on Molokai as it’s a place of simple pleasures and beautiful weather, weather that a lot of New Yorkers might appreciate right now.

Hawaii image via Shutterstock


Since I started off with a simple island, I will continue the theme. Sicily would be lovely right now. Daytime temperatures remain in the 70s with plenty of sun. Evenings this time of year can get chilly with temperatures drifting down into the mid 40s. At times like this though, one might value Sicily’s can-do attitude and camaraderie even more than warm evenings.

Unlike Molokai, Sicily has plenty of wine and it is mostly delicious. You’ll be hearing much more about the reds wines of Mount Etna over the coming years. People will be comparing them to great Pinot Noir, which is a reasonably fair comparison, but there are many other great wines coming from Sicily as well. These include the Frappato wines and Cerasuolo di Vittoria wines that seem to be bottle expressions of Sicilian sunshine.

Sicily image via Shutterstock

Boise City, Idaho

This is weird, but it’s also among the so-called safest places in the U.S. It is one of the places with the lowest chances for experiencing a significant natural disaster, if you exclude the super volcano that will erase Yosemite National Park off the map some day.

What does Boise City offer? For starters, they have electricity, which is a big plus today. Surprisingly, Boise City is the third most populous metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest, led only by Seattle and Portland. Still, it looks like Boise City is a bucolic place, a low-rise city fading into distant hills with all the amenities of modern life and the pace of Mayberry for those who want to lollygag. It’s turning cool in Boise City right about now and that means the opening of the winter sports season, something suitable for taking one's mind off the troubles at hand.

Boise image via Shutterstock

Corvallis, Oregon

Supposedly even safer than Boise, Corvallis comes with the added bonus of being virtually within walking distance (okay, it’s a long walk) of some of the greatest vineyards in North America.

Travel 50 miles directly north up Route 99 West and you’ll find yourself in McMinnville, the heart of the Willamette Valley. Instead of losing a fight for your seat and free Wi-Fi at Starbucks, you could be tasting great Pinot Noir and enjoying the bounty of Oregon’s active farm scene. The weather’s just a bit warmer than it is here in New York City but as far as I know, there are no lines at the gas stations. In all honesty, I wouldn’t even need gas because I’d be driving a Volt and farming biodynamic tobacco if I was already living there.

Oregon image via Shutterstock

New York City

You can’t blame me for wanting to fantasize about getting away from this disaster for a while, but the truth is that there is no place I’d rather be than right here in NYC. Things are tough right now, but are getting better.

I’m surrounded by friends, family and new acquaintances, all being drawn closer together by adversity. We have great wine growing regions to the north and east of us, which were generally spared the worst of Sandy’s wrath. We have some of the greatest wine shops, restaurants and attractions in the world. We have started to rebuild and my heart goes out to all that have lost and suffered through this ordeal. Don’t forget about us, folks. The news likes to show the worst of an event, it’s better for ratings after all, but let me tell you from on the ground here in NYC that things are dire for many but not for most. And as is generally the case, this disaster has brought out the best in most of us.

I look forward to welcoming you here. From Atlantic City in New Jersey to the tip of Montauk, the Eastern Seaboard will be back and better than ever, just give us some time and a few bottles of wine.

God bless.

New York City image via Shutterstock

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