Getting the flavor of...
Fargo’s quirky charms
Forget everything you learned about Fargo, N.D., from the Coen brothers’ movie, said Laurie Hertzel in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Well, maybe not everything. It’s true the city is a flat, chilly place full of people who are “friendly in a small-town, wide-eyed way.” But Fargo, a college town with a population of 118,000, is also hip, arty, and fun. “This I had not expected.” The five or six blocks that make up the heart of downtown are stuffed with coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants, and bars. “At night the stretch glows with funky neon.” If you need to warm up on a cold evening, order some brats, German potato salad, and North Dakota beer at the Wurst Bier Hall. During my stay, Spirit Room, a combination art gallery and yoga studio, was exhibiting “gorgeous” pen-and-ink drawings of trees by the Bulgarian artist Milena Marinov. Across the street, you’ll find another art-and-yoga gallery. “Such a centered town.”
Rhode Island’s secret south
There’s far more to Rhode Island than Newport, said John Carpenter in the Chicago Tribune. Head to the southern tip of Rhode Island’s mainland and you’ll find uncrowded coastal towns that are more affordable and “every bit as beautiful” as New England’s most popular seaside destinations. The area hasn’t changed much since my parents first brought me to Point Judith as an infant in 1962. Now my family and I enjoy quiet summers in a rental cottage or condo, swimming in the gentle waves at Roger W. Wheeler State Beach and buying lobster fresh off the boats in Galilee, a bustling fishing village. For classic Rhode Island fare like clear clam chowder, try Aunt Carrie’s seafood joint near Point Judith. Then there’s the Matunuck Oyster Bar, which “might serve up the best meal you’ve ever eaten.” If you get a chance, visit the Point Judith Lighthouse, if only for the view. “Tip: Buy some clam cakes. Drive to the lighthouse. Sit. Eat. Breathe. Relax.”