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I've traveled quite a bit: been all across the U.S., in lots of countries in Europe, stuck my toe into Mexico and Asia, adventured in Africa, and caressed the Caribbean. If someone gave me a choice as to where I could live outside of my beloved Philadelphia (my favorite place of them all!)...there are four places that stand out (this doesn't mean that my list can't change as I continue on life's journey - but here's where it's at now).

St. Bath's in the Caribbean is paradise. In fact...it's where Jimmy Buffett used to live and - his song "Cheeseburger in Paradise" is written about a little eatery there (yea...I ate one at the place, and - it was great. Just like the entire island). St. Bath's is French, and the atmosphere is of that lifestyle. Beautiful beaches, a friendly populace, and a joie de vive that permeates the entire place will always keep this wonderful island on my most enjoyed locations - forever.

Nova Scotia is pure beauty. A number of years ago Conte Naste magazine named it as the most beautiful island in the world. It's magnificent. And...most of us can drive there! That's right, hop in your car, take off for Canada, turn left, and voila! New Scotland (which is what Nova Scotia means). The views on the Cabot Trail (on Cape Breton - the northern most area of the
province) are unbelievable. Great hiking, superb vistas, and the mellowness of the ocean, mountains, and wonderful hospitality. That's tough to beat!

Istanbul is outstanding. It's in both Europe and Asia. The people are friendly, the place is steeped in history, the food - fantastic, and the scenery incredible. There aren't many places on this planet that combine the heritage, people, and views that Istanbul (and Turkey for that matter) does, and - in a way that makes one feel at home - instantly. For those of you who are wondering (and this question always seems to arise when I speak about Istanbul), it's secular, tolerant, and a place that looks like a major western city with the texture of the east as well.

Ireland. Ahhh...Ireland. There's a reason why it's called the "Emerald Isle." That's because it is! The grass looks like sparkling emeralds. It's difficult to explain unless you've been there, but - it's almost iridescent, a brilliant shade of green that's not often seen anywhere else. Once in a great while I'll see a pasture that reminds me of Ireland and have to stop my car to admire the view. Yet, I know it's not the "real thing" unless I'm "there." I love the food of Ireland, its people (so welcoming, kind, light, and friendly), the majestic castles, views and cities. And - THE MUSIC! Irish music is enchanting. I listen to it often (in English and Gaelic). The beauty of it is that traditional Irish music keeps living on. It hasn't been forgotten by today's musicians. In fact...it's still wholeheartly embraced - and I'm very happy about that! So...on this Saturday, I wish all my Irish (and non-Irish friends) and VERY Happy St. Patrick's Day! And...if you ever get the chance - you may want to "Watch the sun go down on Galway Bay."