As the weather edges toward spring, most of us are starting to get cabin fever. What better way to herald the coming change of seasons than with a Celebrated Weekend in the Caribbean? And who better to whisk us away than Jimmy Buffett, whose songs epitomize a laid-back island lifestyle?

Buffett’s tips and tales in Celebrated Weekend aren’t so much an itinerary as they are an engaging island-hopping trip down memory lane. His wish list of the 10 best beach bars, for example, jumps from the Bahamas to Antigua to St. Barts and beyond. He’s a bit philosophical, too.

“If I could tell anybody anything, it’s the fact that the Caribbean shouldn’t just be a destination where you get on the beach somewhere,” he told contributing editor Mark Seal during their interview. “You should learn something about the people. Every island is different.”

His words inspired me to head to the Caribbean myself, and I recently spent a long weekend in San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan is an important American Airlines city, serving as the gateway to other Caribbean islands, but it’s a terrific destination in its own right.

The weather was perfect, and the water beautiful. We saw the sights, sunned, gambled, and enjoyed some incredibly gourmet meals. In addition to the requisite beach bars and island souvenir stores, we discovered in historic Old San Juan a newer stretch of hip clubs, trendy restaurants, and upscale shopping. I wish we’d had the time or energy to tackle the nearby rain forest, but lazing around the pool at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton won out. Next time... .

Though it’s tempting to drone on about my much-needed and oh-so-relaxing getaway, travel isn’t the only subject you’ll find in this issue. As always, the Lifestyle and Business sections are packed with great stories, from a NASCAR update to a thought-provoking piece on alternative-fuel automobiles. There’s much more. let us know what you think.

Elaine Srnka