There are a lot of good stories in this issue, but I’m particularly excited about the travel stories. All three of the cities we highlight are often overlooked in favor of bigger, glitzier, more-popular destinations. Newark gets bypassed for New York, St. Louis loses time to Chicago, and San Salvador, El Salvador, has to shout to be heard over the roar of San José, Costa Rica. While they attract their fair share of visitors, these three spots deserve a lot more attention than they generally get. So I’m very happy that we can help out with that.

Queen Latifah, who was born and raised in Newark, has so much to show and tell about her hometown that I got worn out just reading about it. If she ever tires of being a singer/actress, then there’s no doubt the convention and visitor’s bureau will make room for her in their offices. She knows the city backwards and forwards, and really makes it come alive in our interview with her.

El Salvador has the coffee, mountains, and shoreline that Costa Rica does, and it’s more than ready to show the world its charms. Following in the path of many small Central American countries, El Salvador is embracing tourism, and rightfully so. The landscapes are beautiful, the people are friendly, and whether you want to get your heart rate up on a hiking or biking or kayaking trip, or you prefer to let your heart, mind, and soul soak up the sun on the beach, you’ll be able to do it here.

And then there’s St. Louis. But not just any St. Louis. St. Louis on a budget. This is the second story in our series on Cheap Retreats. If you missed the first one, “Going Solo in Memphis” (another overlooked city!) on $299, you can read it on our website at And coming up in a future issue, we learn how a family of four can enjoy a weekend in Boston on as little as $999. But in this issue, we explore St. Louis for two with just $499. Not only does your dollar go a long way here, there’s virtually no end to the things you can do. You’ll find excellent parks, a bustling downtown, that fantastic arch, and soulful blues clubs. But that’s just a peek at all this city has to offer.

And don’t stop there. In addition to our great travel stories, there are lots of other interesting stories you’ll want to read, including an interview with The New York Timesfirst ombudsman, who chats openly about the difficulties (and rewards) of the job. We also have a behind-the-scenes look at the impressive Cirque du Soleil. No doubt most everyone is well versed in the successes and talents of its performers, but we show you the secrets behind the success and the talent of the business itself. Like everything with Cirque du Soleil, it’s a very intriguing tale.

I could, of course, go on. But I’ll stop here and let you dis­cover the rest on your own. When you get time, drop me a note at and let me know which stories you enjoyed the most.

Picture of Sheri Burns