Welcome to the Puddle Jumper, our new weekly guide to the best things to do, see, and pack for the best weekend every weekend.
From the California coast to the post-apocalypse, here’s where we’re going this week.
What’s Going On
Don’t have $120,000 to drop on a banana duct-taped to the wall? You can still spend some time immersing yourself in the international art scene at Art Basel Miami Beach (December 5-8). Galleries, collectors, and artists (emerging and established) come from all over to show and sell their works at the world’s foremost art fair.
During the Fête des Lumières (December 5-8), the buildings, streets, and parks of Lyon, France will be aglow with a dazzling array of over 40 light installations. The event has its roots in a tradition that developed in Lyon when, on December 8, 1852, the city’s people placed lit candles in their window as a spontaneous celebration of a newly erected statue of the Virgin Mary.
Where We Want to Go This Weekend
Recommended Fodor’s Video
There’s a sheen of quiet, cozy magic that descends on Monterey, California in the cooler, wetter months. The fog that rolls in and tangles in the cypress trees makes it feel like you’re ensconced in an enchanted village (though it is, of course, much larger than a village). It isn’t so cold that it saps the marrow from your bones, but it nips you awake as you stroll along the bay scanning for signs of sea otters and it makes the warmth of an intimate eatery feel all the more revelatory.
Stay: Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa makes for a comfy and walkable home-base.
Eat: The East Village Coffee Lounge is the perfect, low-key spot to warm up with a really good cup of coffee (or a beer, if you prefer). On weekend evenings, you’re sure to catch some live, local music as well.
Do: If you’ve ever found yourself left in an existential spiral as you consider that we probably know more about deep space than the ocean on our own planet, a visit to the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must.
What We’re Reading on the Plane
With this week’s release of the Jeff VanderMeer’s new novel Dead Astronauts, and the coinciding announcement of a TV adaptation, now’s a great time to catch up on VanderMeer’s 2017 sci-fi novel, Borne. Set in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a city terrorized by a giant, flying bear, the story follows a scavenger named Rachel as she forges a surprising bond with a shapeshifting creature who defaults to the form of an upside-down vase with tentacles and lots of eyes. So, that may sound a little weird, but there’s such an exquisite balance of playfulness, heartache, curiosity, and beauty in these pages that soon you too will be overwhelmed with the instinct to protect the titular vase of tentacles and eyeballs at all costs.
What We’re Downloading to Watch on the Plane
If Knives Out left you hungry for more tales of a family of rich jerks in a labyrinthine house that must reckon with the consequences of their abject greed thanks to the introduction of a plucky outsider, then you’ll love Ready or Not. (Though, a quick note of warning to the squeamish, the blood in this horror-comedy is more abundant and, uh, splatter-y than in Knives Out.) The movie kicks off when a woman (Samara Weaving) marries into a family whose wealth is built on board games (and maybe a pact with Satan) and finds that if she wants to survive the night, she’ll have to win a deadly game of hide and seek. From there, all you need to know is that Ready or Not is a giddy, bloody romp (if giddy bloody romps are your cup of tea) and that Andie MacDowell wields a bow and arrow. It’s a hugely entertaining 95 minutes that’ll easily distract you for a good chunk of your flight, allowing you to spend the other chunk contemplating what kind of pact with Satan you’d make if it meant a lifetime of flying business class.
What’s in Our Carry-On
Remember those pens that had multiple, built-in cartridges that allowed you to change the color of ink you were using with a simple click? Imagine that, but with makeup. Alleyoop’s Pen Pal puts four essential products (eyeliner, brow pencil, highlighter, and lip liner) all in one place, freeing up precious space in your toiletry bag.