Get Personal With Sam Brown
What is your idea of the perfect weekend away with the girls?
I love the idea of a spa weekend, but then massages are usually done alone, and I wouldn't want to miss any time with the women I rarely see. Maybe a luxury hotel with an incredible pool, so we could all lie around like lazy seals then roll over into the water with little effort when we're hot. (You need to conserve your energy for gabbing.) A hotel with a concierge level is ideal. The private lobby serves snacks and drinks all day, so it's cocktail hour all the time.
What's your idea of the perfect romantic weekend away?
Somewhere my husband, Kevin, and I could drive to (airport angst can really be a romantic mood killer). A cabin on a lake or a beach-front inn where there was no TV so Kevin couldn't watch a soccer game.
What's your favorite on-a-budget weekend idea?
I would love to say my home in Brooklyn, but we usually do it up when I'm home. We go out for dinner, drinks, movies, and I'm always like, "Man, New York is expensive." So I would have to say a weekend visiting either set of parents. Kevin's parents live near Annapolis, MD. My father and mother live on the seacoast of New Hampshire. Both places are geographically beautiful, and our parents don't yet charge us for the room.
What's the best road trip you've ever taken?
Just recently Kevin and I were celebrating our first year together with a trip to San Sebastian, Spain. He was joining me in Paris, where we were shooting "Passport to Great Weekends," and our plans were to fly from there. That weekend, Air France decided to go on strike, and the trains were booked, so we rented a car and drove the 10 hours. We loved it, because our car had a GPS system. We took the back-road detours through France, instead of the highway, stopping in Cognac for lunch.
What's the strangest landmark or attraction you've ever seen?
Sewing machine rock, which, if my memory serves me, is on the shore of the Hawaiian island of Lanai'i. It's simply an an old sewing machine on top of a rock.
So, Samantha, besides being a "Travel Goddess" (a title bestowed upon you by an avid viewer of your show), what are some of your other hobbies?
Biking, photography and wine tasting. (No, I'm not a lush. Well, OK, maybe I am.)
From which side of the family do you get your witty humor? Have you ever thought about doing comedy yourself?
Definitely from my father. He has an unbelievably dry sense of humor. My sisters and I truly felt loved when he picked on us. When I was around 12, a young boy called me and my dad got on the phone and thanked him for calling because I didn't have many friends. I thought it was hysterical -- the young boy did not. I have never seriously considered stand-up comedy because my humor comes out of reacting to other things or people. I don't think I could generate it myself.
What's your favorite movie?
"Cinema Paradiso." The best ending in a movie ever.
Do you sing in the shower? If so, what's your favorite band/performer or song?
Barry Manilow. If I'm in a good mood, it's "Can't Smile Without You," and if I'm feeling sappy, it's "Weekend in New England."
What's the coolest extra-special touch you've experienced at a hotel?
At the Grand Floridian in Disney World, housekeeping folds your hand towels into little animals like ducks and bunnies. They then put things like your toothbrush and styling gel in them, so that when you walk into your room you have all these cute critters greeting you. It's a very heartwarming touch.
It appears that you have an affinity for nice hotel bathrooms.
Why do you love them so much, and what would you find in the ideal hotel?
A great bathroom is essential to a great hotel. Lighting is key. We need lighting that makes us look and feel good. You don't want to start the day thinking, "Boy, I look terrible." In an ideal bathroom, I would find an extra-deep bath and a lot of counter space for all those products and vitamins. I love it when hotels incorporate drawer space under the sink; I can store things in them so the counter remains uncluttered, and I won't be knocking things over when I brush my teeth. One of my biggest disappointments is when the bathroom has a separate shower, but there is no shelf to put shampoo, razors, etc., so you have to keep bending down to pick the stuff up. By the time I'm done it feels like I've done aerobics, and at 6 a.m.
Where would you build your dream vacation home? What would be special or unique about it?
On the coast of Maine, in Kennebunkport or Kittery Point. It would be a traditional seacoast home with a big porch that looked out over the ocean or an inlet. It would be for friends to come and enjoy weekends together. The focus would be a big open kitchen with a long kitchen table and fireplace.
If you were stranded on a tropical island, what three items would you want to have with you?
Sunglasses, a good cutting knife and my husband.
If you could go back to Hawaii, what would you like to do or see?
I would like to go back to Molokai. We were there for only a few days, so I wasn't able to truly explore. It's a much more intimate island than the others, very few tourists. There are only a few streetlights, so at night the stars are spectacular. At Molokai Ranch, they offer night mountain biking under the stars. I would love to get a chance to do that.
While at home or by yourself, away from the camera, do you find that you still talk out loud?
No, I'm by nature a very quiet person and often get quite annoyed with myself during shooting because I get so sick of hearing myself talk. So when I have a break, during shooting or at home, I just like to chill out.
If you could travel back in time to any period in history, when and where would it be?
Turn of the century in New York City. New York is such an unbelievable city. I would love to go back in time to when it was just beginning to show its true greatness as a world-class town.
Do you eat pizza with your hands or with a knife and fork?
Why would you eat pizza with a knife and fork?
Do you like your Chinese food spicy or not spicy? What city has better Chinese food, New York or San Francisco?
Spicy. I didn't have the chance to eat Chinese in San Fran. New York Chinese is OK, but you really have to know where to go. There are a lot of bad Chinese food restaurants out there.
If you could have dinner with any three people (living or nonliving), who would you like at your table?
Christiane Amanpour, the CNN war correspondent, Stevie Nicks and one of my girlfriends (so we could freak out together about who we just had dinner with).
As a female traveler, what's an important tip you can offer to others?
I'm on long flights a lot, so I carry a small travel care kit. It contains lotion for my hands, face cream, aspirin, lip balm, an eye mask and earplugs. I have a carry-on case that I use to prop up my feet and create my own "La-Z-Boy" reclining chair. And I always bring a freshly made sandwich from my local deli, so I can avoid airplane food. When it comes to your care kit, have two of everything. Two razors, two shampoos, two nail clippers, etc. Keep one set for home and the other for travel, so you don't have to keep packing and unpacking it
OK, it might not be completely stress-free, but a little advance planning can help make everything go a lot smoother than you might expect.