Where a Painter Travels for a Visual Feast


Barbara Ernst Prey, 51, is best known for her American landscapes, but she gets ideas from all over the world.  “I’m never really on vacation,” the Long Island native says, “I’m always looking.”  Here, a few of her favorite places on Earth.

Port Clyde and Tenants Harbor, Maine

Why I go “The waterfronts along these charming fishing villages buzz with boats and lobstermen.  I love the spirit of the working harbor, from the water and buoys to the light and color.”

Don’t Leave Without “Taking in the sweeping view of the Atlantic from Marshall Point Lighthouse.  I also like to kayak up the coast, known for its rugged beauty.  Stop by Port Clyde Kayaks [portclydekayaks.com] for rentals.  If you’re up for a museum, go to the Blue Water Fine Arts Gallery [bluewaterfinearts.com]; I have an exhibit there this summer.”

Where to Stay “Try the East Wind Inn [rooms from $154 per night, eastwindinn.com], a waterfront property in Tenants Harbor.”

Where to Eat “I usually grab lunch at the Inn’s Chandlery Grill—their corn chowder is unrivaled.  Head to the Dip Net Restaurant [dipnetrestaurant.com] for fresh lobster.”

Rovinj, Croatia

Why I Go “I can spend hours admiring the pebbled beaches.  When I’m not relaxing by the water, I’m usually exploring the town on foot.  The winding streets are densely populated with pastel-colored houses, many with bright orange, red or yellow roofs and shutters.”

Don’t Leave Without “Visiting Saint Euphemia Church, which holds the sarcophagus of one of the city’s patron saints.  Legend has it that her stone coffin washed up on Rovinj’s shore after disappearing from Constantinople in AD 800.”

Where to Stay “Book a room overlooking the town square at the Hotel Adriatic [rooms from $128 a night, maistra.com].”

Where to Eat “For the local specialty, grilled scampi, make reservations at Restaurant Monte [monte.hr].”

Florence, Italy

Why I Go “I’ve never seen a city light up as beautifully as Florence at night.  I spend most evenings studying the luminescent architecture at the Piazza Santa Trinita or the Palazzo Vecchio.”

Don’t Leave Without “Touring the Museo di San Marco [polomuseale.firenze.it], where Fra Angelico’s famous frescoes live.”

Where to Stay “If you’re willing to splurge, stay at Villa San Michele [rooms from $1,020, villasanmichele.com], which offers a stunning view of the city.”

Where to Eat “Try the smoked goose breast at Taverna del Bronzino, once the studio of painter Santi di Tito.”

— as told to Patti Greco