Susan Huckvale Arann’s Winter Plans

Southern Comfort: Like Bruce Bierman, we’re heading to Florida for a break from the New York cold: Palm Beach for relaxation, with lots of side trips for antiquing. Favorite shopping destinations include Family Furniture-Antiques in Winter Park, several dealers in Stuart, and the many fine stores on South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, including Re Vue Antiques and Wilson Antiques.

Re Vue Antiques, South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Re Vue Antiques, South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Wilson Antiques, South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach

Wilson Antiques, South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. Photos: Rita Konig

New Jersey by Candlelight: I’m a big fan of Victorian architecture, so one holiday must is a visit to Cape May, where we stay at Angel of the Sea, a fabulous B&B in a magnificent 1850′s summer “cottage,” and take the magical candlelight tour of the area’s beautifully preserved Victorian houses.

Angels of the Sea, Cape May, New Jersey

Susan Arann stays at Angel of the Sea, a B&B in twin 1850′s Victorian houses, which once formed a single summer “cottage,” in Cape May, New Jersey.

Christmas Candlelight House Tour, Cape May, New Jersey

Each year Susan takes the magical Christmas Candlelight House Tour of the beautifully preserved Victorian residences in Cape May, New Jersey.

Town & Around:  Lorenzo’s Restaurant, Bar & Cabaret at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island is a Friday night favorite. I saw the Puppini Sisters, a terrific vocal trio from England, on the Michael Buble Christmas Show the other night, but I saw them first at Lorenzo’s. And in Manhattan, Rubirosa, a family-run neighborhood Italian restaurant and pizzeria on Mulberry Street in the heart of Nolita, is a new hangout we love. It was opened more than a year ago by our friend Angelo (A.J.) Pappalardo. Delicious aromas will draw you off the street into the atmospheric interior, which is done out in turn-of-the-last-century style with reclaimed wood tables, tin paneling, vintage photos of the old country, barrel-vaulted wood ceilings, and a handsome bar.

The Puppini Sisters

   The Puppini Sisters, a close-harmony vocal trio from England, whom Susan first heard at Lorenzo’s Cabaret in Staten Island.

Rubirosa, Mulberry Street, Nolita, New York

Rubirosa, a family-run Italian restaurant and pizzeria on Mulberry Street in Nolita, is owned by Susan’s friend Angelo (A.J.) Pappalardo.

Stagestruck: The historic St. George Theatre, our local Staten Island cultural and performing arts center, was built in 1928 and is currently undergoing restoration. We’re on the board and involved in fundraising, including the annual Snowball Gala each January, which has hosted such big names as Tony Bennett, Neil Sedaka, Diana Ross, and K.D. Lang.  As for Broadway shows, we have tickets for The Book of Mormon, which we’re greatly looking forward to.

The St. George Theatre, Staten Island, New York

Built in 1928, the St. George Theatre on Staten Island is undergoing restoration.

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon, one of Susan’s must-see musicals during the holidays.

Required Reading: I have a strong interest in fashion–it’s the field I started my career in–so I’ve ordered a number of books on style, design, and fashion to see me through the winter. These include American Fashion Designers at Home, by Rima Suqi;  Bals: Legendary Costume Balls of the Twentieth Century, by Nicholas Foulkes; and Oscar Niemeyer: Houses, by Alan Hess.

American Fashion Designers at Home, by Rima Suqi

Bals Legendary Costume Balls of the Twentieth Century, by Nicholas Foulkes

Oscar Niemeyer, Houses, by Alan Hess

At the Movies: One must-see movie for us is The Artist, the black-and-white silent French film that’s won a slew of end-of-year awards and is expected to do well at next years Oscars. Making it an even more exciting prospect is the fact that one of its stars is our good friend Ed Lauter.

Berenice Bejo in Michel Hazanaviciu's silent movie The Artist

Berenice Bejo in the new, black-and-white silent French movie The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, and featuring our friend Ed Lauter.