Cosmopolitan Review: June 14-June 20

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 6/14/2018, 10:55 a.m.

‘Tis the season for bugs, bites and bees; strong ultraviolet rays; and swimming and sunning. Be sure to add repellant, first-aid lotion and suntan lotion with an SPF of 15 or above. Keep your eyes on the kids and have fun—it’s summer. Well, maybe not officially, but the days are long and it’s getting hot, so be prepared.

Let it be known that prima ballerina Misty Copeland looked absolutely stunning at the American Ballet Theatre’s annual Spring Gala dinner and performance at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, presented by Harry Winston. Although there was no one there of note that we know other than a very few actors and a designer or two, such as Valentino, as usual, Misty stole the show.

Karen Jackson of Nelson Books-HarperCollins was among the select ladies who lunch, who gathered to kick-off the book tour for Lis Wiehl’s new book “The Hunting.” The book will be part of a series of books that tell the stories of major crime figures, beginning with “Hunting Charles Manson.” Great if you like that kind of stuff. It’s a little too gruesome for me.

So where are we traveling this summer? I have been wanting to take the Amtrak excursion train to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side for quite some time. I love train travel. We had the occasion to travel by Amtrak Auto Train several times to Florida when visiting Charles’ uncle Frank, who was then living in Sarasota. The 10-hour overnight ride makes travel time much longer than flying, not to mention you have to drive down to Lorton, Va. to get the train. But once you get settled, it is a great way to travel to Florida. First, you get to pack all of your things in the car and don’t have to schlep through the airport. Second, there is something exciting about seeing your car loaded onto the train and saying, “Goodbye, see you in Florida.” Third, once on the train, you have the choice of either reserving a private room, complete with bed, toilet and shower or a comfy seat in the coach area. I’ve done both and enjoy both equally as well. Gazing out the big picture window, seeing America go by, is an instant formula for relaxation.

Either way, dinner and breakfast are included in the price. One of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I ever had in my life was on an overnight train ride from Chicago to New Orleans. This route is as educational as it is eye-opening because the route passes through the cotton fields of Mississippi. I imagined how hard it must have been to bend over picking cotton off this short, little plant. I was shocked and amazed at the sight of the enormity of a bale of cotton, wondering how much cotton does one have to pick to make a bale. Nonetheless, hearing the train click-clack its way along the train track is an incomparable adventure.

Arriving in Florida the next morning around 10 a.m., passengers debark and wait for their cars to be unloaded. The northern city of Sanford, where the train pulls in, is at the edge of several turnpikes, all leading from one end of the state to the other. To the left there is Jacksonville. To the right is Daytona. A short ride south is Disneyland. Veer down the western coast and you will cross Tampa Bay, which is a glistening sight. Then there is my favorite, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, where they have a real live mermaid show. You have to see it to believe it.