In her new role as the first mayor of Framingham, Yvonne Spicer won’t have much time for travel, but when she can get away, Spicer said she loves Aruba for its food, people, culture — and “always consistent and beautiful” weather. Spicer, 55, is a former educator and executive at Boston’s Museum of Science, who last month was elected mayor of Framingham after residents in April voted to change the state’s largest town to a city form of government. She will be sworn in on Jan. 1. We caught up with Spicer, a Brooklyn native who lives in Framingham, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination? Aruba, the jewel in the Caribbean nestled 15 miles from Venezuela and a part of what is known as the “ABC” islands. I love Aruba because of its people [who are] diverse, warm, and friendly. The motto is “one happy island.” Most people speak three to four languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, and Papiamento. I’m also very fascinated by Aruba’s history, which is a blend of European, Indian, and African cultures. Aruba’s weather is always consistent and beautiful. Its location on the equator contributes to its gorgeous weather that is quite predictable. The ease of the flight from Boston is also an advantage.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Without a doubt grilled red snapper with a mango salsa, which is often served with rice, salad, and grilled vegetables. I particularly enjoy going to the Flying Fishbone restaurant, which is in Savaneta [a village in southeastern Aruba). You can dine with your feet right in the sand while listening to the sound of the gentle waves of the water.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Australia. One of my goals is to reach all seven continents in my lifetime, and Australia is one continent that I have yet to visit. To fully embrace the country, I will certainly need to spend a little bit of time there to be able to travel across [the country] from Sydney to Perth.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? A good book. I personally enjoy turning the pages, so I will unabashedly admit that I haven’t fully embraced books online. I enjoy being able to sit and relax and read a great book.
Window or aisle? Definitely the aisle. I like the ease of being able to get up without having to be a disturbance to other passengers. The other advantage is I get an opportunity to engage the flight attendants in conversation. I’m always fascinated by all the interesting places they travel to and also the grueling schedules that they have to endure at times.
Favorite childhood travel memory? One of my favorite travel memories is taking the train from New York to Florida to visit my maternal grandmother and other relatives on my mother’s side of the family starting when I was about 7 years old. The opportunity to be in a sleeper car was wonderful. The gentle chug of the train was so comforting and I’m sure contributed to a wonderful night’s sleep. After enjoying a good night [of] rest, waking up and having breakfast in the dining car was a treat. This was a time when dining service was quite elegant and I found trains to be extraordinarily interesting. Clearly, my love of technology and engineering started very early on.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? A spa treatment. Typically not something I do on a regular basis, but when vacationing, it’s a nice treat.
Best travel tip? Always bring a pair of socks for the flight and a change of clothes in your carry-on travel bag. You’ll be grateful — especially if your luggage is lost. I’ve actually had my luggage lost on a direct flight. And remember to be kind to the flight crew and the reservation team, as they don’t control flight delays, cancellations etc.