What are John Ragan's favorite cities to visit?
I find myself in San Francisco a lot. It’s nice to be able to go back there as a tourist and just purely enjoy the city for a few days. I’m in Napa and Sonoma a lot as well. I actually lived in Napa before I lived in San Francisco, so same story there. It’s great to be able to know the ins and outs and be able to use it as a tourist in the best way.
I love New Orleans. It has a really different perspective than most American cities. I love the old architecture. In a lot of ways, I think it’s probably the closest feeling you can get to Europe in America. I love the old buildings, the old architecture and the gardens. Of course, it’s a great food city as well. I was there for Jazz Fest once, which was a great experience.
Otherwise, I’d say I’m pretty much a sucker for France and Italy. I usually find myself choosing Piedmont in northern Italy. There’s the confluence of its beautiful landscape, and if you can get there in the fall, you see a lot of the beautiful colors. A little bit later in the fall is the height of truffle season; the white truffles there are just fantastic. You’ll see them everywhere and have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, literally. It’s a pretty magical place that time of year. If you can boycott American Thanksgiving and just get over to Italy, it’s a pretty great time to go.