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On September 16, 2001, my now husband and I were scheduled to depart for Spain from NY after I served as bridesmaid in our college friends' wedding(Viva la John & Ashlee!). By some miracle and a re-routed flight, we not only made the fairy-tale wedding (CA>CT) but also our scheduled departure the day following. The wedding was sprinkled with stories of survival, gratitude and disbelief as most attendees lived in Manhattan at the time. When we boarded for Europe, all the news reports and grief were a distant memory. Arriving in Barcelona, we soaked in the city for days before driving up the Coasta Brava into the Pyrenees and finally arriving in San Sebastian. Two weeks that changed my life.

Recently, a dear friend and fan of THE DRESS spent much deserved time away in San Sebastian. Jessica Riley Cantlin sent me this pic of her on the horseshoe-shaped beach I vividly remember. For this edition of WEEKEND AWAY, I asked her for her top recs of the city that stole my heart and calmed my mind all those years ago.

STAY Hotel Niza: Small quaint, best location right on the beach; or Hotel Maria Christina: Expensive, big, on the river.

EAT Michelin: Mugaritz, Extebarri, Arzak Pinxtos Bars: La Ganbara, La Cucharra San Telmo; Borda Berri; Gandarias, Bar Nestor Restaurants: Rekondo, La Madame

DAY TRIPPING Bilbao to see the Frank Gehry designed Guiggenheim; La Rioja wine region; French Basque region; St. Jean de Luz open market.