An injury forced multi-platinum singer-songwriter Jewel from the new season of Dancing with the Stars, which kicks off tonight on ABC with her world champion bull-riding husband Ty Murray. She recently completed a national tour for her chart-topping country album Perfectly Clear and her new album of lullabies, aptly called Lullaby, is scheduled for a May release. Jewel shares her travel highlights and tips with USA TODAY.
Q: Where have you been recently that you liked or were surprised by?
A: Minneapolis. I had been there a lot over the years. I was there for a show and I stayed at a great hotel but I can't remember what it was. It was a boutique hotel filled with modern art. It was a great hotel and I had a really great meal at La Belle Vie. They're starting to get some good hotels and good restaurants. I was surprised I actually had a great meal there. I write down restaurants in every city I go to that I want to go back to. I'm kind of a foodie.
Q: What's the best place you've ever visited and why?
A: I really enjoyed the island of Rhodes in Greece. I went in 1999 or something like that and the spring if I remember correctly. It has amazing history and it's beautiful. It's really lovely. I had a show in Athens and decided to take a couple of days off and go look around. I actually had always wanted to go to Greece. I had read all the classics at a pretty young age and studied philosophy by the time I got to the ninth grade. I was so fascinated with the culture. I didn't even have a show in Greece but I asked my agent to book me ONE. I wasn't very popular then. I just played at a tiny club and nobody even really knew me. I just did it to be able to get there for a little vacation and adventure.
Q: What's the most surprising/unexpected place you're ever visited and why?
A: Little Italy in Cleveland. It's unbelievable. I had no idea it existed. One of my managers grew up there and he told me that it was just like going back in time in an old movie and it really was. There were Italians out on the street hand-rolling cigars and smoking them. Everybody knew each other. It was a little, teeny, really tight-knit community. There was a local boxing gym where all the local youth trained. It was like being in The Sopranos or the movies or something. I didn't know Cleveland had one. It's very traditional. It was a neat experience.
Q: What's your favorite vacation spot and why?
A: The Cove on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The Cove is part of the property of Atlantis but it's more of an adult hotel. My husband and I got married there (in August 2008). We had just vacationed there the year before last and we made another vacation for this last August and decided to elope while we were there. It was during a full-fledged tour. I was filming a TV show at the same time and I had a record launch. It was insane. And planning a secret on wedding on top of it was really something. I'm surprised we pulled it off. The people who run the hotel are great. They're really nice people that take great care of you and the food is amazing. We got to eat at Nobu. It's the best Nobu that I've eaten at. I've eaten at the Nobu in London, New York and L.A. I've been there three or four times and it's consistently really good.
Q: Can you offer an insider tip or recommendation for your favorite vacation place?
A: We like to always rent a yacht when we're there. There are great agents where you can get a yacht for however many days you want. That's one of my favorite things is being able to enjoy the scene at the hotel with the restaurants and the clubs and then being able to go out on a yacht where you're completely secluded. There are so many deserted islands out there. I really recommend people get out on the water if they can, even if it's just in a small boat, and visit the deserted islands that just litter the sea.