Samantha Brown is a name you probably recognize. I know her from watching her videos on Disney Vacation Club Properties, but she has been hosting travel shows on The Travel Channel for over 15 years.
When I ran across this article about her new show on public television, Samantha Brown’s Places to Love, I had to check it out. I’ve watched four episodes so far on Houston, Switzerland, Brooklyn and Shanghai, and I’m hooked! Here are the reasons I love the new show Places to Love:
The places Samantha Brown visits on her show are not the most popular, obvious tourist destinations. She explores destinations that are a little bit off the radar for most people. For example, when most people visit New York City, they stick to Manhattan instead of Brooklyn. After watching the episode on Brooklyn, I realized just how little I know about that borough.
I watched the episode about Houston with interest because I’m thinking about exploring the city more with my kids this summer. I figured the show would highlight some of the most popular attractions around Houston—Johnson Space Center, Kemah Boardwalk, Downtown Aquarium, etc. Boy, was I wrong! The show didn’t even mention those places. But, it did open my eyes to some local gems in the city which I now have on my list to visit. And spoiler alert: the episode on Shanghai doesn’t even cover the new Shanghai Disneyland!
For those of us who are obsessed with miles and points and chasing great travel deals (myself included), it’s easy to focus on the “getting there” part and lose sight of why we love to travel in the first place. Watching Places to Love is a reminder of the joy of travel and the rich experiences we gain.
In each episode, Samantha Brown talks to people who live in the destinations, and what we learn from them is fascinating. She talks to the care taker of a cheese cave in the mountains of Gstaad, the timekeeper of the historic Clock Tower in Bern, the owner of the oldest brewery in Texas, the piano player of a jazz band in Shanghai and many other interesting people.
The great thing about the people she talks to is that anyone can talk to the same people! On her website, she has links to the local businesses and tours that you can do yourself. These aren’t special VIP interviews that only a famous travel host can access.
When my family visited Alaska last summer, the most interesting part of our trip was talking to the local tour guides and shop owners. We learned so much about what it’s like to live in Alaska. Conversations and information from local people are so valuable at any destination.
I love how Samantha Brown showcases local food in each episode of Places to Love. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t look forward to awesome and unique food when you travel?
In the Houston episode, Samantha Brown visits Specialty Phoenicia international grocery store, which makes fresh, hot pita bread right in the store. I drooled over the unique international offerings at Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. Admittedly, I’m still a little intimidated by some of the street food showcased on the Shanghai episode.
The food experience I was most excited to see, however, happened on the Switzerland episode. Did you know you can rent a backpack full of everything you need to make cheese fondue? Take it on a hike, have a fondue picnic, and return it to town at the end of the day. I’m drooling. Sign me up!
One thing I admire about Samantha Brown’s Places to Love is that she is the one controlling the show. She is the show’s writer, editor and fundraiser. She no longer has to answer to “the man” or conform to rules and standards set by a network.
In the Travel and Leisure article mentioned above, Samantha Brown talks about how hard it is for female travel hosts. I can relate, because I think the same is true for female “miles and points” bloggers. Our niche is dominated by males. We have to overcome stereotypes and hurdles to succeed.
Length of Show
I like how the show is just 30 minutes. It starts with a few short commercials from travel sponsors, but after that it is commercial-free.
I can’t devote a ton of time to watching TV shows, but I can totally squeeze in a 30-minute episode here and there.
Where to Watch
Samantha Brown’s Places to Love airs on PBS. Check your local listing here for the day and time. In the DFW area, the show airs at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.
If you just have time to check out one episode, I recommend the one on Switzerland, which is my favorite so far.
Have you watched Samantha Brown’s Places to Love? What do you think? Or, do you have another travel show you like to watch?
Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.