Ever since her 1995 hit single "One of Us," Joan Osborne has remained a strong presence in the music world, collaborating with members of the Grateful Dead, participating in the Lilith Fair concerts and appearing in the documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." The 47-year-old singer-songwriter now is playing dates nationwide to support her latest CD, "Little Wild One." "I try to take care of myself on the road, whether I'm touring or traveling for pleasure," Osborne said. "Even though I'm a chick singer in a rock band, I don't smoke or drink. Lately I've gotten into raw food, which is not as unappetizing as it sounds." Osborne, born and raised in a suburb of Louisville, loves to travel and recommends numerous hotels and restaurants.
Q What is your favorite vacation destination?
Italy. Venice is so otherworldly. There are no cars because the streets are canals. You walk everywhere or take a boat. I love Paris and Kyoto, Japan, too.
Q Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A The Storm King Art Center [stormking.org] in upstate New York; Coney Island, N.Y.; hiking in Moab, Utah; surfing lessons in Maui, Hawaii; South Beach, Fla., in February; and Montauk , N.Y., in October.
Q What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?
A Just about anywhere in Italy. The food was amazing. The simpler meals without hype were so good. I like to eat where the locals eat. In the U.S., I like the Raleigh [raleighhotel.com] in Miami, the Hotel Monaco [monaco-portland.com] in Portland, Ore., the Chelsea Hotel [hotelchelsea.com] in New York City, the House of Blues [houseofblues.com] in Chicago, the Little America Hotel [littleamerica.com/flagstaff] in Flagstaff, Ariz., Post Ranch Inn [postranchinn.com] in Big Sur, Calif., and the Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder. For restaurants, Jay's Bistro [jaysbistro.net] in Ft. Collins, Colo., Mother's Restaurant [mothersrestaurant.net] in New Orleans, Candle Cafe [candlecafe.com] or Hill Country [hillcountryny.com] in New York City, Nobu Matsuhisa [nobumatsuhisa.com] in Los Angeles and Impellizzeri's [impellizzeris.com] in Louisville.
Q When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A Some jersey pieces because they pack well and are a little bit fancy. I like to bring a half-empty suitcase, actually, because I always accumulate things on trips. I'm always flooded with new experiences and sights when I travel, and I often get inspired to write. So I'll bring things that make that easier to do as well.
Q What is your best and worst vacation memory?
A The first time I went to the New Orleans Jazz Festival, I was so happy, I almost cried the whole week. My worst is getting thrown by a wave, face-first, into a coral reef on the first morning of a romantic getaway in Jamaica. I'm grateful I didn't drown, but I looked pretty gruesome for the rest of our stay!
CELEBRITY TRAVELER: JOAN OSBORNE