At home with Nancy Novogrod

Nancy Novogrod has had an impressive career as an editor in the magazine world. First, as Editor-in-Chief of House & Garden, and then for twenty years as Editor-in-Chief of Travel + Leisure magazine. The places she must have gone, done, seen!

Nancy and her husband split their time between New York and Kent…which is a good thing because we most certainly wanted to visit the home of somebody so well traveled! We’re willing to guess that being the EIC of Travel + Leisure would involve a fair bit of world commuting.

Also, we had questions…

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You’ve said in a Travel + Leisure piece, “I love to get lost and find my way.” Is there any place/area in Litchfield County you love to get lost in and explore?

I had this funny flash the other day in New Milford, that I didn’t really know New Milford. I saw this little side street that I’d never been on and I thought that could be interesting. I don’t know Salisbury and Sharon that well and I’d love to know it more. I love the area around the NY state border near Amenia…and I have got lost there a few times!

The problem is, I know this immediate area so well. I know Washington and Kent, and Roxbury, so I have to go beyond my immediate comfort zone. When you’ve been here as long as I’ve been here, going on 30 years, getting lost is a challenge!

I’ve always loved New England. I love the richness of each season.

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Where are you most at home?

Right here. Exactly here. I do a lot of work from this sofa.

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Please finish the sentence. Success is….

Many things. Getting pleasure and deep satisfaction out of life. And feeling like you have done something meaningful, whether it’s in the eyes of the world, or in your own eyes. That you’re engaged. And also success for me is very much about family. I have a very close family.

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Is there a place you haven’t been and are itching to see?

There’s a lot. I want to go to Namibia, I want to go back to Patagonia in the north and explore it more. I’d like to go on vacation in José Ignacio in Uruguay. I’d like to go back to New Zealand. There are certain places in China I’d like to go. I’m dying to go to Japan again. I want to go back to Scotland; it was so beautiful. I’d like to see Wales too. There’re so many places I want to go!

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What are you most proud of in your career?

I did many things in my career, but I’d say I’m most proud of my time at Travel + Leisure. I was able to manage the magazine through very difficult times. After 9/11 and the 2008 financial collapse. I was able to maintain vitality and reinvent what I was doing, enough to manage and for the magazine to survive and even prosper. I’m also proud that I was able to raise two really great people, despite travel and working.

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Tell us about your current projects? 

I am working very hard on a digital startup in travel called “Essentialist.” I am the co-founder and chief content officer/Executive VP. My co-founder, he actually had the initial idea, he lives in Spain, and we’re going to launch soon. We’re a private members service for people who like to travel, aimed at an affluent audience. A number of editors I’ve worked with during my time at Travel +Leisure are involved; they live in cities and regions and cover them for us. I also have people from Conde Nast, Traveler UK, and other magazines and newspapers, who live in Berlin, or Paris, or Spain, Italy, Singapore. They report on their destinations; curate hotels, restaurants, and activities, which are available for our members. With these modules of information, we create trips, using the very best travel advisors in the region, using our insider access.

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What don’t people know about Nancy?

I’m actually a rather shy person, but I don’t think people realize that. I’m pretty interested in art, contemporary art, and historic art. I studied art history in school. I collect photography. I like to cook. I’m a big reader and I like to exercise!

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You’re obviously very well traveled. Is there one vacation that sticks out as being the best, and why?

One vacation I really adored was in the Atacama Desert of Chile. We went with our family, our kids were teenagers, and we hiked and there were glaciers and all kinds of different terrains, mountains. We had the most extraordinary experience. It’s a very strange landscape.

I like simple vacations too. I think a vacation can be a tiny thing. My husband and I had to go to a family wedding on the Maine/NH border, and we drove up along the CT coast and stopped in Guilford for lobster. This was in late June, and we had the most delicious lobster roll. That was a 2-hour experience, but it was so deeply satisfying.

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Thanks for having us over, Nancy. We’ve added a few more places to our travel wish list!


Pics: Lora / Words: Bev

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