by Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency, October 4, 2017
After his breakthrough role in "Father of the Bride," George Newbern's versatile resume has included stints on "Friends" (where he played a "Yeti") and his current role as Charlie on Shonda Rhimes' ABC drama, "Scandal." Raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, he resides in California with his wife and their three children. An avid traveler, Newbern said, "My college roommate lives in Madrid and we just went to visit him and then went to Barcelona. They have this amazing tapas culture with these little dishes of perfection. It's unbelievable." Fans may follow Newbern on Twitter (https://twitter.com/georgenewbern) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/georgenewbern/).
Q. Where is a good spot to take a relaxing vacation?
A. We love going to wine country north of Santa Barbara. It's the most heavenly spot. We love going to the Riviera Maya (Mexico). And I love Hawaii, Kauai, especially. I feel like we have so much more traveling to do. I need to go to Europe a hundred more times to get a real sense of it.
Q. Speaking of which, what places are still on your travel bucket list?
A. Sicily. Santiago, Chile. The entire South American continent. Japan. I want to explore Asia one day.
Q. Do you prefer warm or cold weather destinations?
A. I'm like my dad. He does not like to be cold. I love skiing and doing active things in the snow, but only for a week at a time.
Q. How did you survive the winters during your college years at Northwestern University?
A. (Laughs) I loved it at Northwestern, but that first winter was tough. I brought a down jacket and that did not cut it. My dad and uncle ended up taking me to Marshall Field's and we bought the longest down jacket we could find, which was a woman's coat. It came to my ankles and I thought, "Great. I'll be fine." But it only took one burst of wind to come up underneath the thing and I was freezing again. I thought, "I am never going to be warm for four years," but I got used to it. Having lived in California for the past 25-plus years now, I don't think I could go back. But I love Chicago. I was there last fall for my 30th college reunion and it was the night the Cubs won the World Series. You could hear everyone screaming and celebrating and the city was going wild. It was so fun.
Q. What are some of your memories of filming on location?
A. One of the coolest locations was in Vienna, Austria. I did a TV movie there and we stayed at this unbelievable hotel downtown and shot all over Vienna for six weeks. That was spectacular. They haven't all been as nice, but there has always been something good about every location. One that surprised me was Disney World. When we shot "From the Earth to the Moon," they put us up at the Contemporary Resort. When I first got there, I was like, "Wow! I get to spend a month at Disney World! This is going to be amazing! On my days off, I'm going to the park and the pool and have a great time." It was great for the first five days and after that, it turned into sort of an evil funhouse. You couldn't get away from the sounds at night when you're trying to go to sleep. I love Disneyland and Disney World and would go back there tomorrow, but not for longer than five days.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. Panama. My aunt and her husband were living down there and my parents flew us down to Panama City for a week. I was probably about five. And around the same time, my parents started taking us to Colorado to learn how to ski. That was kind of our general family thing to do and it was fun.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Santa Barbara, Minneapolis, my hometown of Little Rock. I love Austin. The food in Istanbul is insanely good.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. We would rent a place in Paris and use that as a base to eat all the food and invite friends over to hang out.
Q. What is your best and worst vacation memory?
A. Two of my best memories are spending time with my family in Mexico and going to Tuscany with my wife just after we had gotten married. One dinner in particular, I remember looking at my wife and said, "I will never forget this moment for as long as I live." We were looking at vineyards and tasting the most amazing food and wine. That whole trip was unforgettable. One of my least favorite trips was being in a bayou in Arkansas in canoes with my brothers and my dad and we were running out of light and didn't know where we were and the canoe dumped over and my dad fell out and dropped the car keys in the water. And there were snakes in the water. That was not a good trip.
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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