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Five Miles Up with … Shirley Bennett

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5 miles up5 miles up

It’s easy to fall in love with Shirley Bennett on the NBC series “Community (Thursdays). As classmates go, she’s got your back, she’ll lend you her notes, pray for you and bake your portion of brownies for the school bake sale. Meet Yvette Nicole Brown, the actress who portrays Shirley, and the same likability factor erupts 100 times over (minus a few of Shirley’s quirks). Where will Brown vacation while Greendale Community College is on summer break? The sentimental Ohioan will likely be found paying a visit to her former high school.

What’s something you never fail to pack in your suitcase?
My chargers ... all three of them -- Galaxy Note 2, iPad and Nook

Carry-on or check-in?
Check-in. I've never been a light enough packer to get away with one bag for any trip. So since I have to check something, I check everything!

Window or aisle?
I have the bladder of a camel and I'm short, so I choose the window so I never have to get up to use the restroom or stretch my legs. Plus, I'm nosy and like to see what's happening in the friendly skies.

Do you bring food with you on plane?
Yes! You need snacks. Not food, but snacks. I love an apple and some almonds when I'm being "good" and a pretzel-dog from Auntie Anne's when I'm "treating" myself.

What’s your idea of the perfect vacation?
A comfy bed, lots of solitude and a spa.

Tell us about a vacation you’ve taken that’s come close thus far.
Staying at the Trump SoHo New York comes close.

What’s the worst vacation you’ve taken?

A solo road trip to Washington, D.C. when I was an undergrad comes to mind. Didn't have the right mix of songs. Made the hours DRAG on and on...

Where’s your favorite destination for performing?
I go to New York a few times a year for talk show appearances and such. It's a fun, vibrant city. Love it!

What's the silliest souvenir you’ve ever come back with?
I collect fridge magnets from every place I've been. The gaudier, the better. I have a few that light up and one with tassels. Gonna have to switch to key rings or something, because my new stainless fridge isn't magnetic.

Ever try a food that you wished you hadn't?
Pork belly. Two words for you: never again.

Favorite hotel, resort, yurt, train, boat you've ever stayed in/on?
I love the Eventi, A Kimpton Hotel in New York City. Great rooms, great staff and they're dog-friendly. I don't have a dog, but any hotel that welcomes them is all right with me.

Biggest regret you've ever had while on vacation.
In my early twenties, I was on tour in Europe singing background for a band. We were in London with a couple of days off, and a few from our group were taking the train to Paris for the day. I opted not to go, telling myself I'd be back to Europe soon and would go to Paris then. I haven't been back to Europe since. That’s my biggest travel regret.

The one thing you're willing to splurge on above all else
A comfortable hotel. I need to feel like I'm away when I'm away. I want THE experience -- good sleep and good service are the tops for me.

Three artists on your travel playlist?
Lalah Hathaway’s soothing R&B, Michael Jackson’s vintage hits and BeBe & CeCe Winans gospel to keep my mind right.

Where would you take someone visiting your hometown for the first time?
May be corny, but I'd take them to my high school in Cleveland, Ohio -- Warrensville Heights High. It's what makes me most feel like I'm home. I'd also drive them the length of Warrensville Center and Noble Roads from Warrensville Heights down to East Cleveland, so they could see all the neighborhoods blend into each other. It’s one of my favorite routes to drive when I'm home -- 45 minutes of memories.

You only get one more trip in your lifetime. Where will it be?
Paris, finally.

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