Melissa Francis has an unusual background for a news anchor. As a child, she was a regular on "Little House on the Prairie," portraying Michael Landon's adopted daughter. Later, as a student at Harvard University, she was captain of the university's polo team. The host of the FOX Business Network's "Money with Melissa Francis" has also written a soon-to-be-released memoir, "Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter" (Weinstein Books, $26).
"Travel is one of my favorite things," says Francis, 39. "I always say to my husband that that's what extra money is for. When people say that you get nothing tangible from traveling, I have to disagree. I've seen the world and made lots of memories. I'm one of those silly people who make photo books after every trip. I go through them all the time and relive the trips."
Q. What place reminds you of home?
A. I'm a hardcore New Yorker and the only city that compares to it for sheer energy and tempo is London.
Q. How has your career affected the way you view the world?
A. It has exposed me to a lot of places that I may have never gotten to before. I moved around a lot and lived in a million different places since college, thanks to my job as a reporter. I would love to take the family to all the beautiful cities I've seen along the way.
Q. What are some of your favorite weekend destinations?
A. I love going to Portland, Me., which I think is just charming. Old Port is the best-kept secret on the East Coast. It's so picturesque. I love spending time in Connecticut. Both my husband and I went to Harvard, and we really love going to Cambridge, especially in the fall. It's so much fun to go to a football game as the weather is going through a crisp change. I spent most of my time growing up in Southern California, so the weather changes on the East Coast are really something for me. I love it when you can stand outside and throw on a sweater when you catch a chill.
Q. Did you travel a lot when you were a child?
A. Not at all, which is why I think I love traveling so much as an adult. One of the reasons we stayed home is because we always wanted to be sure that I was available for an audition so that I could work. We did some road trips by car that were nice. I was riding horses and competing so we traveled a little around California for that. I think one of the reasons that I left for Harvard was that after growing up on the West Coast, I fell in love with the colonial look when I went to visit the campus. It just seemed so early American to me and showed me that there's a whole world out there that I hadn't been exposed to. That really got me interested in wanting to travel more.
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