Category Archives for "U.S.A."

The Most Bizarre or Embarrassing Landmark From Every Single State

Every state has beauty and splendor that natives are ready to boast to others about.

That’s not what we’re talking about here today.

No, Mandatory picked out the most “What the heck?!?” things from each and every state, so today we’re talking abouta building that looks likethe male anatomy, nuns, and a giant toilet you can throw your family into.

What more could you ask for?

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A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail


The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

Walk in the Woods on DVD

Bill Bryson has made a living out of traveling and then writing about it. In The Lost Continent he re-created the road trips of his childhood; in Neither Here nor There he retraced the route he followed as a young backpacker traversing Europe. When this American transplant to Britain decided to return home, he made a farewell walking tour of the British countryside and produced Notes from a Small Island. Once back on American soil and safely settled in New Hampshire, Bryson once again hears the siren call of the open road–only this time it’s a trail. The Appalachian Trail, to be exact. In A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson tackles what is, for him, an entirely new subject: the American wilderness. Accompanied only by his old college buddy Stephen Katz, Bryson starts out one March morning in north Georgia, intending to walk the entire 2,100 miles to trail’s end atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin.

If nothing else, A Walk in the Woods is proof positive that the journey is the destination. As Bryson and Katz haul their out-of-shape, middle-aged butts over hill and dale, the reader is treated to both a very funny personal memoir and a delightful chronicle of the trail, the people who created it, and the places it passes through. Whether you plan to make a trip like this one yourself one day or only care to read about it, A Walk in the Woods is a great way to spend an afternoon. –Alix Wilber

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Walk in the Woods

Walk in the Woods

Robert Redford & Nick Nolte star as old friends who make the improbable decision to hike the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail, and that is when the fun begins. Based on Bill Bryson’s bestseller, the movie co-stars Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman & Kristen Schaal.

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Panoramic image of the Catawba Valley from the McAfee Knob overlook.
Photo by Something Original.


Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson


Frommers EasyGuide to New York City 2015 Easy Guides

Frommers EasyGuide to New York City 2015 

Frommers EasyGuide to New York City 2015 (Easy Guides)

  • Frommer’s Easy Gd: New York
Pauline Frommer’s highly-personal guide to her own home city has, in previous editions, won prestigious awards as “Best Guidebook of the Year”. Though she deals with luxury choices as well as bargains, she makes a special effort to overcome New York’s reputation for stratospheric prices, ferreting out scores of moderately-priced options in lodgings, meals, entertainment and more. Like all Easy Guides, this freshly-researched and popular best-seller is “Quick to Read, Light to Carry”–and colorfully written.
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List Price: $ 12.95

Price: $ 6.10

Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet: The world’s leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore the funky shops of Pike Place Market, experience Portland’s music and culture, or take in the beauty of Vancouver’s glorious mountains; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Washington, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest Travel Guide:

  • Color maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips – including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets – including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience – including customs, history, art, music, architecture, politics, flora, wildlife, cuisine, and wine
  • Over 55 neighborhood maps
  • Useful features – including What’s New, Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), and Travel with Children
  • Coverage of Seattle, Bellingham, the San Juan Islands, Olympic Peninsula, Washington Cascades, Central & Eastern Washington, Portland, the Wine Country, Ashland, Eastern Oregon, Vancouver, Whistler, Vancouver Island, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest, our most comprehensive guide to Washington, Oregon & the Pacific Northwest, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less traveled.

  • Looking for a guide focused on Seattle? Check out Lonely Planet’s Seattle guide for a comprehensive look at all the city has to offer.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet’s Western USA guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Sandra Bao, Brendan Sainsbury, John Lee, and Becky Ohlsen.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world’s leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet’s mission is to enable curious travelers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

‘Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.’ – New York Times

‘Lonely Planet. It’s on everyone’s bookshelves; it’s in every traveller’s hands. It’s on mobile phones. It’s on the Internet. It’s everywhere, and it’s telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.’ – Fairfax Media (Australia)

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List Price: $ 24.99

Price: $ 29.99

These Are the Most Popular Routes for Road Trips



Thinking of hitting the open road this summer? CJ Pony Parts has put together this infographic showing some of the most popular road trips throughout the domestic U.S., and even better, what the approx drive time and distance is. Be … Continue reading

Read the original post on Map Happy.




[easyazon_link identifier=”0762107944″ locale=”US” tag=”harveyrobinso-20″]Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting[/easyazon_link]



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21 Amazing Restaurants From My Road Trip Across the United States

sushi from sushi ota in san diegoIn the past five months, I’ve driven over 12,000 miles on my cross-country book tour. I visited over 40 cities and ate hundreds of meals of varying quality: some were good, some thankfully very forgettable, and others of “OMG I can die happy now” quality. These meals — whether in a high-quality sushi restaurant or a hole in the wall — showed me how delicious and diverse the food in America is.

After all those meals, here are my top 21 favorite restaurants in the United States where you can get delicious, high-quality, and affordable food. If you’re road-tripping across the country or just visiting these cities, be sure to pop into one of these restaurants.

The Daily Kitchen and Bar (Richmond, VA) — This place serves large-portioned salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and healthy dishes from a mostly organic menu. The food is of high quality and uses local ingredients when possible. With a friendly staff, large, open windows, and an outdoor terrace, it’s the perfect place for lunch on a sunny day.

Tupelo Honey (Asheville, NC) — So many people recommended this place to me, I had to try it. While the prices were more than I wanted to spend ($ 12 for the typical dish), the food and service were worth the splurge. On the weekends, the crowds come, so make sure you get there early. They are famous for their Bloody Marys and country soul food. I loved my Super Southern Breakfast Bowl with beans, grits, eggs, and bacon.

Little Bread (Miami, FL) — Recommended to me by a reader, this shop serves Cuban-inspired sandwiches. Cheap, filling, and yummy, the food makes for a satisfying lunch. The service is a bit slow when it’s busy, but I like to think that’s because everything is made with love.

Acme Oyster House (New Orleans, LA) — Located off Bourbon Street, this tiny and dark restaurant fills up quickly (expect a line) with patrons who’ve come for the famous oysters. These meaty Gulf oysters are served on the half shell, or better yet, try them charbroiled — they are cooked to perfection. Skip their Bloody Marys though; they aren’t that good.

City Grocery (Oxford, MS) — If you’re looking for a classy, upscale meal in a place with a wine bar and a romantic setting, check out City Grocery. The food is tasty, well portioned, and beautifully presented. Though the prices are not budget friendly (a meal with wine will set you back $ 40), the meal was worth every penny.

ribs form rendezvous in memphis

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous (Memphis, TN) — Supposedly the best barbecue in Memphis, I liked the no-nonsense ordering: there’s no dithering here, and the staff is blunt. The food comes fast and in large portions, with amazing rice and beans. My friend and I ate two racks of dry rub ribs that just burst with flavor. I could have even gone for a third rack, but my friend talked me out of it. I’m not sure I should have listened!

Gus’s Fried Chicken (Memphis, TN) — Besides looking like the chicken place in Breaking Bad, this restaurant served the best fried chicken I’ve eaten in my life. The juicy, moist chicken with battered skin bursts with flavor in your mouth. It’s freaking amazing! They also serve delicious fried green tomatoes and pickles.

Nashville Street Tacos (Nashville, TN) — Huge portions of “OMG so good” tacos at cheap prices. You really can’t go wrong with that. It’s the perfect place for a quick, filling, and delicious meal.

Catalyst (Missoula, MT) — This is the best breakfast place in Missoula, with huge portions at incredible prices ($ 7–10 for a main course). Each meal is really two (so you’ll have leftovers), and they have a wide range of hot sauces to spice up your food. You have to eat here if you are in town. Get the Heap or Breakfast Burrito. They were my two favorites.

Marché (Nashville, TN) — This popular brunch spot (you’ll find a long wait on the weekends) serves very traditional breakfast and brunch food (bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc.). Yet the simple menu provides superb quality, which explains the wait. For a solid, satisfying breakfast, Marché is the spot.

granny's best strawberry donuts in bozeman
Granny’s Gourmet Donuts (Bozeman, MT) — Though I don’t normally eat donuts, this place came so highly recommended I had to try them. I’m glad I did. Not only are the donuts cheap (75 cents), they are sugary heaven! The strawberry donuts tasted as if sent from above. I ate four. My only regret is that I did not eat more.

Fong’s Pizza (Des Moines, IA) — Recommended to me by a user on Twitter, this restaurant surprised me the most on my trip. It’s an Asian-inspired pizza parlor. You wouldn’t think Crab Rangoon, Kung Pao Chicken, or Hunan Beef pizza would be good, but you would be wrong — it’s phenomenal. So is the potato skin pizza. Holy moly! With dozens of options to choose from, this restaurant serves a food combo that just shouldn’t work but does. I hope they open a branch in NYC!

Five on Black (Missoula, MT) — Healthy lunch bowls at a reasonable price. It’s a “build your own bowl” place so you can choose from a rice or salad base, various meats, sauces, and toppings with a Mexican flair (No, it’s not like Chipotle…OK, maybe a little). The restaurant was crowded every time I went. Be sure to try the mango BBQ sauce.

The Wandering Table (Spokane, WA) — A low-key restaurant serving a small menu but extremely delicious food. I loved the trout. There’s an extensive wine menu, and the bartenders can make a really good Old Fashioned. While I ended up spending about $ 30 for my dinner, it was worth the splurge.

fish tacos from tony's crab shack

Tony’s Crab Shack (Bandon, OR) — This little seafood shack was one of my favorite stops on the tour (Thanks, Yelp!) and serves inexpensive Pacific oysters ($ 1.75 each) and fish tacos so yummy they typically run out! My friends and I kept ordering, not because we were hungry but because we couldn’t stop eating. You can get beer and wine here too, and the staff is super friendly and talkative. A great little place!

Naan-N-Curry (San Francisco, CA) — I walked into this place because it was across from my hotel and I was craving Indian food. Going for the closest option turned out to be a wise idea. When tables full of Indians are eating at a place, you know it is going to be the real stuff. (Note: I use this as a barometer for most ethnic food. If a place is filled with people of that ethnicity, it’s probably legit.) The naan was bigger than my face (and only $ 1), and the curries came in large portions and were spicy and full of flavor. I’m no Indian food expert, but this was damn good. Some of the best I’ve had in a long time.

The Old Siam Thai Restaurant (San Francisco, CA) — After living in Thailand, I’m quite picky about my Thai food. Nothing in the United States really compares, and I’m always filled with disappointment. However, this restaurant was some of the best I’ve had outside Thailand. The very traditional menu was as close to what you’d get there. Highly recommended for Thai food lovers.

the z man from joe's bbq in kansas city

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Kansas City, MO) — Trying BBQ restaurants was something I tried to do as often as possible. When I pulled into KC, I was told over and over again “Go to Joe’s!” so I did…twice. Everything everyone said about it was an understatement. While they’re famous for their Z-Man brisket sandwich, I found their pulled pork to be the best. Toss on gallons of their BBQ sauce and I can see why everyone keeps coming here. Expect long waits.

Tilt (Portland, OR) — Serving gigantic portions of burgers and fries, this bar has an outdoor patio and industrial vibe to it. The food is delicious and the bar has a wide selection of micro-brew beer. Don’t like beer? The bartenders make mean cocktails too. It’s one of my favorite hangout spots while I’m in town.

Dan Tana’s (Los Angeles, CA) — One of the oldest Italian restaurants in the city, this place used to be frequented by Frank Sinatra. A small place with dark wood paneling and checkered tablecloths, it looks straight out of the 1960s, with a very traditional (and expensive) menu. The food here is divine, just like your imaginary Italian grandmother used to make. It’s full every night, so be sure to make reservations.

Sushi Ota (San Diego, CA) — This was the best sushi I had during my trip. The toro (fatty tuna) melts in your mouth, the uni (sea urchin) bursts with flavor, and the live shrimp is still moving when you eat it. The master chefs will keep serving you food until you tell them to stop. This is traditional Japanese — you eat the sushi exactly how it is put in front of you — and is easily one of the top five sushi meals I’ve had in my entire life.

The United States has an abundance delicious food from coast to coast. My road trip barely scratched the surface, but if you too visit any of these cities or travel across the country, these restaurants will satiate your appetite.

The post 21 Amazing Restaurants From My Road Trip Across the United States appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.


Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site

Just Back from Nashville

Downtown Nashville, photo by Sami99tr.


Nat Geo Travel associate producer Megan Heltzel (on Twitter and Instagram @MeganHeltzel) recently returned from a trip to Nashville.

Here are some of the high points of her trip to the Tennessee capital, in her own words:

Standout culinary experience: Until my trip to Music City, I had never heard of hot chicken. The dish is simple—fried chicken coated in a spicy sauce and served on white bread with pickle chips—and it’s all the rage in Nashville. I gave the local favorite a try at Hattie B’s and was instantly sold.

Must-try dish: Hot chicken at Hattie B.'s (Photograph by specialkrb, Flickr)

While the joint offers degrees of heat to suit any palette, even daredevils should think twice before ordering up their hottest chicken—”Shut the Cluck Up.”

Authentic Souvenir: If you ask me, the best souvenirs are edible, and Nashville did not disappoint in that regard. For a sweet treat to share with your officemates (or hoard for yourself—no judgment here!), stop at Olive & Sinclair to snap up some stone-ground, bean-to-bar chocolate. My favorite treats were the duck fat caramels (yes, you read that right) and chocolates made with Tennessee bourbon. For a more traditional (but no less delicious) indulgence, grab some Goo Goo Clusters—the “first ever combination candy bar”—just off Broadway on 3rd Avenue. Chocolate, caramel, marshmallow nougat, and peanuts. Need I say more?

Memorable Moment: No trip to Nashville would be complete without seeing the legendary custom poster and design work on display at Hatch Show Print in the lobby of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum complex. Watching the printers create fresh works of art on historic letterpress machines is truly a sight to behold. Take a tour and say hello to master printer Jim Sherraden, who you’re likely to find behind the helm of the largest press, then grab a print from the shop to take home—another authentic local souvenir.

Inside the historic letterpress shop Hatch Show Print (Photograph by seandavis, Flickr)

Practical Tip: There’s so much to do downtown that it can be easy to ignore other parts of the city—but don’t. The Germantown neighborhood, Nashville’s first suburb, is worth visiting for its food scene, including a year-round farmers market and one of my favorite restaurants, Rolf and Daughters. Across the Cumberland River lies East Nashville, where Olive & Sinclair can be found, as well as an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants. Last, but not least, make time to poke around Music Valley and take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry.

Best Museum: Country music may be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Nashville, but I’d argue that the city’s growing art scene provides more than enough reason to visit. Start your tour along 5th Avenue with stops at the Rymer Gallery, The Arts Company, and Tinney Contemporary. If you’re lucky, local artist Herb Williams will be hanging around the Rymer and you can pick his brain about his incredible artwork made from Crayola crayons.

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The Wolves of Yellowstone


A newly released and collared Yellowstone wolf running in snow in Crystal Creek pen, photo by Barry O’Neill.


Yellowstone: Battle for Life on Blu-ray

Like another of David Attenborough’s epic BBC documentary series, Planet Earth, Yellowstone, narrated by the charismatic Peter Firth, links seemingly disparate elements in ecosystems to teach interconnectedness and wilderness ethics. The BBC is still at the forefront of nature documentaries that promote environmentalism, and this one marks yet another milestone in progressive ecological education through film.

Taking a wide view of America’s first national park, Yellowstone is demarcated episodically by season, beginning with winter and ending with the following autumn. Each show combines footage of the flora and fauna in its chosen habitat.

Yellowstone: Battle for Life on Blu-ray


The Wolves

“Wolf by the river. Stop!” screamed Emily, a fellow traveler who sat across from me in the snow coach. Minutes earlier I had asked our driver if there was any chance we’d spot a wolf. “Quite frankly, I doubt it,” she replied. “Although Yellowstone is home to about 100 wolves, spread across 12-13 packs, they wander across 2.2 million acres,” she explained. Like a damp mist from the geysers, disappointment had seeped into the warm coach, weighing us down.

We were eight serious wildlife watchers who had made the trek to the park in December’s icy grip, determined to see wolves. Armed with binoculars and spotting scopes, we searched all morning in Lamar Valley—the best place to observe wolves—with no success.

Then, as the sun was getting low in the sky, we got lucky. There he was on the bank of the rushing Lamar River—a six-foot-long lone wolf shaking water from his tawny fur like a wet dog. We watched as the majestic, muscular male circled an immense elk carcass until he settled on a rib to chew.

He paused, raising his head to sniff the air, and I imagined, for one perfect moment, that his amber eyes met mine. Seeing a wolf—once poisoned and hunted to the brink of extinction in the continental United States—free and healthy was really cool.

Lamar Valley is one of the best places to see wolves in Yellowstone. (Photograph by petechar, Flickr)

If you’re looking for the rebounding carnivores, Yellowstone is a good place. And winter provides the best odds of seeing them.

In summer, wolves tend to stay in the woods, away from the hot sun, and blend into the landscape when they do venture out. But against the snow, romping pups and their parents stand out in stark relief.

Long, flat Lamar Valley has been called “America’s Serengeti” because it is home to a dizzying array of wildlife, including wolves, grizzlies, elk, bison, moose, and eagles. “Bison on the left, elk on the right,” was the rallying cry during our morning wildlife viewing session.

This was not always the case. In 1880, less than a decade after Yellowstone was established as America’s first national park, superintendent Philetus Norris observed that while wolves were once universally prevalent in the park, “the value of their hides and the easy slaughter with strychnine-poisoned carcasses of animals have nearly led to their extermination.”

In fact, wolves were absent from Yellowstone from 1926 until 1995 when 14 were captured in Western Canada and released within park bounds. Today, two decades after reintroduction efforts began, wolf numbers are stable. But the issue of wolf management continues to be a hot topic.

“The competition between wolves and ranchers [living around the park] can cause real and significant financial hardship for families who depend upon livestock for their living,” Carolyn Harwood, a resident instructor at the Yellowstone Association Institute, explained.

As Charlie, a Montana rancher sipping a beer at the bar at Chico Hot Springs Resort 30 miles from the park entrance, told me: “A little ‘woof’ in the park is OK. A lot of ‘woof’ killing cattle outside the park is not.”

Yet research shows that the reintroduction of wolves has affected Yellowstone ecosystems in complex ways. For instance, elk, whose population growth exploded in the absence of predators, overgrazed cottonwoods, willows, and other key plant species along park riverbeds. When the wolves returned, elk moved into valleys and gorges to avoid predation, allowing trees and bushes to regenerate. Beavers, in turn, experienced a resurgence, as did muskrats, otters, duck, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. There was a surge in songbirds due to increased nesting areas in willows.

As Carolyn explained, this cascading effect shows the apex predator theory at work. “Having wolves back in Yellowstone makes the park a wild, whole ecosystem again,” she said.

Wildlife enthusiasts in search of a wolf sighting in Lamar Valley. (Photograph by margacastillo, Flickr)

Unfortunately, wolves continue to suffer from an image problem, borne, at least in part, from their appearance as evil antagonists in fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. “And yet, there has never been a recorded instance of a healthy, wild wolf attacking a human in the USA,” Carolyn noted.

One of Yellowstone’s greatest winter assets is its lack of visitors. Cold weather means that curious travelers can experience moments of solitude at the park’s many geothermal attractions and that avid shutterbugs have a chance to capture snow-covered bison—or a wolf or three—framed by icicle-laden branches.

You can even experience Old Faithful alone. After dinner one evening, two friends and I bulked up in layers of down and fleece and took to the boardwalks leading to the park’s most famous geyser. At times we turned off our flashlights to take in the brilliance of the stars far from any source of light pollution. Suddenly, the reliable gusher began to hiss and puff. Witnessing the eruption in the still of night was haunting and majestic.

> Know Before You Go:

During the winter season, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are the only accommodations available within park boundaries. Note: There is one plowed road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Lamar Valley that is open in the winter. Transportation elsewhere within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snow coaches.

Yellowstone National Park Lodges offers an array of seasonally appropriate multiday packages for travelers.

The Yellowstone Association, the park’s official nonprofit education partner, sponsors educational tours and field-based programs for individuals, families, and students, including “Wolf Week” courses every December and March that coincide with—and operate alongside—key park research efforts.

In Lamar Valley, you may encounter a snarl of SUVs and tripod-toting wildlife watchers. They’re well-organized, passionate, and happy to share their viewing scopes as well as their knowledge about specific wolves. Many share information on a website dedicated to their wolf sightings (there’s an annual fee to access).

If you are up for a physically challenging adventure, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on well-marked trails. I rented skis at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, caught a lift on a snow coach to the Lone Star Geyser trailhead, then skied to the backcountry geyser.

  • Insider Tip: Put a hand-warmer in your pocket next to your camera or cell phone so the cold won’t zap the battery.

Marybeth Bond is a freelance writer who writes for National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Books, and other publications in addition to updating her Gutsy Traveler blog. Follow her adventures in travel on Twitter @GutsyTraveler and on Instagram @MarybethBond.

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Bison graze near a hot spring in the Yellowstone area, photo by Daniel Mayer.



The Great American Road Trip Part 2


[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0399173285″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” popups=”default” tag=”harveyrobinso-20″ width=”117″][easyazon_link asin=”0399173285″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”harveyrobinso-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter[/easyazon_link]


For over half a decade, Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) has used his massively popular travel blog to teach readers how to travel the world on the cheap.

Arguing that traditional travel media lies, Matt cuts through the myth that travel is expensive. In the new edition of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Matt reveals the tips, tricks, and secrets to comfortable budget travel that you won’t find anywhere else with over 100 new pages of updated content.


To Americans, there’s nothing that hold more appeal than the classic road trip. It’s built into our cultural DNA dating as far back as the 1920s. In Jazz Age America, the car was a symbol of freedom – a chance to escape your small town and the watchful eyes of parents. It allowed men and women to sneak off together in a way never possible before. As the highway system was developed in the 1950s, a wave of kids set out on the road to explore the country, giving new life to America’s car and road trip culture.

Americans have an on going love affair with the car and great open road.

And no road trip holds more mystery and allure than the one cross-country. It’s the king of road trips. In 2006, as part of my original round the world, I drove across the U.S. before I went abroad. I left my home in Boston, and spent close to two months traversing the country, getting as far west as Arizona before turning back east, driving across the plains, and finishing in Chicago.

I wanted to get to know my country before I got to know others. But I barely scratched the surface of what the United States offered. I saw and experienced a lot – from the Rocky Mountains, to the Grand Canyon, Denver, post-Katrina New Orleans, and the Great Plains – but you don’t realize just how vast the U.S. is until you’ve been driving for twelve hours and notice you’re still in Texas.

This country is big and there is still so much more of it I want to see.

I decided to use the release of my new book as a chance to take another road trip across the country. From Memphis to Montana, Yellowstone, wine country in California, Utah, Mardi Gras, and much more, it’s time to my gaze homeward and explore my own backyard.

I have quite the long route in front of me:

I have a number of goals for this trip:

  1. I want to learn how to travel the United States on the cheap. I have a number of questions in my head: how do you get around easily and cheaply? What do you do for accommodation in a country not know for hostels? What are good routes? How to find free parking? There’s so much I want to figure out.
  2. Write more content on the United States. Most of the U.S. content on my site dates back to that first trip. Back then, I didn’t look at travel with a writer’s eye. There’s going to be a lot of U.S. content coming up on the blog now!
  3. Hike a lot of national parks. I’m finally going to visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, Monument Valley, and see the giant redwood trees!
  4. Visit as many kitschy roadside attractions as possible (i.e. the world’s largest ball of twine).Most importantly, I want to better understand the people in my country. I’m a deeply political person and I want to know if the country is as politically divided the media makes it out to be. Are we really that far apart or do blowhard pundits make it seem that way?

Over the next few months you are going to see posts about cities, national parks, and regions in the United States. I have no international travel planned until June. (The general tips, thoughts, and advice articles will still occur with the same frequency, though!)

I remember the long, long drives across the States from 2006 so this time I’m looking forward to having friends (and readers) join along the way. If anyone wants to join for part of the trip, I’m open to having travel buddies on the road. Just send me an e-mail ( and we’ll try to work something out.

To me, travel is more than visiting some far flung exotic destination. It’s about exploring the unknown. It’s seeing new places and coming to a new understanding of how the world works together. Sometimes that means flying across an ocean and exploring a new country. Other times, it simply means getting in your car and driving off to explore your own country and learning to appreciate where you come from.

The post The Great American Road Trip (Part Deux) appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.


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Downtown L.A. Through The Eyes of Please Do Not Enter

Downtown Los Angeles panorama, with San Gabriel Mountains as backdrop, 2013. Photo by Doc Searls from Santa Barbara, USA.


As Nicolas Libert guides me through the boutique-cum-gallery he founded with Emmanuel Renoird in Downtown Los Angeles, he recounts an anecdote: “when we first opened last year we were expecting a delivery. We waited and waited and realised the courier had in fact attempted the delivery; he read the name of the space – Please Do Not Enter – took it literally and returned to the depot”.

Unusually it what just what Libert and Renoird could have hoped for – creating a destination of temptation for only the curious of customers willing to step over the threshold into their conceptual world of contemporary art, design and fashion. The art collectors from France relocated to L.A. in early 2014 and had been tempted themselves by Downtown’s diverse community and iconic architectural landscape. Within its first year Please Do Not Enter’s ambitious programme of international exhibitions and events alongside its collection of unique and limited edition luxury products has earned this dynamic concept store a spot on L.A.’s creative map.

Let your curiosity get the better of you and discover Downtown L.A. from daylight to nightlife through the curated eyes of Please Do Not Enter.

Please Do Not Enter is available to visit by appointment.

523 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90731
(213) 263-0037

JONATHAN VELARDI: Why did you decide to open Please Do Not Enter in Downtown L.A.?

PLEASE DO NOT ENTER: We felt something exciting was and continues to happen in Downtown. We loved the historical architecture in the area and the Beaux-Arts style of the Pacific Mutual Building on Pershing Square where we’re located. It’s been at the heart of Downtown since its founding and remains the epicentre for the community, which is diverse and unlike any other neighbourhood in the city. We’re interested in the aesthetic of life – that’s what Please Do Not Enter is all about and for us Downtown is a perfect match.

DTLA Guide_Please Do Not Tell | Downtown LA City Guide_Pacific Mutual Building

VELARDI: Describe the Please Do Not Enter experience and what makes your curated store different from a traditional retail model.

PDNE: Sharing our experience of the artists and designers who we work with is really important to us. We enjoy the dialogue and interaction between the pieces in our collection when customers visit the space. We guide them through the collection piece by piece – who the artist or designer is, where they are from, what type of craftsmanship process is involved – this is where the value is for us.

Hosting exhibitions and events allows us to introduce our customers to new products or talent from France and around the world never before seen on the West Coast or even in America. Unlike traditional retail models, as a curated store we can tailor our programme with cultural events happening in the city, such as hosting the launch of art magazine Headmaster during the L.A. Art Book Fair. We always want to create something new and unexpected and we’re delighted to be bringing to our space a group exhibition of 6 established international artists who produced one-of-a-kind artworks for the Wink Collection, debuted at the Silencio Club in Paris, which will mark the very first time the works have been seen together outside of France.

VELARDI: What can we look forward to from Please Do Not Enter this year?

PDNE: We’re taking new directions this year both in-store and out into L.A. In the very beginning we wanted to stick with what we knew and that was menswear. But we had so many women visiting the space, wanting to be catered for. But when we saw the amazing cashmere collection by Denis Colomb we decided to stock womenswear for Spring/Summer for the first time alongside our existing menswear designers.

We’re also really looking forward to the opportunity of moving to larger premises in the Pacific Mutual Building since our current space is too small for what we want to do, and for artist and designer Arik Levy to inaugurate the space with a monumental exhibition of newly commissioned works.

Beyond the curated space, we are staging our first outdoor installation, ‘Projection’. In April, Paris-based artist Vincent Lamouroux will shroud the entire Bates Motel – an abandoned Silverlake landmark – in a symbolic coat of whitewash ahead of its demolition, to act as a visual commentary on urban redevelopment.




If you’re coming to Downtown for the first time you have to visit Grand Central Market – the oldest and largest public market in L.A. It’s located a couple of blocks from us and it’s really a symbol of the Downtown spirit right now; where the Downtown community past and present come together. You can experience the old school food stores alongside the hipster bars and restaurants all under one roof. We love the fresh juices at Press Brother’s Juicery as well as soaking up the atmosphere at Eggslut where eggs of any preparation are served all day.

Grand Central Market LA
317 S Broadway St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 624-2378

DTLA Guide_Please Do Not Tell | Downtown LA City Guide_Grand Central Market LA



The rooftop bar at Perch offers the best views of the Downtown skyline. We like going there because they always play French music and songs you just wouldn’t be able to hear anywhere else. If you can take your eyes away from the view, this is a great relaxed spot to people watch over the French-inspired menu.

Perch LA
448 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 802-1770

DTLA Guide_Please Do Not Tell | Downtown LA City Guide_Perch



FLAX Foundation is a non-profit organisation promoting contemporary French culture across Southern California. The foundation provides residencies to emerging artists from France to work in L.A., who in turn produce specially commissioned works for exhibition throughout the year. The foundation is in good company, based in the same building as the ever-influential Francois Ghebaly Gallery.

FLAX Foundation LA
2245 E Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90021

DTLA Guide_Please Do Not Tell | Downtown LA City Guide__Flax Foundation



Life doesn’t only exist in Downtown. When we’re Westside we like to visit OHWOW in West Hollywood off Santa Monica Boulevard. The contemporary gallery opened its L.A. outpost in 2011, representing emerging and established American and international artists. As of 2013, OHWOW also represents the estate of Robert Mapplethorpe in Los Angeles.

937 North La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 652-1711

DTLA Guide_Please Do Not Tell | Downtown LA City Guide__OhWow



For over three decades the Los Angeles Conservancy has worked towards protecting and advocating architectural gems across the city. To raise awareness of its cause they organise architectural walking tours. One of our favourites is the Broadway Historic Theatre tour on Saturdays. The tour is a rare opportunity to visit some of LA’s most elaborate palaces of performance, no longer open to the public, and uncovers the significance of Broadway and the Commercial District as the beginning of L.A.’s future as we know it today.

523 W 6th St #826, Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 623-2489

DTLA Guide_Please Do Not Tell | Downtown LA City Guide__Los Angeles Theatre


Capture the energy of Downtown’s nightlife on Monday nights with an eccentric gay and straight crowd of avant-garde creatives from the art and fashion industries. It’s a place where you go without any expectations but are always guaranteed a fun time thanks to the people, their style and the DJ sets.

336 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles 90013

Inside La Cita Bar - Photo: Courtesy of La Cita Bar

Jonathan Velardi | Melting Butter Arts + Culture ContributorJonathan is our UK-based correspondent covering all eye-pleasing things for Melting Butter’s Arts & Culture pages. Being a contemporary visual artist working in public spaces around the world as well as a freelance culture writer for sites and publications like Ohh Deer and London Calling, Jonathan brings a rare combination of talent from the worlds of editorial, conceptual art, design and lifestyle. Be sure to check his blog and his art practice, which satisfy his hunger for both high and low culture. Follow his tweets too: @JMVELARDIRead about Jonathan’s favourite hotspots here.


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(Feature Photo: Inside Please Do Not Tell – Photo: Courtesy of Please Do Not Tell LA)

The post The Curators: DTLA Through The Eyes of Vanguard Concept Store Please Do Not Enter appeared first on Melting Butter.


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