Tucked between the Elkhorn and Wallowa mountains in northeastern Oregon, Baker City found form during an 1860s gold rush. Today, its Main Street is home to a strip of recently opened brewpubs, boutiques, and eateries, most of which are run by converts from Portland, California, and New York. That outsider influence—and old-timers who welcome change, and want to be a part of it—make the town of 10,000 well worth an overnight stop.
People like to debate the differences between “travelers” and “tourists”—and whether such distinctions exist or even matter. I listen to them sometimes, nodding at the points being made. And then I change the subject to fudge. Because, at least in America, wherever you roam, you can only go to one of two kinds of destinations: those with fudge, and those without.
The empty stomach is the ultimate travel icebreaker. Everyone eats, everyone loves food, and the less you know about what’s on offer in a place, the more people want to help you. Whether you live in the United States or are simply visiting, you don’t have to leave the country to get a taste of the…
More travelers are going DIY, opting to—as the buzzy phrase goes—“travel like a local.” This usually means skipping expert advice and typical attractions, and following recommendations found on crowdsourced review sites.
The results of going this route are often great. But the trend begs some questions. Do travel experts have a future? Are they even necessary anymore? Can I say, yes?
Meiringen is the ultimate pilgrimage site for Sherlock fans. Literally. In the story “The Final Problem,” Sherlock (along with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty) plunged to his death at Reichenbach Falls just outside the Swiss town.
You can’t say “Walla Walla” aloud and not feel a bit happier. Try it. Though most of us haven’t given a thought to visiting this pleasingly alliterative town in southeastern Washington (population 32,000), increasingly visitors are driving the four hours from Seattle or Portland to see what’s there. Many arrive with a smirk or low expectations, but leave with plans to return. Here’s why.
The digital detox bandwagon is growing these days. People are increasingly looking for vacations that offer a break not just from the daily grind at home or at the office, but from their smartphones. Quick tip: It’s not about where you go. Once we reach a destination, we have to make the same decisions as we do back home. The real way to disconnect–wherever you happen to be–is what writer Rebecca Solnit calls “the most obvious and the most obscure thing in the world.”
Welcome to the Local Offbeat Travel Club. We’re the ones who consider “off the beaten track” to be less to do with where you are, than how you approach where you are. In other words, we never say “ooh, weird,” snap a photo, and then move on. Instead, we linger–to find out the “why.”
Since the fateful first edition of Patricia Schultz’s “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” was published in 2003–a few years before that Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman dying-buddy film would lend the concept a buzz-worthy name–”bucket lists” have hijacked popular discourse on travel. Here’s what’s wrong with that.
Too often, we travelers let good old fashioned guilt seep into the decision-making process when we’re building our itineraries. Rather than following our inherent interests (canoes, Rococo, hockey), we let the expectations of friends and family–or what we’ve read in some magazine–serve as some proxy “travel conscience,” guiding us toward things we should or shouldn’t see.
I get that we see New Year’s as a fresh start and all that, but are those life-changing resolutions such a good idea? Many people say no, and point to the failure rate of such promises–particularly the more pie-in-the-sky ones. Fortunately for us, travel resolutions are easier to keep–if you’re realistic about them. And though they might not take care of those love handles, they’re sure to make the next year of your life on Earth a lot more enjoyable.
Travel may not take us to water that replenish our strength or smooth out our wrinkles, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a kind of “fountain of youth.” One way it works is by stretching time.