13 Summer Travel Ideas: USA

It’s too early for me to be awake. I was watching my nephew shoot off bottle rockets next to a raging bonfire in BackWoods, USA last night (Greensboro, Pennsylvania). To nobody’s surprise, that lasted all night. But I’m up and I’m happy it’s July 4th. I’m in Morgantown, West Virginia for it, getting ready to embark on an afternoon of one of the most American things out there: a BBQ. I’m either feeling groggy or generous or both, but I want to help you plan your travels this summer across the USA if you haven’t already done some planning. Here are some summer travel ideas, straight to you from The Anti Tourist.

1. Spokane, Washington

Go biking, kayaking, wine-tasting, live-music-watching, or out to eat in this city that surprised me last summer. I had a blast in the blazing heat and you will, too. The Davenport is the main hotel downtown and I swear on my life that it’s haunted.

2. California (Santa Cruz and farther north)

SoCal is gorgeous in its own right, but during the summer, head north–preferably on a road trip up the 101. Between Santa Cruz, The Redwoods, and all that is offered in San Francisco and San Mateo County, you’ll keep yourself busy and wonder why you hadn’t explored more thoroughly before now.

3. Maine

Maine makes for a great summer getaway. You’ll hit a lot of cities on the east coast, but once you hit Maine, you’ll get some much-needed peace and quiet. Try out The Cliffhouse for top-of-the-line oceanside rooms and a rockin’ spa. HINT: you can also bring your dog(s).

Need more ideas? OK. Here you go. 10 more USA summer travel ideas:

4. Pamper yourself at NYC Spas.

5. Visit Asheville. Stay in a B&B in Asheville.

6. Go ghost hunting in Texas, stay here, eat at the Mighty Cone (serious about that last one–FRIED FOOD in ICE CREAM cones, what??).

7. Speaking of ghosts, go to Dudleytown in Connecticut.

8. Colorado is good for more than its slopes. Check out the state in the summertime. Stay at the Boulder Canyon Inn, check out the Bat Cave!

9. Hit the streets of DC. From cool clubs with caves for basements to bed and breakfasts that will give you way too much wine, DC is a sweet city that comes alive in a way we like during the summer. Worship both Jehovah and the Gods of Rock and Roll at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue/Music venue!

10. Go zip-lining in Hocking Hills, Ohio. While you’re there, go Hot-Air Ballooning too, because, why the hell not? How about a Lunchbox Museum? How about flying lessons from a crazy (crazy AWESOME) man?

11. Hike, ride horses, and do other country thaaangs while staying at a B&B in Pennsylvania.

12. Turn off your phone and check into a cottage in Oregon.

13. Go caving. Anywhere. The caves will keep you cool during the hot summer months. Tennesee and Kentucky are full of ’em, but check out a full list of USA Caves to map out your underground route.

Now quit talkin’ about getting away this summer and just do it.

By: Elizabeth Seward

The Broderick Victorian; San Francisco

All too often, the word “Victorian” implies an excess of lace, mismatched floral bedding, and miu-miu-esque curtains. “Victorian” is generally a word I avoid when seeking my kinda accommodations in my travels, particularly when searching for a cozy bed and breakfast.

Contrary to my admitted generalization, San Francisco’s Broderick Victorian, managed by husband and wife owners Sri Jujade and Nisha Yan, is anything but traditional gaudy-Victorian. In fact, it’s rather contemporary, worldly, (tastefully) colorful, and cozy, though one of my favorite characteristics (as if the above were not enough) is the discreteness of the Broderick. So discrete, may I add, that as I arrived, far later than I expected to, I was unable to locate which traditional San Francisco three-story house was my accommodation for the next two nights (which became four when I wasn’t quite ready to leave). So discrete that it blended in seamlessly with its long-established San Francisco neighbors. I liked this quality, not only because a sense of discovery in my travels is something I value, but also because it was that authentic- that San Francisco-real.

The Penthouse at the Broderick Victorian

Being my first visit to San Francisco, I was particular about wanting to stay in a true San Francisco house, something reflective of the Painted Ladies lining Alamo Square that we’re all so familar with- the three story, pastel beauties. I spent several weeks researching local accommodations, but when I came across The Broderick, I knew I’d uncovered a treasure. The Broderick certainly fulfilled that desire and the hospitality of its owners far exceeded my expectations. Let me repeat, far exceeded.

The first three evenings were spent in the Penthouse, which occupies the entire upper floor, with a full living room, a bedroom, a “yoga room” in what I refer to as the ‘princess tower’ and a lovely, small porch overlooking the San Francisco Bay, affording beautiful views of the sunrise and the city. When I first arrived, I was quite taken aback by the expansive, private beauty of my temporary home- an ultra-modern sectional sofa taking residence in the center of the room, tons of original-paned windows that I opened to allow the SF breeze seep in all night and the Asian inspired beddings and sheer curtains separating the “yoga room” with hand-painted murals upon its wall, a wood floor scattered with exotic, colorful pillows and an array of scented candles for relaxation. Instantly, I was in wanderlust.

The yoga room's hand-painted murals

When I awoke the next morning, wrapped in a silk, Asian floral comforter, I sat up in awe- enveloped in my makeshift kimono, realizing in sincere surprise that I was unexpectedly watching the sunrise over the San Francisco Bay directly through the doors of the porch, perfectly aligned with the queen-sized bed.

Sunrise over the San Francisco Bay from the Penthouse's balcony

Being lucky enough to have been the Inn’s only guest for most of my stay (there are just five different rooms or the option of renting the entire home), I ventured to the floor below me to indulge in the daily homemade breakfast Nisha had prepared for me, left with a kind, handwritten note welcoming me. With a full kitchen, large dining room and a snuggly porch, it was a perfect setting to enjoy a solitary breakfast and a single Guinness Draught left behind in the fridge, presumably a leftover of a former guest. (It turns out Guinness nicely accompanies fresh fruit, crisp bacon and thick, egg-soaked French toast, not that I’d discounted the age-old idea that beer goes hand-in-hand with any meal.)

Midas was my other favorite thing about The Broderick. Midas is the house golden retriever (who lives with the owners in their first-floor home), a lovely pooch pal that I invited to spend the night with me (after having a few drinks and misadventures around town- the usual precursors for such an invite); against my wishes, he declined, but not before having a lovely snuggle session.

Following my two nights at The Broderick, I wasn’t ready to part ways just yet. I intentionally missed my flight and booked two more evenings, one in the Penthouse and the other in the Garden Suite, a very private bottom floor room, which was equally as pleasing- a tad more intimate and isolated with a private entrance at its patio.

A traditional Eastern Indian breakfast prepared by Sri's mother

My final morning at The Broderick, I awoke to a traditional Indian breakfast that Sri’s mother, Raji, a native Eastern Indian, had prepared for me in their home on the first floor- a traditional cauliflower dish called sabzi and a savory yellow cake topped with strawberries called dhokla served with a tangy mint chutney. It was a  delightful way to spend my last morning- a communal, San Francisco-sized table filled with colorful, exotic dishes, sincere generosity and a genuine sense of welcome. The Broderick Victorian is certainly a home away from home.

By: Ashley Halligan

ThirstyBear Restaurant & Brewery, San Francisco

Organically crafted microbrews, rustic Spanish tapas, and an emphasis on sustainability and recycling are just a few of the unique characteristics of ThirstyBear Brewing Company in San Francisco, the country’s first microbrewery specializing in authentic Spanish cuisine.

When I first read about ThirstyBear, I couldn’t imagine a more perfect pairing of things I love: microbrews and tapas. Homemade lagers and paella?!? Perfection, I know. The more I read about ThirstyBear, I knew in advance that I loved everything about it. It’s San Francisco’s only brewery serving organic, hand-crafted ales and lagers and also recycles all paper, aluminum, plastic, and glass, recycles their cooking oil into biodiesel, buys local produce when available, and uses only sustainable harvested seafood.

And upon visiting ThirstyBear, I was even more in love and lust over its perfections. Among my favorite qualities:

  • Its location in a massive historic brick building in downtown San Francisco.
  • Golden Vanilla beer. Yes, I said vanilla. Often times I’m not a fan of flavor-infused beers, particularly of the sweet variety; this, however, was the most refreshing, light beer infused with whole vanilla beans. This beer was euphoric. I’m craving one (actually six) now.
  • Valenciana paella. Love is an understatement when it comes to my adoration of traditional Spanish paella (when made properly). Microbreweries are renown for having classic pub fare; the fact that ThirstyBear successfully reflects regional dishes of Spain has formed my lifelong relationship with the establishment. The Valenciana paella is served with saffron chicken, chorizo, clams, mussels, shrimp, peas, and red peppers. It’s beautiful. And perfect.
  • A flatbread served with local clams, Manchego cheese, and peas.
  • Jamon-wrapped asparagus topped with a fried egg and Spanish spices.
  • House made sangria (dessert) alongside an ever-changing cheese selection with funky varieties like Leonora- with a golden raisin chutney & chives,
    San Simon- with a port caramel & pistachios, La Serena- with a fennel marmalade & almond cookies, and Valdeon- with a rhubarb gelee & port reduction.
Valenciana paella

With all of the very unique attributes ThirstyBear offers, it will continue to be my favorite microbrewery in the country. Thank you, Ron Silberstein, a former attorney turned brewmaster, turned restaurateur. You’ve made my life complete. And have given me a very distinct reason to return to San Francisco sooner than later.

By: Ashley Halligan