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

Requa Inn: Klamath, California

Before Northern California’s massive redwoods were protected, back when bad ass vagabonds sought bed and breakfasts rather than by mellow, middle-class tourists, the Requa Inn was the only comfortable resting place for travelers between Orick and Crescent City, California. Built in the late 1800s, the original Inn went down in flames almost a century ago—though it’s survived by an upright grand piano built in 1897, which was carried out of the place and allegedly tickled by locals watching the fire engulf their town. Like many settlements built on the strength of a burgeoning resource economy, it’s been some time since the town of Requa was plentiful. But since purchasing the Inn in 2002, Barb and Dave Gross have recreated something you can’t find anywhere nearby: a truly comfortable resting place.

The surroundings are tough to upstage: it’s just a few clicks away from trails through old growth forest off the famous 101, perched above the Klamath River estuary and the swashbuckling Pacific Ocean. The word Requa means “where the fresh water meets the salt water” in the local native tongue of the Yurok tribe—an easy moniker to grasp after hiking up to the lookout point to admire the glassy, pie-shaped berth that meets a long, thin finger of beach with waves crashing against its opposite side.

The Inn is built of solid redwood, and insulated with redwood sawdust—meaning that sound travels, so your seclusion comes paired with the muffled sounds of others seeking the same. However, the Inn holds no more than a couple dozen folks when full, which is enough to lay claim to being the largest B&B in Del Norte County. The decor adds to the cozy atmosphere: layers upon layers of antique furnishings and fixtures, from lampshades to picture frames to claw foot tubs to velvet cushions to ornate sofas. Every guest room has its own character and colour palate, ours being marked by creamy floral wallpaper, emerald ceiling tiles, a barely escapable plush bed, and a tall, dark and handsome vanity dresser. The hallways connecting the Inn’s 13 rooms and the walls throughout the place have all sorts of interesting photos to check out, many of them relics that impart the hotel’s history and some from the owners’ past travels.

The main floor of the Inn is divided into three common rooms joined by sprawling hardwood floors. A large, red brick mantle with a small fireplace dominates one end of the house, with plenty of seating space nearby to lose yourself in the overflowing library of paperbacks, board games and well-curated current magazines. On the other end of the building is a television and music room, featuring the aforementioned piano and a few guitars for guests to pluck away at. The middle room is where the action is in the a.m., as guests build made-to-order meals from organic eggs and meat, as well as fresh vegetables and fruit (sourced from farmers from Eureka to Crescent City in season). All three rooms overlook the Klamath River through large windows, many with active hummingbird feeders outside of them.

There’s plenty of goodwill under this roof as well. Take Hillary, a German Shepherd that was abandoned and then mauled by a black bear in 2008, who is glad to accompany your meanderings and has a surefire knack for sounding the bark alarm if black bears, mountain lions or less imposing mammals emerge from the bush. Barb and Dave also buy carbon credits from a Canadian business called The Carbon Farmer, they draw energy from renewable sources via Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program, and they solar heat a portion of their water—which comes from a spring a few hundred feet uphill from the Inn.

The icing on this antiquated cake is a hot tub tucked away behind the house. It can be reserved by guests and/or used at any hour (if noise is kept in check, of course), with bathing suits optional—“It’s a California thing” explains the Inn’s literature.

It’s true: best of luck finding something quite like the Requa Inn anywhere else in the country.

By: Eric Rumble

An Art Museum Hidden in a Four Seasons: Silicon Valley, California

I normally wouldn’t write about a Four Seasons Hotel. You already know about Four Seasons. And you already know whether or not you can afford it and you probably already know whether or not it would suit your tastes. And if it is the kind of hotel you seek out when in a new city, well, I have no idea why you’re on this website right now to be frank. But the Four Seasons in northern California’s Silicon Valley is a bit of a different story. I’m not going to tell you to stay in this hotel, I have never stayed in it myself, but I will absolutely insist that you visit the hotel’s well-hidden and yet fully remarkable art gallery.

This Four Seasons has a high-end art gallery filled with edgy artwork and even originals from my favorite artist; Salvador Dali. But you probably wouldn’t know about it unless you were already in the hotel and stumbling around.

I’m a long-time fan of artwork and of viewing it in galleries and although this hotel’s collection is small, it is essential that you stop in to see it if you’re in the neighborhood. The admission is free and they’ll even give you a handy device at the front desk to help you navigate your way through a self-guided tour of the art. The best pieces are, without a doubt, the hologram-esque inverted sculptures at the far end of the restaurant. The pieces are chillingly creepy, as the statues’ eyes are meant to appear to be following you, but hey, it’s like a classy haunted house and worth whatever spook it sets upon you.

By: Elizabeth Seward

Marianne’s Ice Cream: Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz is a special little place. It’s not San Francisco, nor is it San Jose, but it’s somewhere in the vicinity of both and begins with the same three letters. Which really isn’t a big deal in California, but that’s beside the point. My friend who showed me around Santa Cruz perhaps abruptly, awkwardly, and maybe not so politically correctly, told me that Santa Cruz is San Francisco’s lesbian little sister. Of course he was being quite literal, with the lesbian population in Santa Cruz a bit more dense than most cities (according to him), but on a not-so-literal note, Santa Cruz does share in many of San Francisco’s attractive features: coffee shops galore, book shops, hippie shops, hippies, homeless people, homeless hippies, flower-headband-wearing college girls, and so on and so forth.

(Side note: if anyone can tell me why the homeless people in Santa Cruz and San Francisco are so much ruder than the homeless people in New York City, I’d like to know. I mean, it’s freaking freezing in New York City half of the year and everything costs you double what it should AND a limb, and yet I’ve found the New York City homeless to be much more appreciative and less abrasive. Thoughts anyone?)

The above side note, and things of the like, are what I contemplated while looking over Santa Cruz from Top of The World–a spot you must visit; particularly on gray Harry Potter-ish days. But I tucked my contemplations away and suspended all cerebral ailments in order to fairly taste-test the ice cream at Marianne’s Ice Cream shop. Literally. They let you taste the ice cream on a stick here and if you want to be green (and decadent) about it, they’ll put a different sample on each end of the stick for you. (Please. Hold all ‘that’s what she said’ jokes for personal conversations. This is a professional piece of writing, people).

The friendly lady working at Marianne’s encouraged me to try their 10-20 flavor. Probably because it was a little bit of everything, including Oreos, in one. Which is exactly what I needed to eat the night before a music video shoot, by the way. But oh my god, was it ever worth it. I’m a bit of an ice cream connoisseur, and let me just say: this ice cream melting in my mouth just beyond wallpaper depicting dancing dairy cows was one of the most ironic, delicious moments of my recent California trip. With that said, go to Marianne’s. And if the homeless people tell YOU they don’t want your food, only your money, tell them prohibition is back and crackers are the new Jack Daniels. Ok. I’m bitter.

By: Elizabeth Seward