“Cities That Surprise” highlights places across America that defied or exceeded our expectations, for whatever reason. Today, Carrie Murphy explains why Las Cruces, New Mexico, should be on your radar!
The southern New Mexico city of Las Cruces is usually a quick stopover for people traveling east or west on I-10. That’s a pity. From the highway, you can’t experience any of the awesome stuff that makes Las Cruces the awesomely quirky place it is. Although northern New Mexico — especially Santa Fe and Taos — gets most of the tourist dollars from travelers hoping for a Southwestern experience, I promise you southern NM is worth a visit that’s longer than it takes to fill up your gas tank and inhale some truck stop food. Keep reading »
“Cities That Surprise” highlights places across America that defied or exceeded our expectations, for whatever reason. Today, Rebecca Vipond Brink tells us why Madison, Wisconsin, is not to be missed!
For a lot of people from Chicago, the place to go for a quick, chill weekend vacation either is Galena (home of fudge shoppes, historical reenactments, and antique stores) or Lake Geneva (great beach, some sailing, OK shopping). However, if you’re not frumpy or if you’re weird (hello) I have to suggest Wisconsin’s great alternative: Its capital, Madison. Keep reading »
Astoria, Oregon, sits at the mouth of the Columbia River, smack dab between Oregon and Washington, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Judging by location alone, you’d think Astoria would fit the mold of a classic beach town, but if you go there expecting a plethora of pastel ice cream shops and “Life Is Good” t-shirts, well, you’re going to be surprised. Astoria is much different than the other tourist traps that dot the coast. So different, in fact, that it’s often referred to as “Little San Francisco.”
Astoria is home to many of the things people love about Portland (great coffee, microbreweries, artsy culture), combined with a few coastal town perks you can’t get in the city (salty sea air, clam chowder, shockingly aggressive seagulls). And if that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, “The Goonies” and “Kindergarten Cop” were filmed there. Packed your bags yet? It’s about an hour’s drive from Portland, and here’s what to do once you get there (besides the truffle shuffle, which is a given): Keep reading »
Disclaimer: if you’re averse to anything considered “New Age,” Sedona may not be the right vacation spot for you. Strike that, everyone should go there.
I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is about a 2 hour drive to Sedona. Scottsdale is about as artificial as you can get when it comes to cities, which is why Sedona, one of the country’s spiritual hotspots, seems like an escape to another universe. If you’re New Age phobic, you should still go there; just avoid the crystal shops, the vortex solstice prayer circles and vegan, raw food eateries, and focus on hiking the too-good-to-be-true red rock trails instead. Whether you’re a believer in the mysterious or not, I’m confident you’ll leave Sedona with a feeling of peace and well-being. Here are some of the things I did on my most recent pilgrimage to this spiritual city… Keep reading »
“Cities That Surprise” highlights places across America that defied or exceeded our expectations, for whatever reason. Today, Allison Sass tells us why under all that snow, Rochester, New York is a hidden gem!
After graduating college, I spent two years living and working in Rochester, NY, a city best known for its now-bankrupt Kodak national headquarters, horrible winters, and being one of the three cities in the U.S. that’s actually cloudier than Seattle. Want to visit yet?? Keep reading »
Here’s the thing about Hilo. If you’re looking for a Waikiki-postcard-style Hawaiian vacation, don’t go to Hilo. I know this firsthand because I moved to Hilo in 2006 to spend a semester at the University of Hawaii campus there, and I did no research beforehand. I was just like, “Woohooo Hawaii! Surfing and sunbathing on white sand beaches every day after class!” (I was kind of an idiot, what can I say?) When I arrived, I was surprised to find rocky beaches and a calm bay instead. I think I swam a total of three times during my stay there, and one of those times was just because I fell out of a canoe in the ocean. But you know what else surprised me? How uniquely awesome Hilo is. It’s a historic city that’s been destroyed by a tsunami and rebuilt; it’s a true mixing pot of different cultures; it’s quirky and friendly and beautiful. Hilo is a great destination for people who want to experience a different side of Hawaiian culture, or travelers looking to spend a day or two away from tourist-packed Kona. Here are some of my top picks for what to do once you get there… Keep reading »