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Cancun: Seven new ways to see an old favorite

A local's take on Santa Fe, New Mexico

Top picks from Jamaica, Virginia and Prague

 Explore every day 


est B U.S. in the


California’s enchanted Redwood Coast



the enduring appeal of Northern Italy


the call of the wild in Canada’s Yukon



Contents Spring 2018 / Volume 4 / Number 1


p. 40

Best in the U.S. 2018

Our annual list of the 10 best places to visit in America. Expect a few surprises.

p. 54

Wild & Free Canada’s remote Yukon territory is home to those who answer the call of the wild.

p. 66

Explore art, history, architecture and more in Russia’s beautiful cultural center.

p. 74

Washing Away the Old

The people of Thailand are keen on social graces, except during Songkran, the Buddhist New Year festival that features water pistols. Experience the city of Chiang Mai during the spiritual and spirited event. Making a splash at Songkran, a Thai New Year festival


LONELY PLANET / Winter 2017

p. 84 Great Escape /

Northern Italy Rediscover Northern Italy. Beyond fashionsavvy Milan, see a new side to Lake Como and find artisan wineries in the Veneto, then get lost among the many faces of Venice.

p. 96 The Photographer’s Story /

Focusing on Libraries Thibaud Poirier trains his lens on spectacular libraries in Rome, Paris, Berlin and more.


Two Sides to St. Petersburg

Contents Spring 2018 / Volume 4 / Number 1

Postcards p. 10

Reader images: Norway, Alaska, Turkey and more.

Globetrotter p. 13 Travel News Happenings, openings and discoveries. New for 2018 Experiences and attractions opening around the globe. Amazing Places to Stay Check in for comfort, culture and adventure in Latin America. Travel Icon Eiffel Tower.

Easy Trips p. 35

Ideas for spring trips to Chicago, Birmingham and Big Sur.

Jennifer and Martin Rios, of Santa Fe’s Restaurant Martín

Top Picks Guides p. 102

p. 22

Jamaica / The best sights, food and more Virginia / Food and wine Prague / Nightlife

Meet a Traveler p. 112

Cover Photo A scene from California’s Redwood National and State Parks Photo by Matthew Hanel

Photographer and conservationist Art Wolfe reflects on a half-century spent chronicling our beautiful planet Earth.

7 New Ways A fresh take on an old Caribbean favorite: Cancun p. 19

p. 32

Insider Knowledge Got kids? Then check out our family travel expert’s tips on planning trips that parents and children can enjoy. The Future of Travel Mystery trips, drone selfies, digital detox and other travel trends. Gear American-made products for exploring the great outdoors.

Corrections for our Winter 2017 issue: We mislabeled a photograph of San Miguel de Allende, a city in central Mexico, as the city of Guanajuato. In our New York City “Top Picks” section, a few map pinpoints appeared to be in the Hudson River. All of those pinpoints should have been a half-inch to the right. We apologize for the errors. All prices correct at press time. Prices for hotel rooms are for double, en suite rooms in low season, unless otherwise stated. Flight prices are for the least expensive round-trip ticket.

DESTINATION INDEX Argentina / 18 Canada / 54 Chile / 18 Czech Republic / 109 Dominican Republic / 18 France / 19, 101

Germany / 98 Ireland / 99 Italy / 84, 100 Jamaica / 103 Mexico / 20 Norway / 10 Peru / 18 Portugal / 96

United States Alabama / 37 California / 38, 40 Florida / 44 Idaho / 42 Illinois / 36 Kentucky / 50 Maine / 47

Minnesota / 51 New Mexico / 22 Ohio / 46 Tennessee / 43 Utah / 52 Virginia / 49, 107


A Taste of Santa Fe Chef Martin Rios, of Restaurant Martín, takes us on a tour of “The City Different.”

Editor’s Note




The opening chapter of Lonely Planet’s new book The Place to Be has a simple title: “Awe.” The stars of that chapter, the towering redwood trees of California, also appear on the cover of this issue of our magazine and are discussed by writer Alison Bing (see below) in our lead feature, “Best in the U.S. 2018” (p. 40). To quote from The Place to Be: “The air in a grove of redwood trees seems to hum with energy. It might be the stillness or maybe the scent of year after year of needles on the forest floor. Here awe comes from numerous sources: the trees’ height and the sense of peace they create high in the air above, then their very presence – these are trees that have lived for millennia. “Awe can be defined as the experience we have when we encounter things that are vast and transcend our understanding of the world. And the world is full of places that have the potential to inspire awe: the feeling doesn’t have to come from big things or expensive trips. What matters is being open and receptive to the experience, finding the time and space to absorb and appreciate it.” As our book reflects, such feelings of awe are deeply personal and can be inspired in a multitude of ways. They thread right through our “Best in the U.S. 2018” winning destinations and the tales that lie behind

them – way beyond encounters with massive and ancient living organisms like the redwoods. Turn to our feature for the surprises, the preconceptions challenged, the fragile wonders and the classics reimagined. And yes, just to look again in awe at the unfathomable scale and diversity of this nation. Peter Grunert, Group Editor

Contributors Alison Bing

“California’s Redwood Coast” p.40

A guidebook writer’s research instincts are impossible to switch off – even at weddings. Enveloped in California’s redwoods, this bride was thinking “I do! But . . . is that loop trail wheelchairaccessible?” The best travel should always be shared. Hence my piece here.

Doug Mack

“Minneapolis” p. 51

I’ve lived in Minneapolis all my life, and I’ve always been a champion of its small-town charm and big-city energy. Springtime sees the city at its best, as everyone rushes outdoors, street festivals start up, and bike paths are crowded with happy riders.

Karla Zimmerman

“Cincinnati” p. 46

Cincinnati and I go back a long way. We’ve shared Little Kings Cream Ale, a George Fosterautographed Reds baseball bat and trips to the Serpentine Wall to watch things float down the river. I’ve seen the city grow up, and frankly, I’m proud of the ol’ hometown.

Spring 2018




Part art gallery, part immersive experience, Santa Fe's Meow Wolf is a reflection of the city's creative energy.


p. 24

Globetrotter No Photos

Customers excited to share snaps of their stunning dishes at England’s threeMichelin-starred restaurant the Waterside Inn in Berkshire may reconsider reaching for their smartphones. The famous establishment in the village of Bray has banned Instagram. //

I Spy in NYC

Say Aloha to Cheaper Flights That dream trip to a tropical paradise might be a little more affordable this year. In 2017 United Airlines announced 11 new round-trip flights to Hawaii, and U.S. travelers were abuzz with sub-$400 airfares to the Aloha State. Virgin America and Hawaiian Airlines added Hawaii-bound routes from West Coast destinations, then Southwest announced plans for new routes to the archipelago for 2018. The fare war is on, so travelers should keep an eye out for discounts.


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

An interactive spy museum has opened in New York. The museum, called Spyscape, is devoted to the art of espionage in all its different forms, from code-breaking to investigative journalism. Seven galleries examine branches such as hacking, intelligence operations and deception. Visitors can hear real-life spy stories, including those of the WWII Enigma codebreakers and the teenager who hacked the CIA’s website, all told through immersive multimedia and a range of rare, historical artifacts, many of which are on display for the first time. // Admission $39;


The Sound of Silence A product testing lab in Minneapolis is attracting visitors from around the globe who want to listen to ... nothing. Orfield Laboratories’ “anechoic chamber” (a room with no echo that absorbs virtually all sound) is so completely silent that it actually measures in minus decibels. After enough time in the chamber, visitors begin to hear the sounds of their own bodies – from bones rubbing together to their own heartbeat. Tours that include a supervised experience in the chamber are offered on weekdays. // From $250; email for reservations. Garden of Secrets Once a private fishing retreat for a group of wealthy businessmen, including newspaper publisher James McClatchy, a virtual secret garden near Truckee, California, is now open to everyday nature enthusiasts. The Truckee Donner Land Trust and Nature Conservancy purchased 1,200 acres in the Lower Carpenter

Valley from private owners in a bid to keep the land, surrounded by the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountain range, as pristine and protected as it has been for centuries. While some 637 acres in Crabtree Canyon are available to hikers and mountain bikers, another 600 acres are so fragile that they are accessible only through guided tours. //

Visit a Wes Anderson Film A vacation home inspired by the director’s iconic style is available in Ontario. Each room of “Mr. Anderson’s House” represents a different Wes Anderson film. Eat Breakfast at Tiffany's More than 50 years after the release of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, Tiffany & Co. has unveiled a renovation at its flagship store on NYC's Fifth Avenue that includes its first dining stop, The Blue Box Café. Sweet Dreams of the Upside Down NYC's Gregory Hotel has launched a special Stranger Things room package that includes a light-up wall tapestry depicting Will’s message from the Upside Down, as well as snacks such as Eggo waffles.


Travel News



Colorado Land Library



Book and nature lovers will have new reasons to visit Colorado’s unmistakable, mountainous terrain. Once it’s completed in 2018, the Rocky Mountain Land Library in Denver will be an idyllic retreat where readers can immerse themselves in the Colorado countryside while learning about the stunning region’s rich history. In the meantime, a host of workshops on topics such as ecology, writing and papermaking are being presented in the unique space. //

Dizzying Heights

Cash Trail

in Seattle

Open in Folsom

Beginning in May, visitors to Seattle’s Space Needle can have the unique experience of dining in a glass-bottom rotating restauraunt 500 feet above ground. The restaurant is part of a $100 million multiyear “Century Project,” currently underway, designed to preserve and renovate the 56-yearold architectural icon. The project also includes floor-toceiling glass on the observation deck. //

A 2.5-mile trail honoring late country music legend Johnny Cash has opened in Folsom, California, allowing cyclists, runners and walkers to conveniently access the city’s historic district and the extensive American River Parkway trail. The first section of the trail opened in 2014, along with the Johnny Cash Bridge that spans Folsom Lake Crossing Road. The design of the bridge was based on the look of Folsom Prison’s East Gate guard tower, where a famous photograph of Cash, who penned the 1950s country classic “Folsom Prison Blues,” was taken before one of his concerts. The Johnny Cash Trail is set to host a public art experience beginning this year, with eight large public pieces due to be installed along the route. Cash has become synonymous with Folsom, having famously performed “Folsom Prison Blues” at the site in 1968 during a live concert recording. The Folsom Arts Association is accepting contributions in order to complete the park and art installations.

Spring Fests





Although vegetarian travel is improving, the herbivores among us can sometimes be faced with a restrictive diet when traveling. The Global Vegetarian Index, compiled by luxury travel company Oliver’s Travels, looked at data from 183 countries to compile a list of vegetarianfriendly destinations. Here are the top four countries on the list:








São Tomé & Príncipe


3 02

3 21

4 01

4 16

5 28

Revelers at India’s colorful Holi festival famously celebrate by throwing colored powder at each other.

Nowruz, aka Persian New Year, marking the beginning of spring, is celebrated all over Central Asia.

Northwestern Washington's monthlong Skagit Tulip Festival celebrates the blooming of acres of tulips.

Zurich, Switzerland, says auf wiedersehen to winter with a fiery display in which a snowman is burned at the stake.

In Gloucestershire, England, competitors in Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling & Wake chase a large cheese wheel down a steep hill.

Spring 2018








EXPLORE LA RUTA NADER Swap the wild nightclub scene for trendy tropical design: downtown Cancun’s oldest street has become its top local hangout. The neighborhood known as La Ruta Nader (The Nader Route) boasts tiny indoor-outdoor restaurants serving creative cuisine on streetside terraces, along with bars like La Sabina (pictured, right), with its artisanal mezcal cocktails.

TAKE A SPEEDBOAT TOUR While Cancun’s Caribbean beaches adorn postcards, the entire city sits around the massive Nichupté Lagoon. Book a day tour to explore the mangrove islands aboard your own speedboat while enjoying a unique view of the skyline, then head to the ocean waters on the southern side for great snorkeling. // $70 per adult at Aquaworld;






HIT THE BEACH AT PLAYA LANGOSTA Get here early on a midweek morning and maybe you’ll be the only person sunbathing at Cancun’s most beautiful beach. Playa Langosta (kilometer marker 5) has clear, knee-deep waters for cool ocean lounging, and it recently has been decorated with the giant “CANCUN” letters to make it Instagram-perfect. Avoid visiting on Sundays, when local families crowd the city’s top beaches.

DINE AT COCINA DE AUTOR Foodies can find their fill of upscale dining in the resort-heavy hotel zone, but the downtown area has a small mansion inhabited by Cocina de Autor (Author’s Kitchen) restaurant. Here, Argentine chef Cristian Morales has created a fusion cuisine menu with a gourmet take on Mexican foods, such as beef ribs in chilmole sauce. // Entrées from $13;

WALK THROUGH HISTORY AT MUSEO MAYA & SAN MIGUELITO RUINS Not up for a five-hour bus ride to Chichen Itza? Cancun has Maya ruins in the hotel zone. For about $3.50, you can visit the small temples of San Miguelito and the beautiful Maya Museum of Cancun (kilometer marker 16.5) with its extensive collection of artifacts from the area’s mysterious ancient civilization. // Admission $3.75;

LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

SHOP AT MARKET 23 Hidden in the busy neighborhood where Avenida Tulum meets Avenida Chichen Itza, Market 23 is where locals buy fresh produce and spicy tacos. Shop the Mexican souvenir section for a low-key alternative to the touristy Market 28, or visit on Day of the Dead to see sequined sugar skulls and golden marigold bouquets.

7 EXPERIENCE XPLOR FUEGO Nearby adventure parks abound for good ol’ fun in the sun, but the Fuego package at Xplor lets you experience the jungle after dark. Traverse torch-lined paths, swim in illuminated caves, and drive an amphibious vehicle through tropical forests, then see what it’s like to fly along Latin America’s tallest zip line in the glow of moonlight. // $89 per adult; -activities.php





Crab and carrot salad at Restaurant Martín

Q What led you to become a chef ? A I came to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico, as a 14-year-old. For A TASTE OF

Santa Fe

Q&A with Martin Rios of Restaurant Martín


Interviewed by CINDY GUIER | Photographs by ORIANA KOREN

Q What’s the mood in Santa Fe right now? A Santa Fe is one of the most peaceful places I have found in America. The community is very educated and knows what is going on in the world, but the place as a whole is kind of an escape in some ways from today’s “real world.” Many people come here and never want to leave. There’s something about the big, open, clear blue skies, the mountains, the high desert, the elevation and the history that makes this place magical.


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

a non–English speaker, kitchen work was easy to find and I needed a job. I stayed in the culinary field as a profession because I loved it and I was good at it. Had my family had more financial resources and I had been able to pursue an education, I probably would have studied architecture. I feel I use the same skills in the culinary field that made architecture attractive to me; I’m just using a different medium.

Q What inspired the concept and aesthetic of Restaurant Martín? A The aesthetic is tasteful, modern in a historic setting and not pretentious. This is our concept across the board. We feel great dining doesn’t have to be a pretentious experience. We refer to what we do as “accessible fine dining.” We want the diner to be taken on a culinary journey, to experience new flavors and combinations, and just to enjoy.

Q Favorite food? A Classic Italian food. Q What was the first thing you ever cooked? A Crepes. As a child I used to help my dad make them every Saturday night. It was a tradition for us to watch boxing matches and eat crepes rolled and filled with fruit jam.

Q Is there a specific travel moment or memory that influences the way you approach food? A Living and working in Vonnas, France. From early in my career, this experience has helped to shape my food, my perspective, and my appreciation for quality and fresh ingredients. Q How do you incorporate food when you travel? A Seriously, most of our travel is built around the food. Whenever we go somewhere, we know what restaurants we are interested in checking out before we make flight arrangements. Also, markets, bookstores, china shops and specialty ingredient stores are always worked in. With us, dining isn’t just pleasure – it’s business! »

Chef Rios’s Top Santa Fe Picks

Love & Soup Chef Rios calls his cookbook, Restaurant Martín (Globe Pequot Press, 2015), a labor of love. “I love that it tells you about who I am, where I came from and my philosophies that all shape the chef I am today. I love the recipes I chose for the book, but the soups may be my favorite chapter, mostly because I think people will replicate these recipes most often. They are consistently the most requested recipes at the restaurant.”

“MARISCOS LA PLAYA RESTAURANT: Mexican seafood, casual, unpretentious and authentic. I always start with a campechana [a Mexican seafood cocktail].”

“SANTA FE SPIRITS TASTING ROOM is a great little tasting room with fantastic cocktails. It’s just around the corner from Restaurant Martín, and since we do not have a full liquor license we recommend to anyone who wants a drink that they go there first.”

“THE GEORGIA O’KEEFE MUSEUM is a ‘Santa Fe only’ and a great celebration of New Mexico’s most famous artist.”

Spring 2018



“MEOW WOLF, the amazing art space/collective, is the best new place to take visitors. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen anywhere.”



At Meow Wolf: Museum Cases by artist Caity Kennedy and (opposite) Crystal Grotto by artist Sofia Howard

In Arroyo Vino’s roasted turnip roulade, the turnip is thinly sliced, creating layers as light as puff pastry.

“On the rare occasion I eat a high-end meal out, ARROYO VINO is where I want to go. Colin Shane, a chef who worked in my kitchen before moving on to this restaurant, is creative and very talented.”



Chef Rios’s Recipe for a Perfect Day in Santa Fe

8 a.m. Clafoutis for a French start to the day!

10:30 a.m. Walk from Santa Fe’s plaza to the end of Canyon Road, stopping in shops and art galleries along the way.

1 p.m.

“My mother-in-law started THE HORSE SHELTER, a horse rescue. My wife and I both care deeply about it and donate our time and talents whenever possible.”

My first choice for lunch would be Restaurant Martín. I truly eat here every day. Otherwise, I recommend the buffet at India House on Cerrillos Road. Not much to look at but the food is killer.

2:30 p.m. Meow Wolf is a must for your afternoon visit. By the time this article is published they should have their liquor license and the visit can be followed with a cocktail.

5 p.m. Stop at Santa Fe Spirits Tasting Room, on Read Street near downtown, for a cocktail with locally made spirits.

8 p.m. Dinner has got to be at Restaurant Martín for sure! How could I put this much into my place and recommend anywhere else?


10 p.m.

“My favorite staycation is OJO CALIENTE Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. It’s a lovely hour’s drive north of Santa Fe. We could stay for hours on end soaking in the mineral pools, relaxing on lounge chairs or dining in their lovely restaurant.”

Santa Fe pretty much rolls it up by 10 p.m.. There is a new late-night bar called Tonic … and lots of servers go to Junction or Del Charro for late-night drinks and eats.

Spring 2018




Digi Detox


Last year was all about goat yoga, celeb-filled airline safety videos and the Scandi-cool concept of hygge. So what fads, fashions and fresh ideas will 2018 bring? We’ve consulted our crystal ball to predict the stories that might just hit the headlines this year. Some are more feasible than others, but then again, the truth often turns out to be stranger than fiction.

Drones, Drones, Drones The wellness trend – think yoga, turmeric lattes and coconut-oil everything – will dial up the Zen this year, offering a refuge for people who want to escape the treadmill of 24-hour news and the kerfuffle of everyday life. Expert-guided forest bathing will soon be the coolest way to spend your weekend, while silent spas (no talking!) will soothe frazzled urbanites. All of these activities will be free from the beeps and buzzes of your Wi-Fi-connected devices, naturally.


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

Forget selfie sticks. The award for most irritating (yet irresistible) traveler accessory now goes to drones, which, shrinking in size and price, will soon be seen buzzing around a site near you. Selfie-loving tech nerds and narcissists will be pursued by drones as they traverse dramatic landscapes on their mission to capture the most FOMOworthy clip. If Instagram already encroaches upon your precious travel time, prepare for a shiny new – and newly affordable – distraction.

Extreme Staycations

Never mind exploring your own country: what about never leaving your own home? Virtual reality technology will only become cheaper and more powerful. Simply slip on a headset, load the destination du jour and spend the day – or a whole weekend – completely immersed in an exotic location. Deluxe packages will sync up to smart-home technology, adjusting the temperature to match your virtual experience, as well as providing sensory add-ons such as scented candles and meal deliveries tailored to your “trip.”





Convenient Carry-On Meals As budget airlines go long-haul and free in-flight meals become a thing of the past, meal delivery services will expand to offer travelers an alternative to the overpriced and uninspiring food found on board. The likes of Seamless, Ubereats and Deliveroo will develop fly-friendly menus available for pick-up at your designated gate, and innovative airlines will even install pay-per-use kitchens where you can prepare your own meals.

More Mystery Trips

Second Cities in the Spotlight Travel isn’t about showing off or competing with your social media circle. At least, that’s what people say . . . but who doesn’t love a flurry of hearts and comments of “You went WHERE?” when you share a snap from an obscure place? Paris, New York, London: been there, done that. It’s time to reconsult the map. In the year ahead, lesser-known cities (like Lyon, France, pictured) and regions will see an influx of Instagrammers looking for offbeat and envy-inducing angles.

Surprise trips enjoyed the spotlight last year, as the curious and carefree relinquished control in exchange for logisticsfree getaways in unexpected destinations. But things will turn up a notch this year as companies compete for the shock-factor crown; options will include not knowing when you’re going or which friends you’ll be traveling with. Let’s just hope you’re still friends after the trip.

Travel Flings Get Serious Mobile app Tinder is already a well-established travel tool, doubling as a provider of instant (and, if you’re lucky, attractive) local tour guides. But other businesses want in on the action. Inspired by TV shows like The Bachelor, expect to see the launch of hotels, resorts and even entire tropical islands geared toward helping you find your soul mate. Who knows? You could meet Mr./Mrs. Right in the elevator, at the beach bar or during a boogieboarding session.

Spring 2018





Made in the USA






4. GRAND TRUNK DOUBLE TRUNKTECH HAMMOCK This small, packable hammock can be unfurled and ready for lounging in seconds. It weighs less than 16 ozs. and holds 400 lbs. $119;

2. DULUTH PACK ROLL-TOP SCOUT BACKPACK Made with riveted leather reinforcements and 15-oz. canvas, this bag can take a beating, and it only looks better with age. $165;

5. SHOAL FLOATING TENT Giving new meaning to the word waterbed, this tent sits atop a raft. We recommend anchoring it before dozing off. $1,499; smithfly

3. PENDLETON NATIVE AMERICANINSPIRED BLANKETS For more than a century, Pendleton has produced blankets using Native American designs. This twin-size wool and cotton blanket is a reproduction of a vintage 1920s design. $249; pendleton

6. L.L. BEAN BOOTS Everyone’s favorite rain boots are made in Maine and have been keeping feet dry since 1912. Designed by L.L. Bean himself, these have rubber bottoms and leather uppers for comfort, warmth and waterproofing. $129;

LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

1 6

A Floating Tent!

5 4


1. MINI MAGLITE Keep this tiny-yetpowerful flashlight on hand in case the lights go out. Maglite products are designed and manufactured in California, and they have been since 1979. $21;



Seek out unique souvenirs with Jean Cate, owner of Chicago’s Martha Mae


+ Southern charm in Birmingham & coastal tranquility in Big Sur

City Breaks Chicago »

The brutal midwestern winter is over, and now a feeling of celebration permeates the mild air. There is no better time to spend a weekend in Chicago than spring.




 Evening  Chicago’s improv comedy may get all the glory, but the city’s stand-up game is no slouch. Check out the local comedy scene’s solo side at the Lincoln Lodge ($10; Established in 2000 in the back of a now-defunct diner, this long-running showcase, which has relocated to Wrigleyville’s Under the Gun Theater, counts “It” standups like Kumail Nanjiani and Hannibal Buress among its alumni. The theater’s 80minute, not-safe-for-kids shows comprise a series of stand-up sets mixed with live man-on-the-street interviews with boozed-up neighborhood denizens.

 Morning  Spring brings the return of chef favorite Green City Market (greencitymarket .org) to sprawling Lincoln Park, and with it, the opportunity for idyllic picnicking. Wander the market’s 50-plus stalls to assemble your feast – perhaps flaky, fruit-packed hand pies from Hoosier Mama and oozing raclette from Baked Cheese Haus. Then retreat to the park’s Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool for breakfast.

 Morning  Cutting a path through the vertiginous architecture that lines the Chicago River, the Chicago Water Taxi makes public transportation a main event. For maximum skyscraper spotting, ride outbound from Michigan Avenue (from $5; chicago When you’ve disembarked at Chinatown, the southern terminus, steer past the graceful tai chi practitioners in riverside Ping Tom Memorial Park before hastening to Phoenix Restaurant ( to partake in a neighborhood ritual: Sunday dim sum, served up tableside from roving push carts.

Clockwise from top left: National Museum of Mexican Art; Foursided; Chicago skyline and lakefront


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

 Afternoon  For a unique souvenir of the Windy City, make tracks for the quirky shops of northside neighborhood Andersonville. Into German fountain pens or canvas artisan aprons? Look no further than Martha Mae (, an obsessively curated spot trafficking in “beautiful things.” At cheerful Foursided (, stock up on Chicago-centric prints, pins and jewelry.  Evening  During the day, the 606, a 2.7-mile disused rail line reborn in 2015 as an elevated park, serves as an exercise space and car-free commuter thoroughfare. In the evenings, it’s a pedestrian highway linking some of Chicago’s trendiest patios. Hit Small Cheval ( for locally-brewed pints and a pared-down version of the burger that made sister restaurant Au Cheval famous; afterward, stroll the 606 to Instagrammable Parson’s Chicken & Fish (parsonschickenandfish .com), where alfresco negroni slushies await.

 Afternoon  Just a few L stops from the Loop’s marquee cultural institutions, the National Museum of Mexican Art (free admission; national museumofmexicanart .org) couldn’t be farther away in vibe; despite its extensive collection of art that spans 3,000 years and covers bases from Mesoamerican ceramics to contemporary ruminations on sanctuary, the space, set within a pleasant park in the Pilsen neighborhood, feels charmingly intimate. – Cate Huguelet


Get your design fix at The Robey (from $185; therobey .com), a repurposed art decoera office tower in the Wicker Park neighborhood featuring minimalist-chic guest rooms and a swanky rooftop bar.


Easy Trips

Birmingham, Alabama »

This under-the-radar Southern city is glorious in the spring. Follow our weekend itinerary for some of the best sites and experiences.

Friday  Evening  Can a highway underpass be public art? The answer is yes in Birmingham, where a series of multicolor, LED-lit tunnels provide unique photo opportunities and a brilliant evening wander. The art-deco tunnel at 14th Street South, just north of Railroad Park, is the most pedestrianfriendly option, but three more “rainbow tunnels” can be found on 18th, 19th and 20th Streets, between Morris Avenue and Powell Avenue South.



 Morning  Birmingham has an impressive number of green spaces. One of the best is Red Mountain Park (redmountainpark .org), nearly twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Once an iron ore mining site (note the soil’s red tint), today it boasts zip lines, a dog park and 15 miles of tree-lined hiking and mountain biking trails.

 Morning  Wide, low-traffic streets, flat terrain and a straightforward grid system make the downtown area easy to navigate by bicycle. Get a 24-hour pass on the Zyp BikeShare ($6; zypbike and discover a plethora of local shops, restaurants and bars in historic brick buildings, like What’s on Second (facebook .com/whatsonsecond birmingham), a thrifter’s haven piled sky-high with vintage records, clothes and housewares. Fuel your ride with top-notch espresso drinks from local haunt Urban Standard (

 Afternoon  In the 1950s and ’60s, segregated Birmingham was a flashpoint for the nation’s Civil Rights movement. The city’s Civil Rights Memorial Trail (heritagetrail is a powerful reminder of the era. Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (bcri .org) for an overview, then start your walking tour at Kelly Ingram Park across the street. The Memorial Trail continues past more than 70 sites.  Evening  The Atomic Lounge (theatomiclounge .com) is the city’s most unique watering hole. It features a cheerful jumble of midcentury modern furnishings and, most importantly, a motley collection of costumes. Choose one, order a local brew and strike up a conversation with the Elvis or the banana sitting next to you.

 Afternoon  No visit to the South is complete without eating at a meat-andthree, and Niki’s West has been serving the ultimate version of this traditional midday meal since 1957. The daily cafeteria lunch ($11.65; includes more than 10 meat and 30 side options, including spicy collard greens, creamy macaroni and cheese, and buttery cornbread. S TAY

– Trisha Ping

In the heart of downtown, Elyton Hotel (from $160; offers luxurious rooms in a classicalstyle skyscraper built in 1909. Enjoy a panoramic view from its rooftop bar, Moon Shine.

One of Birmingham’s “rainbow tunnels”

Spring 2018



Easy Trips


For decades, travelers have journeyed to this 90-mile stretch of Central California coastline seeking communion with the wild. McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018


Big Sur, California


1 If you want to stretch your legs for the day, head to Andrew Molera State Park. While the park is laced with trails, the 8-mile loop offers great views of the coastal bluffs and access to several remote beaches. It’s passable most of the year, except in winter when the footbridge over the Big Sur River has been removed for the steelhead trout migration, so check before you go. (

Esalen Hot Springs Esalen Institute

2 Spend an idle afternoon at the iconic Nepenthe Restaurant ( Nepenthe – its name means “no sorrow” – was built to be in harmony with the surrounding environment and to provide a sanctuary for the artists, poets, vagabonds and lovers who found themselves in Big Sur. It remains one of the region’s busiest gathering places. Sip a glass of wine while enjoying a round of ping-pong, or ask for the binoculars kept behind the bar and see if you can spot some whales far out at sea.

Nepenthe Restaurant

3 Big Sur has been the muse of writers, artists and performers for decades. The Henry Miller Memorial Library ( plays host to works of all kinds that were brought to fruition within these environs. This small, wooden structure nestled in the redwoods has a bookstore filled with progressive and thoughtful writings from the Beat Generation through modern intellectuals. Starting in May, theater companies perform and bands both worldrenowned and local play intimate sets on the library's lush lawn. 4 On the ocean side of Highway 1 near mile marker 37, you’ll find a metal gate. Head down the steep Partington Cove trail through a tree-lined canyon and a 60-foot tunnel to a rocky beach. Here you can watch the crashing surf and feel the spray of salt on your skin. Back at the top, on the other side of the highway the Tanbark trail follows the Partington Creek up into the towering redwood groves. (

5 Soaking in a stone bath on the edge of a cliff can repair and restore any ailment – physical or mental – at least temporarily. Esalen Indians used the cliffside hot springs for ritual and healing purposes, and now the nonprofit Esalen Institute continues the tradition at Esalen Hot Springs. Take part in the public night bathing and enjoy communion with the stars and sea. Sameday booking applies and reservations are required ($30 per person; /page/esalen-hot-springs).


The last word in luxurious coastal getaways, the exclusive Post Ranch Inn (from $875; postranchinn .com) pampers guests with slate spa tubs, wood-burning fireplaces, private decks, loaner vehicles and walking sticks for coastal hikes.

– Sarah Stocking

DETOUR For more on Coastal California, check out our winning Best in the U.S. region. p. 40


Last year, powerful winter storms caused landslides and a bridge outage in Big Sur, cutting off residents and businesses from the rest of the region. But the reopening of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in October reconnected Big Sur to areas to the north. While a large chunk of Highway 1 remains buried in the southern part of Big Sur, most of the major sites are accessible and open for business. This gasp-inducing section of the California Coast is ready to welcome visitors.

Spring 2018



est B U.S. in the


We asked our experts for their insider perspectives on what makes these places great. Some recalled stories of their favorite visits, while others offered new reasons to return. Each of the stories that follow captures what’s special about this year’s picks – and why they’re the Best in the U.S.


Lonely Planet’s travel experts scoured the States to bring you our top 10 underrated, rejuvenated and out-of-thisworld spots to visit in 2018. From natural wonders and captivating coastlines to up-and-coming cities, these destinations promise big things this year.


California’s Redwood Coast A writer returns to California’s redwoods to reestablish her roots – and to create new ones. By Alison Bing Like most Californians, I’m a transplant in soft earth – but the state’s redwoods keep us all grounded. The tall trees intertwine their surprisingly shallow roots, propping each other up through storms to reach great heights. In California no ground is more hallowed, no landmark more orienting, making the Redwood Coast the obvious place to marry and honeymoon. And so I did. My fiancé and I didn’t fix a date or a place for the wedding. Instead, we asked four of our loved ones to hike with us along the Redwood Coast over a long weekend, until we found a spot that inspired us. No one was surprised. Generations of seekers have sought out good vibes among California’s natural wonders. Hippies call it “vortex hunting.” The wedding party convened in Humboldt County’s seaside village of Trinidad, and we pulled out our hiking maps. One obvious destination is Trinidad State Beach, a weekend escape reached by Greyhound bus when my spouse and I started dating. The woods tumble downhill into a secluded sandy cove forgotten by time, where elders stack serpentine pebbles meditatively and teens update their relationship status with initials carved on driftwood. Passing hikers extend a hand in places where the steps have eroded, and point out views between wind-sculpted maritime pines. Locals can get cagey about campsites in marijuana-growing

Try this:

Forest Bathing Here are five places to practice the Japanese-influenced art of destressing in the company of trees.

Humboldt County, but everyone knows a spot this special deserves to be shared. For prehistoric splendor, we head to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The only road into this coastal International Biosphere Reserve is so dusty with crushed shells that the shrubs lining it look like they’ve been cast in plaster. This eerie fossilized scenery ends in a sudden riot of color, as the 50-foot-high walls of Fern Canyon open into a mighty green yawn. We pay our respects to the Women’s Grove, a secluded Humboldt Redwoods State Park retreat just off redwood-lined Avenue of the Giants that’s graced with a hearth monument by architect Julia Morgan (of Hearst Castle fame). Founded during the Great Depression with $1 donations from 60,000 California women, this serene grove shows what can happen when we take our cue from the redwoods and pool our resources. Near the Oregon border, we obey the magnetic pull of old-growth groves at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Across from the visitor center is a grove of newly carbon-dated ancients that are likely the oldest redwoods on earth, and up the road, aptly named Stout Grove has some of the burliest. Stout Grove is far enough off the coastal highway that the only sounds we hear on the trail are our own muffled footsteps on the lush carpet of duff and redwood sorrel. We find our wedding site where we least expect it, in well-traveled Lady Bird Johnson Grove. Now it’s UNESCO-protected, but 60 years ago, savvy California conservationists recruited the first lady to protect these old-growth trees from the logging industry. Today a herd of Roosevelt elk bugle grand welcomes to the Redwood National Park. Golden light dapples the loop trail, where we pass kids posing for selfies inside trees hollowed by lightning. Elegant grandmothers in purple and teal silk saris nod our way as they brush past pink Pacific rhododendrons. We take it as a sign, step off the trail into a lightning-struck redwood, and exchange vows as the trees bear witness.

Muir Woods Urbanites cautiously dipping their toes in forest bathing may start here, just an hour from San Francisco. Avenue of the Giants This 31-mile stretch of old U.S. Highway 101 is flanked with redwoods and sun-dappled hiking trails. Lost Coast Follow rainbows along 24.7 miles of rugged coastal trails and sunsets with sea lions, but forest bathers who don’t want to get drenched should bear in mind that this area is the wettest spot in California. Redwood National & State Parks This network of parks protects 45 percent of the remaining old-growth redwoods in California.

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Look up at the forest canopy: that last 100 feet of redwood growth marks 50 years since Redwood National & State Parks were established, in California’s tree-hugging triumph over logging.

Spring 2018




Boise, Idaho

No small potatoes: Boise isn’t what you expect. By Loren Bell


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diaspora occasionally rally for family celebrations, teleporting this corner of Boise to the Spanish highlands. Lingering is recommended. Sufficiently fueled, I rented one of the ubiquitous GreenBikes, pedaling the city’s tree-lined multiuse paths that connect the endless parks and excellent museums along the Boise River. I could have better explored the waterway as the captain of my own inner tube – tubing is an insanely popular summer activity – but I ran out of time after eddying out at The Modern Hotel, the hipster hotel/restaurant/bar masquerading as graffiti-laced 1970s motor lodge. The cognitive dissonance of The Modern sums up Boise perfectly. Boise is a lively urban destination pretending to be a nondescript rest stop. It’s an outdoor-lover’s city. It’s a city-dweller’s country escape. It’s one of the best places to be, largely because so many people overlook it entirely. It’s also the kind of place where a mountain snob will be humbled by the locals on the indeed epic single-track crossing the foothills behind town. And there, heavy with the day’s excess, gasping for breath but grinning broadly, I thanked my cousin for opening my eyes, and I knew Boise’s secret wouldn’t stay secret for long.

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Home to a spirited arts community, an explosion of award-winning wineries and craft breweries, and a socially responsible shopping district, Boise is what cool looks like before the rest of the world has heard the news.


As a mountain snob of the worst kind, I’ve blown by Boise, Idaho, on the interstate for years. I judged it by the “anywhere USA” commercialism of the exit ramps, and dismissed the foothills behind town as Rocky Mountain wannabes. Then, my cousin began dropping hints about the epic mountain biking near his house. After confirming we were talking about the same Boise, I gave the city a skeptical chance – and the city casually blew me away. It started with the cramped but sociable Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro. There I valiantly tried to sample every “create your own breakfast combo” as a line of exceedingly polite Boiseans snaked around the corner, merging with lines for other artisan cafés named things like Bacon, Fork and Waffle Me Up. Boise’s foodie scene starts early and starts strong. More than 100 restaurants tempt downtown taste buds, and the cutting-edge fare – surprisingly little of which is potato-based, in a state perhaps known best for its spuds – inspires whispers among gourmets from coast to coast. Around the corner I lingered on the sunny front porch of restaurant and distillery Bardenay, sampling a few home-brewed bloody marys as I let my gluttony settle. The distillery occupies the center of Basque Block, where members of the 15,000-strong Basque

Chattanooga, #3Tennessee

Small Town, Big Adventure Chattanooga straddles the Cumberland Plateau, a 300-mile ridge stretching into Alabama and Georgia, and this interstate sandstone monster has catapulted the city to its status as America’s adventure capital. Here are five activities to try. Kayak the Tennessee Rent a kayak and paddle out to Maclellan Island, a sanctuary owned by the Chattanooga Audubon Society. Learn the ropes High Point Climbing and Fitness (highpointclimbing .com) is one of the best indoor rock climbing facilities and schools in the U.S.

How a downtown hostel helped redefine Chattanooga and turn the city into the next great adventure destination.


By Kevin Raub There’s no sugarcoating it: the U.S. is not exactly a haven for backpackers. Except for a few gems here and there in the top-destination cities, finding a great hostel is difficult, which is why walking into Chattanooga’s Crash Pad – the world’s first hostel to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s highest rating for green construction – is all the more remarkable. From the outside, it’s a striking structure of wood and bricks 95 percent fashioned from reincarnated materials from the site’s previous building. Inside, rich hardwoods and exposed concrete marry to create a warm and world-class 4,300-square-foot property with a boutique hotel ambiance that skirts a fine line between homey and hipster. After checking in, I immediately engage the front desk about the neighborhood, the ’Noog’s hip Southside district. The knowledgeable staff fires off a laundry list of distractions that rev my engine: There’s a cycling-themed hipster coffee shop (Velo), killer breakfast grits (Bluegrass Grill), craft beer (Chattanooga Brewing Company, Terminal Brewhouse),

award-winning spirits (Chattanooga Whiskey), gastropubs (Feed Co. Table & Tavern, Beast + Barrel), farm-to-table new Southern fine-dining (St. John’s Meeting Place), authentic pizza (Alleia) and exquisite mixology (Flying Squirrel, Crash Pad’s next-door sister operation) – much of which is housed in onceabandoned warehouses, factories and garages. When Crash Pad opened its doors in 2011, the vision of Max Poppel and Dan Rose (two climbers who ingeniously envisioned Chattanooga accommodations that catered to outdoor adventurists), the city wasn’t yet accustomed to its blossoming coolness – it had spent more time over the previous four decades as an industrial wasteland than a hip destination. However, coming off 2008’s three-year CreateHere initiative, which infused cultural and economic life back into the city by supporting the arts and creative enterprises, a whiff of change was airborne. Chattanooga only needed its privileged position in the Tennessee River Valley flanked by craggy ridges and sheer gorges to be explored. Progressive city leadership revamped the riverfront, reopened the 100-year-old Walnut Street Bridge to pedestrians and embraced tech, setting in motion a barrage of coolness embraced by hipsters, outdoor enthusiasts and start-up tech wizards, all emanating from the Southside’s bars, restaurants, art galleries and newfound community spirit. Crash Pad naturally evolved into the neighborhood’s anchor. Back when I was a small child, we used to make the drive from Atlanta to Indiana every year, and Chattanooga was always best seen in the rearview mirror. These days it’s a place I’m dying to crash.

Paddle the Ocoee A half-day whitewater rafting trip down the Ocoee River features Class III-IV rapids. Take in the views at Lookout Mountain This craggy perch along the borders of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee features some of the area’s oldest and best-loved attractions. Hike the Cumberland Trail Stretching over 200 miles along the Cumberland Plateau, this trail traverses gorges, waterfalls and groves of hemlock.

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A revitalized downtown, centered on the makeover of the city’s signature train station into a nightlife and entertainment destination, is rife with pilgrimageworthy new Southern cuisine and thirst-quenching breweries. Meet the new South!

Spring 2018



Florida’s Space Coast


A strip of Sunshine State coastline is reigniting interest in space. By Alexander Howard


Growing up in Central Florida, 60 miles from the launchpads of Kennedy Space Center, I could watch rocket launches from my doorstep. It was the early ’90s, the height of the space shuttle program. On a clear day, those fiery arcs across the sky were regular displays of the future and the ingenuity of humankind. When the space shuttle program ended in 2011 after 135 missions, it felt like an era was coming to a close. On a recent visit home last year, I took a detour to the Space Coast, a span of Florida’s eastern coastline encompassing Brevard County and Kennedy Space Center. My visit coincided with the latest development in the area, one that has ignited a new phase of interest in the stars: the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. In recent years, SpaceX has taken over transportation missions, regularly blasting rockets into low Earth orbit. After a year of endless controversy in terrestrial news, I was hoping for a dose of optimism. A launch might lift my spirits. I spent my first day at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. A light rain drizzled from gray clouds. It was a Tuesday, and there were children everywhere – kids who, like me 20 years ago, were being chaperoned around the complex by frazzled adults. But the visitor center was very different from what I remembered. Since those field trips, many of the familiar displays have undergone renovations, new ones have been added and a fresh coat of paint has been applied to the lovably dorky “science is cool” exhibits.

At the Apollo/Saturn V Center, I wandered the length of the 363-foot Saturn V rocket, a version of the massive projectiles that took astronauts to the moon. Underneath a fresh coat of paint and updated displays, the entire exhibit of Cold War– era Space Age artifacts had the quiet reverence of a museum. But back at the main visitor complex, attractions struck a different tone; they were clearly geared to a new generation of astronauts. This was perhaps most enthusiastically clear in “Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted,” a multimedia exhibit that outlined future missions to Mars with a pointed “It could be you” message. A group of middle schoolers were gathered around a faux control panel, excitedly watching a girl pilot a landing module onto the virtual surface of Mars. She lowered the lander slowly, using thrusters to control descent. Then, plop – she completed the mission. A boy beside her hit the reset button and gave it a try. The following morning, I received notice that the SpaceX launch had been delayed due to weather – a hard truth of space tourism. I would be in another aircraft at that point, flying home. There would be another launch, another day. The future rolled on, and I was sure someone would be there to pilot it.

A Coast with a View With private companies like SpaceX getting in on the space game, launches from the Space Coast have become more frequent. Here are the best spots to see a launch. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex The visitor complex features a number of viewing platforms, like the LC-39 Observation Gantry, which has bleacher seating and a live launch commentary (from $99). Space View Park This aptly named public park is a popular gathering point for launches. Canaveral National Seashore Daytime launches can be seen from Playalinda Beach, a thin strip of sand on the Canaveral National Seashore.

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This year, Kennedy Space Center celebrates the 50th anniversary of its launch. The celebration orbits around several new exhibits, such as the new Astronaut Training Experience, where wannabe astronauts can go on a simulated mission to Mars.

Port Canaveral Several spots along Florida State Road 401 turn into viewing areas a few hours before a scheduled launch. The observation deck at nearby Exploration Tower (from $6.50) has telescopes for up-close viewing.

Launch of the Space Shuttle at Kennedy Space Center




Short on time? Join one of these great tours to see the best of Cincy.

American Legacy Tours Submerge into spooky tunnels beneath Over-the-Rhine. Artworks Mural Tours Gape at downtown’s color-splashed walls.

By Karla Zimmerman Cincinnati is gorgeous. This often shocks visitors, but there’s no denying what green hills, vintage architecture and a swooping river will do for a place. I know. I grew up here, and I still find myself staring in admiration when I drive into town. The Roebling Suspension Bridge adds to the scene. Not only does it look moody and unearthly, it drops you into an entirely different world: Kentucky, aka the South, where antebellum mansions suddenly appear. You won’t find that kind of magic in any other half-mile span. Charms of a different kind happen in the Over-theRhine neighborhood, the city’s current hot spot for bites and beers. The old German neighborhood next to downtown comprises one of the largest historic districts in the nation. For years, though, the elegant Italianate and Queen Anne buildings languished. Broken and boarded-up windows were standard, and dudes like Big Curtis and One-Eyed Eddie seemed affixed to the steps (my friend lived here in the 1990s, and these were her neighbors).


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

About a decade ago things started to change. Entrepreneurs and adventurous types moved in, and hip businesses began to pop up: a gourmet hot dog pub here, an ironic T-shirt shop there, plus waffle cafés, cocktail bars and breweries. Lots of breweries. Which makes sense, because in the late 1800s this was a big-time brewing district. It had to be, since Cincinnatians were knocking back 40 gallons of beer per person annually – 2.5 times the national average. (My pride swells!) Now new breweries have moved into the old breweries, creating a nifty symmetry. My favorite is Rhinegeist, a revamped 19th-century bottling plant where Truth IPA and Peach Dodo Gose-style beer flow in sudsy abundance. Here’s what I like most about Over-the-Rhine: for all of its development, it still has an edge. Places remain that mix the old and the new – places like Findlay Market, home to vendors hawking meats, cheeses and veggies since 1855, and Tucker’s, a humble diner cooking six-cheese omelets and biscuits and gravy since 1946. When Tucker’s burned down a few years ago after an accidental fire, its patrons – African American, white, foodies, penniless, friars, drug dealers – chipped in to rebuild it. Cincinnati has a lot going on these days, but it clearly hasn’t forgot what’s important.

Cincy Brew Bus Drink in the city’s beery goodness.

y Go Now Wh This year welcomes a new chapter for the region’s artistic icons as the Music Hall celebrates its 140th birthday after undergoing massive renovations, and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company settles into its dynamic new performance space. STEVEHYMON/DREAMSTINE.COM

The Queen City’s beauty hasn’t faded – nor has the city lost its edge.


Midcoast Maine Among shifting tides, the region has remained true to its roots.


By Ethan Gelber For decades, Belfast, Maine, remained the same. The crossing at Main Street and High Street had the only traffic light in Waldo County. Downhill were the wharves and poultry processing plants; uphill, a historic district with some of the state’s finest pre– Civil War architecture. A short way north stood the Colonial Theatre, a movie palace that opened in 1912. It was Maine in a microcosm, the place where farmers, fishers, merchants and craftsfolk all came together. Today, I still see the “busy” intersection of this small, coastal city as epitomizing the crossover appeal of Maine, especially along its Midcoast region – the inviting stretch of shoreline from Brunswick up the western edge of Penobscot Bay that boasts serene islands, scenic beaches, down-to-earth towns with vibrant waterfronts and streets lined with galleries and shops, and hilly rural hinterlands where agricultural fairs unite field workers and fine artists. The heavy industry may be gone, but the maritime and agrarian orientations remain, as does a devotion to unhurried life, plentiful nature, quirky Maine character and history, and creativity. Newer, however, is the influence of tourism. For more than 50 years, my family has marveled at the slow morphing of the region, as “outside” expectations crept northward into Maine and up U.S. Route 1, sometimes

swallowing whole townships in twee and tweed. But whereas many New England communities succumbed to imposed fancies about what “quaint” should be, Midcoast Maine has, to its credit, largely clung to its own character. Its long maritime history and deep seafaring culture, for example, have found expression in outstanding maritime museums, renovated lighthouses, rehabilitated working wharves, bay cruises, waterbased activities and, of course, outstanding seafood. The Midcoast is also fertile forest and pastureland, and after several decades of family farm closures, renewed appreciation for craft drink, organic food and local sourcing for a robust farm-to-table movement is making old homesteads new again, championed by next-gen back-to-the-earthers applying rediscovered wisdom. Art and artisanal craft have asserted themselves with gusto, too. Though kitschy at times, the results are usually true to Maine culture, rural trades and cottage industries. This is bolstered by a vigorous art (painting, photography and sculpture) community with a growing audience, a couple of world-class museums, a host of quality galleries and monthly open-house “ArtWalks.” Whatever the effect of those outside influences, one thing has remained the same: Midcoast Maine’s enduring character.

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This year marks the region’s 70th Maine Lobster Festival and a coming of age as an increasingly exciting destination of superb maritime museums, an exploding foodie scene and world-class art galleries.

Spring 2018



Richmond, Virginia #7

A once-derelict neighborhood remakes itself in a new entrepreneurial spirit.


By Amy Balfour

Packing up cans of Buskey Cider

A Richmond native, I moved away from the city in 2001. Many friends remained, however, and they had kept me in the loop about buzzy new restaurants, fun bars and the occasional new music festival. But to be honest, nothing much ever changed. As the old joke goes, “How many Richmonders does it take to change a lightbulb?” Four. One to change the bulb and three to talk about how much better the old one was. But then I started hearing about Scott’s Addition Historic District. From the crowds at Fat Dragon to the tasty brews at The Veil Brewing to the great food at Supper, it sounded like an awesome emerging neighborhood. But I was confused. Who was Scott? What’s an Addition? And where was it? Historic districts don’t just spring from nowhere. Turns out, this scrappy manufacturing district had been hiding in plain sight. Tucked between downtown and the West End suburbs, the neighborhood was once part of a 600-acre estate owned by General Winfield Scott, a successful commander during the MexicanAmerican War. In the 1890s, a broad swath of the estate, dubbed Scott’s Addition, was included in a residential subdivision plan and was later annexed, as an “addition,” to the city. A few houses were built, but the community’s proximity to railroad lines spurred manufacturing and light industrial uses.

Manufacturing eventually dwindled and the neighborhood declined, but a collision of events sparked the current rebirth. In 2012, the Virginia legislature passed Senate Bill 604, which allowed breweries to sell beer on-site without the sale of food. New craft brewers found warehouses cheaply available across the neighborhood. Tax credits provided financial incentives to business owners who preserved noteworthy architectural features when rehabilitating old buildings. Distinct commercial architectural styles included art deco, art moderne and international style. Today, folks line up on Tuesday afternoons for the beer releases at The Veil Brewing, one of seven craft breweries here. Apple ciders at Blue Bee Cider and Buskey Cider channel Virginia’s colonial past, when ciders were the drink of choice. Fermented honey concoctions are the draw at Black Heath Meadery. Distilling, aging and bottling take place in-house at Reservoir Distillery, a small-batch distillery with a busy tasting room and a smooth bourbon. Good eats abound, from fancy fried chicken at Supper to hormone-free burgers at Boulevard Burger & Brew to modern Cantonese at Fat Dragon. Sunsets are superb from the rooftop biergarten at The HofGarden, where I like to conclude my neighborhood visits.

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Scott’s Addition thrums with microbreweries, cideries, buzzworthy restaurants and boutique hotels, while the James River lures adventurers with whitewater rapids plus a new 52-mile bike trail along its banks.

Spring 2018



Kentucky Bourbon Country



Bourbon distilleries to see right now:

Woodford Reserve (Versailles) An upscale distillery in the bucolic bluegrass region. Maker’s Mark (Loretto) The oldest bourbon distillery operating on its original site.

By Bailey Freeman My family hails from central Kentucky and I lived a large chunk of my life in Lexington, a city at the heart of the rolling Bluegrass region. Here, bourbon is a cultural touchstone, a tangible social thread that seems to make an appearance for every occasion: stockings stuffed with chocolate bourbon balls at Christmas, a bottle of the good stuff for a day at the races, grandmothers swearing by hot toddies, artisans repurposing barrels and bottles into tables and lamps. In all of its spicy sweetness, bourbon is everywhere. There’s something special about drinking nectar at its source: wine in California, champagne in France, pisco in Peru (or Chile, depending on whom you ask). In Kentucky, it’s no different. A drive though bourbon country preps you for the tasting – endless hills framed by wooden fences and topped with solitary barns, horses grazing on sweet bluegrass, cornfields


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

swaying in the afternoon breeze. A distillery visit yields another sensory experience: the smell of the mash bubbling, the haze of the evaporated “angel’s share” of aging bourbon in the barrel houses, the larger-than-life copper stills dripping from the ceiling like giant drops of molten metal. Beyond its ubiquitous presence on drink menus, bourbon also has created its own type of mise en scène in Kentucky’s public spaces, something that can be felt everywhere from Lexington to Louisville to Elizabethtown. Bars, restaurants, tasting rooms and other small businesses are outfitted with warm woods (often from the barrels themselves) and cozy furniture, occasionally accented by horse-themed elements like tackle and horseshoes. Lights are low, and these spaces feel warm and intimate – they feel like home. And that’s what I appreciate the most about bourbon country: it invites you in without pretension. People are proud of what they’ve made there, and there’s a specific natural charm that you can find only in Kentucky’s limestone hills. So when you arrive, sit back and drink it all in. Bourbon country is made for savoring.

Willett (Bardstown) Still in the hands of the family that started it back in 1936. Angel’s Envy (Louisville) Known for finishing bourbon in port barrels.

y Go Now Wh Last year, the Frazier History Museum in Louisville became the official starting point of the Bourbon Trail, and Northern Kentucky joined Louisville as an official “Gateway” to bourbon country, making 2018 an ideal year to discover what bourbon is all about.


Kentucky has a flavor that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.


Minneapolis Why Minneapolis is one of the world’s most livable cities.


By Doug Mack For the first decade of my life, the center of my world was Matthews Park in south Minneapolis. For an energetic kid, it was two and a half blocks of urban nirvana. In the middle was a crabgrass field where I played baseball and soccer all summer, and which was flooded each winter to become an ice rink where I spent countless nights skating under the lights. There was a wading pool with a concrete whale, tennis courts with free lessons, and a steep hill where once I lost two teeth in a sledding accident. In my teenage years, I started to understand that every Minneapolis neighborhood has parks like this; Matthews is just one star in a brilliant constellation. No house in the city is more than six blocks from a park. That’s by design, planned by local officials in the 1880s who also bought up land around the city’s lakes – all 22 of them – and the 20-plus miles of property along the Mississippi River. Nearly every inch of waterfront is held for public use, with picnic areas, cafés, docks and more than 200 miles

of walking and biking paths threading around and through the neighborhoods. When my wife, Maren, and I began dating, I often biked from my apartment in the northeast part of the city to her place in the southwest. My route began along the Mississippi River, then crossed a bridge to downtown. A sharp left took me through the city center and directly under the baseball stadium on a well-kept trail tucked in an old railway bed, then up a long incline to a quiet field, where I caught my breath and gazed at the skyline through a sea of tall prairie grass. I pedaled on to the Kenilworth Trail, a tunnel of oak and elm, a pastoral escort to the Chain of Lakes district. Oldmoney Lake of the Isles led to youthful Bde Maka Ska (formerly known as Lake Calhoun), which whisked me to family-oriented Lake Harriet, with its bandshell and elf house, and suddenly I was at Maren’s apartment. Eight miles. Just four blocks of biking on the street. Deer. Foxes. Minneapolis doesn’t have the bustle and buzz of many other cities, but it blends the urban and the pastoral like nowhere else I’ve been, building a low-key hum all its own, one that draws me back even as I roam the world. Nowhere else have I found a constellation as bright as the one back home, a place where going to a park doesn’t mean escaping from the city but, instead, being within its most essential part.

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The city worked hard to spruce up for this year’s Super Bowl, in particular with renovations to downtown’s main thoroughfare, and Nicollet Mall’s introduction of groovy light features, art installations and innovative social spaces.

Spring 2018



Southeastern Utah

Within the otherworldly deserts of Southeastern Utah, a local finds a thrill of a different kind. By Jeremy Pugh

After spending weeks in Salt Lake City, I began to yearn for “the shift,” something I’ve found only in the red-rock landscapes of Southeastern Utah. It’s a phenomenon that keeps me coming back year after year. I leave work early, fighting traffic south from Salt Lake City as I headed to the hulking rocks and slot canyons of the San Rafael Swell, high desert country on the Colorado Plateau. Podcasts, coffee and roadside beef jerky to Exit 149 off Interstate 70 take me to where the pavement ends and I kick up a rooster tail of dust into the rocky lands near Hoodoo Arch. In the black of night, I set camp by headlight as the dust settles. The day dwindles into the beam of my headlamp and winks out. I fall into a deep sleep. At first light, I can feel it: the shift – the jarring contrast between the high mountain terrain and the urban environs of the capital city



How to: Beat the Crowds in Southeastern Utah

I left yesterday and wherever I am now. It seems as if sometime in the night I was plucked off Earth and set down on . . . well, I know I am in Southeastern Utah, but my eyes don’t believe it. Clearly, this must be Mars. Right? I rub my eyes and stare into a Martian vista of burnt-umber mesas, deep washes and – everywhere – rock and sky. I get goosebumps in the warm sun, a shiver of otherworldly awe. This tingling, confused sensation of waking up in what feels like an alien land is a recommended thrill – one that I’ve experienced regularly, since I live within proximity to Southeastern Utah. From my home in Salt Lake City I am about a five-hour drive from of a hall-of-fame pantheon of top-shelf red-rock destinations. That’s five hours from the entrance to Arches National Park, near Moab; four hours to Goblin Valley State Park, in the San Rafael Swell; and six hours to the Cedar Mesa, near Bears Ears National Monument, to name a few. Growing up, it was Boy Scouts trips to Lake Powell and mountain biking in Moab (before the entire world discovered nearby Slickrock Trail). By high school my world revolved around river running on the Colorado, the San Juan and, in one high-water year, the fabled Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell. Come college it was hunting petroglyphs with my photography professor. Lately it’s been traipsing around Cedar Mesa with archeologists to view ancient Native American ruins and bear witness to the politically charged battle over Bears Ears National Monument. But one thing remains the same: every single time I wake up in Southeastern Utah, I feel like I’ve been transported, beamed down by Scotty, as it were, to an alien land. The shift is real. Come experience it yourself.

Skip that The view of Delicate Arch is amazing, but crowds near the famed arch mess with your Insta game.

Do this The Windows

Skip that The

Do this Ride the

Slickrock Trail remains the bucket-list mountain biking trail in Utah, but it’s also crowded, extremely challenging and hard to ride with mixed-level groups and families.

well-marked, mixedlevel trails in Dead Horse Point State Park that run along the rim above the Colorado River. In spite of its name, Intrepid Trail is a great starting point.

Skip that The Fiery

Do this Hike to Fisher

Furnace, the popular ranger-guided backcountry area in Arches National Park, is as beautiful and stunning as advertised, but the required permits and crowds can outpace the splendor.

Towers, located outside the park, which crosses a similar terrain of pinnacles, minarets and odd rock formations, but is self-guided, shorter and less crowded. A bonus: giant sandstone spires.

Primitive Loop Trail is more remote, making it the perfect setting for that solitary shot.

y Go Now Wh

Southeastern Utah’s major landmarks have been favorites for decades. Recently, lesser-known sites like Bears Ears National Monument have made the news due to political tussles over protecting natural and cultural resources.

“The 18th-century Biblioteca Joanina [Joanina Library] in Coimbra, Portugal, is a mash-up of cultural references, from an Italianate ceiling to Chinese-inspired balconies.�

The Photographer’s Story

Thibaud Poirier is a travel and architectural photographer based in Paris. Find more of his work on Instagram (@tibman) and at

A look at some of the world’s most spectacular libraries

“In the past two years, I’ve photographed 18 libraries in 10 cities. I’ve always liked architectural photography and wanted to make a themed project; I chose libraries as I was interested in looking back through history and seeing how these buildings, all designed for the same purpose, were so different across time and place. When I was younger, I didn’t really like reading, and even as a student I didn’t study in libraries, but this project gave me a way to travel with a certain focus. I visited libraries dating from the 1600s and others built in the past decade. Some were built for studying, others for storing books. Many of them were beautiful, historical buildings made by famous architects of the period. Back when they were built, books were the best way to transmit knowledge, and cities would spend a lot of money on libraries that would stand the test of time. It was fascinating to explore these important places of knowledge, aware that people had come to them every day for centuries. I usually visited in the morning before they opened. Since I got permission beforehand, I’d often get to meet the library’s director or a staff member who would tell me its stories – a fascinating private visit. It could feel intimidating to be alone in a place that’s usually so full of people, but I was also aware of just how lucky I was.”

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The Photographer’s Story

“I’ve never seen anything like Germany’s Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart [City Library of Stuttgart], opened in 2011. Its Escher-like staircases and all-white color are unique.”

“In the reading room of Berlin’s Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum [Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Center], built in 2009, all the tables look inward, so everyone is facing the best view.”


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

“I had 15 minutes to shoot Dublin’s famous 16th-century Trinity College Library, home to the 9th-century Book of Kells, before hundreds of visitors streamed in.”

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“Rome’s Biblioteca Casanatense [Casanatense Library] dates to 1701, making it one of Italy’s oldest. It’s an important resource for Roman history, as well as theology.”


LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

The Photographer’s Story

“When I visited the Labrouste Reading Room of the National Library of France in Paris, it had just been restored to its 1870s splendor. Its arches and domes are hand-painted – the building is a source of national pride.”

“At the Joanina Library in Coimbra, Portugal, the library director showed me the hidden staircases and the ladders built into the wall – you can press a button and they pop out. There are all these different features that you don’t see in the main photo. The designers were really trying to invent modern things.”

“At a lot of these libraries, I would shoot public areas then leave, but in Coimbra I got access to the underground storage area, and the director showed me rare books that are really old. You don’t usually get to see them. They also had a pretty cool collection of old maps.”

Spring 2018




Restaurants: $ <15, $$ 15-25, $$$ >25

FOOD & WINE IN VIRGINIA At the center of America’s history for more than 400 years, Virginia may be best known for its scenic drives and standout sights and attractions, but the Old Dominion State also has noteworthy restaurants and a budding wine region that’s home to some 230 vineyards. Good places to begin a tour of the state’s wine country lie just outside of Washington, D.C., in Loudon County.

Chris Ritzcovan, a winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards, samples a reserve red wine.


EAT Hawksbill Diner Diner $ It may be off the beaten path – about a two-hour drive west from Washington, D.C. – but this well-loved place is everything you want in a diner: locals who all know each other, welcoming service and darn good Southern food, with dishes

like country-fried steak and gravy. We like it for breakfast; don’t miss the hash browns. » Diner; 1388 E. Main St., Stanley The Inn at Little Washington American $$$ This outstanding restaurant is 70 miles, or about a two-

hour drive, from D.C.; it’s in “Little Washington,” a small town surveyed by George Washington himself in 1749. Diners have their pick of three tasting menus, each more delectable than the other. Caviar, Japanese Wagyu beef and creative vegetarian options: only the very best is served. »; intersection of Middle and Main Streets, Washington L’Opossum American–French $$$ We’re not sure what’s going on here, but it works. The name of the place doesn’t exactly conjure images of fine dining, and the decor includes stuffed opossums, Star Wars collectible plates and statues of Michelangelo’s David. Meanwhile, dishes come with names that are almost too hip, like the Darth Grouper Held at Bay by a Rebellious Coalition. What ties it together? The culinary prowess of awardwinning chef David Shannon and his staff. »; 626 China St., Richmond Lucky Modern American $$ In the cultural and business hub of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lucky has excellent cocktails (try The Cube) and a seasonally inspired menu of small plates (hickory-smoked porchetta, roasted oysters) and heartier entrées (buttermilk fried chicken, morel and asparagus gnocchi). The team behind Lucky opened the equally divine Italian restaurant Fortunato ( a

few doors down, where the wood-fired pizzas are the stuff of dreams and poems. »; 18 Kirk Ave. SW, Roanoke Mabry Mill Restaurant American $ Next to the picturesque Mabry Mill, at milepost 176 off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this place whips up some of the better breakfasts around. They’ve got three kinds of specialty pancakes: cornmeal, buckwheat and sweet potato. Throw in a biscuit with some Virginia ham and it’s a perfect way to start the day. »; 266 Mabry Mill Rd. SE, Milepost 176, Meadows of Dan The Shack American $$ Folks flock here to dine on the eclectic creations of chef Ian Boden, a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist who’s now cooking in a small building on the edge of downtown Staunton, about a two-hour drive from Richmond. The menu changes regularly, but look for Southern specialties, including catfish, along with high-falutin’ numbers like lambchetta and softshell shrimp. »; 105 S. Coalter St., Staunton

VINEYARDS King Family Vineyards King, 19 miles west of Charlottesville, consistently ranks as one of the state’s best wineries. Bring a picnic (the winery also sells gourmet goodies) and enjoy the expansive scenery. »; 6550 Roseland Farm, Crozet

Chrysalis Vineyards Proudly using the native Norton grape, which dates back to 1820, Chrysalis produces highly drinkable reds and whites, including a refreshing viognier. The pretty estate, 90 miles from D.C., hosts a bluegrass festival in October. »; 39025 John Mosby Highway, Middleburg Bluemont Vineyard This winery produces ruby-red Nortons and crisp viogniers, though it’s also famous for its spectacular location in Bluemont: 950 feet above sea level, on an eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with sweeping views over the countryside. » bluemont; 18755 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont Tarara Winery On a bluff overlooking the Potomac, this 475-acre Leesburg estate provides guided tours showing the grape’s journey from vine to glass. The winery has a 6,000-square-foot cave/ cellar, and visitors can pick fruit in the orchard or hike the 6 miles of trails through rolling countryside. »; 13648 Tarara Lane, Leesburg Jefferson Vineyards Near Charlottesville, this family-owned winery harvests from Thomas Jefferson’s 1774 vineyard site. The winery has won several national and international wine awards. »; 1353 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville

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FOOD & WINE IN VIRGINIA Accommodations: $ <150, $$ 150-250, $$$ >250

MAP KEY   EAT Hawksbill Diner The Inn at Little Washington L’Opossum Lucky Mabry Mill Restaurant The Shack  VINEYARDS King Family Vineyards Chrysalis Vineyards Bluemont Vineyard Tarara Winery Jefferson Vineyards STAY HI Richmond Jefferson Hotel Martha Washington Inn Morrison House Skyland Resort 200 South Street Inn



 for budget stays  HI Richmond $ Inside a historic 1924 building, this eco-friendly hostel has bright rooms (dorms and private), with high ceilings and original details. »; 7 N. Second St., Richmond

 for country escapes  Martha Washington Inn $$$ Southwestern Virginia’s premier historic hotel has wrought-iron style and rocking chairs on the pleasant front porch. »; 150 West Main St., Abingdon

 for national park lodging  Skyland Resort $$ This resort has lovely views over the Shenandoah countryside, wood-finished rooms and rustic but comfy cabins. »; Skyline Drive Mile 41.7 and 42.5, Shenandoah National Park

 for opulence  Jefferson Hotel $$$ Rooms are plush and inviting at Richmond’s top hotel. The staircase is said to be the model for the stairs in Gone with the Wind. »; 101 W. Franklin St., Richmond

 for contemporary appeal  Morrison House $$ A romantic Alexandria mainstay, this boutique hotel combines fourposter beds, bright-blue artwork and natural light everywhere. » morrisonhouse .com; 116 S. Alfred St., Alexandria

 for couples  200 South Street Inn $$ This one-time girls’ finishing school in downtown Charlottesville now houses two dozen B&B rooms. Continental breakfast is served. »; 200 W. South St., Charlottesville

LONELY PLANET / Spring 2018

For More Information For maps, wine routes and loads of other viticultural info, visit Lonely Planet’s Eastern USA ($24.99) covers Virginia in its “Washington D.C. & the Capital Region” chapter ($4.95 for individual chapter download at

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Spring 2018 Sampler