As a Los Angeles native, I’m ashamed to admit that I had never been to Big Sur—only one of the most photographed and picturesque areas in California—until last July, when my fiancé and I embarked on a road trip up Highway 1 from L.A. to Napa. I had never seen the huge elephant seals lazing the day away (just south in Piedra Blancas), never gotten so close to a deer (at Point Lobos State Reserve); never stayed on a campground enclosed by towering redwood trees.
Ours was a high-low vacation: we saved money one night to splurge the next. But the budget-friendly stay in one of Fernwood Resort’s new adventure tents—complete with lamps, fluffy queen beds, and wood-burning stoves—turned out to be the highlight of the trip. (Although, as I blindly stumbled my way to the campground’s outhouse for the third time that night, I can’t say I didn’t fantasize about the luxe Post Ranch Inndown the road.)
It’s the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich, invented in the suburb of Ybor City in the 19th century by cigar-factory workers, who stuffed flaky white bread with ham, pork, salami, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. Try one at the Columbia(2217 E. Seventh Ave.; $), Florida’s oldest restaurant.
Set on the waterfront, Bayshore Boulevard has the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, measuring 4 1/2 miles. It’ll take you by the marina and some of the city’s most historic houses.
If you’ve seen the 1998 documentary The Cruise, then you’ll recognize Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the Gray Line tour guide who would be right at home in a Woody Allen movie. The guy with a crazy mop of hair and nasally voice is now hosting Up to Speed, a six-episode travel series made exclusively for Hulu, and directed by Richard Linklater (of Dazed and Confused and School of Rock fame). In addition to illuminating the more mundane “monumentally ignored monuments” across the U.S., it sheds new light on well-known landmarks, too.
What exactly is a “monumentally ignored monument,” and why do they hold such appeal for you? When you work in tourism for a little while, you start to realize it’s a lot like high school. A lot of famous landmarks are pretty vapid—it’s the dweebs and the wallflowers, like the ignored monuments, that often have more interesting things to say. It’s the idea of finding beauty in the unexpected. History is hiding in plain sight all around us.
New and renovated hotels are opening across the country, from quintessential Northeast towns like Nantucket, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island, to Lake Tahoe, California—just in time for your last summer getaway.
Nantucket, Massachusetts After a head-to-toe transformation, this 1717 building is now a charming, 11-room boutique hotel (and sister property to nearby The Veranda House). The self-described “retro-chic” rooms feature splashes of turquoise and red, and amusing needlepoint pillows (adorned with “lust,” “gluttony,” and other deadly sins).
With Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History opening May 25 at the recently renovated New-York Historical Society (in which you’ll learn that home-brewing has been around in New York City since the 17th century), now is the perfect time to check out some of the city’s newest brew-centric spots.
Top Hops Beer Shop(pictured): A former distributor for Anheuser-Busch/In Bev, owner Ted Kenny is the mastermind behind this Lower East Side beer emporium. The 700- bottle selection fills refrigerators in the back, while the custom wood-and-polished aluminum bar up front offers 20 beers on tap (tip: order a flight). The menu is limited, so don’t come hungry—just really thirsty. 94 Orchard St.; 212-254-4677.
In Bravo’s latest culinary competition show, Around the World in 80 Plates, 12 up-and-coming chefs crisscross the world, battling each other in challenges of both skill and strength. (Yes, it takes a certain type of strength to scarf down excessive amounts of kidney pie.) Here, co-host Cat Cora (the Iron Chef America star-cookbook author-restaurateur-philanthropist shares duties with Australian celeb chef Curtis Stone) dishes on the action-packed show, reveals her ideal family meal, and more.
Q: How would you define Around the World in 80 Plates?
A: The competition is very much like Top Chef, but in a fresher sense. The challenge is in the style of Amazing Race, and the elimination part is Survivor. I think someone even threw in American Idol. It’s such a new take on a competition show that also there’s nothing like it out there.
The tall, dark, and handsome actor—who will always be Denny Duquette from Grey’s Anatomy to me—returns to the small screen in Starz’s latest original drama Magic City. Call it the Mad Men of Miami Beach. Set in 1958, the show (which has already been picked up for a second season) recreates a turbulent time, complete with mafia, CIA agents, and a flashy and ambitious hotelier named Ike Evans (played by Morgan). Here, the actor gives us a little history lesson, reveals why he thinks the show will be a success, and more.
Q: What made you want to get involved with the show?
A: First and foremost, as an actor, you want to go where the writing is. I read three or four episodes going into having lunch with Mitch Glazer, the writer and executive producer. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, I agreed to do it, and the rest, I hope, will be history.
It may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but Italy’s new Italo—which connects Turin and Salerno, as well as Rome and Venice—sure looks like one. The sleek design is no surprise: Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle are behind the project. Prices mimic the tiered structure of airlines—but perks such as free Wi-Fi for all and a cinema car are better than what you get in the sky.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.