Device-free policies, gorgeous scenery and invigorating activities will leave you feeling recharged.
Pocahontas County, WV
The Place: West Virginia is one of our most beautiful states, full of rolling mountains, deep green valleys, picturesque farms, and endless options for outdoor recreation. Pocahontas County, on the state’s eastern end near the Virginia border, is no exception.
Three ways to get your Southern fix in and around Atlanta.
The Sanctuary: Piedmont Park Honking horns give way to birdsong in Piedmont Park’s dense hardwood forest—made more accessible by a new set of footbridges and paved trails. Next year the leafy 200-acre park, set among Midtown’s high-rises, celebrates its 110th anniversary by opening 12 1/2 more acres, plus open-air classrooms for courses on sustainability. Save some time for a stroll through the adjoining Atlanta Botanical Garden, where asters, goldenrods, and other fall blooms are opening this month.
The Neighborhood: Old Fourth Ward History meets hip in the O4W, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. A short walk—but worlds away—from MLK’s National Historic Site is kitschy bar Sister Louisa’s Church, where Owen Wilson and Lady Gaga have been spotted playing Ping-Pong. At local favorite 4th & Swift ($$$), chef Jay Swift puts an upscale spin on comfort food (pheasant-confit mac-and-cheese; pork loin with bourbon peaches). Need a pick-me-up? Head to Dancing Goats Coffee Shop(pictured) in the new food-centric Ponce City Market.
Centrally located in Yountville, this 13-room inn is within walking distance of the town’s holiday decorations, festive shops, and standout restaurants. Enjoy the inn’s complimentary wine and seasonal hors d’oeuvres each afternoon with cranberry-chocolate scones and carafes of hot cocoa. And since you’re in wine country, be sure to celebrate the holiday season by taking a tasting tour at some of the top vineyards in the country—some are in walking distance from the hotel. Doubles from $150/night.
Want to walk (or run frantically) in the footsteps of Katniss and Peeta? Consider venturing to Atlanta, the primary filming location for Hunger Games: Cathing Fire, which opened last night.
The city's convention and visitors bureau has prepared a self-guided, two-day Hunger Games Tour. The CVB even recommends a hotel: The Marriott Marquis, where multiple scenes were shot.
Braver souls might consider the Hunger Games Unoffical Fan Tours, which run Adventure Weekends recreating the book and film trilogy's creepy competition. The weekends include themed accommodations, survival training, a gala banquet, themed food, archery tag, and a Hunger Games simulation. Details of what exactly the simulation entails are scarce—all the better to keep participating Tributes on their guard.
Located at the base of Telluride in Mountain Village, this hotel has 95 guestrooms outfitted with leather armchairs, plush beds, and soaking tubs. Getting onto the slopes is easy with the ski valet who can help you get outfitted with all equipment and gear you’ll need. Consider visiting in early December before prices go up for the holidays and high ski season. After a day on the mountain, enjoy the hotel’s restaurant, Rev, which serves only produce and meat sourced from farms located within a 100-mile radius and seafood from sustainable fisheries. Doubles from $199/night (through December 19).
While international tourists are shaking their collective fists at the closed gates of National Parks, another faction within the travel industry is grappling with the ugly effects of the government shutdown: witches, warlocks and their looky-loo friends in Salem, Mass.
After all, October is usually an extra-magical time of year for the hometown of the infamous 1692 witch trials. The month-long “Haunted Happenings,” which includes a psychic fair and witchcraft expo, conjures up about $30 million in revenue for the town, according to a recent AP article.
But here's the fly, or frog, in the ointment: Salem’s visitors center—the nerve center for the event—is run by the currently defunct National Park Service.
Small towns have a charm you just can’t find in cities. Quiet B&Bs stand in place of bustling hotel towers; mom-and-pop shops outnumber the strip malls. Beach towns like Rehoboth, DE and Boca Grande, FL are all-American classics, with saltwater taffy and seafood shacks lining the boardwalks. Stranger towns like Lily Dale, NY are known for their residents (psychics here were the focus of an HBO documentary), while Bardstown, KY’s 1892 courthouse makes its town square one of the most beautiful.
We’ve nominated these towns—and hundreds of others across the U.S.—to be one of America’s Favorites. Think your town deserves recognition? Head here to view our full list and vote in a number of categories, from farmer’s markets to cool motels. Rank your town from now until Oct. 15th and—besides possible bragging rights—receive a free download of the World's Best Affordable Beaches and a chance to win $25,000 towards a dream vacation. Follow the hashtag #TLTowns on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more to see how much noise your town is making.
Here’s a fun exercise: Tell people you’re taking an island vacation…to Ohio. Then see how quickly they start measuring you for a straightjacket.
It turns out, though, that Ohiodoes have islands, floating in Lake Erie just a few miles from shore. And they’re not the single-palm-tree variety; these tree-filled expanses spread over hundreds of acres and feature parks, Victorian-era B&Bs, historic sites, shopping, and wineries (yes, wineries).