A spring saunter through America’s Old World oasis
It’s spring and there’s nowhere on earth I’d rather be than New York City’s Greenwich Village ‘round midnight. Wrapped in a West Village cherry blossom blizzard, I step into a midnight meal at Café Cluny, a favorite among this bevy of bistros, trattorie and cafés that embellish this neighborhood, the most emblematic “Old World” set of streets in America.
Digestif digested, I walk a few minutes south simply to linger upon Commerce Street. Located just off Seventh Avenue, this tiny two-block passage contains the eponymous Commerce restaurant, the Cherry Lane Theatre, and Milk & Cookies Bakery. My favorite street in the city, slipping onto Commerce somehow quells the clatter of the metropolis. The unnatural silence culls my voyeuristic temptation to peak through the iron gates into courtyards so perfectly situated that melancholic shroud also known as envy can swiftly smite an otherwise idyllic idyll.
A Philadelphia artist dishes on what she loves about the City of Brotherly Love.
Every Friday, we’ve been profiling a traveling professional—or rather, professional traveler—in our Travel Like a Pro column. We’re taking the opportunity to switch things up a bit, and talk to locals about what makes their city tick.
Meet K-Fai Steele, an artist from Philly who works for the Free Library of Philadelphia. She’s currently writing and illustrating a picture book about the founding arts nonprofit The Village of Arts and Humanities, regularly cited as one of the most successful models of community revitalization through the arts in the United States. Check out her work at K-FaiSteele.com; experience her Philly by reading on.
What makes you proud to be from your city?
I'm proud to be from Philly because it's one of the most diverse, gritty, sublime, beautiful cities in the U.S. The decline of industry and manufacturing in the city in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s left these huge industrial spaces that have become affordable playgrounds for artists. When I came to Philly, it was like the Wild West—it was cheap and weird and a no-man's land if you ventured outside of Center City. There was so much possibility in terms of space and projects, and so many people with a ton of creative energy.
Travel writer Robert Reid makes a case for why guidebooks are more relevant than ever
When I was 16 and headed off on my first overseas adventure without my family, my mom bought me a set of guidebooks for Florence, Italy. I was set to stay with a family there, so I wasn’t worried so much about my ability to communicate or get around the city, but I poured over those books—and an (admittedly fairly useless) Italian phrasebook—in the weeks leading up to my trip. I highlighted. I dog-eared pages. I made mental notes about all the sites I needed to see and gelato I needed to eat.
Fast-forward more than a dozen years, and at least as many international trips. A lot has changed in that time: flying is even less enjoyable, I’ve realized a rolling carry-on is much more comfortable to lug around than a backpack, and Wi-Fi is readily available everywhere. But the constant on any trip I’m taking is a guidebook.
Free admission celebrates America's public treasures
If spring weather has you hankering to ditch work or school in favor of enjoying the great outdoors, this might just be the perfect time to play hooky.
Through this Friday, April 26, admission to the U.S.'s 401 national parks is free, from Mesa Verde N.P. in Colorado to Acadia N.P. in Maine and beyond to destinations such as Haleakalā National Park in Hawaii.
The true bargain is a part of National Park Week, held annually by the National Park Service.
For your next trip along California’s legendary Central Coast, crash at the recently opened Airstream hotel.
A short bike ride from downtown Santa Barbara, just a 15-minute walk from the Mission, the Santa Barbara Auto Camp offers nightly hotel rentals in four renovated vintage Airstreams. A night here provides the nostalgic Airstream experience with all the modern comforts and tech needs of today. While there are many cool hotels dotting the Pacific Coast Highway, this newly opened spot brings a little retro chic back to the RV Park.
On a recent trip to Santa Barbara, I took a break from vineyard hopping through the Santa Ynez Valley wineries, to explore the Airstream accommodations for myself. I learned that visitors to the Santa Barbara Auto Camp have the choice of staying in one of four styles of Airstreams. The “Santa Rosa,” a 1973 RV that has its own claw foot bathtub; the “Anacapa,” a 1959 classically restored 26' antique; the “San Miguel” a 26’ Overlander with 1960’s décor and the “Santa Cruz,” the 1959 Overlander that boasts a late ‘50s design with modern functionality.
From loving maps as a kid to leading tours from Greece to Costa Rica, the world is this traveler's open book.
Travel has been a part of Dimitrios Polychronopoulos' life since his earliest days. "When I grew up, my favorite book was the world atlas. I like to say I was born with a desire to travel and my bag already packed," he jokes. With family across North America, Greece and Australia, globe-trotting was a part of growing up.
After college at the University of Utah, he became a tour director, especially in Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey. His personal voyaging has taken him to all seven continents and some 100 countries. He's venturing into the world of travel blogging. His first post -- on swimming across the Bosporus in Istanbul -- won an award.
Following Monday's tragedy, an outpouring of love for one of America's favorite cities
There’s no need to rehash the horror of Monday’s bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We’ve all read the headlines. But in the wake of tragedy, there’s been an outpouring of love—not only for the victims and their families, but for Boston itself—so great we had to share excerpts from a few:
Seattle's massive construction project features an educational center
Meet "little" Bertha. She's a 1:35 scale model of an enormous 7,000-ton, five-story tall earth boring machine -- the world's largest -- that will be tunneling under Seattle in the next few years to come.
The northwest metropolis is diverting a major highway, State Route 99, beneath downtown. As a part of the funding of the project, the Milepost 31 museum has been opened to educate locals and visitors alike on the history of the construction area and what new developments will bring.
(Clockwise: The model of Bertha; core samples show the soil beneath Seattle; entrance to Milepost 31 in Pioneer Square; interpretive displays inside the museum.)