Travel stories, tips and suggestions from the United States of America

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

One of the best ways to experience travel is by indulging in the local cuisine.

In Portland, Maine, there are many dishes crafted with fresh, local food that every visitor must try. Here are the top 10 dishes that Portlanders love — and visitors will, too:

1. Pancakes With Maple Syrup

The most important meal of the day needs to be delicious and satisfy hearty appetites. Pairing buttery pancakes with fresh fruit and local syrup to make breakfast is classic. For Portlanders, the pancakes are great, but they aren’t necessarily the highlight. It’s the maple syrup — which is produced all over Maine — that makes the meal.

People from Maine love their maple syrup so much, they have a day called Maine Maple Sunday each year in March to celebrate the official state sweetener.

2. Potato Donuts

Typical donuts are made with yeast, salt, butter, sugar, buttermilk and flour — but then there are potato donuts. This Portland staple has those same ingredients as well, but there are also mashed potatoes thrown in, making them heartier than your typical glazed or iced breakfast treat.

People in Portland love that they can eat their savory spuds in a sweet way. The Holy Donut, made potato donuts a staple when they opened in 2011 and started cranking out 40 dozen a week — all made from scratch — before growing to 100 dozen and more. Now, they make over two million donuts a year.

3. Poutine Fries

Poutine is also popular among Portland potato enthusiasts, especially when it originated just next door. Originally from Canada, poutine is made with thick-cut french fries, locally sourced cheese curds and homemade gravy. The dish is typically offered as an appetizer or side and is gone within minutes.

4. Hot Dogs

Carnival and fair food have a place on the Portlander’s plate as well.

Jazzing up a hot dog is something Portland takes pride in, especially when creative renditions become popular. Made with local beef, restaurants like Blue Rooster Co. and El Corazon are crafting franks featuring flavors like kimchi, peanuts, beans and guacamole. Adding a bit more to the hot dog seems to give it a better spot on the menu.

5. Crab Salad

Crab salad is a customizable dish, which can be offered as an appetizer or main meal. Crabbers catch and harvest their crabs off Portland’s own shores, so the crab is always fresh. Top a bed of fresh greens with it or use it to dress up your pasta salad for some northern Atlantic flair.

6. Clambake

A traditional clambake you might find in New England is done over a fire-pit in the sand — but it can also be done without. It’s made of mussels, clams, lobster and any other kind of seafood you like, along with corn, potatoes, onions and other veggies. It’s completely customizable, so it’ll likely vary a bit depending on where it’s being served, but it’s perfect for those who want to indulge in a variety of seafood. Plus, it feeds multiple people at one time, so it’s ideal for sharing at parties and special occasions.

7. Haddock Chowder

Haddock and fish chowder is another delicacy Portlanders love. The dish was created by Helen and Larry Mugnai when they opened Helen’s Restaurant in 1950, and it’s been called a New England classic ever since.

8. Lobster Grilled Cheese

It wouldn’t be the best bites of Portland, Maine without mentioning lobster.

Lobster finds itself in many seafood dishes, but none are like the lobster grilled cheese. Seared between two thick slices of bread with melted butter and cheese, lobster grilled cheese is a classic made for Portlanders of all ages.

9. Lobster Pie

Besides adding lobster to their grilled cheese, Portlanders have found ways to incorporate lobster into other dishes, too.

Combining all the warm, comforting aspects of pot pie with Portland lobster, lobster pot pies are popping up on the food scene and delighting taste buds. It’s like chicken pot pie, but it uses lobster tails and crab combined with the chicken broth and fresh vegetables instead.

10. Lobster Rolls

Offered at many restaurants and food stands, lobster rolls are one of the best dishes when it comes to traditional Portland fare. Blanketed with butter that highlights the fresh catch and seeps into the soft bun, a lobster roll is something every Portland visitor should experience. It’s one of the must-eat items when you visit Maine.

The Way to Portland’s Heart

Any of the dishes above are bound to turn visitors into happy travelers. When stomachs are satisfied, so are hearts — and they’ll want to come back.


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                                            ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter & Pinterest.


By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

From the bustling boardwalk to the smiling faces, there are plenty of things I enjoy about Ocean City, though I must admit my favorite part of visiting this pleasant beach town is the food. Ocean City has a broad range of fresh, unique savory options that make my mouth water just remembering them. I’m excited to share some of my favorites with you.

7 of the Top Places To Eat in Ocean City

Best in Brunch – OC Surf Café

This little café might be known for their beachy décor, but I know them for their sweet potato burrito. Each burrito comes with the perfect combination of black beans, guacamole, grilled sweet potatoes and cheese all wrapped together in a whole wheat tortilla for less than ten dollars. Make sure to roll out of bed before two in the afternoon, or you’ll miss the deliciousness. The café is open Thursday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 
 
 
 
 
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Sweet Treats –Hobby Horse Ice Cream Parlor

I never make a trip to the beach without stopping by the local ice cream parlor for a sweet treat. Located on Ocean Ave, this family owned shop is hard to miss with the carousel horse out front. I have a tough time deciding between the 47 different flavor offerings, which range from maple walnut to rum raisin to traditional vanilla bean. The owners use real ingredients for all of their ice cream – it’s easy to taste the difference. The parlor is open seasonally from May to October.

Peaceful Surfing – 4th Street Café

Going wrong with art, coffee and free Wi-Fi is hard. I like to stop in 4th Street Café before heading down to the beach to soak up some sun. The cafe offers free Wi-Fi for guests and a frequently changing assortment of food and artwork available at affordable prices. I find it impossible to get bored with the selections here. Though hours vary in the winter and summer, the café is open year-round.

Fresh Seafood – Spadafora’s Restaurant and Clam Bar

When dining alone, I prefer to head to casual, low-key restaurants with the best food I can find. Spadafora’s Restaurant and Clam Bar doesn’t disappoint. My favorite selections here are the Cape May Sea Scallops and the Blackened Tuna Taco. It’s no surprise Spadafora’s is known as one of the best restaurants on the Jersey Shore. Make sure to stop by during the summer months as they are only open seasonally.

Guilty Pleasure – Cathy’s 14th Street Bakery

After a morning workout, I savor nothing more than biting into one of Cathy’s 14th Street Bakery’s famous white cream donuts sans guilt. Located on the corner of Asbury Avenue and 14th Street close to downtown, Cathy’s is easily accessible. While it’s hard to pick a favorite bakery in Ocean City – there are at least three others throughout town – the fresh ingredients and warm service are, to me, what set Cathy’s apart. Before visiting, call ahead or check their Facebook page, hours can vary.

Traditional Fare – Manco & Manco

More times than I like to admit, I don’t have a chance to sit down for a meal. Other times I prefer to grab a quick bite on the go rather than take a break from what I’m doing. Regardless, Manco & Manco offers the perfect solution with their single slice pizza options. The price tag is a bit higher compared to some of the other local fare, but it is well worth it for the quality. My personal favorites are the spinach or the plain. Manco & Manco is open year-round from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

 
 
 
 
 
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Change of Pace – Yianni’s Cafe

Yes, it is possible to continue eating healthily while visiting the Jersey Shore even though I don’t always like to. Yianni’s Café makes it easy to stick to any diet. Stop in and try the Greek Island Ahi Tuna with lentils and grilled zucchini, it’s divine. Not a fan of fish or seafood? The portabella mushroom sandwich, topped with sautéed spinach and red peppers is packed with flavor. Yianni’s is open year-round.

Ocean City, New Jersey has many eating options which will please the palates of even the pickiest eaters. Excuse me while I order a pizza, I worked up an appetite recalling all those mouth-watering choices.


 Kacey Mya Profile Picture                                           ABOUT THE AUTHOR                                                           

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. You can find her on Twitter & Pinterest.


 

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Where to Eat in Ocean City New Jersey

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

City living is wonderful, but the cost of living in some of the big U.S. cities—looking at you New York and Los Angeles—is a big deterrent for living there. Luckily this country has multiple wonderful cities throughout it where the cost of living is more affordable. Here are 10 of the most affordable cities you’ll find in the U.S.

1. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh is a great place to get the hustle and bustle of the city without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also cheap, especially when compared to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s other main city. One of the best benefits here is the low cost of housing and utilities.

Built around where three rivers meet, it’s also in a unique and gorgeous location. Even when you live there, the view of the city from Mount Washington doesn’t get old. Three major sports teams have stadiums there, and the energy in Pittsburgh on game day is something that’s hard to find anywhere else.

2. Fayetteville, AR

Another city with a very low cost of housing, Fayetteville comes in under the national average in every major expense. If that doesn’t sell you, the city has also been in the top five in the best places to live ranking two years running now. Factoring into that ranking was the low commute times, low unemployment rate and a lower crime rate compared to cities similar in size.

There are multiple parks in the city, as well as Lake Fayetteville, a sizeable lake great for fishing and kayaking. If you’re into history, the Clinton House Museum is here, as well as one of the most intact Civil War battlegrounds in the country, Prairie Grove.

3. Omaha, NE

omaha nebraska

Image via Flickr by vwCampin 

Omaha is also under the national average in all the major expenses, with housing and utilities being the farthest under. The city is located right in the heart of the country, giving you equal distance to all sorts of destinations.

Omaha itself offers a strong arts and culture scene with many museums and cultural events. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is outstanding and takes at least a full day for you to see it all. Sports fans looking for something out of the box can enjoy the AKSARBEN Stock Show & Rodeo.

4. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines has a solid 10% lower cost of living than the rest of the country—housing and groceries being the lowest amenities. It tops the list as the most affordable city in the country due to less than 25% of income being spent on living expenses. It’s the only city that’s under 25% in that category.

If you’re a political junkie, the Iowa caucus is one of the biggest factors in a presidential election, meaning campaigns are sure to stop here. Downtown has been revitalized recently and is home to festivals, restaurants and other hot spots.

5. Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis is becoming more affordable, with its housing prices going down a bit this past year. Indy boasts both the Indy 500 and the Indianapolis Colts, so it’s another city that’s heaven for sports fans. It has a great arts and antiques scene, as well as live music. And if you need a break from the city, it’s surrounded by state parks.

6. Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids MichiganImage via Flickr by amtrack_russ 

While the transportation costs are a bit above average, Grand Rapids makes up for that with low housing and health care costs. If you love public art and craft beer, Grand Rapids is a great choice. The city gives off a small-town feeling, with people always waving hello as you walk by. There are 1200 acres of parks within the city, and if you’re looking for more water than the river offers, Lake Michigan is less than an hour away.

7. Knoxville, TN

Knoxville’s housing costs come in at a whopping 23% below the national average. Knoxville is known as the most dog friendly city, which is probably the best selling point a city could have. The Knoxville Museum of Art has fun classes so you can continue to learn and hone skills throughout your lifetime. Turkey Creek offers 300 acres of shopping if you’re craving some retail therapy.

8. Buffalo, NY

New York City may not be affordable, but Buffalo definitely is. It’s also one of the most beautiful cities to live in with all the waterfront views—it’s right on Lake Erie and the Niagara River. You’ll also have one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, Niagara Falls, a short drive away. Winter is king here, with great skiing and ice-skating areas.

Whether you are looking to move, or just visit, check out this guide to Buffalo for where to stay, where to eat, what to do & what to see!

9 + 10 Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN

They don’t call them the twin cities for nothing. Both of these have a low cost of living and residents only pay a little under 26% of their income towards housing and utilities. The cities offer a high quality of life and the job market there is in its prime. You can be right in the thick of two cities and reap the benefits from both. It means more things to do and explore, and more job opportunities that are close to you.

Living in an amazing city doesn’t have to break the bank. While they might not be the biggest cities the country must offer, they still have that city feel and their own unique charms—not to mention being affordable.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!


By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

With more than eight million people living in New York City, you’d be hard pressed to find room to plant and cultivate a full-fledged vineyard. Fortunately, though, the concrete jungle is surrounded by greener pastures, where some experts have been able to grow those tasty grapes.

The next time you’re in New York City, set aside some time for a day trip outside of the metropolis to find the bona fide wineries New York City has to offer. We’re not talking about the exquisite wine bars you’re sure to find on the island, either: these are green, rolling vineyards with more to offer than just a delicious glass of wine.

Read on to find out where you’ll stop on your next Big Apple getaway.

Benmarl Winery

Benmarl Winery is widely known as America’s oldest vineyard, since its first grape vines were planted in 1848. Since then, the place has flourished and expanded to produce 15 varieties of wine, with many flavors inspired by the winery’s location in the Hudson River Valley. Speaking of which, you can take in some lush, green scenery while you sip amidst the valley’s rolling hills.

Martha Clara Vineyards

The Martha Clara Vineyard knows its clients might be coming in from New York City, so they’re prepared: groups shuttled in by bus, limo or car service can sign up for a group tasting once they arrive. And the flavors they sample won’t be disappointing: the winery has barreled everything from trendy rosé to super sweet Riesling.

Bashakill Vineyards

wine glass

The Hudson River Valley is clearly a hub for New York wineries, but developers have only scratched the surface of the area’s potential: 225,000 acres of land viable for wine-making, only 500 have been used so far.

Fortunately, Bashakill Vineyards has taken up shop — and taken advantage of the near-constant temperatures and high humidity in the Catskill Mountains. The winery can produce precisely aged pours because of this climate, and you’ll be glad to imbibe their tasty creations.

Wolffer Estate Vineyard

Most New Yorkers heed the call of the Hamptons each summer, but they do so to lay out on the area’s pristine, star-studded beaches. Your next trip should also include a visit to Wolffer Estate Vineyard, where Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are never in short supply. They pair these staples with smaller batches of specialty wines and ciders.

Oh, and, speaking of pairing: you can get the right charcuterie or cheese board to match your wine here, too. And, if you’d rather just sample the wine, they have tasting flights on the menu as well.

Orchard Hill Cider Mill

wine glass in a field

Mixing things up a bit, the Orchard Hill Cider Mill serves up hard ciders rather than wine. But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that cider is a one-flavor, one-size-fits-all beverage. Instead, Orchard Hill has multiple ciders on deck, including extra-dry and fizzy varieties. Much like Wolffer Estate Vineyard, they pair their pours with seasonal food, though they also incorporate their ciders into the ingredients list to create savory glazes, for example. Yum.

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard sites on Long Island, and its picturesque pastures full of horses do more than just produce wine. They also provide homes for the livestock at this half-winery, half-horse-rescue. They’re equally as serious about both pursuits, too, as they brought their vines directly to Long Island from France.

If you head to Baiting Hollow, you’re likely to be told how many of the pours take their names from horses who have been saved and rehabilitated there. You can also see the horses for yourself Thursday through Sunday, when the winery offers pony rides and live music to its guests.

It’s not the first, second or even the third thing that comes to mind when visiting New York, but the state’s winery reputation just keeps getting better and better. So, as you plan your trip to the Big Apple, don’t let a day trip outside of the city fall to the bottom of your list. Instead, experience all that New York’s wineries have to offer and add another unforgettable destination to your big trip. Cheers!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


El Paso is a city that manages to be both modern and sleek yet steeped in history and culture. Therefore, it’s an exciting destination for any traveler. It’s also an amazing place for couples to explore, with a variety of hotels in downtown El Paso to spark some romance while staying close to the action. What may be most surprising is what you’ll find when looking to add a little wining and dining to that spark. In fact, you’ll want to try several culinary experiences in El Paso if you’re looking for a little romance in this west Texas destination.

Journey Along The Wine Trail

Image via Flickr by uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs

Along the winding path of Highway 28, you’ll find an incredibly romantic setting as you make your way to one of the area’s most appreciated wine regions. Heading along the wine trail, you can hold hands and talk as you drive by stunning scenery, peaceful landscapes, and vineyards.

It’s here where you’ll also be able to spend some time as a couple as you visit El Paso’s only vineyard and winery, Zin Valle Vineyards, for a free wine tasting. You can also make a day of it and head over on a Sunday when live music is playing. Bring a blanket and some food and enjoy a picnic with whatever wine you both prefer.

Explore the Growing Brewery Scene

The beer culture in El Paso is rapidly growing, with more and more breweries opening. This scene offers the opportunity to explore El Paso in a unique way. There’s also a lot of fun and excitement to be had as a couple while exploring your palate and learning about the flavor profiles of beer.

You can keep date night within the heart of the city and head to El Paso Brewing Co. for a beer tasting, a snack, and a lesson in the area’s beer history. It’s a great place to enjoy each other’s company while learning something new and immersing yourselves in a part of the area’s culture, both past and present.

Indulge in Diverse Cuisines

While Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex may be what first comes to mind when thinking of food in El Paso, the city actually boasts a whole host of different restaurants. They offer a variety of dining experiences for couples looking to enjoy a romantic meal together.

If you want to ignite that spark over delicious food, you can find pretty much whatever you both want, from Mexican cuisine at L and J Cafe to American-style dishes at the Mesa Street Grille. With patio options, live music, or candlelit tables, you’ll be able to find the perfect setting for you both.

 

El Paso is definitely a romantic destination for couples. While there are tons of different things to do throughout the city, you’ll find exploring the culinary scene together a special experience. There’s nothing more romantic and sensual than feeding each other bites of a great meal across a table, staring into each other’s eyes while sipping wine, or laughing at the foam clinging to your upper lip as you savour a craft beer.

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital, and for good reason: the city has a rich history and a lively, diverse culture to match. In other words, you’d be remiss to spend every single night out at dinner and a movie when there’s so much else to do.

Date Ideas To Spark Some Fun & Romance in Washington, D.C.

Need a little help planning your next out-of-the-box excursion? Here are 10 ideas for making your D.C. date something extra special:

Picnic in the Park

A picnic is a roundabout way of eating a meal on a date: you won’t be dining at a restaurant, but you can still whip up a meal to impress. On top of that, you’ll be able to go and grab a seat at any time you want without reservations. If that’s not enough incentive, the city has a lengthy list of gorgeous parks that would paint a picturesque backdrop to your picnic. It might even be more romantic to dine on a blanket beside the Potomac or under a cherry tree, right?

Monument Tour

Chances are, you’ve seen the majority of D.C.’s most famous monuments. But, when is the last time you went on a stroll to see them all in one fell swoop? You and your date can embark on a walking tour of the National Mall and check out the city’s most famous landmarks. Plus, all that time walking will give you two a chance to chat and really get to know one another.

Washington DC Monument

Arcade or Billiards Bar

Another dating rut to fall into is grabbing drinks over, and over, and over again. Instead, make your trip to the bar a bit more memorable by choosing a spot with tasty beverages and a memorable activity. A gaming bar like the city’s Atlas Arcade allows you to play retro video games while you imbibe. Or, you can hit up a billiards room and play pool, as well as darts, shuffleboard and arcade games, depending on the place you go.

Outdoor Movie

Okay, so this is technically still a movie date. But the fact that you and your date can grab a blanket, some snacks and sit under the stars while watching a movie makes it just a tad more special. scape the room by solving various puzzles, too, so you can find the one nearest to you or the screen showing the movie you most want to see. Offerings range from blockbusters, to 80s classics, to cartoons — the choice is yours.

Escape Room

Don’t worry — it’s not as scary as it sounds. Places like Escape Artist DC give participants a full narrative, creating a world that has a puzzle to solve within it. You and your date will have to try and scape the room by solving various puzzles but it will be a fun challenge for you to complete together. Once you’re out, you’ll feel like you really earned a good cocktail, which will round out a seriously memorable evening.

Kayaking

The Potomac River you picnicked beside is the perfect place for a kayaking trip, too. You and your date can sign up for a guided tour, or simply rent a kayak or canoe together and start rowing. If you want to do something a little less challenging, you can also rent paddle boats in smaller bodies of water like the Tidal Basin, where you’ll have incredible views of the Jefferson Monument.

Washington DC Date ideas

Museum Hop

Washington is home to some of the nation’s best museums, and they cover a broad range of interests. In fact, allowing your date to choose the museum you’ll visit will give you an insight into his or her interests and personality. Will it be the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, or the International Spy Museum, where you can pick up an alias and try your best to live like an undercover? The choice is theirs.

Visit a Winery

You might be surprised to find out that there are some bona fide wineries within a stone’s throw of Washington, D.C. Many of them have open hours, tours and tastings, as well as activities like live music, movies and bocce ball on the vineyard lawn. Your date will be impressed as you whisk him or her off, though it would be best to grab a shuttle or taxi out to the winery so you can both imbibe.

Volunteer

The nation’s capital has endless opportunities for locals to get involved and make the city — and world — a better place. You and your date can brainstorm the causes you care most about and find a charity involved with your top choice. Then, sign up to fill grocery bags at a food bank, walk shelter dogs or help re-paint a local school. The few hours you spend doing good will make you feel pretty good about yourselves and each other.

Cook Together

Finally, you can always keep things casual and simple and still eat a hearty meal. Simply skip the fancy restaurant dinner and find a recipe online instead. You can work together to peel, chop, sauté and bake, producing a full meal as a team. Sometimes, a meal you make yourself tastes even better than what you buy in a restaurant, anyway — you should try that theory out and see.

Now, Make It A Date!

Chances are, at least one of these date ideas suits you and your significant other. So, cancel your dinner reservations and plan something out of the ordinary instead. You’ll both enjoy doing something different, but mixing things up will make you enjoy those special dinner-and-a-movie nights even more. To us, that sounds like a win-win.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

Typically when people are planning a vacation, they think of fun activities to do during the day, like hiking or seeing museums. When you’re going to vacation on the west coast, however, it’s a great idea to plan ahead to see the sunset in a way you wouldn’t be able to at home. It’s one of the best things you can do, especially when you’re visiting San Francisco. Thankfully there are easy ways to incorporate the sunset into your next trip.

Unique Ways to Enjoy the California Sunset Next Time You’re In San Francisco

Here are some ideas for finding that perfect sunset spot while in San Francisco!

Golden Gate Bridge Sunset

golden gate bridge sunset california

You already know that when you go to San Francisco that driving across the Golden Gate Bridge is going to be on your list of things to do. Why not drive across it and see the sunset at the same time? The international orange color of the towers will only accent the hues of the sunset, just make sure you keep an eye on the road! If you’d rather sit and watch, there are multiple places to gaze at the bridge where you’re sure to see the sunset from as well.

Outdoor Evening Performance

Besides the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is also known for being a hub of local talent, so if you want a true experience of the city, you’ll want to catch a concert while you’re there. There are plenty of outdoor concert places where you’ll be able to see the sunset at the same time, and some of them are even free. Check the listings for the time you’ll be in town and take in every moment!

Bonfire on The Beach

sunset in san francisco california

Bonfire supplies are probably not among what you’ll pack in your suitcase, but you should definitely pick some up at the store once you get to wherever you’re staying in San Francisco. You’ll have access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, so why not be on one while the sun sets? This is a great option for both people who want something fun and casual to do, and people who want something romantic. As long as you read up on recreational fire regulations, you’ll be in for a great night.

Cocktail Cruise

While you’re at the ocean, look around for a fun cocktail cruise that will end your day on a great note without forcing you to reschedule your whole vacation. Cocktail cruises are usually no longer than a couple hours, but the key is to pick one that has the kind of entertainment you like that’ll see sights you want to explore. Some cruises are scheduled to end in a gorgeous sunset.

This is another great idea for people wanting casual or romantic sunset activity ideas. It’s popular to take a cocktail cruise with a bunch of your friends, because the atmosphere is so laid back. Still, it can give couples a private moment on a balcony that floats past stunning scenery, so why not give it a try? Especially if you get a cruise that focuses on ending with the sunset, you won’t even have to worry about timing your night. Let the cruise staff do that for you!

Hippie Hill

If you’re more of a laid back, easy going kind of person, Hippie Hill is definitely a place for you to try and catch the sunset. A gathering spot in Golden Gate Park since the 1960s, Hippie Hill provides a place where you can enjoy a range of sunset activities, like playing some fetch with your dog or holding a barbeque. With all of the ways you can enjoy the park, Hippie Hill is a great place to watch the sunset from, especially if you’re visiting with a group of friends.

 

Watching the sunset during a trip to San Francisco can easily make the top of the list of things you’re going to tell your friends about once you get back home. The key is to do some research and find the activity that fits your trip. Whether you’re looking for something fun or romantic, San Francisco will be able to offer something that fits your needs, all while basking in the orange glow of the sunset.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


 

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

When one day blurs into the next and your coffee sits cold on your desk, you long for country roads to reconnect to your inner self. At home, after a long day, you wind down by doing yoga, binge watching a T.V. show or enjoying a glass of wine.

You seek whatever simple pleasures you can find. There’s something about the way mountains, meadows and farms stretch out over vast landscapes that soothes the soul, how the world is wide with wonder.

Enjoy the Countryside by Traveling to These Places

Wind down by taking a road trip on those winding country roads to these rural places:

Lover’s Leap in Virginia

“Virginia is for Lovers,” says the road sign as you cross the border into the state. The roads write and coil slowly upward like something alive, as the foothills flirt with daring cliffs. With stunning views from high precipices, Lover’s Leap winds through Patrick Country, Virginia and is located in Meadows of Dan, close to the North Carolina border. A sad tale surrounds the site as two lovers — a settler and Chief’s daughter — chose to be together in death, much as did Romeo and Juliet.

Also located in Meadows of Dan are farms, craft shops and botanical gardens. Wonder down to Henriedda Crafters to enjoy nostalgic crafts and take a stroll through nature at Dehart Botanical Gardens.

You’ll find wineries nearby in Floyd, Virginia. Give the Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant and Villa Appalaccia Winery a try, which both feature live music and beautiful views.

Amish Country in Indiana

indiana countryside

For a return to simplicity, escape to Amish country in Indiana, where five locations make up the top ten settlements by Amish church districts: Allen County, Daviess County, Adams County, Elkhart and Lagrange Counties. The latter two make up the largest Amish settlement for the state. The settlements have Swiss roots, but there are differences in the communities, as some are more conservative and have various types of carriages due to slightly different practices.

In Elkhart county, visit Nappanee to try the delicious, traditional food at Threshers Dinner, where the threshers would gather every season to separate wheat grain from chaff. Stay at The Inn at Amish Acres, which is central to many of the area’s Amish attractions.

Kayaking and Whale Watching in Washington

You can’t get more picturesque than the small town of Port Townsend, Washington, especially if you physically need to be close to water at all times. At around 10,000 residents, this adorable town has a rich maritime history set on the northeast point of the Olympic Peninsula. Victorian homes and architecture dot the area, and residents and tourists alike enjoy kayaking and whale watching.

On rainy days, enjoy the rural pastime of antiquing, and listen to musicians play as you taste the wide selection of food: Try the seafood at Doc’s Marina Grill or the breakfast at Hudson Point Cafe.

From the daring cliffs of Lover’s Leap, to the simplicity of Amish Country and whale watching in an adorable marine town, let the countryside take you home in a way you haven’t been in a long time. Winding rural roads soothe the mind, body and soul, while teaching travelers the lessons of endurance, patience and simple joys.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture & the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations & cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing & inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.


 

New York City Travel Guide

New York City is the most popular destination in the world, and for good reason. With first-class entertainment options, world-famous landmarks, buzzing street activity and nightlife, it is an epicenter of culture, diversity and excitement. Your choices are seemingly endless when it comes to hotels, which means deciding which hotel to book can be a challenge, as options range from hostels to ultra-luxurious global chains. IHG® can help you find accommodations that cater to your wants and needs while you explore what makes NYC so unique.

New York City CityscapeImage via Flickr by hijanisch

Things to See

New York City is home to a multitude of world-renowned landmarks, so prioritizing your time during your visit is essential. For the ultimate sightseeing adventure, consider one of the hotels in Manhattan, home to the Empire State Building, Times Square, Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial. Manhattan can easily fill your itinerary with must-dos, and a short boat ride across the harbor takes you to the Statue of Liberty. After a day of sightseeing, a stroll through Central Park is an excellent way to unwind.

Hotels in New York City

New York City hosts almost 55 million visitors each year and offers an incredible array of destinations and attractions to explore. Regardless of when you go, where you stay or what you do, there are plenty of hotels to fit your specific needs, and by booking through IHG, you are assured a great stay while you explore New York.

Where to Stay

When considering hotels in New York City, first choose your ideal borough, since each has its own character, advantages and charms. You may want to be closer to the multicultural cuisine of Queens or the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn. Midtown Manhattan is a prime location for visitors wanting to be within walking distance of Broadway plays or 5th Avenue shops, although they can be expensive. If you want to be in the middle of the action, look for a Times Square hotel location. Luckily, there are many reasonably priced hotels inside and outside of Manhattan, and getting around is easy.

How to Get to New York City

The New York City metropolitan area is served by three key airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, La Guardia Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, which is only 15 miles from Manhattan. Those visiting the city by rail will enjoy the iconic Grand Central Terminal or Pennsylvania Station, the city’s two main railway stations. Travelers with shorter stays may find New York City hotels near major transportation hubs more convenient and more budget-friendly.
The thought of getting around the city can be intimidating for first-time visitors, but traveling throughout the city and its five boroughs is surprisingly easy, thanks to the extensive Metro subway system. Along with its low cost and vast network of routes, the Metro is an efficient way to explore the city. In addition, you can easily hail a cab for a direct route to your destination.

Philadelphia has been called the City of Brotherly Love and The City That Loves You Back, but even though its nicknames may change, the one thing that doesn’t is just how easy it is to fall in love with the city. No matter your interests or reasons for visiting, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re into history, food, sports, or the outdoors. All you have to do is check in to one of the IHG hotels near downtown Philadelphia that provides easy access to the major events and attractions, and you’ll be on your way to exploring an exciting city with many different experiences to offer!

Delve Into Rich History philadelphia city at night

Image via Flickr by cantbecool

In addition to being one of the largest cities in the United States, Philadelphia is also home to some of the nation’s most important history. Considered the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia has an abundance of historical sites that will satisfy any history buff’s needs.

If you’re looking to trace back to the country’s origins, Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, is a great place to start. Within Independence National Historical Park, you’ll also find the Liberty Bell and Franklin Court, which both offer more insight into American history.

Enjoy an Abundance of Pro Sports

Philadelphia is not only saturated in history, but it also has a competitive edge, as professional sports play a huge role throughout the city. When you visit, you’ll find teams playing at state-of-the-art stadiums and games you can attend throughout the year. Whether you like baseball, basketball, football, or hockey, Philadelphia is home to some of the most avid sports fans. Their enthusiasm will make your experience at the games that much more enjoyable.

Grab some tickets to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, or watch the Eagles score touchdowns at Lincoln Financial Field. If you prefer basketball, you’ll be cheering on the 76ers and, of course, the Flyers are the city’s choice for hockey teams.

Experience a Variety of Outdoor Fun

If you prefer to get active yourself, there are tons of outdoor activities to partake in while visiting Philadelphia. Biking, hiking, hot air balloon rides, golf courses, horseback riding, and boating are just some of what the city has to offer if you’re looking for some outdoor fun.

If you want to stay in the city’s core, a walk through John F. Kennedy Plaza, also called Love Park, provides urban views alongside greenery, sculptures, and water features. It’s here that you can watch life in downtown Philadelphia. Head to Peace Valley Park, and you’ll have more solitude and nature as you explore the various trails, enjoy a picnic, or go fishing on Lake Galena.

Explore the Authentic Culinary Scene

No matter how you spend your days exploring Philadelphia, you’ll inevitably find yourself looking for a place to enjoy a meal. Luckily, the city has an incredible culinary scene that caters to any palate or dietary need. Even more exciting are the many must-have dishes that originated in the city.

One of the most recognizable food icons is the Philly cheesesteak. Producing the right combination of roll, ribeye beef, and melted cheese is considered an art in the city.

Though the cheesesteak may be the more well-known sandwich associated with Philadelphia, the hoagie is actually the official sandwich of the city. You won’t want to miss your chance at trying the authentic Philly-style hoagie, complete with deli meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and dressing.

 

Whether you’re spending your time outdoors in the city or indoors watching a pro sports game, indulging in the vast history that surrounds you or dining on exquisite cuisine, Philadelphia is an amazing city to explore. It will leave you wanting to return again and again.