It's officially been two years since I quit my day job to pursue my writing career. Last year, I wrote a post about my reflections one year in, so I wanted to check in with an update on my second year of full-time freelance life.
Last fall, I took a press trip to Tampa, Florida. I got to stay in a cool hotel in a former courthouse, and I saw a dolphin on my morning run. I checked out a food court made from shipping containers, sipped cocktails at a rooftop bar, and took lots of photos. And I ate plenty of delicious food...
As you may have noticed from my posts about Maui and Hilo, I have a thing for shave ice. It's the perfect pick-me-up on a hot Hawaiian afternoon, and it's also a local specialty that you probably won't find on the mainland. Wondering what the deal is with the brightly-hued dessert pictured above? Here's your guide to Hawaiian shave ice.
Kansas City-based Paleterias Tropicana is a restaurant that defies a simple description. The company started in 2004 as an ice cream parlor, serving housemade Mexican-style ice cream and paletas (ice pops). But then the menu kept expanding. There's a lineup of smoothies, made from the fresh fruit piled behind the counter...
As I mentioned in my Maui post, the Road to Hana is a winding and narrow rainforest drive that's a highway only in the technical sense of the term. Distance-wise, it's only about 60 miles to Hana, but your journey will take all day: there's a 25 mph speed limit for much of the route, dozens of one-lane bridges, frequent photo stops, detours for hikes, and multiple swimming opportunities.
2018 was the first year I published a list of the best foods I ate. I started the list at the beginning of December, so my memory was a bit hazy on some of the details, and I had to rely on Instagram photos, blog posts, and articles. This year, I kept a running "best foods" post in my drafts all year long. As I added to the post—a dessert here, an appetizer there—I realized that I wasn't only making a list of foods.
Over my past decade of travel, I've stayed at boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts. I've checked into budget motels and hostels. I've rented Airbnb apartments and cabins at national parks. I've stayed on a boat and at the world's only Frank Lloyd Wright hotel. Nothing prepared me for the Chateau Avalon in Kansas City, Kansas.
Kansas City, Kansas might be most famous for its iconic barbecue, but there's much more to the city's food scene besides smoked meat. Partly, that's due to Kansas City's diversity: there isn't an ethnic majority, and students in the public schools speak 200 different languages. In addition to that rich cultural diversity, Kansas City has a vibrant community of family-owned restaurants and local food producers, some of which have been...
If you know only one thing about Kansas City's food scene, it's probably that they're world-famous for their barbecue. Kansas City-style barbecue originated in the 1920s, when African-American entrepreneur Henry Perry started selling slow-cooked barbecued ribs wrapped in newspaper.
Elk Horn, Iowa is one of the most Danish places in America: 43 percent of the town's 650 residents can claim Danish heritage. There are Danish flags lining the streets, two annual festivals celebrating Danish food and culture, and attractions like the Museum of Danish America. There's also a place to get a taste of Denmark: The Danish Table Hygge Kitchen...
I've eaten plenty of pizza on my travels, from classic coal-fired pizza at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn to the Mountain Pie at Beau Jo's in Colorado. But on my recent trip to Kansas City, Kansas, I got to enjoy pizza in a whole new way: by making it myself at 1889 Pizza Napoletana.
I have a thing for small towns that lean hard into their European heritage, like German-tinged New Ulm, Minnesota, and New Glarus, Wisconsin (a.k.a. America's Little Switzerland). There's something touching and very American about preserving bits and pieces of the Old Country while settling wholeheartedly in the new one.
Iowa seems like an improbable destination for world-famous architecture. But Mason City, Iowa (about 30 miles south of the Minnesota border) is exactly that. The small town is home to the world's only remaining Frank Lloyd Wright-designed hotel: the Historic Park Inn.
For the past several years, I’ve been very rigid about how I traveled—meticulously researched itineraries, figuring out the very best places to eat, and so on. That makes sense for my press trips for this blog and research trips for articles, since I'm on the job and have professional commitments to the convention and visitors bureaus and publications I'm working with.