Thursday March 6, 2014
One of the things I've learned in the high stakes world of international intrigue known as travel writing, locals can be very picky about what tourists call their home. For example, Californians don't like it when you call their state "Cali" -- I learned that the hard way. Getting more specific, natives of San Francisco (or those who have lived in the city long enough* to call themselves residents) really hate it when outsiders call the city San Fran or Frisco.
But maybe "Frisco" isn't that bad? In Making a Case for 'Frisco, writer Peter Hartlaub allows for some leeway in abbreviating the name of his home city. "Pro-Frisco San Francisco currently has two very strong allies," Hartlaub notes. "The Hells Angels and the RBL Posse." But that still doesn't mean that it's ok. "I do think Frisco is a nickname that needs to be earned before it enters conversation...I think Frisco should be reserved for people who live here."
San Francisco is one of the most popular cities in the United States, so it's likely you'll find yourself talking about it at some point. For the ideal pronunciation, Hartlaub looks to a 1995 editorial on the topic: "It's more like SanfrnSISco, all one word minus a syllable."
Read more about the San Fran vs. 'Frisco debate in the comments on Hartlaub's article. (Or don't. Internet commenters can be unreasonable...)
*"Long enough" varies.
Friday February 28, 2014
Coffee culture is alive and well in America, thanks to caffeine addicts like myself. But it's also doing well thanks to connoisseurs who obsess over cappuccino foams, special roasts, and slow brewing techniques.
About once every quarter, a new list of the country's best coffee shops shows up in my inbox. The latest edition from USA Today looks at the 10 best coffeehouses across the USA. These results, many of which are offbeat (great coffee in Canyon, Texas? Really?) were selected by David Heilbrunn, in charge of a trade show called Coffee Fest, and his colleague Chris Deferio, a coffee industry expert. Here are the places Heilbrunn and Deferio say you should go if you want to get the USA's best coffee right now:
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- Portland, Oregon
- Washington, DC
- Holland, Michigan
- Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Canyon, Texas
- Hood River, Oregon
- Canton, Ohio
Now, check out the full article for details...
Related articles: Food and Dining Bucket List Travel | Restaurant Weeks in the USA
Friday February 28, 2014
We all need a little bit of spice in our lives and many of us find that through travel. But what happens when even travel feels more like a chore? This is where Magical Mystery Tours steps in.
Recently profiled in the Washington Post, the DC-based tour company does all the grunt work of travel planning and research then adds an element of surprise. This is how the service works, according to MMT:
You give us your desired travel dates, desired travel budget, and fill out a survey giving us as many (or as few) additional parameters as you feel comfortable with (for example: you hate places with sand, loathe camping, adore Montana, etc.)
From that information, we will tailor make a vacation for you, trying to keep in mind as many of your preferences as possible. From there, we will let you know a rough time and date you need to be at your travel hub (airport, bus station, etc.).
Then, a few days before your departure you will get a packet of information. There will be a cover letter telling you the weather at your destination so you pack appropriately. Try not to open the packet though! We want you to wait as long as possible to open it for maximum surprise factor. Once you actually open the packet when at your travel hub, you will reveal details about your getaway, such as destination name, reservation information, and things to do near where you are staying.
Are you spontaneous enough to try a vacation to an unknown destination? I think this is one of the most refreshing travel concepts I've come across in a while. Why didn't I think of that?
Related Articles: Top Guided Tours in the USA | Beer, Wine, and Booze Trails in the USA
Friday February 28, 2014
I love reviewing apps for this site: road trip apps, hotel apps, food and dining apps, etc. I'm constantly adding and deleting apps on my smartphone (ok, my iPhone) trying to figure out what works best for me as a traveler and for everyday.
Wirecutter, one of my favorite sites for tech reviews, published a massive review on the best weather apps for iOS. The winner? Yahoo Weather, which makes use of Flickr's vast pool of location photographs and Weather Underground data. Its beautiful, simple interface is what has made it my go-to weather app, too. But writer David Chartier goes even further in investigating the app's settings and competition. If you're a weather geek, which many travelers are required to be, I recommend taking a look.