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Photo by Tara Guertin

When we think about traveling, it’s easy to let the mind roam far afield, forgetting how much is happening close to home. Across the country, chefs are rediscovering local traditions and giving them a modern twist, while artists in some of the most digitally savvy areas are getting back in touch with their analog roots, and writers are finding the value of slow travel. Here are five reasons why we’re celebrating America week, from sea to shining sea.

One great block: Oakland's Temescal Alley

One great block: Oakland’s Temescal Alley

Playing: Grownups Can Do It Too
The Freehand Miami has changed the game for hostels—sterile dorm rooms no more. Instead, the Freehand experience is alive with color and community. Not only is it a welcoming place for its guests, who can expect an affordable (and fun) experience, it’s a focal point for locals, offering weekly events in the backyard, where craft beer and barbecue is par for the course.

An Appreciation for Handmade
Tucked away just off Telegraph Avenue at 49th Street, Temescal Alley in Oakland, California is one of America’s coolest blocks. The pedestrian street offers horticultural rarities, the kind of cafe culture that has come to be associated with the Bay Area, and pizza to die for. Go ahead and spend the whole day there.

Eat your way through Michigan wine country

Eat your way through Michigan wine country

Classic Road Trips
Whether you’re making the most of summer in Vermont, discovering the best of Michigan’s wine country (yes, Michigan), exploring the art scene from Texas to Maine, or heading down the west coast on a California taco crawl, the American road trip is a classic. You can make it a very throwback experience by buying a (current) road atlas instead of using your smartphone or GPS system to navigate (and you might check your email a few less times as well).

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Train Travel’s Cool Again
Writer Alexander Chee had the idea during an interview in March of this year: What if Amtrak hosted writers-in-residence aboard trains? A Twitter storm gathered and Amtrak responded. It’s now accepting 24 writers, and for the first time in a long time, we’ve been reminded of how wildly romantic travel by rail used to be—and could be again.

A slow burn: Where to eat green chiles in New Mexico

A slow burn: Where to eat green chiles in New Mexico

Will Travel for Food
The U.S. is a wildly diverse food destination, with a host of regional cuisines complemented by new techniques and modern touches from chefs and restaurateurs. From the best barbecue (or chicken-fried steak) in Texas, to the slow-burn of green chiles in the Southwest, to the secret of a real luau, to where to find New Orleans on a roll, we’ve done the investigating so that you can do the eating. Bon appétit.