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Just Back From the United States

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    Coast to Coast
    In 2016, the AFAR team logged approximately a bazillion miles traveling to such places as Denmark, Cuba, and Mount Fuji, just to name a few. But we also spent a good portion of the year exploring our own backyard—the USA. The result: 16 destinations closer to home that travelers should explore now. Click through the slideshow to learn more about what we saw, did, and ate—and to plan your trip.

    Photo by @palographic
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    Asheville, NC
    “The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, is a spectacular place, built by George Vanderbilt between 1889 and 1895. The Winter Garden (pictured), with the sculpture ‘Boy Stealing Geese’ by Karl Bitter, is one of the first rooms you see when you enter the 250-room main house. It’s really a castle. It’s the biggest home in the United States, and you can take a self-guided walk through it. There’s one room covered in 16th-century Flemish tapestries, a gym outfitted with late 19th-century exercise equipment, a parlor where a chess set once owned by Napoleon is on display, a bowling alley, 43 bathrooms—it’s kind of ridiculous. My favorite moment was stepping out on to the ‘back porch,’ where stout marble columns support arches that frame views of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching to the horizon.”—Jeremy Saum, executive editor

    Plan Your Trip: Asheville, North Carolina

    Photo by @jsaum
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    Marfa, TX
    “My friend and I desperately tried to avoid this permanent installation because it’s probably the most photographed piece of artwork in Marfa. But we decided to take the quick 40-minute drive from our hotel and stand in the middle of the road to get the perfect picture. We then immediately drove back for grilled cheese sandwiches from The Museum of Electronic Wonders & Late Night Grilled Cheese Parlour. We didn’t regret a single moment!”—Jason Seldon, art director

    Plan Your Trip: Marfa, Texas

    Photo by @jseldon11
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    Portland, OR
    “My husband, daughter, and I were headed to Oregon to see family and attend a memorial service. It’s impossible for me to fly into PDX without stopping in Portland for at least one meal. So this trip we finally made it to the original Pok Pok, where chef Andy Ricker prepares homestyle Northern Thai cuisine. I devoured half a chicken, and our two-year-old consumed an entire bowl of peanut sauce. It was a perfect, spicy welcome to Oregon.”—Julia Cosgrove, editor in chief 

    Plan Your Trip: Portland, Oregon

    Photo by @juliacosgrove
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    Yolo County, CA
    “I went to beautiful Napa on a trip organized by Bentley Motors. One of the things we were supposed to do was take a balloon ride over the valley—except the day we went, Napa was covered in thick fog. Not exactly the best ballooning weather. So, to escape the gray for our ride, we relocated to the perfectly named Yolo County.”—Danielle Walsh, associate editor 

    Plan Your Trip: Northern California

    Photo by @wandereatrepeat
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    Haines, AK
    “This summer, I went to Haines, Alaska, with my family for the 4th of July. We were following in the tracks of my great-grand-uncle who was mayor of the small town in the early 1900s. The two-hour ride north from Juneau on the local ferry was filled with incredible mountain views, a few whale spouts, and even one tail flip! We explored for a week, adventuring around Chilkoot Lake and Chilkat State Park and talking with the locals about our relative and the mountain named in his honor. We wrapped up the trip with a trekking excursion to a cave on Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier.”—Samantha Juda, audience marketing specialist

    Plan Your Trip: Haines, Alaska

    Photo by @slam_antha
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    New Orleans, LA
    “Oak Alley is a former sugar plantation just outside of New Orleans, along the Mississippi River. Guess where the plantation got its name? Yes, those are all oak trees, most of them at least a couple hundred years old. You can take a guided tour of the estate and wander the grounds, which include gardens and exhibits of the former slave quarters. I’ve never been into house tours, but this one brought our country’s history of slavery to life in a complex and visceral way. I think it would be good for every American, especially those who didn’t grow up in the south, to visit a place like this. It’s undeniably beautiful, and you’re forced to think about how that beauty was created and maintained.”—Jeremy Saum, executive editor 

    Plan Your Trip: New Orleans, Louisiana

    Photo by @jsaum
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    Black Rock City, NV
    “This Grateful Dead–inspired art car at Burning Man played amazing music as it jetted across the Playa. When I took this photo, it was playing big band New Orleans jazz.”—Tara Guertin, director of photography  

    Plan Your Trip: Black Rock City, NV

    Photo by @lostluggage
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    Nashville, TN
    “My favorite base of operations when I was exploring historic East Nashville was the Urban Cowboy B&B, a high-design, next-gen bed-and-breakfast housed in a 19th-century mansion. There was a Women & Whiskies social, and I had a cocktail in hand as soon as I arrived. I instantly met and made friends with locals.”—Jennifer Flowers, deputy editor

    Plan Your Trip: Nashville, Tennessee

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Park City, UT
    “Park City has top-notch ski resorts. I took this photo while I was skiing with my family.”—Tara Guertin, director of photography  

    Plan Your Trip: Park City, Utah 

    Photo by @lostluggage
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    Santa Barbara, CA
    “I recently spent a night at Santa Barbara’s beachfront Bacara Resort & Spa. You’re kind of swept away by all of the Mediterranean details: the roofing, the tiles, the greenery on every corner.”—Andrew Richdale, senior editor 

    Plan Your Trip: Santa Barbara, California

    Photo by @therichdale
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    Chicago, IL
    “I took my first architecture tour and learned that these twin towers are catalysts for the Chicago skyline of today.”—Anne Nguyen, senior digital experience designer

    Plan Your Trip: Chicago, Illinois

    Photo by @mrschhoun
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    Philadelphia, PA
    “We were in Philadelphia for one of the hottest weekends of the year (over 100 degrees!) and my husband, Raul, somehow managed to snap this shot in a post–Philly cheesesteak daze.”—Alex Palomino, associate photo editor

    Plan Your Trip: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Photo by @palographic
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    The Catskills, NY
    “Dylan and I were fishing Woodland Creek, a little tributary that feeds the Esopus Creek, just outside of Phoenicia, New York. I’ve hit some great hatches on that pool in years past but this was definitely not one of those days—the trout had nothing to fear. There’s an amazing new hotel north of there in Hunter, New York: Scribner’s Catskill Lodge. The staff is incredible, and it offers access to some of the best fishing, hiking, and skiing in all of New York. It’s all just a couple of hours north of New York City!”—Bryan Kinkade, publisher

    Plan Your Trip: Catskill, New York

    Photo by @bkinkade001
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    Los Angeles, CA
    “On my last stay in Echo Park, I stumbled upon this really over-the-top shop called Wacky Wacko. It’s like PeeWee’s Playhouse on acid: poppy graphic tees hang on oversize pink hangers, yellow paper streamers flutter on the ceiling, and human-size soda-can sculptures line the walls.”—Alex Palomino, associate photo editor 

    Plan Your Trip: Los Angeles, California

    Photo by @palographic
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    Cape Cod, MA
    “Cotuit, Cape Cod, is where my grandma has lived for the past 65 years. It’s a quiet town. There are just two restaurants, a local market, and a library. This photo is of the Cotuit Oyster Co., which is one of the oldest oyster companies in the United States. It started in the 1800s, and it’s run by a small group of fishermen and oystermen. In my opinion, the oysters are the best in Massachusetts. The day this photo was taken, we had just sold my grandma’s house in Cotuit, and it was our last night in town. We wanted to get oysters, but they were closed for the day when we drove up. They actually opened back up and set us up with some oysters.”—Lucy Flanagan, marketing coordinator 

    Plan Your Trip: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    Photo by @lucy_flan
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    Pittsburgh, PA
    “While I was in Pittsburgh, I hit Vandal, a friendly and casual spot in the great shopping neighborhood of Lawrenceville. I got a soft scramble, but sadly, they were out of biscuits, which looked insanely tasty. So I guess you should get there early.”—Andrew Richdale, senior editor 

    Plan Your Trip: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Photo by @therichdale
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    What’s Next...
    PHOTO BY DAVID KOSMOS SMITH
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