Sometimes what makes a trip amazing is avoiding the most popular travel destinations and replacing them with more appealing options. If you want to know what avant-garde destinations would best replace New York, New Orleans, or San Francisco tourist traps, then check out Stray Dog Diaries’ guide on the subject.
Why travel to predictable, unadventurous destinations like New York, New Orleans, and San Francisco when you could go to Woburn, Burlington, Pittsburgh, Harford or Long Island City? As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, probably after a weekend getaway in Woburn, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
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LONG ISLAND CITY
If you live in New York City, one of the unconventional, yet non-exotic, destinations you can visit is Long Island City. The westernmost residential and commercial neighborhood of the Queens borough is just a stone throw away, and while there, you can witness the phenomenon of gentrification first hand. Walk the waterfront parks while sipping an organic smoothie blended with love by a late-blooming artist trying to make ends meet. Be swept away by the thriving art scene, visit the galleries, and, if you do not feel like commuting back to the city, treat yourself to a cozy hotel in the area, thus making the most of your weekend getaway.
Planning to gorge on sightseeing in Hartford, the Insurance Capital of the U.S. might seem like a waste of your hard-earned dollars, but once there the stratospheric amount of activities available will surprise you. I will not disclose them all, and just give you two hot tips: check out Mark Twain’s Bicycle at Connecticut’s Old State House, and tweet a turtle (@imaboxturtle) at the new Connecticut Science Center.
Woburn is nine miles north of Boston and just south of the intersection of I-93 and I-95. Woburn is also a perfect candidate for your collection of avant-garde holiday destinations. Scarce population, humid climate, and a high-profile water contamination crisis that scarred the region in the 70s will give you material for more than one story to tell once you return from your getaway weekend.
If you feel a little more conventional, you could visit Burlington in Vermont, a destination that often flies under the radar, but can bestow unexpected joys upon its visitors.
Burlington is celebrated for its “ultra-liberal environment and free-thinking spirit”, but also for being one of the stops on the Vermont Cheese Trail. The city hosts world-class dining and shopping venues only a short ride away from top-notch outdoor activities, making it a truly versatile, chameleonic destination. Lure your loved one on a weekend getaway to Burlington with the false promise of high-end dining, and then shatter her dreams of romance by going on less than glamorous zip-lining adventure.
The city of Pittsburgh, for reasons that are deemed vague by most, has been often characterized as the “Paris of Appalachia”. While Pittsburgh’s pleasures as a destination still remain a well-kept secret, thanks to its combination of architectural styles, bridges, and hills, the city is easily one of the most scenic in the country.
Pittsburgh is also rich with culture, and while you are there, you should visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, both with extensive, spectacular exhibits. If you are interested in pop culture, make sure you visit the Andy Warhol museum, a venue dedicated to the life and work of the Pittsburgh-born eccentric.