April 30, 2014

Summer Road Trip Guide

Photos by Greg Wasserstrom

There's nothing better than a summer road trip. It's by far my favorite way to travel in the US because it lets you get a glimpse of the most remote recesses of the country side. From quirky motels to state camp grounds, you will find me happy as a clam. I tend to frame my road trips around Americana—historical monuments, Civil War battle fields, roadside attractions and state parks. Here's a quick list of a few of my favorite road trip routes east of the Rockies, and you can find my list road-trip wardrobe essentials on Shopcade.

John Wilkes Booth Assassination Escape Route
Start at Ford's Theater in Washington DC, and take a guided tour from a Park Ranger. They'll give you all the insider info about the building, which really brings the history of Lincoln's untimely demise to life. Next stop south is Dr. Samuel Mudd's House. Booth famously jumped from the box where Lincoln sat to the stage to scream, "Sic Semper Tyrannis!" breaking his leg in the process. Dr. Mudd splinted the leg and let Booth rest before he crossed into Virginia. Next you'll cross the Potomac into Virginia to try and find the Garrett farm near Bowling Green, which is where Booth hid before being smoked out by Union forces. Unfortunately all that's left is a roadside history pole marking the site. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled because it's located inside the grounds of Ft. Lee, so if you miss it you'll have to drive 4 miles just to turn around! The last stop is in Richmond, VA. Shop at Need Supply HQ in Carytown and treat yourself to lunch at the Black Sheep. Finish the day with a must-see tour of the Confederate Capital Building.

New Hampshire to Maine
Summer in New England can't be beat, and seeing as I'm from MA, it's one of my favorite little trips to take. Head north on 95 and stop in Portsmouth, NH. This quintessential New England town is nothing short on charm, delicious food and cute shops. I start the day with a tour of the USS Albacore (which I like to call the tuna sub), a submarine turned museum just outside downtown Portsmouth. The Albacore's teardrop-shaped hull was the prototype for the Navy's nuclear powered submarine force and was the first boat built specifically to operate underwater. This is by far one of the best audio tours I have ever been on and should not be missed! Finish with lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery before crossing the bridge into Maine. Stop by the Kittery Outlets for some major shopping deals before continuing onto Portland. Watch the sunset over the Atlantic from Gilbert's Chowder House's back deck and take in the sea breeze.

Deep in the heart of Texas
A Texas road trip is not for the faint of heart. The Lonestar State is gigantic and there is a lot of ground to cover. Starting in Houston, be sure to eat at Goode Company BBQ, visit the Art Museum and explore the cute shops around Montrose. Next we head west to Austin with a quick detour in Lockhart for more legendary BBQ. Kreuz is by far the best in Lockhart and is renowned for their lack of BBQ sauces (sauces not allowed!) and utensils (plastic knives only). Well worth the mess though, so dig into that brown butcher paper and get your hand covered in the most delicious brisket you will ever taste. Austin is next, and you'd be remiss to not visit the capital. The sprawling campus is great for an afternoon break, and you can even walk around the capitals halls on your own accord. Next up is The Alamo in San Antonio, which may be a little lackluster if you get your hopes us too high. The history behind the preservation of the site is the most compelling part of the area's story. The next log haul is to Marfa, which appears out of nowhere among dust and desert. There is great food to eat and fantastic art to be seen here, so take you time and invest at least a day or two. The final stop has us looping back east towards Big Bend National Park. Set up camp in this amazing place and get ready for some serious hiking. Take some easy trails along the Rio Grande, or suit up for a day hike into the Chisos Mountains to explore the parks famous Window Trail. Your feet may hurt, but the views across the vast expanses of Texas are unparalleled and totally worth it.

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