As most of us have been stuck in our homes for quite a while, I thought it would be enjoyable to go on a virtual trip to some of my favorite areas of the country. Let’s begin at the West Coast (or “Left Coast,” as some say) and then make our way back to Philadelphia.
Some years ago, I flew out to San Francisco to attend a business conference in Sonoma — a gorgeous spot in the heart of California’s wine country. I rented a car at the airport and headed North through the city, toward the Golden Gate Bridge. I was in absolute awe as I made my approach to the breathtaking red-orange bridge. Here I was, driving over the most iconic bridge in the country, which I had only seen in photographs and films until then. And, as luck would have it, the weather was crystal clear, and I was able to enjoy a spectacular view of the bay. This was obviously a step up from the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.
Heading east, I would be remiss if I didn’t make a stop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Once again, a business conference brought me to this attractive city, surrounded by beautiful open space. New Mexico’s state capital is well known for its panoramic views and pueblo-style architecture. Santa Fe is home to many museums, among them The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, dedicated to one of America’s most significant artists. Also not to be missed is the landmark Santa Fe Plaza, which features Spanish, Native American and Mexican art and jewelry.
The next stop is probably my most favorite U.S. city of all: Chicago. Referred to as the Windy City, Chi-Town and the City of Broad Shoulders, Chicago has something for everyone. First and foremost, Chicago is one of the most architecturally significant cities in the world. The skyline is absolutely awe-inspiring. Downtown Chicago, referred to as “the Loop,” contains hundreds of important high-rise structures in a variety of styles. If you do visit Chicago (I would avoid the winter), it is mandatory that you take an architectural boat tour.
Adjacent to Chicago is the Village of Oak Park, famous for its many Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes. This should definitely be part of your itinerary. And finally, you must make a reservation at Shaw’s Crab House and order Shaw’s seafood platter. This is nirvana on a plate, with griddled garlic shrimp, sea scallops and a crab cake. Of course, you must wash this down with a frosty mug of Goose Island beer.
After leaving the Midwest, I would highly recommend a visit to the charming Southern port city of Charleston, South Carolina. Probably the most amazing thing about Charleston is that strangers on the street will strike up a conversation with you, and you immediately become best friends. Charleston has so much to offer and is full of history. Charleston’s historic pastel antebellum houses (Rainbow Row) are best appreciated by taking a long walk down its cobblestone streets. Make sure you also meander through the Battery promenade and Waterfront Park, which overlook the Charleston harbor. If beaches are to your liking, you should take an excursion to Isle of Palms or Folly Beach.
Finally, if you are a foodie, Charleston is the place for you! Some of my favorite restaurants in Charleston are Husk, Poogan’s Porch, Slightly North of Broad and Blossom. My mouth is now watering for a lobster roll — the Charleston version of a cheesesteak. Trust me, you will not be disappointed with any of these choices.
I think that is enough virtual traveling for now, and we should head back to the City of Brotherly Love. I hope I’ve given you a fairly accurate impression of these wonderful places! After COVID-19, consider taking a break and traveling to these amazing spots!