For the last 300 years, New Orleans has been one of the great cultural gems of the world. Its a place where the locals’ laissez-faire hospitality and friendliness attract visitors from all over the world. With its classic architecture draped in Spanish moss, there are few other places so enchanting.
Food and music define this town’s way of life. Both are intrinsic to the fabric and history of New Orleans and the cultural effervescence that permeates it.
Generations of the greatest and most influential American musicians have been born and bred here, while many others have been adopted by the town. The rich historical mix of heritages in the Crescent City — African, European, Caribbean — makes it utterly unique. Every neighborhood in the city has its own special flavor and scene.
For the last 300 years, New Orleans has been one of the great cultural gems of the world. Its a place where the locals' laissez-faire hospitality and friendliness attract visitors from all over the world. With its classic architecture draped in Spanish moss, there are few other places so enchanting.
Food and music define this town's way of life. Both are intrinsic to the fabric and history of New Orleans and the cultural effervescence that permeates it.
Generations of the greatest and most in influential American musicians have been born and bred here, while many others have been adopted by the town. The rich historical mix of heritages in the Crescent City African, European, Caribbean makes it utterly unique. Every neighborhood in the city has its own special flavor and scene.
Spend the day wandering the streets of the iconic French Quarter and catch a brass band playing in Jackson Square. Stroll down gallery-lined Royal Street and take in the beautiful work of New Orleans' many artists. Then dance the night away at nearby Preservation Hall, one of the city's most iconic jazz clubs, owned and operated by the same family since the 1960s.
The next morning, take the lovely street car ride Uptown along oak-lined St. Charles Avenue and marvel at the stunning architecture, then stop by Camellia Grill for breakfast. Afterward, visit picturesque Audubon Park, just a few streetcar stops down. Audubon Park hosts the New Orleans Zoo and the Tree of Life, the oldest live oak in town. Follow the pathway to take in the grandeur of the mighty Mississippi River at Audubon's upper park.Don't miss a trip to Domilise's for the best fried shrimp po-boy imaginable. Just a mile farther down the road is the legendary nightclub Tipitina's, where you can dance the night away to some of the best musicians anywhere.
But the most important thing to do in New Orleans is to go wherever it takes you. Let the spirits that dwell here guide you. Don't be afraid to take your cocktail with you out onto the street or to greet strangers passing by. Become a New Orleanian, even if just for a day or so, because you haven't truly lived until you've been down to the Big Easy!
When Charles II was restored to the throne of England in 1660, he thanked some of his loyal friends by giving them land in America. In return, they recognized this gift by dubbing the land Charles Towne. The young city was the first settlement in the Province of Carolina and found itself under frequent attacks from Spain, France, marauding pirates and local Native American tribes.
Walls were erected, and a battery along the eastern shore was constructed to protect the city, which tenaciously stood its ground and grew against all odds. Slowly but surely, Charles Towne developed into what we know and love today as Charleston.
Maybe it's coincidence -- but then again, maybe not -- that a city that started as a gift given to friends has become so well known for its friendliness and hospitality. Charleston is highly regarded for its history, art, food and nature, and the city has worked hard to protect these treasures, staying true to its official motto of "Aedes mores juraque curat" ("she guards her buildings, customs, and laws").
Not unlike any new community has to do today, Charleston needed to advertise to get people to move to it when it was just starting out. This drew newcomers from England and nearby colonies such as Bermuda and Barbados, creating an internationally diverse culture. As the new citizens and merchants established themselves and achieved success, they displayed it by building grand homes.
The Heyward-Washington House, built in 1771, and the Edmonston-Alston House, built in 1825, are both open for tours. During the Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens (March 19-April 19) each spring, visitors can tour many other homes, too -- a surprising number of them still occupied by descendants of the original owners. The historic estates of Boone Hall Plantation and Magnolia Plantation are a short drive outside the city and provide a fascinating glimpse into Charleston's rich past.
As the city grew and prospered, leisure activities became an increasingly important part of life. Charleston still boasts the first playhouse in America; the historic Dock Street Theatre is a wonderful place to take in some theater. This spring, don't miss Catch Me If You Can: The Musical. And King Street (including hip Upper King Street) is a must-see while exploring Charleston's vibrant downtown scene. The street is home to an impressive array of fine art galleries and clothing and jewelry boutiques. Art has always been an impor- tant part of Charleston's culture, and Spoleto, one of the world's premier performing arts festivals, draws thousands of spectators to Charleston every spring. Named for the city of its sister festival in Italy, the 17-day Spoleto Festival (May 22-June 7) features internationally acclaimed musicians, dancers and actors. Don't miss the Charleston Farmers Market, held in Marion Square Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In terms of hotels, inns and restaurants, there is something for everyone in Charleston. Many people visit the city each year just to sample its award-winning eateries. It's almost impossible to compile a list of best restaurants -- there are so many phenomenal ones, and new ones are opening all the time. But there are some perennial favorites that the locals return to again and again, including The Ordinary, Hominy Grill, Halls Chophouse, FIG, and Husk. For the best cappuccino in town, stop by City Lights Coffee.
Charleston's unique location on a natural harbor at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers makes it one of the easiest cities to navigate by boat, and there's no shortage of first-class marinas to call home while visiting. Charleston City Marina (843-723-5098, charlestoncitymarina.com) is one of the finest municipal marinas on the East Coast, offering easy tie-ups along their famous mega dock. They also provide a free shuttle service to various tourist sites and shopping locations around town. Complete boating services can also be obtained at their nearby sister marina, The Charleston City Boatyard (843-884-3000, charlestoncityboatyard.com).
While there is no doubt that Charleston can be hot in the summer, its mild climate the rest of the year provides plenty of time to enjoy all of the outdoor activities available in the area, including golf, kayaking, fishing, bird watching, cycling and swimming and lounging at the beach. One thing is for sure, you will not run out of things to do during your visit. Charlestonians frequently reference the fact that the city is located at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers, "where come together to form the Atlantic Ocean." What more can a boater ask for?
With many pleasure boaters planning trips around interests like top-flight golf courses, gourmet restaurants and dazzling fall foliage, is it so far fetched that, for some, craft brews and breweries can be a destination unto themselves? Not in our book. Here are 11 sudstastic towns to add to your personal booze cruise itinerary. Just remember to enjoy responsibly.
Already known for its classic New England water-town feel and fresh-as it-gets seafood, Portland is making a case as a must for traveling libationists. Its D.L. Geary Brewing was founded in 1983, when there were only a handful of microbreweries in the U.S. Since that time, 13 startups have joined the local ranks. Take a tour and quaff a pint at Allagash Brewing Company, which favors a Belgian style, or venture into Portland's historic Old Port and visit Sebago Brewing Co. or Shipyard Brewing. Rising Tide Brewing Company in the East Bayside neighborhood produces Daymark American Pale Ale, recently named one of the Great Beers You've Never Heard Of by Men's Journal. Dock at DiMillos Old Port Marina.
With so much else to see and do here, it would be easy to dismiss New York as a humdrum craft beer destination. That would be a mistake. The Big Apple is home to some of the best beer bars drop in at the Blind Tiger or Rattle N Hum for amazing pours from around the world and also has some champion breweries. Brooklyn Brewery didn't just capitalize on a name; it's brewed right in the borough, so you can visit for a tour and a taste. Sixpoint Brewery is nearby, canning four core beers in addition to a series of super-rare brews that are made one time only. Ale addicts flock to Bronx Brewery's backyard on warm days to enjoy four year-round and four seasonal beers. Dock at MarineMax at Chelsea Piers, North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place or in Jersey City at Liberty Landing Marina.
The second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic, and at one time a major manufacturing center, Baltimore has always been a hardworking town. Many of the microbreweries here reflect that history and character in their names Union Craft Brewing, Heavy Seas Brewery, Public Works Ale and manifest the idea that first you work hard, then play hard. Full Tilt Brewing has the mouth-watering Berger Cookie Chocolate Stout and Patterson Pumpkin. (It's website asks: Why do something half-assed when you can go Full Tilt?) Stillwater Artisanal seems to agree, offering bold creations like Rauchstar Scandinavian Smoked Ale, Classique Postmodern Beer and Gose Gone Wild Sour Wheat Ale. Dock at Crescent Marina at Fells Point, Henderson's Wharf Marina, Harbor East Marina or at any of the Baltimore Marine Centers.
Ideally positioned at the confluence of the St. Johns River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean,with 22 miles of white-sand beaches, Jacksonville is already a boater's dream come true. So, what if I told you there was also this thing called the Jax Ale Trail? Bingo! Pick up your brewery passport at any of the participating locations and wineither a koozie or a t-shirt by getting stamps at four or all eight of the designated stops. Breweries include Aardwolf Brewing Company, Bold City Brewery, Engine 15 Brewing Co., Green Room Brewing, Intuition Ale Works, Pinglehead Brewing Company, Veterans United Craft Brewery and Zeta Brewing Company. Visit the local Budweiser Brewery, one of only five in the country, for extra credit. Dock at Fort George Island Marina, or River City Brewing.
Beer Advocate magazine lists a dozen breweries in the Tampa area, adding to an array of enviable local attractions such as world-class beaches, seafood, sunshine and citrus. Cigar City Brewing is probably the most well known in town, with five Great American Beer Festival medals to its name. It also offers fresh rolled cigars for a great one-two punch. Tampa Bay Brewing Company has an open-air patio and house beers that include Red Eye Amber Ale, a Best Florida Beer Championships Gold Medal Winner in 2015. Other popular suds purveyors include Dunedin Brewery, the oldest microbrewery in Florida, and Three Palms Brewing, which brews 82 beers throughout the year. Dock at Tampa Harbour or Tampa Marriott Waterside Resort & Marina.
The Big Easy is a city bursting at the seams with heat and flavor, and a cold brew here goes down effortlessly, almost magically. The largest, and arguably best, homegrown label is Abita. Abita Brew Pub lets you sample draught versions of all its offerings Amber, Turbodog, Jockamo IPA, Purple Haze and more as well as select seasonal batches. Other breweries are up and coming after the town's long tradition of beer brewing almost died out after Prohibition. Covington Brewhouse specializes in Bavarian styles. NOLA Brewing Company offers a selection of lagers and ales. Crescent City Brewhouse is the sole French Quarter microbrewery. Dock at Orleans Marina or Seabrook Harbor & Marine.
If you like your India Pale Ale (IPA), and we do, then this Southern California hop spot is for you. San Diego boasts more than 50 breweries, and has been a haven for grog guzzlers since Prohibition, thanks to its proximity to Tijuana, Mexico, where booze was legal. These days, it has its own style of beer the San Diego Pale Ale; a local twist on the IPA as well as some great Belgians. You can get your drink on at nautical-sounding places like 32 North Brewing Co., Ballast Point Brewing, Green Flash Brewing and Oceanside Ale Works. Brewery Tours of San Diego offers daily excursions showcasing some of the award-winning beers produced locally. Dock at Cabrillo Isle Marina or Kona Kai Marina.
The multitude of breweries dotting the map in the Puget Sound area is staggering even before you start imbibing. So why not leave the planning and transportation to the knowledgeable guides of Road Dog's Seattle Brewery Tour? Book one or more seats on a three-hour join-in and visit breweries in downtown Seattle, as well as neighboring communities, such as Ballard, Fremont, SODO and West Seattle. Each tour stops at three locations, including places like Bad Jimmy's Brewing Company, aptly named because it only brews intense ales; nothing less than 6% alcohol by volume, Georgetown Brewing Company, the second most productive in the state, and Hales Ales Brewery, one of the true granddaddies of craft beer. Dock at Bell Harbor Marina or Shilshole Bay Marina.
Move over bourbon, there's a new favorite drink in town. Not only does this river city have 10 breweries 12 if you count two more right across the Ohio in Jeffersonville, Indiana it will be adding four more in 2015, according to the devotee website LouisvilleBeer.com. Falls City Beer has been a Louisville tradition since 1905, when the brewery first opened. After closing its doors in 1978, the brand was revived in 2010 with a craft-brewed English Pale Ale. Cumberland Brews has a beer list that includes Red Ale, Cream Ale, Nitro Porter, Meade and Pale Ale, plus rotating small-batch beers. New Albanian Brewing Company is noteworthy for its innovative brews as well as its distinct names and label artwork such as, Bonfire of the Valkyries Smoked Black Lager. Dock at RiverPark Place Marina.
As the song goes, Cleveland rocks! And we think that nothing goes better with rock than a nice cold local brew. Nationally respected Great Lakes Brewing produces close to 100 beers, from stout to porter, weizen to bitter, bock to rye, and pilsner to ale. Nano Brew Cleveland and Market Garden Brewery are also highlights, with Fat Head's Brewery serving up its award-winning Head Hunter Indian Pale Ale alongside munchies, sandwiches and pizza. Cleveland Brew Bus will pick you up and drop you off after tastings at three or four stops, all the while filling your head with fun facts about craft beer styles, Cleveland brewing history and background on the breweries you visit. Dock at Olde River Yacht Club.
Microbreweries in this metropolis used to be hard to come by, but the success of the labels Mill Street and Steam Whistle has led to a thriving craft beer culture. Fans of diverse flavors flock to Great Lakes Brewery, the oldest independent brewer in town. It produces five year-round lagers and ales, plus more than a dozen limited release beers, from Saison Dupump to Long Dong Pilsner. Black Oak Brewing Co. offers four perennial brews Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale and Ten Bitter Years Imperial IPA all of which have won Canadian Brewing Awards. Indie Ale House in The Junction neighborhood serves hard-to-find ales like Belgian Sour and Double IPA, for the true beeroisseur. Dock at Island Yacht Club or Toronto Island Marina.