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City Guide: Portland, ME

The aftermath of our few days in Portland could best be described as a
“food coma.” We both felt like geese about to have our livers harvested for foie gras (although they would have found pure wine and Sazerac where our livers are supposed to be).

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City Guide: Palm Springs

Palm Springs isn’t just for “older” people. At the very least, the food isn’t. It’s gotten a reputation as a place where abundant “flippers” (sunbathers) bask all day—just by a pool instead of on the sand. But there’s plenty else to do—and eat—in PS. And a little pool time in between to cool off never hurt anyone. Just bring your sunscreen and remember you’re in the desert… Go during the wrong time of year (or stay too long) and you might roast.

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City Guide: Austin

If you want to stand in line, Austin is the place. It’s an incredible food town with a great vibe and unique local foods, quirky brands, and, of course, barbecue. But so much of the best is served out of containers/food trucks/food trailers/Airstreams/metal boxes/dumpsters transformed into “places that serve food.” And the lines don’t stop at smokers and brisket. Turns out Austin residents and guests alike also stand in line for tacos, burgers, hot dogs, and pizza.

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City Guide: Los Angeles

I can’t remember the last time we said, “Let’s go to LA for a long weekend.” New York, of course. Boston, no question. Chicago, absolutely.

Los Angeles has everything on the checklist that most cities don’t: consistently great weather, selection of incredible hotels, fantastic restaurants. Unfortunately, what ties them all together is a very long line of cars. If you’re walking on a street or an oh-so-rare sidewalk without a dog, people will actually stop and ask if you’re okay.

That said, we never complain when business brings us there often, and we always add on a few days. The key to a successful trip? Find a neighborhood and stay within a 5-mile radius to keep your sanity. And stick to Uber and Lyft and make them do the heavy lifting.

The other key? Stay only one night and rent a car to drive to Santa Barbara/Montecito.

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City Guide: Miami

When it’s January and you live in Minnesota, there is no high horse on which to sit and judge or criticize any place in the world. So Miami becomes an easy go-to place and our goal is to find the areas without tons of club hopping tourists and to avoid the tacky strip mall vibe you can find in some areas. It can be a great long weekend to restore the level of humidity back to our flaking skin and static-ridden hair, and actually enjoy some of the Deco history that still exists.

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City Guide: Charleston

Charleston is the anti-Los Angeles. Charleston exists to balance out the Orlandos of the world. It has actual history. It’s walkable. You can bicycle. It has neighborhoods. It has soul.

And now, it also has great restaurants, hotels and cocktail bars.

If you’re from the Midwest, there’s the added bonus of warmth (except in the summer months, when it’s called “suffocation” with the humidity). The city has low-country and Gullah roots that shine through in its food and culture, and is ideal for eating, walking, and biking—just beware the cruise-shippers wandering around during the daytime.

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2017 Highlights and Prancers

We began and ended 2017 in a similar fashion: on a hiking/biking trip on the California coast. Are we in a rut? Maybe—but it’s cold in Minnesota at the beginning and ending of the year, and in California, it’s… Not.

 

Granted, the two trips were a bit different. 2017 started in Montecito, with more hiking and hills than biking and ocean. And, of course, the tiny prancing dogs that populate the streets of Montecito (with accompanying owners) are a bit more pretentious, with a tad more Botox.

 

2017 ended in Carmel, with more biking and ocean than hiking. The Carmel dogs are more laid back, relaxed, friendly and comfortable in their skin—eschewing the Botox and the covering of grays.

(Yes, it’s true that dogs do look like their owners.)

 

And then there was everything in between the prancer parades bookending the year:

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What About US?

Or the U.S., that is.

We share our stories of far flung exotic places.  We’ve ridden camels, drank Cambodian moonshine, and dined with Indian royals.  But what about a simple meal in New York?  A weekend in Austin? A bike ride in Charleston?

Yes, yes, yes.

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