Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This is Where I Won't Be Stopping on US Route 6

There is plenty happening behind the scenes as I plan out my Route 6 itinerary.  I'm approaching this project as I would any other travel writing assignment;  contacting local Chamber of Commerce offices and Tourist bureaus in each of the 14 US 6 States, hearing from PR firms, scrupulously inspecting sites like Yelp and Chowhound for potential "best eats" restaurants and Tripadvisors for hotels.  Based on experience, though, I've discovered that nothing beats "being there" for accuracy and emotional connection.  In other words, I'm not the kind of writer who just phones it in.

I'm thrilled to do it, and I will try to be as unbiased as possible.  But here's the thing:  I live in a New York City commuter town and venture into Manhattan often.  I live in a coastal city - with the Atlantic Ocean (ok, Long Island Sound - which is an Atlantic estuary) within spitting distance and I grew up sailing.  I make frequent trips to the High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains (NY), and have zigzagged over the Sawtooths (Idaho), hiked around the boiling cauldrons of Yellowstone, ridden rapids on the Rogue (OR), Salmon (ID) and plenty of other wild rivers. And that's just in the USA.   In other words, I've seen a lot, I've stayed in some incredible (and incredibly bad) places, ate memorable meals, and have partaken in singular, incredible experiences.  So, I'm not easily impressed.

This is where I won't be stopping:

1. Any restaurant with Garden, King or Factory in its name.  If I notice a Sysco truck backing up to kitchen's back door, I will run the other way. I want to find the best local, home-made, proud chef/owner type places.

2. Any mall, Promenade or Department Store (unless it's "the original" or notable somehow). Give me mom and pop shops with character.  I'm not an old fashioned girl, but Old Fashioned can be perfect in the right place.

3. Anyplace that smacks of a Tea Party or Lefty agenda.  This is not a campaign trail.

My goal is to create a coast to coast US Route 6 Travel Guide with the best that those 3,602 miles have to offer.  I'll be keeping my eyes open. You keep reading.

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