across the country and back

December 2018 I spent on a solo cross-country road trip. Though alone for much of the time, I was accompanied by thoughtful recommendations from friends new & old– of scenic roads to drive, geological wonders, and culinary favorites. This experience would have been far less magical if not for such collective wisdom, and I have been humbled by your generosity, interest and support.

As a thank you to all my guides, and for all you (current and) future explorers, below is a compiled list of all those recommendations, organized by state. Wherever possible I’ve included my images, links to location and shoutouts to folks who directed me there. And friends, keep sending me your favorite places in the world– let’s make this list grow!


Blue Mesa Trail, Painted Desert
North Rim, Grand Canyon
Keibab Forest


Drive west along Rte 40 from Memphis, Tennessee for crystal clear pockets of water, lavender & rust reeds, brushy landscape. It’s called the Natural State for a reason!


Bay Area

Zai’s epic list of food & art
Museum of Craft & Design (small and worth it)
Pacific Film Archive (visual art center & event space)
True Laurel (cocktail bar)
Tartine Manufactory & Bakery (trendy dinner & bakery)
Temescal Brewing (queer owned/run & delicious hazy IPAs)
Comal (upscale mexican food & cocktails)
Besharam (gujarati food & cocktail / wine pairings)
Cesar (spanish tapas)
Tigerlily (casual indian restaurant)
Cowgirl Creamery (organic cheese)
Point Reyes National Seashore (day hikes)
Tomales Point Trail & elk reserve
Abbotts Lagoon
Stinson Beach & Bolinas
West Coast Craft Fair

Sonoma County

Robert Louis Stevenson State Park (drive up Rte 29)
Bad Ass Coffee (weird spot, solid coffee)
Willow Wood Market (breakfast & coffee)
Dutton Goldfield Winery
The Underwood (good food in tucked away town)
Howard Station Cafe (cali-style home cooking)
Guerneville (cute town with gay bars & the Russian River)

some of our Northern Californian friends

Zai Divecha - paper wall hangings & sculpture
Jim Zivic - furniture & industrial design
Wild Roe - green woodworking
Hearth Folk School - traditional craft & folk skills

special thanks to Sreya & Zai for nearly all of my meals


Drive across the top of the state handle along Rte 90 to go through Couer D’Alene National Forest to wind through postcard-like snowy mountains & pine trees, and the cleanest air imaginable.

North Hi-Way Cafe (little kitschy and greasy but good)


Catch Rte 200 & 28 headed north, driving along Clark Fork for picturesque mountains, valleys, rocks & brush
Drive Rte 191 & then 89 through the bottom of Montana to get to the North Yellowstone entrance

Blackbird (fancy italian dinner)
Market on Front (casual lunch & to-go healthy foods)
Rainbow Lake Campground
Rose’s Plunge (townie hot spring in outdoor cement pool)
Renova Hot Spring (perhaps most beautiful place on earth)

Glacier National Park

Avalanche Creek
Iceberg Lake



Rte 44 leaving Tulsa headed west is filled with lavender brush, frosted prairies & open skies. If you can, do this drive with the sunrise to catch the biggest orange sun in your rearview mirror and a periwinkle sky.


Colony (cozy, seedy bar)
Don Francisco (yummy lengua & asada tacos)
Juniper (nice dinner)
Foolish Things (coffee & fancy toasts)
Topeca (coffee & pastries)
Mayo Hotel (for fancy sleeping & rooftop drinks)
Philbrook Museum (and nearby houses to look at)
Cherry Street (cute shopping area)

shoutouts to Nicole & Dylan for the local tips

south dakota

Drive Rte 90 across the state to see the whole landscape
Drive Rte 16A & other squiggly roads for rock porn, pullouts for short hikes, buffalo & other wildlife
Devils Tower (for some Close Encounters vibes)
Black Hills National Forest
Mt Rushmore (easy trail that leads up to president’s faces)
Crazy Horse Memorial
Harriet & Oak (healthy breakfast & coffee in Rapid City)
Wall Drug (tackiest and biggest of all ‘roadside’ stores)
Scheels (camping supply store chain around the state)
Falls Park (pretty park in the middle of Sioux Falls)
Lots of restaurants & bars along E 8th St in Sioux Falls
Breadico (pizza, sandwiches & pastries in Sioux Falls)
Queen City Bakery (bakery in Sioux Falls)
R Wine Bar (wine & italian food in Sioux Falls)

Badlands National Park

Big Badlands Overlook
Ben Reifel Visitor Center (pick up postcards, maps + coffees)
Door Trail (easy hike with great views)
Notch Trail (stunning but more challenging)
Yellow Mounds Overlook
Pinnacles Overlook
Cedar Pass Lodge & adjacent campground (with free telescope for stargazing at night)

thank you Kate for this entire epic email


Highway 1

Matilija Hot Springs (wild hot springs with killer views)
Los Padres National Forest (gorgeous nature & hiking)
Hearst Castle (touristy but cool to see once!)
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (trail to the ocean & tunnel)
Andrew Molera State Park (8 mile hike to hot springs)
Henry Miller Library (art / performance center & bookstore)
Esalen (hot springs with scenic overlook)
Bixby Canyon Bridge
Monterey Aquarium (touristy, but the best in the world!)
Hiking in Monterey / Carmel / Pacific Grove
Hiking in redwoods & beaches in Santa Cruz (Big Basin, Land of Smiling Buddha)
Pescadero & Half Moon Bay (beaches & some great Hosteling International hostels with hot tubs)

this entire section thanks to Susan



Los Angeles

Guisados (tacos)
Neat (cocktail bar)
Undergrind Cafe (coffee & breakfast)
Cerritos College woodworking department
General Store (home goods & apparel store)
Sonomama (home goods & apothecary shop)
Renegade Craft Fair
Echo Park Craft Fair

some of our LA-based friends

Bless the Theory - jewelry & metalwork
Knotwork LA - whimsical ceramic objects
Reuben Foat - furniture designer & fabricator
Knowhow Shop - design / build studio




Prairie Joe’s (classic diner breakfast)
Cuneen’s (corner bar with pool table)
Oiistar (ramen only, drink elsewhere)
Little Bad Wolf (cocktail bar)
Milk & Honey Cafe (breakfast & coffee)
Pho 777 (best pho, byob)
Coffee Studio (coffee & pastries)
Big Jones (southern style brunch)
Kingston Mines (blues club & bbq in the back)
Las Manos Gallery & owner / artist Michael McGuire
Museum of Contemporary Art
Renegade Craft Fair

some of our Chicago-based friends

Carnevale Clay - functional, sculptural ceramics
Verónica Casado Hernández - fiber artist & lecturer
Justice of the Pies - bakery

New Mexico

Acoma Pueblo
Tent rocks
White sands
Traditional tea house in Santa Fe
Hot springs (ojo caliente)
Ghost Ranch (where Georgia O’Keefe worked)


Frontier (touristy diner & totally worth it for the breakfast burrito with green chile stew & fresh oj)
Grove Cafe (fancy lunch & homemade english muffins)
Los Poblanos (fancy dinner / farm shop with lavender salves)
Sister (bar & music venue with arcade games)
Anodyne (bar upstairs from Sister)
IMEC (fancy jewelry & gallery)

special thanks to Amelia, Sarah & Lindsey for the abq recs


Trillium Lake, Mt Hood National Forest
Rte 84 winding along the Columbia River toward Mt Hood
Tunnel Falls
Crater Lake


Teote Mezcaleria (mezcal bar with fancy cocktails)
Blue Star Donuts
Ringlers Annex (tavern with live music & basement bar)
Rambler (homey bar with cocktails & beer)
Little Griddle (comfort breakfast & free coffee refills)
Victoria (cocktails & southern food with backyard)
Keys Lounge (low key hangout with solid bar food)
Mantel (homewares & lifestyle products shop)
Alberta Street & SE Division (trendy shops)

some of our PDX-based friends

Notary Ceramics - minimal & handmade
Sandbox Ceramics - simple, playful & functional
Kris LeBoeuf - conceptual still life & editorial photography
Dylan Moss - interior design
Bottega Stories - small business branding & strategy
Secret Supper - community-focused dinners & workshops
Jess Faulk - flora & fauna inspired ceramics




Joshua Tree

Integratron dome & sound bath experience
BKB Ceramics (studio & shop)
Crossroads Cafe ('soy-rizo & eggs breakfast plate)
Pappy & Harriets (eat the chili nachos)
Shop on the Mesa (home goods & jewelry)
Keys View
Watch the sunset in cactus park
Arch Rock Trail (.5 mile & flat)
Willow Hole Trail (7 miles & less flat)
World Famous Crochet Museum
Harrison House (art / permaculture residencies & events)
Noah Purifoy Foundation (outdoor museum)
the Art Queen (look on facebook)
Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch

special shoutout to Susan for a killer art-focused email, and to Emma for her favorite food spots


Road from Durango to Silverton has no guard rails and is therefore terrifying, but the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are amazing
Train via California Zephyr across the state, particularly around Kremmling for epic views

Anderson Ranch (art workshops & residencies)
Glenwood Springs (hot springs)



Old Miami (corner bar with pool table)
Astro Coffee (coffee & pastries)
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit




new york

some of our NY-based friends


Amelia Black Ceramics - playful objects & dinnerware
Danny Kaplan Studio - tableware & lighting
Eric Bonnin - functional, minimal tableware
Good Connection - ceramics & editorial prop styling
Light and Ladder - minimal & sculptural planters & tableware
Little Bear Pots - patterned & textured functional ceramics
Prop Workshop - photo prop & studio rental

food & events

Blue Hill at Stone Barns - farm, education center, market
Forts Ferry Farm -heirloom produce, farm shop, event space
Purslane Catering - sustainable event catering
Ravenwood Farm - gatherings in the barn & design shop
Rosewood Floral Co - floral design & events
She Wolf Bakery - artisanal bread
Soho Letterpress -finely printed custom paper goods
Staten Island Makerspace -collective workspace & classes
Supersmith - shared studios, design store & event space
Sweet Deliverance - catering & preserves
Together Events - wedding & event planning


Beth Kleinpeter - portrait & editorial photography
Casey Feehan - food, still life & portraiture photography
Christian Torres - lifestyle & interiors photography
Kayla Tiffany - events & portraiture photography


Bayith - rentals & custom embroidered linens
Carolyn Ray Inc - handpainted textiles & wallcoverings
Five Six Textiles - handwoven cotton home textiles
MINNA - ethically woven home textiles & rugs

woodworking / design

Blobs Feelings Things - critical theory thru zines & drawings
Brick & Wonder - community of design professionals
First Principle - strategic product design consultancy
FOA Collective - artist run & supported home goods store
Gomez Design Studio - sustainability-minded wood panels
in.sek - furniture, lighting & installations
Jim Zivic - industrial design & furniture in steel, coal & felt
Kate Taylor Design - geometric & playful jewelry
Ladies & Gentlemen Studio - lighting & design studio
Nell Goods - handmade wooden goods & turned objects
Re-Co Brooklyn - sustainable lumber & slab furniture
Rosenzweig Lumber Co - plywood & lumber supplier
Schematic - custom cabinetry & built-ins
Urban Homecraft - custom cabinetry & built-ins



Yellow City Street Food (tacos & local beer in Amarillo)


Yellowstone National Park

Hot springs & geothermal pools on the west side
Mammoth Hot Springs