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Tell us your favorite local "through the back door" destination

With travel being so limited I'm interested to know what has been you favorite or most recent "back door" discovery near where you live? For me, we found an old railroad hotel in the Texas hill country that has been refurbished and the owners added rail cars and cabooses that have been turned into cabins on the property. All of this with lake access as well. Sure my Sweden trip was cancelled this year but I was still able to get a holiday with trains and lakes!

DJ

Posted by
1915 posts

For my wife and I it's been rediscovering all of the inner-city neighbourhoods that line the 2 rivers that flow through Calgary. Every Sunday morning for the past few months we've been choosing a different location and following the many pathways going through the city. I feel a bit guilty because we've been so focused on world travel the last few years that we've forgotten the natural beauty of home.

Posted by
2837 posts

My back yard. And then there's the opportunity to see the locals at Walmart, who at least are all wearing masks.

Posted by
2649 posts

cala--

How about that multi-color underpass?

Posted by
2649 posts

Going to the white tablecloth Italian restaurant downtown and eating outside. The owner/chef was born in Tuscany; he spent his teen and early adult years along the Amalfi Coast. He stops by and chats with guests. Amazing food. Slow Italian-style service (which drives some locals crazy). Always ask the price on the specials (the specials are given orally and never with a price) -- you may be shocked otherwise. Sadly... he's closing Aug 8. Moving to a new location with lower rent and creating a new concept with a lower price point. Pizza plus some other stuff.

Posted by
861 posts

@Tom_MN, Haha! I didn't even notice that! Didn't you know, its the new-fangled way to reference something that is both your favorite and trite. All the cool kids are using it! Example: Paris is my favotrite place in Europe.

DJ

Posted by
2275 posts

Since this is posted in "Beyond Europe", are you only looking for North American "through the back door"-destinations?

Posted by
1160 posts

Thanks,DJ. I just googled and added it to my list for potential interesting quarantine escapes.

I am originally from OK and have added the new lodge for Lake Murray State Park to my list also (I grew up near there and it was not nearly that nice back then. Ha!) I think each room has a balcony overlooking the lake and different water activities available.

Posted by
1658 posts

Lake Murray is where I used to go to camp every summer! From my recollection, the lake was red clay colored - not sure I'd love overlooking it from a balcony. But maybe things have changed.

But this reminded me that I have the Artesian Hotel (old, fairly recently restored) in Sulphur, Oklahoma, on my list: "The original Artesian Hotel was an oasis of luxury, tucked away near the restorative springs of Sulphur. Today, the reimagined and rebuilt Artesian Hotel, Casino and Spa took that original vision and grew it into southern Oklahoma’s foremost destination for pampering, dining, gaming and indulgent relaxation." It is owned by the Chickasaw Tribe (mine), which is partially stoking my interest, but a look at the photos online have helped!

Posted by
861 posts

Since this is posted in "Beyond Europe", are you only looking for North American "through the back door"-destinations?

Absolutely not, I would love to hear about your local "through the back door" quarantine destinations in Sweden too. There just wasn't a "General Travel" category.

DJ

Posted by
1160 posts

Haha, Janet - me, too! At least every summer during high school. And you’re right, not much to remember. Oklahoma is just red. But it IS nicer around the lake now. :) I checked out the Artesian Hotel - but it’s not on any water. :) Close but not on. Also why I don’t have an urge to stay at the Winstar Casino further south down the road. Lol.

Posted by
8413 posts

"Oklahoma is just red."

Laughing at this statement! 55 years later and we still have a family joke about my brother coming home from Camp Kickapoo (near Oklahoma City) with pink underwear from the red clay+rain+Boy Scouts camping, lol!!

Posted by
1658 posts

And my brother and I were just laughing the other day about our red underwear after swimming in a relative's farm pond!

Travelmom, I tried to respond to your private message but keep getting an "application error." It was a church camp I went to at Lake Murray.

Posted by
1160 posts

Hahaha! I can imagine the pink underwear! I still love it but Oklahoma is clearly red! :)

Edit: Janet, I am now getting the same message - I wonder if it’s a glitch on this site.

Posted by
2275 posts

Absolutely not, I would love to hear about your local "through the
back door" quarantine destinations in Sweden too.

There are many, but one I would like to recommend is Öregrund, maybe the smallest city in Sweden. A small seaside town on the Baltic sea coast, about 2 hours north of Stockholm. Founded in the late 15th century it is not that old, it was founed when the harbour in nearby Östhammar became to shallow and a new harbour town was needed. A lot of the town was destroyed by the Russian fleet in 1719 but it was rebuilt and expanded a bit in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the central parts are mostly 18th and 19th century wooden buildings and in my opinion a great place if you are looking for a day or two (or three) of small town charm close to water. It is popular enough for it to have a good enough selection of restaurants and hotels, but there are never any large crowds.

This is starting to sound like and advert, but it isn't. It is simply a cute town that I really can recommend.

Posted by
6065 posts

Weston, Missouri, north of Kansas City's airport, is a nice old river town (on the Missouri River). Lots of old mansions built by riverboat captains in the day, and now full of antique shops (part of Einstein's brain in one of them), restaurants, a couple of wineries, and boutique B&Bs. Until the eighties, it was the center of the only commercial tobacco growing area west of the Mississippi, due to the micro-climate of the river valley. A good place to spend a day.

Posted by
6065 posts

Just west of St Louis is the town of Hermann, Missouri. Settled by Germans (as much of Missouri) pre-civil war, it is home to several wineries and the usual shops, restaurants and B&Bs. Its hillside setting is pretty, and the locals are proud of their heritage. Go at festival time (Mai, Oktober). Missouri was, pre-Prohibition, the second largest wine producing state (after New York) due to the German farmers, so the focus on wine there is not a recent touristy thing.

Posted by
1642 posts

The "North Shore" 😎

Quaint shops, beautiful ocean, expensive restaurants (lol), the scent of salt air, the sounds of Summer.

Posted by
6065 posts

Girasole, I thought maybe you were referring to the North Shore in Chicago. There's a whole string of small towns along the lake shore - suburbs, but with individual small town centers, connected by commuter train. This is the wealthy side of Chicago, so plenty of shops, festivals, restaurants and pretty well-kept neighborhoods.

Posted by
1642 posts

Haha Stan. Sorry. I should've been more specific.... Boston's Northshore which includes "beach towns" past Peabody, Salem and up. (I think you've visited too?) Gloucester, Marblehead, Nahant...

Still, from your description of Chicago's, it seems similar...high end, eclectic vibe, boats, expensive galleries, shops, and beautiful scenery, accessible by car or commuter rail.

Posted by
6065 posts

Yes we visited Gloucester (after the Perfect Storm film) and Salem. One of my favorite non-touristy moments was watching a little league baseball game in Salem on a warm summer evening.

Posted by
1642 posts

Newburyport is pretty too.

I recall when I was very, very young, I went with a friend to an art gallery opening...I think it was in Essex (a coastal town.)

It was a very warm evening; gallery was small; wine, soft drinks and hors d'oeuvres served.

They did pretty well in sales that night. I didn't purchase.

What I remember is that I couldn't wait to bite into a juicy burger, side of fries and slurp rootbeer! So much for my "culture." Lol!

Posted by
4556 posts

Just west of St Louis is the town of Hermann, Missouri.

I visited Hermann (twice) when I had a 6 month assignment in Jefferson City, MO. I really enjoyed touring the winery and learning about the history.

Posted by
26053 posts

In a former life and a different world, many years ago when paper scrolls were modern technology, we used to visit Rockport, near Gloucester, and loved it.

My dad painted it many times. I've got the paintings, a couple of which I see every day in my living room.

During the Blizzard of '77 - a perfect storm of blizzard, very high spring tides, very low temperatures and massive flooding - I saw what was left of Rockport from a National Guard duece-and-a-half. I was providing disaster relief for the American National Red Cross. Thank goodness we had all wheel drive and those massive tires - we needed them. That week was the last time I ever saw Rockport.

I moved to Texas so I could work with tornadoes and hurricaine flooding, prior to my following posting in California specialising in apartment and forest fires, and plane crashes.

As I said - a different life.

Posted by
5694 posts

What’s nice about the vast megalopolis of LA is one can be on a beach, in mountains or the desert in hour and or 2

Favorite spots to meander Malibu State Creek Park and the hike out to where MASH was filmed, Leo Carrillo State Park and beach, Catalina Island, Anza Borrego State Park and nearby Borrego Springs to see the dinosaur sculptures, Julian, Laguna Beach to see the Pageant of The Masters, Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear Lake, Palm Springs to visit friends who retired there, Temecula for hot air ballooning

BUT most often I just go hiking in near by Griffith Park especially in cool pre dawn air! Nice view of DTLA with the Griffith Observatory in the foreground.

Posted by
1642 posts

Wow Nigel, how could I leave out Rockport? I've been so many times.

That is a sweet town, fun shopping. Yes, many an artist would paint the scenery. Actually, Rockport is my fav compared to the others.

Posted by
146 posts

Speaking of the MA North Shore, there’s a nice coastal drive after Salem through Beverly, Prides Crossing, Manchester ‘by-the-sea’ and on up to Gloucester. A cool stop along the way is Hammond Castle, intriguing story behind that structure and fun to tour.

Posted by
1642 posts

Yes min! Agree. Hammond Castle is quite lovely and intriguing. Manchester-By-The-Sea is the actual name of the town. It's in Essex county. Lots of fun stuff.

Posted by
146 posts

Girasole, I haven’t quite adjusted to the suffix, lol! I grew up knowing the town as ‘Manchester,’ before they changed the name in the late 80’s, still feels awkward referring to it the new way.

Posted by
1642 posts

Min, lol.

Being born and bred in Massachusetts, sometimes places and things that are smack right in my face can be overlooked when talking to visitors while suggesting sites to see.

I pity the people that have to write Manchester-By-The Sea as part of their address 😄

Rockport and Gloucester are two of my favorites.

Growing up, I had family who lived right on the beach in Nahant. I also had family who lived close to Revere Beach in Revere.... Definitely not the same now LOL.

Posted by
3108 posts

Oh yes , The North Shore ! This has been a favorite place for my wife and myself for the past twenty five years . A few more spots strike a chord for me , in addition to those already mentioned - Lobster Cove in Annisquam , and Lanesville in North Gloucester , Ipswich , and all of The Great Marsh up to Newburyport .This area is endless pristine , protected beauty . The clam shacks on rt. 133 , Essex Seafood and Woodman's , to name two . The Cape Ann Museum , in Gloucester , has a great collection of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century American art . Notable , as well , is the collection of work by the Folly Cove designers , from the thirties and forties . I'll be back after Labor Day , providing a degree of solace , since I've had to cancel my planned trip to England and Scotland until a vaccine is available .

Posted by
1642 posts

Wow Steven, lol,
You listed some very nice places - the museums and restaurants on the North Shore! -
Places that I even forgot about - "Woodman's"

Kelly's on Revere Beach and Kelly's on Route 1 southbound are not the same as years ago; unfortunately. Yet, they are still popular for a lot of people.

Newburyport is very pretty too.

Posted by
138 posts

This is funny. I never thought that I’d be doing my nightly scroll through the forum and see several references to Revere Beach and Kelly’s.😀 I’ve gone to the annual international sand sculpting competition there a number of times. There are very talented sculptors from many countries competing there every year. Of course that event is super crowded. Maybe if there’s a vaccine, the competition could be held next year ... or 2022.

Posted by
518 posts

Great topic/question. Every now and then I have a cousin and her family that come visit from overseas and I have to think of where to take them. They've done all the toursity things and want real, local experiences. Of course, I think of things that they wouldn't have back home. Their first trip to a Costco blew them away, ha ha. But in all seriousness, there are many things that they would find very local and enjoyable (and would never see on a guided tour) but that I think as a local myself I also enjoy. And that is, the local flea markets (sometimes also called swap meets). If they come visit again I'll for sure take them to one as there are a good handful here in the SF Bay Area. They are a feast for the senses. Some stalls sell new goods but some used goods and it's amazing some of the things you find. The food is also very good.