The best gran fondos recall 100 years of Italian cycling tradition with routes that trace the most famous mountain passes and historic races in cycling history. And then there’s the hallmark of each event: the post-ride celebration, with plentiful food and wine. These five from around the world are the most worthy of your bucket list.
Where family hordes are far away
10 destinations for untouched landscapes without the crowds or bustle of Yellowstone — you know, the stuff you were looking for in the first place.
The drive is the destination
Long holiday weekends aren’t just for sleeping in and backyard barbeques. Hop in the car, embrace the fresh air and hug the asphalt like you don’t have a care in the world. There are a ton of great roads out there, twisty, straight and some off the beaten path. We’ve listed some of the best (and some less-traveled) for your vacation enjoyment and paired them with the ideal vehicle to maximize the experience.
You were looking for something to do?
Americans, we’re a people who enjoy a good gathering. It’s right there in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution: the right of the people to peaceably assemble, adopted on December 15, 1791 — and darn it we’ve been doing it something serious since then. We caucus to select political representation, we gather around grills on July 4, we congregate in town squares to see who grew the biggest pumpkin. Most of all, we just like to get together and have a rollicking good time.
That’s what this story is all about. It’s a survey of America’s greatest festivals, from a small-town California celebration of the local garlic crop to a skull-rattling military air show to the greatest collection of musical performers at one venue, on Earth. We’ve taken certain liberties in defining a festival, so you’ll also find a few conferences that have made an important impact in popular culture. Mark your calendars. Fill up your gas tanks. Pack some beef jerky. These are the 50 best festivals in America.
Have Fins, Will Travel
Swimming with Caribbean reef sharks in the Bahamas, exploring the Northern Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, or crossing the thermocline boundary to explore ghostly WWII wrecks in Papua New Guinea might sound daunting, but whether you have three days or two weeks, there’s time enough for one of these adventures.
Founder of Oskar Blues
GP correspondent Will McGough goes for a bike ride with beer pioneer Dale Katechis and ends up with a bloody elbow and an appreciation for the canned beer movement.
The right gear haulers make the difference between beach misery and beach revelry. We’ve assembled ten great summer carriers that will transport everything from an ATV to personal watercraft to the smaller (but still vital) bits for the shore. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
A Beautiful Grind on Ancient Rocks
Going “Rim to Rim to Rim” is a double-crossing of the Grand Canyon, covering 42.4 miles and 22,000 feet of vertical, and it’s a rite of passage for ultra runners. GP contributor Ben Clark reports on his epic there-and-back-again run.
Flying Above a Grueling Swiss Ski Mountaineering Contest
Every two years, in the beginning of May, the Swiss hold an historic ski mountaineering race: the Patrouille des Glaciers, “the Glacier Patrol”. The race, a national treasure of sorts, attracts close to 5,000 participants of all ages and ability levels and tens of thousands of rowdy Swiss spectators who line the course.
Finding the Foodie Gems of Israel's Second Largest City
Tel Aviv-based photographer Danya Weiner and food stylist Deanna Linder share their picks for the city’s best restaurants.
You Can Give a man a fish...
GP contributor Will McGough goes fishing in Borneo and reels in a dose of humility.
Bring An Enemy
Stick anyone next to a cliff and they’ll inch forward and peek over; put anyone in a supercar and they’ll double the speed limit. We all want to stay safe and comfortable, sure, but in those moments when we lose our footing and time slows to a crawl, we are undeniably living in the moment. Call it suicidal or call it truly living. Here are ten trails that return hikers to their baser need: staying alive.
Glacial peaks, wild rivers and one totaled car
Over the course of 2,500 miles of driving and exploration, photographer Chris Burkard encountered glacial peaks, wild rivers, rain forests, volcanic lakes, historic rock climbs and even the home of The Goonies. His stage: the great state of Oregon in the devastatingly grand Pacific Northwest.
The Life Subaquatic
Underwater habitats have a 50-year history of scientific discovery, tight living quarters, long decompression times and insane amounts of risk. Just four of them have advanced us from dipping our feet tentatively to emerging from a moon pool in a home away from home hundreds of feet at the bottom of the sea.
Breckenridge's New Expansion Wows
More than 50 years in the making, the 540-acre Peak 6 opened on Christmas Day, 2013, bringing a fantastic mix of terrain that fills a surprising gap in Breckenridge’s arsenal. The new terrain offers some of the only above-treeline skiing for intermediates in the country and even more of Breck’s famous expert terrain. There was no doubt that we had to give it a test — strictly for investigative reasons, of course.
Chasing Sun in the Southwest
Mountaineer and ultra runner Ben Clark shares photos from his single-day run across Zion National Park, also known as the Zion Traverse.
Finding 'the best whisky in the world' on the Scottish Island of Orkney
Highland Park has officially been making whisky in Kirkwall since 1798. The distillery requires no introduction for rabid fans of single malt. F. Paul Pacult, known as one of America’s foremost experts on spirits, heralded the 25 year old expression as the “Best Spirit in the World” in 2013; it’s an honor he’s also bestowed on the 18 year old twice before. For more casual imbibers, noting Highland Park’s relationship as the sister distillery to The Macallan generates a good number of nods. Our managing Editor Ben Bowers took the journey to the northern Scottish islands of Orkney to learn first hand how some of the world’s finest single malt is made.
This Scotish archipelago has no shortage of history
Orkney, as it’s called by the locals, is an archipelago of 70 islands off the northern tip of the Scottish mainland. At one point or another, Vikings, Norwegians and Scots all listed the Old Red Sandstone outcrops as their home. The Neolithic monuments of these ancient inhabitants are one of Orkney’s biggest draws; another, of…
Hang your hat in Providence
The Dean is a harbinger of change in Providence, a taste of what’s happening with hotels in New York, Los Angeles and London. Mycah Hogan pops in for a visit — and a locally-roasted coffee — for our latest Stay.
Adrenaline in an Armchair Setting
The strenuous five-day hike on the Appalachian Trail that swallowed half of your vacation days didn’t feel like a vacation. Neither did the team building company rafting trip where you almost drowned. We like to carpe the diem as much as the next guy, but it’s okay to actually relax once in a while. This doesn’t have to mean standing in the buffet line on a Disney Cruise Line ship, but it does meaning choosing an adventure that combines immersion in the natural world with a little bit of everyman recreation. These three destinations are a good place to start.
121 Leagues South of Miami
Unlike Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac don’t have car dealerships, fancy restaurants, banks or clubs. The only company is the companion you flew in with, red-footed boobies, and disarmingly laid back residents who are quick to smile and even faster to offer help. Visit once and you’ll return for life.
Littler, but Just as Grand
A Caribbean island can be perfectly indulgent, but the trappings of modern resort life can also bring a modicum of staleness. That’s why you go the extra mile. Or, in the case of the Caymans, 60 miles. Just beyond Grand Cayman are the Sister Islands, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, both refreshingly Caribbean and just a puddle-jump away.
Davy Jones's (Dive) Locker
For centuries, man has found countless ways to send ships to the bottom of the sea. Since the advent of scuba technology, we’ve found ways to explore them. Whether it’s to search for booty, take eerie photos, or just to pay respects, wreck diving is a not a sport for the timid. Often found in deep, cold water with strong currents and dangerous reefs, wrecks demand expertise, experience, humility and marine-grade bronze balls — not to mention a lot of specialized gear. This isn’t tropical holiday diving, so be prepared to shell out for equipment that can stand up to the conditions the Gunilda, the Thistlegorm or the Doria present.
Two days of boozy exploration
Good weird beers tend to be the rare finds of the beer world, ones that get secreted away to age in dark cellars or traded with like-minded drinkers for other legendary brews. But every year craft fans get a chance to pay admission to a free-for-all zoo of the wildest ones, captured and served at the raucous drunken atmosphere of the Extreme Beer Festival in Boston, Mass.
F-Stop is a relative newcomer to the camera bag scene, and its St. Louis headquarters is incongruous with its focus on packs for mountain sports photography. But don’t let that fool you. Their packs show a design maturity that could only stem from experience and a smart use of user feedback. We tested both the light-and-fast Kenti ($249) and the sturdier, larger Satori EXP ($379) in conditions as varied as multi-day hikes in New Zealand and peak bagging in New Hampshire.
Taking the Alpha Out of Beta
Can a piece of luggage have a successor? Tumi, the venerable brand practically synonymous with domestic airports, believes it can with the release of the Alpha 2. The carry-on/check-in sequel incorporates a slew of improvements — ranging from overdue to practically invisible — in the gangbusters popular flagship line. Across its 30 improvements, the Alpha 2 boasts an impressive 14 patents. To test its mettle, we made our way to the Alpha 2’s arena: airports.
Shimmering a shade of blue clearly inspired by Caribbean waters, the Halios Tropik SS ($650) on my left wrist appears candy coated, looking infinitely more confident than I feel. A quick test of my regulator complete, I twist the Tropik’s unidirectional ceramic bezel to mark the beginning of this, my first real dive. I’m in the tropics to test this purpose-built diver on its home court.
Bringing wild shores to your mundane coffee table
Surf photographer Chris Burkard’s latest project is a 180-page hardcover with photos from diverse locations including Alaska, Chile, Iceland, India and Japan. These photos, which Burkard shared with GP, document his adventures traveling across the world as he captured photos of surfers and the natural world they inhabit.
13 Mile Chill
The sky is a slate gray on the cruise up I-95 to Hampton Beach, NH. I left Boston to catch a glimpse of a handful of New England’s athlete-contrarians, people who spend the summer dreaming of frigid waters, storms and angry seas. They’re winter surfers — and this is their season.
A boutique hotel in SoHo, NYC
Like other cosmopolitan cities with a rich history, New York has as many layers as the Yemeni dessert Bint Al Sahn, as many nuances as Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulations, the subtleties of a Montrachet. In other words: it’s difficult to navigate. The difference between a quiet morning of coffee and pastry or getting steamrolled by a group of shopping teens could be one block. And that’s why you’ll want to know about The Broome, a boutique hotel in a SoHo brownstone.