Friends, I was in West Virginia last weekend enjoying the PGA golf event held annually in the wild, wonderful state. It inspired this week’s “Best Of” post, because so many people shat on West Virginia, never having experienced it for themselves. Same goes for a lot of places and things.
Over the past year and few months, I have traveled about 50,000 miles to half of the US and a few countries. No rhyme nor reason for most of it. Just because I love it. Some has been with family. Others with friends. Others alone. Below are some of my favs (and least favs). Some categories and answers may surprise you, but that is the point. There are often sneaky little wonderful surprises in the strangest places. Let’s go.
· Best all-around weekend- Ocean Isle, NC
· Most regal- Greenbrier, WV
· Best encouragement that the world isn’t imploding-NYC Marathon
· Most family fun-Apopka and Orlando, FL
· Biggest disappointment that never happened-Toronto, Canada snowed out
· Biggest disappointment that did happen-(tie) Miami, FL and In N Out Burger
· Most remote-Round Island, Gulf of Mexico
· Sickest I’ve been-my hotel room in Mexico City
• Most emotional- IMAX video at Churchill Downs
•. Never gets old- cheap Mexican food and Wingate soccer on a fall night
· Best stadium- (tie)-Azteca, Mexico City and San Siro, Milan, Italy
· More fun in less iconic stadiums-(tie)- UNAM Pumas, Mexico City and Bologna, Italy
· Most scared-(tie)- Charlotte, NC and New Orleans, LA
· Most touristy-(tie)-JFK site in Dallas, TX, Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC Mall
· Most unique-Kicking field goals at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX
· Best place for a second home- Cody, WY
· Most beautiful- Salt Lake City, UT
• Best sunset- Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana
· Coolest detour-Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a snowstorm
· Hardest laughter- Evansville, Indiana at Kevin Hart show
· Most red seen- Louisville, KY
· Most blue seen- Lexington, KY
· Coldest-Cleveland, OH
· Hottest w/o sweating-Yellowstone Country Club in Billings, MT
· Hottest while sweating-(tie)-Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA
· Haven’t been, but want to go- Santa Fe, New Mexico and Tangier, Morocco
• Next up- Houston
If you’ve followed along for a while now, you know that my 3 favorite ways to explore a city are through style, food/drink, and sports. So to finish up, here are the standouts:
· Best stores-Nick Fouquet in Venice, CA; Imogene + Willie in Nashville, TN; Wish in Atlanta, GA; JJ Hat Center in NYC; Kiton in Venice, Italy; TRC and Tabor in Charlotte, NC
· Best sporting events- Lakers-Clippers at Staples; A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier; Browns and Cavs weekend combo in Cleveland; Hornets away in Indy; Club America-Santos; UNAM Pumas-Queretero
• Favorite in person performances- Porzingis at MSG, Mulholland vs Colorado Rapids, Dirk in Dallas, Palacio for Bologna, Perisic for Inter
· Best drink-(tie)-Bourbon Barrel Ale in Lexington, KY and 70 year tequila in Mexico City
· Best food-Jack Stack BBQ in Kansas City, MO; Antica Carbonera in Venice, Italy; Hattie B’s hot chicken in Nashville, TN; St. Elmo’s in Indianapolis, IN; Yardbird in Miami, FL; $.25 tacos in Mexico City; The Shed BBQ in Ocean Springs, MS, Donna Nellie’s in Hattiesburg, MS
Want to know who wins most welcoming and kindest? Every damn place. And what did I learn from that. People are good. They want to showcase the places where they live and simply hope you enjoy. But it’s about your open mind, not theirs. I repeat.
Have a great week.-Benj
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