LocalYokel: Washington DC

LocalYokel brings you the goods from someone who should know, since you’re in their backyard. This one’s from our trusty SHC. And stay tuned for her special guide to the best Smithsonian museum

Day or night, politics is in the water in this town.

EATStarter: Visit Rosa Mexicano on 7th St NW for guacamole, it’s a religious experience of the highest avocado order. Main Course: Head up the street to Zengo for an Asian-Latin fusion tapas menu. On a budget? Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street is so tasty even President Obama loves it. Willing to splash out a bit? Russia House in Dupont Circle is the place to dine in high style and drink yourself under the table. Fancy a dessert? Dangerously Delicious Pies on H ST NE is the place to be. You can close your eyes and point in there and your tastebuds will be happy.

SLEEPSomewhere glam: The Mayflower Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel – There’s a reason that this is DC’s hotel of choice for sleazy politicians’ sex scandals (remember Eliot Spitzer?), it’s a gorgeous hotel in a great location. Here’s some background info on the hotel’s role in the more dubious side of Washington. Somewhere comfy: The Westin Washington, DC City Center – This is my staycation hotel of choice. It’s in a great location. The courtyard atrium is unique and gives it a relaxing, spa-like feel. The breakfasts are gourmet and the beds are comfortable enough to work the stress knots out of any overworked Washingtonian. Somewhere cheap: Experience historic charm on the cheap at Adam’s Inn Bed and Breakfast which is in lively yet leafy Adams Morgan.

GOget some culture: At the National Gallery of Art, be sure to have some gelatto in the Cascade Cafe downstairs after viewing the excellent main collection and interestingly varied exhibitions. The Freer and Sackler Galleries showcase Asian art. You can’t really go wrong by exploring the other Smithsonian Institutions as well. If you are lucky enough to catch an interesting festival or event on the Mall, in the streets, or at the Kennedy Center, you’ll get to experience the transient diversity that makes DC such a great, livable city. Get your politique on: Check the relevant senatorial or congressional website and if you are there early enough, you can attend the committee hearings and find out what your elected leaders actually do all day. Also be sure to visit Politics & Prose, an independent bookstore on Connecticut Ave, where you can see all kinds of thought-provoking authors speak about their work.

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LocalYokel: Knox County, Maine

LocalYokel brings you the goods from someone who should know, since you’re in their backyard. This one’s from our plainspoken Senior Ayuh Correspondent, midcoast born and raised.

The Farnsworth in Rockland, Maine.  image via

EAT

Billy’s Tavern [1 Starr St., Thomaston] Giant jenga. Fresh seafood. Largest selection of single malt and irish whiskey in Maine.

Thomaston Cafe [154 Main St., Thomaston] Fresh, natural and local food, dictates the menu.  Early morning breakfast and brunch. They make great ‘to go’ lunch boxes.

Rock City Coffee [254 Main St., Rockland] Kinda eat?  Drink coffee at least. Smells awesome. Sells fresh roasted beans as well.

SLEEPGranite Inn [546 Main St., Rockland] Pet friendly, eco friendly.

The Inn at Camden Place [14 Tannery Lane, Camden] On the canal in downtown Camden. Historical — it used to be a shirt factory.

Samoset Inn [220 Warrenton St., Rockport] Not small, but if you want a resort this is it. Private cottages, golf course(s?), and multiple pools, one with a swim up bar.

GO

Rockland Farmers Market [Harbor Park, Rockland] Seasonal market, kinda goes in the ‘eat’ section as well. And they have pickled fiddleheads!

Maine State Prison Showroom [358 Main St., Thomaston] Cheep cheep convict-made products. The former grounds of the prison are now a cool park out back to walk around in.

Maine Wine Trail [vineyards of midcoast Maine; yes there’s more than one] Well, firstly, it exists. And only in Maine do they have a ‘drive yourself’ wine and hard alcohol trail.

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DayTrip: Provincetown, MA

DayTrip gives you a quick taste of a town you don’t know. 

ProvHarbor

At the very end of Cape Cod—peek closely to see Long Point Lighthouse across the harbor.

EATsomething classic (a freshly fried malassada?) at Provincetown Portuguese Bakery [299 Commercial St.] and pay homage to this town’s roots. Or try something new in Karoo Kafe [338 Commercial St.], where the South African fare transports you as far as you can get from Cape Cod. Of course, there’s always Lorraine’s [133 Commercial St.], delicious Mexican eatery in the West End that’s reliably open year-round— even New Year’s Eve.

SLEEPsomewhere cozy like Snug Cottage [178 Bradford St.] — quiet, cute, and off the main drag, but only a short walk to the hub of town. Or take advantage of an incredible view at Lands End Inn [22 Commercial St.], but you may not want to leave your perch to see the rest of town.

GOstock up on some beach reads at Tim’s Used Books [242 Commercial St.], a little cottage off the main street stacked to the ceilings with well-loved paperbacks. Switch up your gallery crawl with a stop at Provincetown Art Association and Museum [460 Commercial St.], housed in a strikingly modern building that gives you a break from the quaint. And if the wind is calm, you can walk off your malassadas with a hike to Long Point Lighthouse [1 Commercial St.] which sits all alone at the very tip of the Cape.

Can you top this day trip? Tell us what we missed!

DayTrip: Old San Juan, PR

DayTrip gives you a quick taste of a town you don’t know. 

ElMorroSanJuan

Peeking out at the garitas of the city wall on Paseo del Morro.

EATsome mofongo at Cafe el Punto [105 Fortaleza St.], toward the end of a small walk between the blocks. A couple minutes out of the sun and you’ll feel refreshed (or maybe that’s the Medalla talking). Pay your respects to the former La Bombanera [259 Calle de San Francisco, RIP] and grab your morning dough down the block at Cafeteria Mallorca [259 Calle de San Francisco] instead. Not as historical as la B, but just as delicioso. At night, push back those pina coladas and get to El Batey [Calle Cristo 99], infamous cavernous dive bar with an incredible jukebox: songs are a quarter each. 

SLEEPsomewhere historical (but a little spartan) like el Convento [100 Calle Cristo] or get all retro-luxe at el Caribe Hilton [los Rosales St] … or for something totally different, stay at Da House [312 Calle de San Francisco],the artsy B&B above the Nuyorican Cafe.

Flying kites on the lawn of el Morro.

GOget some sun: you’re far from the beaches but you can still work on your tan (and your piragua consumption) checking out the colorful paint jobs on the homes along Bulevar del Valle, or strolling the Paseo de la Principesa. Absorb some cultura at the historical site of El Morro [Calle del Morro]. Or get your daytrip-within-a-daytrip on out of town in el Yunque, Vieques or Culebra.

Can you top this day trip? Tell us what we missed!

Weekend warrior: New England.

Greenery of Boston's Public Garden.

The greenery of Boston's Public Garden.

Here on the East Coast of the states, it’s been like June: warm sunny days with a brisk little breeze at night. This weekend the streak continues— good conditions for a road trip, or the inaugural journey to the beach. (To tan! Never to swim. Atlantic swimmers, you are all crazy, forever.) So get up from your couch/your endless Law & Order marathon… and get some air. From Boston, you could easily hit Crane Beach (1 hour north), Providence, RI (1 hour south) or the elbow of the Cape (2.5 hours east). So what are you doing this weekend?

LocalYokel: Boston, MA

LocalYokel brings you the goods from someone who should know, since you’re in their backyard. This one’s from your EIC, resident of 10 years.

Boston

dirty water, pahk ya cah, etc etc. image via

EATsomething swank: Sportello (348 Congress St.) is a space age lunch counter.
something secret: Casa Romero (30 Glouceser St) is true Mexican hidden in an alley (totally more romantic than it sounds).
something on-the-go: Clover food trucks (locations vary) can fill you up for $5.

SLEEPsomewhere glam: Ames (1 Court St) is a slick downtown hotel in a historical highrise.
somewhere comfy: Clarendon Square (198 W. Brookline St) is a B&B in a South End brownstone.
somewhere barebones: AirBnB (locations vary) can find you a local bed for around $60.

GOget some culture: Institute of Contemporary Art (100 Northern Ave), modern architecture + art in one stop.
get lost in DIY land: SOWA Open Market (485 Harrison Ave, seasonal) gives you food, goods and antiques.
get your histoire on: Boston Public Library (700 Boylston St) runs free daily tours.

Are YOU more local than this yokel? Tell us what we missed!