ARTivity on the Green in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Photo courtesy of Winston-Salem
A bartender at The Horse Inn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.Photo courtesy of Jenn Foster/Premise Studio
Where: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Chosen By: Karen Loftus is a luxury travel, lifestyle and adventure writer. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Architectural Digest, Robb Report and American Way, among others. She is a women’s travel expert and consultant. The once international comedian speaks at conferences and events around the world about the influence of women in businesses and women’s empowerment. She recently launched an all-women’s travel company, Women’s Adventure Travels. Her bespoke adventures celebrate women of distinction and influence and are geared for women with a sense of humor and a sense of adventure.
Why: With close proximity to Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York, this hip little city is on the radar of everyone from foodies to families and is perfect for a weekend retreat. New openings are popping up all over the city, alongside the classics. High-end diners will have over 400 wines to chose from at the newly opened Amorette, where the tower of charcuterie is sure to impress. For true Lancaster lure, the Central Market is a must, as the longest continuously running farmer's market in the U.S. The ethnic diversity in the city is reflected in the stalls, alongside Amish fare. Shot & Bottle, another new outpost in Penn Square, is a top spot celebrating Pennsylvania spirits and craft brews. For cultural bites, head to Queen Street. On the first and second blocks of North Prince Street (also known as Gallery Row), you'll find the Freiman Stoltzfus gallery and other world-class artists. The 300 block of Queen is lined with chic boutiques, including the newly reopened Telltale Dress — one of the best curated vintage shops you'll find anywhere. For mid-century modern madness, head to Space's new space, just off Queen. For a cinematic spin, Zoetropolis's new theater is abuzz, with a restaurant and bar on the horizon. Top off your tour with a classic cocktail and classic ambiance at The Horse Inn. It's not trying to be a speakeasy. It actually was a speakeasy, horse stalls and all. Chic sleeping can be done around the corner at the Cork Factory Hotel.
The colorful Saguaro Palm Springs in Palm Springs.Photo courtesy of Lindsay Silberman @lindsaysilb/Instagram
Where: Palm Springs, California
Chosen By: Lindsay Silberman is a New York City-based magazine editor and influencer. She covers luxury travel, beauty, and fashion on her blog and on Instagram (@lindsaysilb), where she's created a community of more than 136,000 followers.
Why: Palm Springs has been a preferred escape for jet setters since the Golden Age of Hollywood, and though the city has preserved much of its Rat Pack-era charm, there’s also plenty of newness happening. Come 2019, the Instagram sensation Desert X — an art show that is, quite literally, in the desert — will return on February 9 and run through April 21, much to the delight of art-lovers and selfie-takers. There’s also a fancy new hotel coming to town: Hyatt’s Andaz is set to open a 150-room property, with bungalow-style suites and two outdoor pools. Meanwhile, many of the classic spots — like the piano bar at Melvyn’s Restaurant, where Frank Sinatra was a regular — remain seemingly frozen in time. I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism
Where: South Dakota
Chosen By: Katie Jackson is a Montana-based travel writer whose work has been published by The New York Post, USA TODAY, Fox News and The Sunday Times. Cash poor but experience rich, she often flies discount airlines to destinations so far away she spends half of her time jet-lagged. Follow her misadventures on Instagram.
Why: South Dakota unexpectedly blew me away when I road tripped across the country. The wonderfully tacky roadside attractions along I-90, which can easily turn a two-day trip into a week, include the world’s largest corn palace, the world’s largest log chair, a 50-foot-tall Indian woman, upside down firetrucks, a deer made of car parts and a huge fiberglass horse with “Rushmore heads.” Of course, it’s sacrilegious to visit this midwestern Mecca of oddities without seeing Mount Rushmore. Try to time your visit to catch the flag lowering ceremony that takes place around sunset. In July, the Black Hills Roundup will host its 100th annual rodeo, and in August, the Black Hills are alive with the sound of Sturgis. Also, don’t miss the old western town of Deadwood where Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane are buried. Book a room at Deadwood Mountain Grand, the state’s most luxurious property, and ironically, a former slime plant during the Gold Rush.
The lights of the National Aquarium and Inner Harbor of Baltimore, Maryland, reflected in the waters of the harbor.Getty
Where: Baltimore, Maryland
Chosen By: Laura Itzkowitz is an award-winning freelance journalist who writes for Travel + Leisure, AFAR, Architectural Digest, Vogue, and other publications. Based in Brooklyn, she constantly travels the world covering emerging destinations, luxury accommodations, eye-catching art and design and mouthwatering food and wine.
Why: Like Detroit and Buffalo, Baltimore is one of those underdog cities that’s gotten a bad rap, but seems to be on the brink of a renaissance. Three boutique hotels have opened within the last few years, which — for a city without world-renowned tourist sites — is pretty major. The newest of them — Hotel Revival, a Joie de Vivre Hotel — opened in May in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, where the infamous socialite Wallis Simpson grew up at the turn of the century before marrying Price Edward and becoming the Duchess of Windsor. It’s less than a mile from the 18-room Ivy Hotel, the only Relais & Châteaux property in Maryland, which is housed in a restored 1890s mansion and boasts one of the city’s most lauded restaurants. But perhaps the splashiest opening was the Sagamore Pendry, which opened last year in the 1914 Recreation Pier in Fell’s Point with a chic design, a pool overlooking the harbor, and dining by acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini. Foodies have plenty to be excited about too, from the new Guiness Open Gate Brewery and Barrel House to the many black-owned restaurants like modern soul food favorite Ida B’s Table and the Land of Kush, a beloved vegan spot. I’m excited to visit in a few weeks and see what all the buzz is about.
A view of the St. Michaels Church from Broad St. in Charleston, South Carolina.Getty
Where: Charleston, South Carolina
Chosen by Elisabeth Barker, is a luxury hotel expert at Travelzoo and travel influencer known as “Skirt & a Suitcase.” Follow her on Instagram.
Why: Southern hospitality is at its finest in this coastal town. For centuries, Charleston shaped the country’s history and today forges trends in cuisine, art and hospitality. A recent multimillion-dollar makeover of The Gibbes, the South’s oldest museum building, expanded galleries and unveiled new 3D technology to enhance accessibility for the visually impaired. A perennial on Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best list, The Vendue completed its final renovation phase in 2018 and future hotel guests can look forward to perusing hallways lined in buyable art, sampling Low Country cuisine and sightseeing from the multitiered rooftop bar overlooking Charleston’s steeple-filled skyline. The small city’s diverse heritage serves up a huge foodie scene including African fare, barbecue and seafood, but next year we will be lining up on East Bay Street to suck down fresh oysters, clams and crab claws when the high-end 167 Raw seafood counter opens its second location. Nonstop service to Charleston from Denver, Baltimore and Houston was introduced this year and in April 2019, British Air’s new nonstop flights from London Heathrow will begin touching down in Charleston, offering the first direct route for English travelers to visit their former colony.
The Estate at Kingsmill, a new private mansion that sits on a bluff overlooking the James River at Virginia's Kingsmill Resort.Photo courtesy of Kingsmill Resort
Where: Colonial and Greater Williamsburg, Virginia
Who: Charu Suri is a freelance travel writer who regularly contributes to Architectural Digest, The New York Times, WSJ, Robb Report and Sherman's Travel, among others.
Why: It is going to be a big year for this historic area: 2019 will mark the 400th anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers and the first official English Thanksgiving in North America. There's a lot to check out, including Casa Pearl, a new restaurant headed by a female chef, thrill attractions opening at Busch Gardens, a 7,000-square-foot estate rental debuting at Kingsmill Resort, as well as new programs at the Jamestown settlement. The timely exhibit, "Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia," opened on November 10 to set the tone for the upcoming year. You'll also find a fun element to the commemorative events at the Williamsburg Tasting Trail and spas. It's a destination that is truly family friendly.
Tourists, a new design hotel in the Berkshires.Photo courtesy of Tourists
Where: North Adams and Williamstown, Massachusetts
Who: Christina Pérez is a travel writer who writes about travel, food, style and other worthy pleasures for Vogue, Bazaar, Departures, Elle and other publications. Follow her on Instagram @christinalperez.
Why: Nature lovers and culture fiends have long had plenty of reasons to visit this little corner of the Berkshires: the stunning beauty of the Hoosic Mountain range, the sweeping views from the top of Mount Graylock and the fantastic arts programs of MassMoca and nearby Williams College. But until very recently, there have been surprisingly few lodging options to match the area's creative vibe. That's all changed with the opening of Tourists, a design-minded boutique motel offering 48 super chic rooms and a minimalist-rustic aesthetic. And with James Beard Award-winning chef Cortney Burns set to open a locavore restaurant on the premises in 2019, the hotel — and the area in general — is sure to secure a new status as a must-visit foodie destination, too.