The question we have been asked the most since our recent tour across America is:
what was our favorite place? It’s a tough one.
There are lots of favorite places and narrowing it below a dozen is quite difficult. If I’m honest the answer would usually be: “wherever I am, drinking a beer, when you ask me the question.” That’s kind of the answer to what my favorite song is too. But none of you care about this subjective relativity. We are a data driven society. You want a definitive answer.
And have it you shall, but not without some caveats first.
One: Try as we might, we didn't get everywhere on this round. So my list is not the GOAT places, just the GOATs from this trip.
Two: These are not National Parks. Technically, you're not supposed to live in those and I feel like this list should be places that you can be and not just places you can merely visit. These are towns (often adjacent to National Parks) where you can live, work, not work, sit in a cafe full of young hotties and hipsters enjoying superb coffee with a freshly baked almond croissant, and maybe even start a bar fight over whether the local IPA is really all that. (A post may be coming that attempts to rank the National Parks however, also tough).
Three: These are places in the West. I like the East. Love it, actually. Even Florida. And I'll probably do a post on how freaking beautiful Vermont is in the Fall soon, because oh my goodness. But this list is from the Big West where we hadn't done as much traveling for a while and we kept asking each other "how about here...?"
The Six Pack from the Grand Tour of 2021:
1. Stanley, Idaho – Epic Scenery, hiking and boating. Population 65.
2. Polebridge, Montana – Glacier National Park’s secret back entrance plus Polebridge Mercantile & Grocery and The Northern Lights Saloon (though that's it for "town.")
3. Winthrop, Washington – I'm admittedly biased here as we were married there, but proximity to North Cascades National Park, and the confluence of two great rivers in a great little town – it makes the list.
4. New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle – Hidden, high alpine, Southwest splendor. Angel Fire, Red River, and Taos Ski Valley. All magic.
5. Moab, UT – Arches, Canyonlands, The Colorado River, The Green River and some wicked good mountain biking and bars.
6. Creede, CO – Fly Fishing, or just drinking, along the Rio Grande.
And there you have it. Keep this on the down low please. I hate a crowd.