INSPIRATION • March 2020
There’s a lot that connects the UK with our friends across the pond – not least a host of British Airways direct flights. But you might not realise that matching place names is one of them. On our tour of the USA, The Club stops by the USA’s most exciting towns and cities with British namesakes
Head to upstate New York and you’ll find beautiful countryside, charming small towns, and celebrities catching a break from the big city spotlight. It’s also why you’ll find famed summer retreat, Woodstock. The creative enclave might be famed for the 1960’s festival that actually happened 50 miles to the south, but its musical pedigree stands: Bob Dylan and Van Morrison lived here, and there are great live music venues such as Colony. Jostling with the eateries on Tinker Street are yoga studios and shops selling healing stones, while nearby Tibetan Buddhist monastery Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (pictured) does retreats. From the free-spirited village, embark on stunning hikes into the pine-covered peaks of the Catskills with its secluded swimming holes for wild water enthusiasts.
Where to stay: At central Woodstock Way, a stylish sustainable hotel with a chic-cabin feel, and don’t miss a meal at The Pines, which celebrates local produce in its elevated home-style cooking.
Originally called Zwaanendael (Valley of the Swans), the names Lewes was adopted after the Delaware colonies were handed over from King Charles II to British politician William Penn in 1682. Today it’s a charming seaside city and holiday favourite, thanks to its lovely beaches and nature trails. Visit the Zwaanendael Museum (pictured) to learn about the town’s past, including its rich maritime history, and take a wander along Second Street with its interesting little stores and heritage houses. Be sure to follow the walking trail along the coast – looking out for old military bunkers tucked away in the sand dunes. The pretty Cape Henlopen State Park is a great place for walkers, campers and twitchers with its dunes, pine forests and wetlands. You can also catch a ferry over Delaware Bay to explore another historic city, Cape May in New Jersey.
Where to stay: Check-in to lovely waterfront spot The Inn at Canal Square.
When it comes to history, Boston takes some beating. Starting with Boston Common and ending with the USS Constitution, the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail will take you past 16 historically significant sites to the War of Independence. Stop to eat at the excellent Faneuil Hall Marketplace (pictured) or go for a Boston classic, clam chowder, at Union Oyster House, in operation since 1826. Head out on a harbour cruise to admire the handsome city from the water. Back on land, North End and Beacon Hill will give you narrow cobblestoned streets and gorgeous 18th-century red brick houses. Stop by Charles Street to visit its lovely boutiques or head to Newbury Street in the Back Bay, another top shopping spot. You can nip over the Charles River to another English namesake, Cambridge, which is home to the hallowed halls of Harvard University.
Where to stay: Stay in a beautiful Beaux Arts building in Beacon Hill at XV Beacon Hotel.
With deep industrial roots and a key role in the civil rights movement, Birmingham is one of the south’s most underrated cities. From its galleries and museums to its handsome downtown and dynamic revitalised neighbours, there’s a lot going for the largest city in Alabama. It’s got a surprising amount of green spaces, along with plenty of convivial and award-winning dining spots. Old industrial spaces have been given a new lease of life at The Market at Pepper Place (pictured), a former Dr Pepper Factory turned farmers’ market, as well as Railroad Park where hand-cast bricks from old railway constructions have been reused to create a lovely urban space, and workers now lunch and joggers run loops as they admire the city’s skyline. The former iron-mining site in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is now a scenic stretch of trees and hills with 15 miles of hiking and biking trails, treehouses, a zipline and aerial adventure course.
Where to stay: Stay at recently restored The Redmont, Birmingham’s oldest hotel built in 1925.
Sat prettily on the central coast of Maine, Camden is a quintessential New England town. It’s a popular weekend escape thanks to an array of outdoor activities, art galleries, artisanal stores and independent bookshops. The area is also renowned for its acclaimed chefs celebrating the bounty of Maine’s gorgeous produce. Wander around the old shipbuilding town’s scenic harbour, complete with old lighthouse (pictured). You could take a sunset cruise out into Penobscot Bay – or set off in a kayak to explore its rocky bays by yourself. There’s hiking to be had, too – work up an appetite on nearby Mount Battie before heading to a wine tasting and cheese platter at the 200-year-old barn of Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville. Back in Camden, tuck into steamed lobster on the dock at Rhumb Line and exquisite Italian at 40Paper, which is set in a civil-war era mill.
Where to stay: Splash out on (or go for drinks at least) at the historic Camden Harbour Inn, a gem of a Relais & Chateaux property right on the water.
Huddled in a nook of the Green Mountains, the quaint Vermont town of Stowe is one the state’s top ski towns, drawing wintersports enthusiasts to its snowy peaks. The town hosts various festivals and, as you’d expect from a ski town, has a lively après-mountain scene. Take a stroll along Main Street, with its dainty steepled church and clapboard houses, and pop into the delightfully old-fashioned Shaw’s General Store. Go for a tour (and a scoop) at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream plant and sample craft beers at Idletyme Brewing Company. Go in spring and you’ll be there for the start of maple sugaring season. This is prime hiking time too, with many trails leading from Stowe through thick forests, rivers and valleys. Try hiking up Mt Mansfield (the state’s highest peak) on Vermont’s historic Long Trail, or cheat and take the gondola up for awesome views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Daredevils can try the zipline descent.
Where to stay: The smaller Spruce Peak is a great spot too – go for a meal at Solstice in Stowe Mountain Lodge, a cosy and romantic spot where you can also bed down.
The view of the James River from the top of Libby Hill Park is said to have reminded the city’s founder, William Byrd II, of the view of the Thames from Richmond Hill in London, thus inspiring its name. The park was founded in 1851 and sits in the historic Church Hill neighbourhood, known for its handsome architecture, cobblestone pathways and upscale restaurants. Being able to lounge by James River is a big part of Richmond’s appeal – it covers more than 500 acres with riverside trails for walkers and cyclists, as well as waterways for kayaking and rapids for rafting. There are masses of historic sites, museums and galleries (The Black History Museum and The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts - pictured - among them) to explore and a booming craft beer scene. Follow the Richmond Beer Trail Map to find it – it will take you into Scotts Addition, an old industrial area turned top brewing district.
Where to stay: at Quirk Hotel on West Broad Street in a vibrant west downtown neighbourhood.
Whether or not it was named after the little village of Dallas in Moray, Scotland, as one theory has it, it’s fair to say that Dallas has eclipsed its namesake. It might have a reputation for southern glitz and glamour, but spend time here and you’ll discover it’s more than oil tycoons and mega-malls. Today, Dallas is all about cutting-edge art; a dynamic dining scene, and seriously cool neighbourhoods. Follow the Katy Trail - the leafy 3.5-mile route it follows is peppered with joggers and walkers. The Dallas Arts District, home to galleries, museums and concert halls, is the largest urban zone in the USA while the Design District has some of the city’s hippest hangouts. Explore the mighty Dallas Museum of Art (it’s free) and go on a self-guided art tour of the city’s public art (pictured) – Deep Ellum has striking murals along with great margarita bars and live music venues. The West End Historic District is a Dallas must-do, where you’ll find the key sites of the JFK assassination.
Where to stay: Book in at at the suitably glamorous The Joule in downtown, complete with rooftop pool.