We asked bloggers nationwide to share can't-miss, off-the-beaten-path summer destinations in their home states. Here's a sneak peek of the ultimate list of site to see, places to shop, and plans to make before September; then head over to CountryLiving.com for the other 33 states! »
"My absolute favorite spot in Montgomery is Rescued Relics," says Ashley Mills, the lifestyle blogger behind The Handmade Home. "I try to go at least once a week." This not-for-profit warehouse sells architectural salvage from the town's historic buildings and homes, and keeps an ever-changing inventory of pre-1960s hardware, sinks, doors, light fixtures, mantels, window sashes, flooring, and balustrades.
423 Madison Ave., Montgomery, AL; (334) 240-4512
Plus: See more fun things to do from the Southeast »
Picture the very best garage-sale gems all in one place. That's Qcumberz in Phoenix. "Inside, it's an insane, cluttered mess," says Adrianne Lentine, a fearless DIYer at Dream Book Design. "But the selection of inexpensive hardware, windows and doors, and table legs for a potential project, is amazing."
4429 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ; (602) 277-5133
Cinnamon, chili, and salt make up the sweet and spicy goodness in Helliemae's Handcrafted Chili Palmers caramels, a favorite for sweet-tooth crafting wizard Becky Hensley of the Denver Craft Ninjas. She suggests stopping by the hard-to-find factory in Lakewood during Caramel Hours (times are posted on the site) to shoot the breeze with master confectioner Ellen, drink a craft beer, and sample the new concoctions.
7711 W. 6th Ave., Suite L, Lakewood, CO; (303) 834-7048
Visit the Orange Antiques Mall in Winter Park, just minutes from Orlando, a 90-dealer building that's chock-full of collectibles and furnishings - from Victorian serveware to mid-century modern pieces, vintage clothing to shabby chic home décor. "It's my favorite store in the area," says Anna Bond, creative director and owner of Rifle Paper Co. "I go often because they're always getting new things, and I love a treasure hunt."
853 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, FL; (407) 644-4547
More must-stop destinations in Maryland, Georgia, and more! »
Locals camp out to receive the coveted first cone of the season at Snookies Malt Shop, a summertime staple in Des Moines' Beaverdale neighborhood. Why all the fuss? Perhaps it's the shop's 25-plus year legacy, or the fact that it's only open from April to September, or maybe it's the novelty treats - from dipped cones to sundaes - that come with a cookie on top. Food blogger Kristin Porter of Iowa Girl Eats, who admittedly has a massive sweet tooth, swears it's the atmosphere - and the malts, too. "I love sitting on the patio on a warm summer night with a cold, hot-fudge malt," she says.
1810 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, IA; (515) 255-0638
You might also like: These Midwest hot spots »
Set out in a remote spot overlooking picturesque Round Pond Harbor near the Pemaquid Lighthouse, the weathered gray-shingled Round Pond Lobstermen's Co-op, "is one of the most quaint lobster shacks in Maine, where you can watch fishermen bring in their daily catch," says cookbook author and foodie Dana Moos of Musings of the FoodMadam. The modest menu boasts fresh lobster, steamers, corn-on-the-cob, and chips. How fresh exactly? When rations get low, one of the culinary team members climbs aboard the dingy and motors out to one of the floating lobster crates.
25 Town Landing Rd., Round Pond, ME; (207) 529-5725
Plus: More of our favorite things to do in New England »
Honor & Folly, a tiny inn in Detroit's historic Corktown, charms guests and locals alike with its creative design, great location, and even cooking classes. The two-bedroom apartment sits above popular eatery Slows Bar-B-Q and is decorated with goods made by Detroit- and other Midwest-based designers and artisans - much of which is for sale. "The food and drink options aren't limited to barbecue - there's a craft cocktail bar (The Sugar House), an independent coffee shop (Astro Coffee) that sells out-of-this-world baked goods, and a gourmet burger joint (Mercury Berger Bar) across the street," says culinary adventuress Noëlle Lothamer, of Slimmer Down.
2132 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI
Luv-It Frozen Custard, a landmark in Las Vegas since the '70s, churns dense creamy custard in chocolate and vanilla daily using the same family recipe since 1973. Plus, they offer at least two additional flavors each day, like peanut butter, banana nut, raspberry, and Swiss almond, among others, and sell it from the take-out stand on the north end of the Strip. "It is seriously the best custard you will ever eat," says design blogger Angie Gubler, one half of the team behind Blonde Invitations and Stationery.
505 E Oakey Blvd., Las Vegas, NV; (702) 384-6452
Head to the Lea County Fair and Rodeo in Lovington for a day - or night - of carnival rides, pungent livestock, bull riding, and country music that's just a darn good time. And the food? "To die for," says blogging quilter Mandy Davenport of The Dixie Chicken. There's the typical fried fare, of course, but the real culinary winners at this fair are the food booths featuring Southwestern favorites, like fajitas and roasted corn.
101 S Commercial, Lovington, NM; (575) 396-8686
What's your favorite spot in the Southwest? See if it made our list! »
To sate your sweet tooth in Durham, Ellie Snow, who writes about art, design, and handmade objects at Mint, recommends chasing down the bike that sells fresh, homemade doughnuts. The food trike she speaks of is Monuts Donuts, a bakery on wheels that specializes in unique flavor combinations, such as cranberry ginger, vegan toasted amaretto, and pumpkin chai - though it also offers a glazed option for purists.
Check the site to find the trike's daily location; (919) 449-6786
Katie Stratton of Katie's Pencil Box frequently takes herself on a date. "Dayton's PNC 2nd Street Market is the best place to treat yourself to fresh flowers, local produce, pies, and people watching," she says. Visit this year-round market to scoop up gobs of Ohio's locally made-and-grown goods, like roses, jam, soap, and maple candies.
600 E 2nd St., Dayton, OH; (937) 228-2088
Lovers of quirky design and reclaimed objects may be familiar with Three Potato Four's online shop. But they may not know that the shop of decorative ephemera hosts barn sales at their brick-and-mortar location periodically (check their website for dates). Each sale promises a warehouse chock full of well-curated antique finds. "It's the best vintage shopping in Philadelphia," says blogger Shauna Alterio of Something's Hiding in Here.
376 Shurs Lane, Building A, Philadelphia, PA; (267) 335-3633
See more: Fun shops and places to eat at in the Mid-Atlantic »
Every year Sidney Wagner, an interior designer with Eclectic Interior Design Group joins her entire family - cousins and all - for a vacation on Fripp Island for the annual Beaufort Water Festival (July 13 until July 22 this year). "Like any good festival, there's a healthy mix of water and air shows, arts and crafts, and music and food - lots of food," she says. And after a long day in the sun, why not eat more? Wagner's family favorites are the fresh oysters at Johnson Creek Tavern, where they mark each vacation by hanging a dollar bill on the wall.
1014 Bay St., Beaufort, SC; (843) 524-0600
"Feedstore BBQ in Southlake is where I fell in love with ribs," says Jacinda Boneau, one half of the blogging duo behind Prudent Baby. The joint's famous for the pork ribs, but they serve brisket, catfish, even burgers. Eat your meal Texas-style by gorging yourself and topping off dinner with a helping of the cobbler du jour and ice cream.
530 S White Chapel Blvd., Southlake, TX; (817) 488-1445
Delicate vintage ivory teacups sit next to white Moroccan lanterns on the shelf at Emiliejayne consignment shop in Salt Lake City, which sells both old and new home furnishings, classic serveware, and decorative items - all merchandised in monochromatic displays, which, "makes everything look very visually appealing," says children's book illustrator Sarah Jane Wright, whose blog has her namesake. There's also a children's section in the back and jewelry at the counter.
801 S. 800 East, Salt Lake City, UT; (801) 359-3356
If the avant-garde window displays don't beckon you in the door of Watson Kennedy at Seattle's Pike Place Market, then the amazing scents surely will. The jewel box of a store, "is a perfectly curated collection of home goods, accessories, books, stationery, and ephemera," promises Emily Jones, a perpetual furniture re-arranger and salvage shopper who shares it all on her blog Jones Design Company.
86 Pine St., Seattle, WA; (206) 443-6281
Tattoos, pink hair, and leather boots: That's what you might see at the one-day Rockerbox Motofest and Street Party in Milwaukee on August 4. But the real showstoppers in the artsy Riverwest neighborhood that weekend will be the bikes on show - from pristine Vespas to Harleys from the 1920s. For Sara Beringer, author of the blog Cream City and Sugar, the most notable sites are the vintage, the rare, and the European cousins of Milwaukee's beloved Harley-Davidson.
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