Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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GREAT TRAVEL doesn’t necessarily mean having to travel great distances. Great one-tank
trips—round trips to affordable, accessible
places where you can have memorable experiences—are right in our own backyards.
Here are some of my one-tank choices.
San Francisco to Geyserville, CA ( 77 miles)
Welcome to a low-key Sonoma County locale
with a downtown that’s just two blocks long.
Catelli’s ( mycatellis.com), into its third generation of Catelli family owners, serves up handmade ravioli and locally sourced specials. If the
weather is good (and it usually is), ask for a patio
table. Bosworth & Son General Merchandise
( bosworthandson.com) also keeps it in the family. The more than ;;;-year-old former buggy
shop and mortuary sells Western wear, horse
tack, animal feed and hardware.
Nearby, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery
( francisfordcoppolawinery.com) offers tastings,
movie memorabilia, restaurants and poolside
cabanas. If you tire of wine, try Hip Chick Farm’s
Chicken Nugget Tasting Room and Lunch
Counter ( hipchickfarms.com) in the town of
Sebastopol. Go rafting on the Russian River or, if
you prefer dry land, head for nearby Armstrong
Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
Dallas to Jefferson, TX (166 miles)
East from Dallas is Jefferson, with lush
piney woods and streets lined with graceful ante-bellum and Victorian mansions. Home and garden tours are big here, but so is Lone Star swagger
and beef brisket at Joseph’s Riverport Bar-B-Que ( facebook.com/riverportbbq).
A bustling inland port and railroad crossroads in the mid-;;;;s, Jefferson is now home to
;,;;; residents who revel in sharing its history.
Step inside a private railroad car once owned by
;;th-century robber baron Jay Gould. Flip
through the guest book of The Excelsior House
Hotel ( theexcelsiorhouse.com), which has been
welcoming U.S. presidents since the ;;;;s. And I
always stop at the ;;;-year-old Jefferson General
Store ( jeffersongeneralstore.com), where I have a
;-cent cup of coffee at the six-stool counter.
The drive itself includes the strange beauty
of bare cypress trees draped with Spanish moss
along the bayous of Caddo Lake State Park near
the Louisiana border.
Atlanta, GA, to Highlands, NC ( 130 miles)
Highlands, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is
at an elevation of ;,;;; feet, which means the
town offers cool temperatures in summer,
leaf-peeping in the fall and a glorious array of
azaleas in the spring.
Take the winding Gorge Road to Franklin,
passing three waterfalls and a smooth rock area.
Keep a lookout for Caffé Rel ( facebook.com/
CaffeRel) at the Hot Spot gas station in Franklin
and fill up from the extensive menu of sandwiches, creamy pasta carbonara and caramel
cake. There’s hiking and golfing in the area, and
on the weekends there is also live music in the
Library Bar of the Old Edwards Inn on Main
Street ( oldedwardsinn.com).
Chicago, IL, to New Glarus, WI (148 miles)
Rolling plains combine with cheese, beer,
yodeling and old-world architecture in this
Want local? New Glarus Brewing Co. (new
glarusbrewing.com) only sells its beer in
Wisconsin. For ;; enjoy a flight of craft beers
such as Moon Man and Spotted Cow. Puempel’s
Olde Tavern ( puempels.com) features ;;;-year-
old murals and locals playing the Swiss card
The nearby town of Monroe is known for its
tradition of artisanal Swiss, brick and Limburger
cheeses, based on those brought by Swiss immigrants to the area. Baumgartner’s Famous
Cheese Store & Tavern (baumgartnercheese.
com) serves its Limburger sandwiches with a
necessary chaser: a breath mint. Wash it down
with a creamy Huber Bock lager at Minhas Craft
Brewery ( minhasbrewery.com), the country’s
second-oldest brew house, followed by bowling
and Swiss Heritage Music Night at Turner Hall
Boston, MA, to Bristol, RI ( 65 miles)
This classic New England waterfront town
is lined with Colonial-era homes, and the deepwater port celebrates the sea at the Herreshoff
Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of
Fame ( herreshoff.org) with exhibits and a sailing school.
Named for Bristol, England, the town nods
to its heritage with an annual British car show
and road rally ( britishmotorcarfestival.com),
but it also boasts the oldest Fourth of July parade
in the country, founded in ;;;;. Check out
Blithewold, a ;;-acre estate you can tour, with an
English-style manor house, gardens and arboretum ( blithewold.org).
Take your bike along on this one-tank trip,
then take it on board the ferry to Prudence Island
( prudencebayislandstransport.com), where you
can ride nearly ;; miles of wooded trails. Or just
stay in Bristol and have a cold beer and a bowl of
clam chowder while taking in views of
Narragansett Bay from the Thames Waterside
Bar & Grill ( facebook.com/Thames Waterside). C