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Peter's Fall Road Trip Around Napa Valley

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Peter's Fall Road Trip Around Napa Valley

For my American readers, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that there is no way in hell that you don’t know what Napa Valley is. But for my readers from abroad, I’ll explain just in case. Napa Valley is America’s postcard wine country. There are pockets of vineyards all over the country of course (Oregon is a notable wine producer as well), but Napa Valley is the epicenter of wine culture and cultivation in America. Napa Valley refers to a large fertile valley full of vineyards in Napa County, California, which just on the north side of the San Francisco Bay. Driving north through Napa Valley, there are a few towns that you will pass through, the first of which is also called Napa. The next major towns before the northern end of the valley are Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga.

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Peter's Camera Roll: SF Mission District Street Art

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Peter's Camera Roll: SF Mission District Street Art

I could talk about the history of San Francisco for ages, but this article is about what has been happening much more recently. Historically, the Mission had been home to a large part of SF’s Chicano/Latino population, but starting as early as the late 1960s, the LBGTQ community began to play a much more defining role in the neighborhood’s identity. You are probably already familiar with San Francisco’s reputation for being the gay capital of the U.S., but what you might not know is that much of this reputation was built right here in the Mission.

However, by the late 1970s, the Mission had become a much more multidimensional haven for fringe culture. It actually developed a thriving punk rock scene, and helped produced such bands as the Dead Kennedys, Jawbreaker, Rancid, and Green Day! Even today, you’ll see remnants of this scene walking around the streets of the Mission with colorful mohawks and studded belts.

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Peter's Camera Roll: SF's Richmond District(s)

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Peter's Camera Roll: SF's Richmond District(s)

First off, what I’m defining as “Richmond” here is actually made up of 4 smaller districts: Inner, Central, and Outer Richmond… and a little area to the north called Lake Street. This neighborhood (or group of neighborhoods) is essentially a big grid system, which, despite occupying an extremely urban area of San Francisco, is surrounded on almost all sides by nature.

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Peter's Camera Roll: Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward

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Peter's Camera Roll: Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward

Dude, I smell like shit." 

"Thats okay... It's Milwaukee!" 

I think that interaction was what I remembered most about Milwaukee prior coming back here in 2018. I don’t remember a lot of specifics from that trip, save for the realization that Milwaukee is actually a pretty cool place. So when I returned in the summer of 2018 for a wedding, I made a point to break off a bite-sized piece of the city and take a long walk with my camera.

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Peter's Camera Roll: Asheville Street Art

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Peter's Camera Roll: Asheville Street Art

It’s time for our last article on Asheville. We’ve covered some serious ground in this city, and have already had a few surprises, but to me, there were none more pleasant than the ones I’m about to share with you in this article. This is Asheville’s “Street Art” installment; a segment that I am becoming quite fond of. Not every city has a visual arts scene that will support these kinds of public works… but those that do, typically don’t look much like Asheville. I tend to associate street art with giant urban areas like New York, San Francisco, or Toronto.

But Asheville threw down the gauntlet!

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Peter In America's Largest Home: The Biltmore

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Peter In America's Largest Home: The Biltmore

Asheville, North Carolina has little trouble attracting visitors from across the country and abroad on its own. Literally smack-dab in the middle of America’s Great Smoky Mountains, this crunchy enclave is a Mecca for outdoorsmen (and women), beer-lovers, weekend warriors, and hippies from around the country. Indeed, this little Appalachian gem has become a destination in its own rite… but it’s still veiled in a level obscurity. So people are usually surprised to learn that Asheville ALSO happens to be the location of the largest private home in America.

Did you know that? This whole experience was sort of a shock to me!

Today, let me introduce you to the famous Biltmore Estate.

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Peter's Favorite Places In Asheville

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Peter's Favorite Places In Asheville

In the last article, we talked through a lot of the context surrounding the city of Asheville, North Carolina, as well as a few notable areas in and around the city. Today we’re going to get a bit more specific and highlight a few of my favorite Asheville establishments and landmarks.

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Peter vs. Asheville: An Introduction

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Peter vs. Asheville: An Introduction

Tucked away in almost the exact center of the Smoky Mountains, this city an artsy, crunchy, progressive safe-haven, full of art galleries, beer breweries, wilderness exploration outfitters, and organic grocery stores. It’s pretty much the dream! Many people who come here do so as a stop-over before excursions into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but the city itself is becoming a destination in its own rite. Cue our visit.

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Peter vs. Chattanooga: Local's Edition

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Peter vs. Chattanooga: Local's Edition

In the last article, we went through a pretty typical Chattanooga sight-seeing itinerary, but I wanted to take some time to highlight another dimension of the city that actually feels much more defining of the time that I spent here. I’m talking about all the great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops that we visited while we were here. I can’t claim that they are necessarily the best or worst of Chattanooga—I didn’t stick around long enough to be making those sorts of assertions—but I CAN tell that each and every place I’m about to show you is really freaking cool.

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Peter vs. Chattanooga: Tourist Edition

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Peter vs. Chattanooga: Tourist Edition

With a population of just 179,139 (as of 2017), Chattanooga is the 4th largest city in the state of Tennessee, behind Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. It's just over a 2 hour drive southeast from Nashville, and is a relatively short commute to other major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta and Huntsville. The biggest sectors of Chattanooga’s economy are automotive manufacturing, shipping, and logistics, which are all quite industrial. However, this came as sort of a surprise to me given how quickly the “hipster” demographic is taking control of Chattanooga. This place is a serious contender to become Appalachia’s Brooklyn in 10 years, but it’s true identity is never really going to change.

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