bowl of clam chowder with Cannon Beach in the background picture

This bowl of clam chowder is served up with a stellar view of the Oregon coast.

handmade sign for N.W. cherries picture

As you travel country roads, keep an eye out for local signs such as this one for cherries.

Tide Pools: Traveling Local

Road Journals Blog—As I write my first posting for Via’s new blog, I thought I’d tell you a little about what I do for the magazine. The photo of clam chowder, taken a few days ago, pretty much sums it up. 

Okay, I do more than eat clam chowder on the Oregon coast. But the photo is a good example of what I do for VIA. I’m a freelance journalist who writes about food, architecture, art, and travel. For the past 15 or so years, VIA has sent me on assignments around the West. The destinations vary—from tiny towns like Riggins, ID, to big cities like San Francisco and Portland—but the assignments all come down to one thing.

Dig, and then dig some more, to find what’s truly local.

Whether it’s food, people, a unique shop or museum, regional customs, or the physical lay of the land, I’m always looking for what defines a destination and gives it a character different from other places. Hence the clam chowder on the Oregon coast, or the enticing sign for cherries that had me making a quick and tasty detour during the same trip. 

No matter how far a trip takes me, I try to “travel local.” And I suspect many of you do, too, in ways I’ve never imagined. Have tried-and-true ways to “travel local?” I’d love to hear them. They may help on my next Via trip.

Christopher Hall's article, "Pool party," with photos by David H. Collier, appears on the cover of the March/April issue of Via.

This blog post was first published in January 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.