50 things to do this summer in 50 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
Take advantage of the summer's extended hours of daylight, and hike under the midnight sun, says DIY blogger Ana White of Ana White Homemaker. One of her favorite treks? The family-friendly Angel Rocks Trail, a 3.5-mile roundtrip in the Chena River Recreation Area near Fairbanks. "At night, the animals come alive," she says.
Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK; (907) 451-2705
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
For the freshest sweet corn and southern peaches, interior designer Tobi Fairley of Tobi's Blog, drives 35 minutes southeast of Little Rock to Hardin Farms and Market Too in Scott. "Everything there is so fresh, like it was just picked," she says. Besides deli meats, produce, and flowers, this farmer's market sells heat-and-eat meals featuring some comfort food favorites such as chicken spaghetti, fried corn, and cheese dip.
15235 Highway 165, Scott, AR; (501) 961-1100
Tioga Gas Mart in Lee Vining is not your typical pit stop. That's because Whoa Nellie Deli, located inside, serves up more than the traditional fueling station fare of hotdogs and Little Debbie snacks. Pick from offerings like buffalo meatloaf, chicken jambalaya, and lobster taquitos, then take your gourmet grub to the patio that overlooks Mono Lake. "It's a must stop if you're coming to or from Yosemite National Park," says dirt-slinging blogger Linda Ly of Garden Betty.
22 Vista Point Rd., Lee Vining, CA; (760) 647-1088
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. Can't get there? Order online.
7711 W. 6th Ave., Suite L, Lakewood, CO; (303) 834-7048
Crafty Farm Girl Aimee Carpenter has been a frequent customer of Banksville Designer Fabrics in Norwalk since she was a little girl. Not much has changed in the 46 years the company's been in business. Larry Shapiro still owns the place, "and they still have the most amazing collection of dress-making textiles," says Carpenter, whose mom made her first wedding dress from Banksville's fabrics.
115 New Canaan Ave., Norwalk, CT; (203) 846-1333
Meander in to the first floor of the old four-square house that plays host to Blueberry Hill Resale in Bellefonte, and pick your poison, says Rebecca Harkin, who blogs about interesting artists at Threads and Snippets. "This is a great place for lovers of kitsch," Harkin says, "though they have a little of everything." Find your way through rooms of vintage clothing, textiles, china, and small accent furnishings that spill out onto the enclosed porch and into the yard.
1015 Brandywine Blvd., Wilmington, DE; (302) 765-2047
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
Beyond the crafty décor in Sun in My Belly, a café housed in a renovated 1940s hardware store in Atlanta, the restaurant is most recognized for the jazz brunch (first Sunday of every month). But nostalgic blogger Ashley Leckey Schoenith of Heirloomed fancies their new addition — the B.Y.O.B dinner, where you can come up with your own beverage pairings.
2161 College Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA; (404) 370-1088