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Wildsam Roadtrip Guides

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Wildsam Roadtrip Guides

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Desert Southwest This vast and inspiring western country – from ranch towns and raging rivers to sacred monuments and red rock canyons – stretches the American traveler’s definition of time and space.

Inside find 145 pages of local stories, travel intel and modern lore, including:

  • Where to find authentic Navajo rugs

  • The best burger-and-shake joint in Moab, Utah

  • Historic outlaws and lawmen of note

  • Scenic back roads from every southwestern state

  • A map of stunning Grand Canyon overlooks

  • Intel seeing New Mexico from a hot air balloon

  • Pointers on high desert photography

  • Expert selection on retro inns and destination hotels

  • Legends and lore from Canyon de Chelly

  • An interview with an Arizona shaman

New England From charming colonial towns to rugged and rocky shores, New England is America at her most independent and idyllic, home to trailblazers, mariners, patriots and scholars.

  • Twenty-four hours to see iconic Boston

  • The five best lobster shacks in Maine

  • How to catch the first sunrise in America

  • An interview with a L.L. Bean bootmaker

  • Our favorite country inn for winter escape

  • Alpine huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

  • Trout fishing secrets from an Orvis guide

  • An illustrated map to summer on Cape Cod

  • Three days seeing fall color in Vermont’s North Country

  • Words from Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau

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Desert Southwest This vast and inspiring western country – from ranch towns and raging rivers to sacred monuments and red rock canyons – stretches the American traveler’s definition of time and space.

Inside find 145 pages of local stories, travel intel and modern lore, including:

  • Where to find authentic Navajo rugs

  • The best burger-and-shake joint in Moab, Utah

  • Historic outlaws and lawmen of note

  • Scenic back roads from every southwestern state

  • A map of stunning Grand Canyon overlooks

  • Intel seeing New Mexico from a hot air balloon

  • Pointers on high desert photography

  • Expert selection on retro inns and destination hotels

  • Legends and lore from Canyon de Chelly

  • An interview with an Arizona shaman

New England From charming colonial towns to rugged and rocky shores, New England is America at her most independent and idyllic, home to trailblazers, mariners, patriots and scholars.

  • Twenty-four hours to see iconic Boston

  • The five best lobster shacks in Maine

  • How to catch the first sunrise in America

  • An interview with a L.L. Bean bootmaker

  • Our favorite country inn for winter escape

  • Alpine huts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

  • Trout fishing secrets from an Orvis guide

  • An illustrated map to summer on Cape Cod

  • Three days seeing fall color in Vermont’s North Country

  • Words from Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau

Field Guide 01 // Nashville 
Part almanac, part urban lore, part best-of, part memoir, the first Wildsam Field Guide focuses on Nashville, Tennessee, once monikered Gunpowder City, origin of cotton candy and Cracker Barrel, northern end point to the Natchez Trace. The field guide explores all of that and more. From illustrated maps of comfort food and music stops, to stories from Rosanne Cash, Tony Earley and Senator Bill Frist, Wildsam digs deep to find the taproots of the Music City.

Inside you'll find a never-published note scribbled by Johnny Cash; the story of Jesse James living on Fatherland Street; a taxonomy of songbirds; the lifespan of the Ryman; Mayo’s fried pies; contents of a Civil War knapsack; a historic look at the Billboard Hot 100; poisonous snakes; debutantes; handmade neckties and Arnold's Country Kitchen; the world's smallest art gallery and Jack White's rolling record store. 

Other contributors include fashion designers Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, musicians Jessie Baylin, Courtney Jaye and Thad Cockrell, chef Tandy Wilson, painter Emily Leonard, architect Nick Dryden, and many others, who bring the city to life inside five sections:

  • a collection of twelve interviews with musicians, artists, politicians, food truckers, outdoorsmen, immigrants, and more
  • a cultural almanac full of newspaper clippings, timelines, scientific data, predictions, lists, historical hearsay, and other curio
  • a series of hand-illustrated maps curated by city locals
  • a superlative list for the best in food, drink, action, expertise, and shopping
  • a section of essays from Rosanne Cash, Tony Earley, J Wes Yoder, and Libby Callaway

The sum of these wild and profound parts mirrors the complexity of the Tennessee capitol. And, hopefully, encourages our own adventures in its rolling hills. 

Field Guide 02 // Austin
Austin, Texas. Call it the gateway to the American West. Capitol of the Republic. Home to cosmic cowboys and pit bosses, Sixth Street and Barton Springs. It's the brightest star in Texas – and we can't wait to share its stories with you.  

We've had long conversations with dozens of natives, from hotelier Liz Lambert, editor Evan Smith and Top Chef winner Paul Qui to other amazing locals like a neon artist, a blues club owner,  a portrait photographer, and a former Dallas Cowboy. Our maps scout out the best dive bars, swimming holes, taco trailers, film scenes, and live music. And the Almanac covers a range of heritage, such as armadillos, Lyndon Johnson, Janis Joplin, Texas Rangers, moontowers, SXSW, the tech boom of the 1980’s, the drought, Jack the Ripper, Dazed and Confused, the Whitman shooting of 1966, Willie, and much – much – more. 

Liz Lambert told us, "If you grow up in Texas and you're a little bit different, all paths lead to Austin." We dig that. There's simply no place in America quite like the Lonestar State, and we're deep in the heart of it.

Field Guide 03 // San Francisco
The spirit of the West lives large in San Francisco, a city of ideas and innovation and America reimagined. Dreamers of California dreams. Gold Rush and Summer of Love and Twitter IPO. San Francisco has always been a seven-by-seven mile peninsula of escape and possibility. 

It’s the city where Jack London honed his storytelling, where Joe DiMaggio played high school ball, where Etta James found her voice. Where thousands of African Americans migrated during World War II, escaping Jim Crow for new lives on a new coast. Where runaways hitchhiked. Where Chinese families fled. A fragrant city that the Spanish chose to name Yerba Buena. One wonders if there’s some magic, maybe a spell cast by space. And sea. The thousands of miles between there and here. Time given to shed old skins. To ditch the baggage and picture something new.

Rebecca Solnit writes that San Francisco is “where America comes to reinvent itself.” This book is filled with such stories. Of tech engineers rewiring the world, Harvey Milk rewriting history, John Muir walking into the wild. 

Field Guide 04 // Detroit
For many, the mere mention of Detroit conjures a kind of shock and awe. Newspaper headlines of bankruptcy and scandal. Visions of a city in decline, wrestling with urban blight and crippling poverty. For those able to wade through that noise, there is also the memory's call of heyday: Berry Gordy's Motown tunes that would become American anthems. An automotive juggernaut that turned the city into the nation's roaring assembly line. The "Paris of the Midwest" with grand boulevards and skyscrapers and Belle Isle and street after street of stately mansions. 

But so much of the Detroit story lives between these two ends of the spectrum. The victories and defeats intermingle. One local urban planner told us, "When people ask me about Detroit, I say that things are bother better and worse than you'd think." This book is about that double-edge truth, the whole city, the Detroit that's fighting to win battles of crime and race. The Detroit of small business, like Lonzo Jackson's barber shop and Signal Return's print studio. It's about the Detroit of new ideas, denim makers and metalsmiths in Corktown, urban farmers at Eastern Market, and a thriving arts community across the city. It's about Maggie Townsend, who drives a city bus, and Naomi Long Madgett, a poet ninety years young, and the tens of thousands of others motoring the city south of Eight Mile and north of Canada. (Check that map, folks). 

Detroit is a complicated place. As writer John Carlisle told me, "We can't hide from ourselves here." Maybe that's why I feel so at home. Because Detroit is an honest city, toughened and enlivened by winters and summers, humbled by years of challenge, resilient and strong. 

Field Guide 05 // New Orleans
There’s an old Creole proverb that goes like this: Tell me who you love and I'll tell you who you are. We think the mysterious wisdom of this sentiment rings uniquely true in New Orleans.

Because New Orleans is deeply beloved. Though it bears scars as deeply as any place in America, New Orleans is a place treasured by the generations. These pages are filled with people who prove this true. The river pilot steering ships up the Mississippi. The single mom hustling to get her girls to school. The sax repairman from Germany and the fisherman’s daughter from Vietnam. The sign painter, the midwife, the chef.

Anyone who knows New Orleans knows the romance – mornings in the Quarter, bustling po-boy counters, Rebirth at the Maple Leaf. And they know well the city’s wounds. Forgotten neighborhoods. Swollen prisons. The long disparity of race and class. As always, our hope with this field guide is to open up New Orleans as honestly as we can through story and heritage. To nudge travelers and locals alike towards unforgettable experience. To encourage conversation and reflection. And to help you fall in love with this incredible city.

Field Guide 06 // Brooklyn

Brooklyn begins with proximity. It wrestles with what James Agee called the “mad magnetic energy” that burns non-stop across the East River. For the no-name actor and the playground baller, for the Italian restaurateur and the Haitian cab driver, for them and thousands of others, Brooklyn is the proving ground, the most fertile soil for American narratives – a stranger in a strange land, the underdog, the self-made. It’s seventy-one square miles seeded with hustle and grit and leaps of faith.

Illustrations by
Lauren Tamaki

                                                      

 

 

Field Guide // Charleston

From the grandeur of historic architecture to the modern era of hospitality led by restaurateurs, artists and makers — Charleston has soul, magic and lasting appeal.  

Inside find 145 pages of local stories, travel intel and modern lore, including:

  • The city's queen of fried chicken, Martha Lou Gadsden

  • Fifty years of Beach Music tunes

  • A list of the Holy City’s dreamy and semi-hidden alleyways

  • Southern hospitality, from warm biscuits to thank you notes

  • A list of the city’s most legendary shipwrecks

  • Compelling tributes to the Mother Emanuel victims

  • Walking maps of architectural and secret garden landmarks

  • The perfect order at the city’s seven essential restaurants

  • Chef Sean Brock’s favorite Lowcountry driving route

  • Civil rights pioneers—from Judge Waring to Septima Clark