Em and Stu do America part 17: The Best of the US

Reading time: 4 minutes

Because everyone loves lists… especially me. Here’s a round-up of the best and brightest spots discovered on our six-month journey around the States.

Best meals:

Em: Mrs Wilkes’ Dining Room, Savannah; Commander’s Palace, New Orleans
Stu: Central BBQ, Memphis; Gus’ Drive In, Los Angeles

Commander's Palace

Commander’s Palace









Best food overall:

Stu: “Tennessee. You’re probably going to say something stupid like New Orleans, aren’t you?”
Em: “New Orleans.”

Stu living the dream at Central BBQ, Memphis, Tennessee.

Stu living the dream at Central BBQ, Memphis, Tennessee.

Best library:

Tie between Bangor, Maine and New York Public Library

Em enjoys SECRET TINY DOORWAY at Bangor Public Library

Best coffee:

Unanimous for nowhere.

Emma disgusted by what was supposed to be a “cappuccino”. FAIL, ATLANTA.

Worst smells:

A tie between New Orleans and NYC

Blurry garbage in NYC.

Worst pollution:


The brown line of pure filth that just makes you proud to be human.

Best live music scene:

Nashville and New Orleans

Man walks his tuba in NOLA.

Best theatre:

NYC. Obviously.

Even on our last day in NYC we were trying to work out if we could justify a sixth Broadway show…

Saddest homeless population:

Tie between LA and San Francisco. No photo for this one. Just imagine tents lining the freeways and people sleeping everywhere. Not cool.

Craziest/scariest people:

LA. Again, seems best not to photograph the people who might knife you.

Best weather:

Utah in the fall. Now this I have photos of.

Me on pretty much one of the happiest days of my life in sunny Utah.

Worst weather:

Florida in the summer. Yeeech.

Me on pretty much the sweatiest day of my life in Miami.

Best bookshops Canada:

MacLeod’s Books, Vancouver, and The Bookman, Charlottetown, PEI

An awesome store.

Best bookstore USA:

Xanadu Music & Books, Memphis. This place had a really well curated collection, but it also had personality. The owner went on an awesome rant about the evils of numerous corporations, including Amazon, then introduced us to his cat Dashiell Hammett who promptly threw up on the rug.

“A fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.”

Best scenery:


Best national park:


State with best national parks overall:


Best hike:

The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah

Stu in The Narrows.

And finally, another list:

Trip highlights: top 10 adventures

1. Tour: Stephen King tour of Bangor, Maine
2. Tour: Kenny Kramer’s Seinfeld Tour, New York City
3. Tour: Atlanta Movie Tours’ The Walking Dead locations, Senoia, Georgia
4. Tour: Grand Canyon Whitewater’s 6-day Grand Canyon raft trip
5. Show: The Lion King on Broadway
6. Show: Tim Ferriss Interviews Terry Crews, LA Live Talks
7. Ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Universal Studios, Orlando
8. Self-guided tour: Anne of Green Gables book locations, Prince Edward Island, Canada
9. Self-guided tour: The Goonies & Twin Peaks locations, northeast USA
10. Sight: Frederick Law Olmsted’s gardens in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Atlanta (Central Park, Prospect Park, Linear Park).

Bonus entry: every national park, particularly Utah and Zion’s The Narrows! 




1 thought on “Em and Stu do America part 17: The Best of the US

  1. What a fantastic trip you guys have had. Very well organised. Which one of you was the tour organiser? Have a safe trip home.
    Ian & Ailene xxx

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