August Culture Travel Guide

Eating Lobster on The Coast
Nothing beats eating fresh lobster on Maine’s coast (courtesy, Maine Tourism)

Burning Man, Nevada
When it's 107 degrees in the desert, you can certainly feel the effects of Global Warming. So no wonder the 2007 theme to the Burning Man festival is "The Green Man," or humanity's relationship to nature. Burning Man is a combination art, theater, and music, where everyone participates in so-called "theme camps." The event takes place in the Black Rock Desert, two hours north of Reno, late-August to early-September.

Maine Lobster Festival
Nearly 12 tons of lobster was consumed last year at the Maine Lobster Festival. Held August 1-5 in Rockland, overlooking the Penobscot Bay on the Maine coast, the event encompasses an eating orgy of lobster, steamed and fried clams, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels, and requisite corn on the cob. If you can somehow get up from your seat in the food tent, you'll enjoy the blindfold rowing race, lobster crate run, and big parade on Saturday.

Newport, Rhode Island
Best known as the festival where Bob Dylan had the audacity to play electric guitar, much to the dismay of the crowd, the Newport Folk Festival still features some of the top names in folk, country, and rock music. Featured musicians include the Allman Brothers Band, Emmylou Harris, and Alison Krauss.

Glacier National Park
Historic Granite Park Chalet is a great home base for a hiking trip into northern Montana. Built in 1913 by the Great Northern Railway, this rustic hut sits in the center of Glacier National Park, staring straight at 10,479-foot Mount Cleveland. To reach the chalet, walk 7.4 miles on the Highline Trail accompanied by the occasional mountain goat or bighorn sheep. For a three-day guided tour of the area, including cooked meals and lodging at the Granite Park Chalet, contact Glacier Wilderness Guides.

Oregon's Pinot Noir
In the movie, Sideways, wine-obsessed Miles Raymond has a tizzy with his laid-back friend Jack before a double-date dinner. "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am not drinking any f-ing Merlot," Miles screams. His wine of choice in the film is pinot noir, a grape that is not dissimilar to his character—thin-skinned, temperamental, handled with care, and complex. The grape can only be grown in climates with sunny but cool autumn days, like the emerging Willamette Valley in Oregon, less than an hour drive from Portland. Stop at The Tasting Room in Carlton to sample a variety of the region's finest Pinots.

Crested Butte
On the crest of the Rockies, stretching from craggy 12,000-foot peaks to winding rivers, Crested Butte has always been a summer playground for hikers, horseback riders, and fishermen. What outdoorsperson wouldn't be attracted to this vast wilderness where elk, eagles, deer, bear, and bighorn sheep outnumber the small human population? More recently, mountain bikers and golfers have been coming to the area. Bikers try the Gold Link Trail System, where vast fields of shoulder-high wildflowers line the trails like spectators at a marathon, especially in August when more than 600 varieties of wildflowers carpet the mountainside in a profusion of color. Golfers savor the par-72 Robert Trent Jones Jr. course.

San Juan Islands, Washington
The best way to navigate Washington's San Juan Islands, 60 miles north of Seattle, is inside the comfortable confines of a kayak. The highlight is undoubtedly the wildlife. During the summer months, the waters are dotted with pods of Orca (killer) whales in search of Pacific salmon. At any given time, you might also be accompanied by dolphins, porpoises, harbour seals, sea lions and bald eagles.

Berkshires, Massachusetts
This summer, the mountainous Berkshires region of western Massachusetts will feature the culture of the Netherlands. Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will hand over the stage to the Netherlands Bach Society so they can perform Bach's Mass in B Minor. The contemporary art museum, Mass MoCA in North Adams, will present the works of Dutch sculptor Dre Wapenaar. Dutch film classics will be shown at the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, while Jacob's Pillow in bucolic Beckett will feature the latest in Dutch dance.

Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York, already has one of the largest Frank Lloyd Wright collections inthe country. Now architecture enthusiasts can admire the rebuilding of three Wright buildings at the Darwin D. Martin House Complex, the city's finest architectural treasure. This is the first time in America that demolished Wright buildings have been restored to their original state. Along with the Martin House complex, Louis Sullivan's Guaranty Building and Eliel and Eero Saarinen's Kleinhans Music Hall are several architectural highlights seen on a tour of the city.

Laguna Beach, California
One of the most original shows in summer occurs in Laguna Beach, California, halfway between LA and San Diego. Called The Pageant of the Masters, masterpieces of art are presented as "living pictures." Actors wear costumes and elaborate make-up, freezing in position for several minutes as they recreate such famous paintings as Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" and Claude Monet's "Boat at Giverny." The nightly line-up of 24 tableaus also features sculptures and movie posters. Not surprisingly, there have been momentary lapses like sneezing, coughing, and even fainting.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at

Published: 4 May 2007 | Last Updated: 3 Feb 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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