9 Great Destinations Where Stressed-Out Progressives Can Escape Trump’s America
Wanna Get Away? These 9 Spots Offer the Ultimate Progressive Vacation
In 2016, Reverb Press’ Deborah Montesano provided a fantastic guide to welcoming travel spots for liberal Americans. The 12 Best Hippie Cities For Stressed-Out Progressives In 2016 became a viral sensation and remains one of the most-viewed stories in Reverb Press history. The story was a useful aid for those looking to escape the madness of the 2016 election cycle and chill with like-minded folks during two radically different primary seasons. Most of us assumed that when all was said and done, life would return to normal and we’d go back to planning our vacations to Disneyland or Washington, DC or to the various campsites, lakes and shores that dot our landscape. But then Trump happened.
Understandably, you now may not want to risk having your vacation ruined by the gloating family with the “MAGA” hats in Las Vegas, so we determined it’s time to expand the original list and offer progressives even more destinations for this surreal travel season.
You’re already aware of the obvious spots: San Francisco, Seattle, Berkeley, Boston, New York, Austin and the like. Furthermore, liberal college towns like Burlington, Madison and Lawrence are equally well known in progressive circles. This time, we’re going to focus on smaller cities and towns (for the most part) across the United States. Between the original list of cities and these smaller locales, a liberal paradise is destined to be in your range of travel.
Traveling from East to West…..
The municipality that sits at the northern end of Cape Cod was given a perfect score by the Human Rights Campaign on their Municipal Equality Index — which “demonstrates the ways that many cities can–and do–support the LGBTQ people who live and work there“. The town of just under 3,000 (though that increases exponentially in the summer) boasts a full calendar of civic LGBTQ events and a charming array of B&Bs, beaches, restaurants and shops along its amazingly walkable downtown. For those seeking more antiquated culture, Provincetown is known as the oldest continuous art colony in America, counting Tennessee Williams, Jackson Pollack and Norman Mailer among those the town has inspired. From townwide yard sales to the annual midsummer Carnival, there’s something for every liberal member of your family in Provincetown.
Furthermore, you can at the very least smoke and possess marijuana in the commonwealth now, with hopes that dispensaries will be opening in the very near future. And if you needed any more convincing, Donald Trump took home a laughable less-than-one-percent of the vote in Provincetown last November.
Warwick, New York
When most people think of liberal havens in upstate New York; Woodstock, New Paltz and Ithaca come to mind. But sitting only 55 miles Northwest of Midtown Manhattan lies the Village of Warwick. The southern end of New York’s historic Hudson Valley is a progressive delight for people of all ages. The local government puts a heavy emphasis on sustainability in the farming community. Downtown Warwick is a wonderland of fine antique shops, art galleries, craft beer-pouring gastropubs and a concert green. Summer months feature a weekly farmer’s market that celebrates local meat, dairy, produce and flora. Ample privately-owned Bed & Breakfasts pepper the town and help support the booming small business scene.
The Warwick Valley Winery — one of three within the town — welcomes active and retired hippies every summer with tributes to Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Cash and the Grateful Dead. For those who enjoy an adult beverage or three, you’ll also find two distilleries and a brewery within the city limits. And all tastes converge at the locally famous Pennings Farm. The year-round farmstead hosts regular live music, contains two bars and a cidery, a full orchard and a petting zoo. Just off the Appalachian Trail, it’s a veritable Eden for those who love to socialize outdoors, particularly if you regularly don tie-dyes and Birkenstocks.
But it’s not all fun and apples. Warwick is home to a growing network of community activists who made sure that Hillary Clinton carried this slice of a competitive swing congressional district in November.
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Yes, for the first time since Aladdin and The Bodyguard were dominating the box office, Pennsylvania went Republican for President. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Despite Trump’s narrow victory, there are still plenty of dyed-in-the-wool liberals in the Keystone State, and not just in the cultural epicenter of Philadelphia. And perhaps no place represents that more than the picturesque borough of New Hope. Situated on the banks of the Delaware River, New Hope boasts a perfect score in both non-discrimination laws and relationship with the LGBTQ community.
Theater lovers and live music aficionados will find a home at the Bucks County Playhouse — complete with an outdoor bar overlooking the river. Both North and South Main Street are dotted with boutique shopping, art galleries and fine dining options. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of this progressive enclave in Bucks County, however, is the laid-back pace of life. About Travel notes:
Though the area has a lively gay nightclub and several trendy restaurants, life here floats along at an unhurried pace. This quaint, artsy, riverside hamlet is a mere hour from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York City, but the hectic bustle of either city is decidedly absent.
As an added bonus, should you chose to visit, you can walk a little more than 300 yards across the scenic New Hope-Lambertville Bridge to Lambertville, NJ — a town described by Thrillist as “The best hippie town in New Jersey“.
Asheville, North Carolina
Disclaimer #1: Asheville’s population of 87,236 is significantly higher than the other destinations on this list.
With that out of the way, there’s one statistic that matters for any hops-loving progressive: Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the United States. The four-time winner of the”Beer City USA” competition, Asheville even works hops and barley into its breakfast offerings. And we’re not talking Miller, Coors or any other run-of-the-mill mass-produced swill, either. With almost fifty craft breweries, brewpubs and tasting rooms, you’re sure to find the perfect pint for your palate. And if you’ve been frequenting bars as long as I have, you surely know the crowds that gather to share tasty craft beers tend to lean significantly more towards the left than their Budweiser-and-a-shot-of-Jack brethren.
And because a progressive drinker is a responsible drinker, there are ample ride-sharing options as you hop from brewery to brewery. You can let local residents drive you around town, or even ride a “pubcycle“!
Sure, Trump may have carried the state that President Obama won twice, but this crafty city voted like the majority of Americans – for Clinton. So don’t hesitate to make beer drinking great again on your next vacation!
Throughout its history, the City of Decorah has been built on the strength of its ethnic, racial and religious acceptance.
Many Muslim students attend Luther College and contribute to the cultural diversity of Decorah; and Postville is home to a thriving Somali Muslim community, many of whom visit Decorah on a regular basis.
Inflammatory comments by public figures have increased, including calls to shut down mosques, to ban Muslims from entering the United States and to institute a Muslim Registry.
Wonder who inspired that.
Trump carried this perennial swing state, which has swung towards the eventual winner in the last four elections. But Secretary Clinton defeated Trump here by an almost 2.5-to-1 margin in November. Politics alone, however, are hardly enough reason to plan a vacation. Thankfully, Decorah offers plenty of others.
A naturalists’ delight, travelers can visit hatcheries, farms, preservation galleries, trout runs across the Upper Iowa River and multiple parks. The cultural focal point of the town is Luther College, a private Liberal Arts school. Hippies and tour-rats from the 1990s may remember the institution as the venue for the iconic acoustic Live at Luther College album by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds.
There’s a lodging option for every preference: historic downtown hotels, national budget motels, B&Bs and inns as well as a campground. For midwesterners looking for a long weekend, this forward-thinking gem is less than 100 miles from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Efforts to promote Eureka Springs as “The Gay Capital of the Ozarks” have really rubbed Evangelical pastors the wrong way. That alone should be enough to visit the town dubbed “Little Switzerland“. But surely it takes a little more than schadenfreude to book a vacation. Thankfully, this pedestrian utopia offers considerably more. Most towns are lucky to have a single building to appear on the National Register of Historic Places. Eureka Springs can offer, well, Eureka Springs…
In 1970, the entire city limits of Eureka Springs was designated as a Historic District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Covering about two square miles, the district includes almost 500 buildings that contribute to the historic significance of the city, most of which were built of native stone from 1890 to 1910. Eureka Springs was also named one of America’s Twelve Distinctive Destinations in 2001 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and in 2005, Eureka Springs was upgraded to by the National Park Service to National Significance on the National Historic Register.
While no 2016 election data for the mountain resort town are available, rest assured you’ll find a distinct progressive flavor in this slice of a deep red state. They offer full calendar each season of “Diversity Events” and corresponding sponsors. Sure, Arkansas will never be confused for Vermont, but if you’re a progressive in the Southeast/Gulf Coast region in search of destinations that fit your principles, you’d be hard pressed to beat this historic town.
And talk about beauty? Just check out their webcams.
Taos, New Mexico
Time stands still in this community of 5700 people. Its primary destination is Taos Pueblo, the “only Native American living community that is designated as both a National Historic Landmark and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.” Natural desert beauty intersects with meticulous historical preservation. And the residents aren’t exactly fond of the 45th President. Taos county chose Clinton by over 50 points last fall.
For the environmentalist on vacation, you can stay overnight in an “earthship“:
A museum built to showcase sustainability through “earthships,” sustainably built living quarters. There is a purpose built gallery area where visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour of an earthship that serves to provide education on environmental issues such as recycled water and solar power. Visitors can even book to stay overnight in their own pod to experience the earthships firsthand.
If that’s not your thing though, there’s plenty more in Taos. Museums, boutiques, skiing, lakes, and hiking are among the most popular tourist activities. Luxury and budget accommodations alike await in what the travel website Roadsnacks calls “The most liberal city in New Mexico”.
Park City, Utah
Utah? On a list of progressive vacation destinations? Deep Red Utah? The same Utah who last voted for a Democratic President in 1964? Tied for the longest such streak in the nation? The state where Mitt Romney has a 71% approval rating? Yes. That Utah. About thirty miles east of Salt Lake City, this ski resort town has no love for Donald Trump, or conservative values in general for that matter. Consider the following statistics about Summit County, where Park City lies:
- It was one of two counties to vote against a Utah Same Sex Marriage ban in 2004.
- It is the only county in the nation to have ever voted for a transgender Senate candidate.
- The county voted for Barack Obama over John McCain.
- Trump barely topped 1/3 of the vote in a state he won by almost 18 points.
Rest assured if you vacation in Park City, you’ll be among friends. And you’ll have plenty to do. As noted, it’s a world-class ski town, having hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. Utah Olympic Park has year-round activities for both athletes and those who simply want to mimic the Olympic experience. Most people don’t exactly think about alcohol when they hear “Utah”, but the craft beer website RateBeer gives Park City’s Wasatch Brewing a near perfect 97/100 score. If you are planning a vacation to Park City, however, you’re best served to consider going in January. The Sundance Film Festival is held here annually. Celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, the festival has grown to become the “Most Prestigious Film Festival” in the United States.
Jack Kerouac called this a “tiny little fishing village” in his legendary work On The Road, but modern Sausalito has blossomed from its seafaring roots into a vibrant, progressive artist colony. Seeing that it lies between the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate National Park, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that Trump “earned” a whopping 15% of the vote in Marin County last year. But as always, for a man so infatuated with how badly he lost the popular vote — it’s worth mentioning.
Wonder what it’s like to live in the water? Make Sausalito your destination for the annual “floating homes tour“. Seeking a little more culture? Book your vacation around Labor Day and join over 50,000 friends for the “Sausalito Art and Music Festival” — dubbed “the best art fair in the world“. If you’re looking to see San Francisco from a distance without the hustle and bustle of the eclectic city, check out what the Society of American Travel Writers called the best ferry ride in America: The Sausalito Ferry.
If you’re on the hippie end of the liberal spectrum, your trip to the Bay Area wouldn’t be complete without experiencing some Grateful Dead history. Travel 10 miles north on the storied Pacific Coast Highway and you’ll find yourself at Terrapin Crossroads. This “fantastic musical and culinary home” offers regular live music that often includes original members of the Dead. Let your inspiration flow!
Whatever destination you choose for your next trip, you will not be alone. A majority of Americans voted against the 45th President. His approval ratings are in the toilet. And recent demonstrations and deep-red special elections have given tangible evidence to his unpopularity. But if you don’t want to risk it, if you don’t want your children to overhear some loudmouth at the breakfast buffet spouting off about building walls and banning Muslims, let this list, along with our original rundown of liberal cities be your guide.
H/T to the brilliant Deborah Montesano for her pioneering piece on where stressed out progressives can travel to escape the madness of an increasingly hostile political climate that so many of us live in!
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Ed Hanratty is a Reverb Press contributor and freelance political journalist. A lifelong New Jerseyan, he prides himself on having just enough Garden State sarcasm and skepticism to keep his bleeding heart in check. Keep up with Ed’s work and random ramblings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the links below…but not Snapchat — that’s where he’s decided to draw the social media line. (For Now)