The 24-Hour Vacation

by Grace Bonney


One of the site changes I’m happiest about this year is expanding our travel section to include smaller city guides that focus on one ideal day in a town. As much as I’d love to have days on end to explore a new area, I often find myself with only a few hours to check things out in between meetings or family events. So sometimes a shorter guide comes in handy, especially when it’s written by someone who I think would have a good idea of what design-obsessed folks like us would want to see. So early this year we introduced “24 Hours In” to provide more in-depth looks at one local’s ideal day. From Kinfolk Magazine’s guide to Portland to chef Hugh Acheson’s guide to his hometown of Athens, GA, these guides have a personalized feel that I really love. We have dozens more coming this year, but today I wanted to share my 10 favorite “24 Hours In” guides of the year in case anyone reading needs a little help planning a quick getaway for the end of summer. Whether you’re looking to explore Washington, D.C. for a day or visit beautiful Savannah, GA for biscuits and sweet tea, these guides will give you plenty of great ideas. xo, grace

Click through for 10 great cities to visit with 24 hours to spare…

24 Hours in Atlanta with Ginny Branch Stelling: We were fortunate to have worked with Ginny at D*S for years (she created our Toolbox column!) and I trust her style and judgment implicitly. Atlanta has always felt a bit overwhelming to me, so having a quick guide to some of Ginny’s favorite spots is a great way to see what it would be like to hang out with one of my favorite stylists for a day.

24 Hours in Portland, Oregon with Kinfolk Magazine: Portland was my home for a summer back in 2011 and it will always be a city that holds a special place in my heart. Nathan and his team were kind enough to show us their ideal day in their hometown and it makes me miss the coffee and cool weather already. If you’re close, be sure to check this guide out because Portland (or anywhere in the Pac Northwest) is heaven in the summer.

24 Hours in Washington, D.C. with Emily, Elizabeth and Morgan: D.C. will always remind me of summer trips and time spent with friends from Virginia. It was our “escape” from the beach and now it reminds me of great times spent discovering a fascinating city with friends. These three friends live and work in the district and created a guide that will walk you through some of our favorite parts of town, including the botanic garden – one of my favorite spots anywhere.

24 Hours in Athens, GA with chef Hugh Acheson: Chef Hugh Acheson is one of the most lovable and talented people around. The same could be said of his hometown, Athens, Georgia. I have never met friendlier or more talented people in my life. I thought long and hard about moving to Athens (and still do) and having an amazing community of talented makers makes this town how to resist. If you find yourself near Athens this summer, please check out this city and Hugh’s great guide.

24 Hours in Savannah, GA with Cheryl Day: Cheryl Day is the finest baker I know. She’s also one of my favorite people on earth, period. A guide through Savannah with Cheryl is like having the mayor of the town introduce you and take you around. She and her husband Griff know this town inside and out and they are half the reason I always feel like Savannah is my second home. This is a guide you WON’T want to miss. Don’t forget to get the nanna pudding at Back in the Day Bakery, too.

24 Hours in Austin, TX with Keith Kreeger: Austin was probably my favorite city on our 2011 book tour because both Amy and I felt so embraced by people in this community. I’ve felt that way on every visit since and Keith’s guide to Austin is a great introduction to the city if you’ve never been. You’ll be hard pressed to find better music, food and people than in this 24-hour guide.

24 Hours in Buffalo, NY with Chris Hawley: Max has long been singing the praises of his hometown of Buffalo, NY and I got to see it all firsthand when I visited my aunt there last year. This beautiful rustbelt town has been experiencing a major revival lately with more and more young people moving back to their hometown to restore homes and open new businesses. There is so much rich history, character and beauty to Buffalo, so if you’re traveling near here this summer, be sure to swing by and try some of the spots on Chris’ guide.

24 Hours in Asheville, NC with Macon York: Asheville was one of our most requested city guides ever and it took a while to find a guide writer who could sum up this incredible city in one 24-hour chunk. Macon York created a fantastic guide for her hometown and included some of our must-see restaurants and shops. Anyone in Asheville can attest to the beauty of this city, but if you’ve never been, it is most definitely worth visiting for 24 hours or much, much longer.

24 Hours in Boise, ID with Kirsten Grove: I’ve never been to Boise, but after reading this guide I wanted to visit immediately. Boise native and blogger Kirsten Grove created this guide to highlight her favorite people and places in town. If you’re driving through (or near) Idaho this summer, this city is most definitely worth visiting and Kirsten’s guide will ensure you have a great time.

24 Hours in Paris with Anne Ditmeyer: Anne was the first person I ever hired at Design*Sponge and she will always be my go-to person for a million things. And when it comes to Paris, she is the only expat I trust for the definitive 24-hour guide. Anne moved to Paris from Baltimore and has become as close to being an actual Parisian as anyone else I’ve met who lives there. Anne leads tours in town and seems to be everyone’s trusted source when moving to or visiting this beautiful city. So I can guarantee you that if you’re fortunate enough to visit Paris for a guide, Anne’s guide will NOT let you down.

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