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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Do you have a favorite thing to eat? Perhaps favorite restaurant chain? Favorite drink?

Pilgrimages are typically referred to in religious terms, but there's no reason you can't make a pilgrimage...to the home of your favorite soda, or food. Have you eaten a hamburger at the oldest surviving McDonalds in Downey, California? Visited the oldest surviving White Castle building in Indianapolis (sadly, long closed but still architecturally sound)?

The Coca Cola Corporation has a well-known visitors center and museum at its corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Hershey, Pennsylvania is an entire city and theme park built up around the celebration of chocolate. Many creameries in the upper midwest offer tours of their milk and cheese operations. And even of they don't offer a tour, the tasting room can be quite delicious.

Just a taste, please!
Many companies have these sorts of attractions for you to come, sample their wares and perhaps learn a bit about how your favorite things are made. It's a pilgrimage with benefits, so to speak.

Celestial Seasonings has a terrific tour at their tea facility in Boulder, Colorado. The SPAM Museum is in Austin, Minnesota (no, not Hawaii). The Sea Spirits Distillery on Maui has a great tour in a gorgeous setting. McIlhenny Company, makers of Tabasco, has a famous visitors facility just a couple of hours from New Orleans.

If you're a wine drinker most wineries have tasting rooms. With wineries in virtually every state there's no doubt a pretty decent place just begging for a day trip. Or maybe visiting a brewery is more your speed. Or a distillery.

The point is that we often default on the standard adventures for our time on the road. Flying off to parts unknown and head to the beach, park or other. We don't often think about visiting those places, those institutions which may be a favorite part of our day.

It's worth the trip.

(There's a terrific website, Factory Tours USA, with loads of possible tours in all fifty states.)



  1. We just had lunch at Weiland's Restaurant in Long Beach...and their great food, was only topped by their great service.

  2. Tcho is an artisinal chocolate maker that got its start here in SF. They grew so rapidly that they had to move the production facility to Berkeley. The best thing is the tasting after the tour.