Tim Magee Plans One Last American Road Trip - The Gloss Magazine

Tim Magee Plans One Last American Road Trip

Tim Magee plans a pre-election trip to the US, to anywhere with ALGO (A Lot Going On)

The plan last November was to go off the radar on the road in the US. There was work in New York and LA but a gap of ten days in between, where weeks of puzzling over how to move meetings and tastings failed. So, road trip it would be.

Cheap and cheesy would be the order of the day. A diner a day with local newspapers, weird museums, a lot of Spotify and little news, playing some pool, using paper maps and hitting the odd dive bar solo. Get my head down each night at a motel or Airbnb. Getting my head showered by being many hours behind GMT where, miraculously, work problems find solutions without you before your breakfast. Travelling as light as Jack Reacher but without, you know, the violence and hammy endings.

That trip didn’t happen. My head was the worse for not being able to disappear. Also I wanted to say goodbye to America – just in case. My America is all about its soft power – Richard Pryor, Updike, Twain, Cormac McCarthy, Singer Sargent, Toni Morrison, Rothko, RFK and MLK, The Pixies, Otis Redding, Beyoncé and Ella Fitzgerald. It’s Ezra Klein, In ‘n’ Out burger and, of course, the movies. A Democratic win won’t halt Trumpism but it will stop Trump, and this time he’ll go to jail. Just in case the bookies are right though, I’m heading back to my America for that farewell tour next month before the shutters come down.

Blurry wish-casting at the map over the last couple of months, thinking where I’d like to see for a final farewell, and work gets in the way, again. This time it’s good work and a barrage of appointments that all fall under ALGO. ALGO is anywhere where there is A Lot Going On. In my world in 2024 that is upstate New York, Charleston and Philly, bookended by NYC and California.

Wildflower Farms


For a sleepy spot, the Hudson Valley has ALGO all day long. My first stop is a recce to look at the set-up of a Scotch whisky and Hudson Valley mash-up at Tenmile Distillery. It’s two hours direct from Grand Central, with breakfast in the Waverly Diner and a tearful maybe goodbye to the Oyster Bar before getting on board, hopping out at the Tenmile River stop, right across the street from the distillery. I’ll stay in the country chic of Wildflower Farms in Gardiner an hour away, and get in one night of Succession cosplay in the Catskills.

Nine Orchard

Back in the city, I’ll keep the analogue vibe going at Nine Orchard. A bath with a view, some ’tinis at the Corner Bar and then into my fancy pants for dinner in the gussied-up theatre of Angie Mar’s Le B, recovering over lunch the next day at Sailor in Brooklyn, April Bloomfield’s return to New York. Maybe a pitstop in Misipasta for a cotechino sausage sandwich.

The Yowie

America’s coming up to its 250th birthday. I hope it makes it. The country’s birthplace, Philly, is its hottest food town. Mostly wearing a hard hat, I’ll break for tacos at Cristina Martinez’s South Philly Barbacoa, while staying at the hotel that started as a gift shop, The Yowie.

The Pinch

After Philly, I will avoid a conference in Miami, a city I used to love but which is wall-to-wall with MAGA goobers these days. Instead, I’m getting back to steamy Charleston to have a look at its cutest hotel, The Pinch, and demolish as many oysters, catfish and shrimp and as much soul food as I can manage over a few days. Okra stew from a grandma’s recipe or a classic lima bean supper in Bertha’s or Hannibal’s Kitchen respectively, or the fanciest of fish in the drama of an ex-bank in The Ordinary: there’s high flavour to be had in the Lowcountry.

Ambiente Sedona

Then, fly to Phoenix for downtime in the Ambiente Sedona before going dark, and playing it by ear through the desert set of every Western as originally planned, where there will be VLGO – very little going on.

Harbor House Inn

The last billable hours are assigned to very fine dining destination homework in northern Cali and Mendocino, at the perfection that is the Harbor House Inn. The last road is the Pacific Coast Highway towards LA and the last night, Vitorrja in Venice, to watch the sun set on America. @manandasuitcase


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