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Dispatches : Travel

A Bird Box for Humans

Noted for its craggy seaside cliffs, verdant pastures, and temperate climate, the Cornwall region of southwest England is a favorite of divers, hikers, surfers, and drinkers (windblown pubs dot the countryside like giant cattle).

To the north sits the Celtic Sea; to the south are the English Channel and the Lizard Peninsula, home to this countryside aerie available for rent on Airbnb. The red barnlike cabin is nestled into an old ash tree. It's a mere 10-minute hike downhill to rocky Porthallow Beach.

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A local artisan built the tree house, and it shows, from the blond wood paneling and sculptural elements in the interior to the ladderlike exterior staircase leading to the front door.

Amenities are few but include a small kitchen with a two-burner cooktop, running water, composting toilet, and lofted canopy bed. Take your tea on the balcony and marvel at the surrounding vistas, which encompass wide swaths of farmland and the sprawling Atlantic.

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When you’re ready for a hike, grab a walking stick and head to Fat Apples Cafe in Porthallow, just off the coastal walking path. Its scones and sandwiches will fuel you for a long day of hiking—and for your eventual return to your castle in a tree.

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America’s Best Car-Touring Roads

The American road trip is a longstanding rite of passage. We're drawn to movement and freedom and experience unchained from the morass of daily obligation. The open road— fiery leaves, frosty mountains, sunny coasts, big open desert—offers all that when you've got an open mind and a penchant for adventure.

But it's not enough just to jump in your car and drive. You need the right road with just the right amount of planning. Whether you have a day or a week, we've got the ten best stretches of highway to bolster your soul. 

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The Nicest Grain Silo You've Ever Slept In

A “thin place.” That’s how John and Judi Stuart describe their bed and breakfast/working farm that sits on 82 pristine acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The Celtic term refers to an earthly locale whose boundary with heaven is especially fine—a holy border of sorts where you can sense the presence of whatever god turns your crank.

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It’s an apt descriptor for this little valley, located 35 miles southwest of Portland. Here, hills rise and fall, creating a staggered, rugged beauty. Some are covered in vineyards and orchards, others with old pine forest. Squint a little and you might think you’re in Tuscany. It’s no wonder that cyclists, hikers, and food tourists flock to the region.

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After a successful run in the insurance and hotel industries, John and Judi cashed out and bought the Oregon property in 2003. The farm sits a half-mile off Abbey Road, named after the Trappist monastery across the street.

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The agricultural side of the business produces cherries (note the two acres of Queen Anne cherry trees) and various animal products, including goat cheese and eggs from heritage chickens. But the accommodations are the big draw.

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A far cry from the stuffy old Victorian homes that B&Bs typically bring to mind, Abbey Road’s rooms are located in three repurposed steel grain silos connected by a Craftsman-style structure that acts as a common area. There are five rooms total (two on the ground floor and three second-story suites), each with modern decor, a private bathroom, and not one bit of grain (at least none that I could see when I visited this spring).

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Other highlights on the property include various critter-filled pastures (pet a llama! feed a goat!), a beautiful English garden, and the ranch house, where the Stuarts will serve you farm-fresh eggs on the outdoor patio. Add it all up and you get the thinnest B&B this side of heaven.

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