GrassRoutes Travel with Serena Bartlett

The East-Coast-in-Seven-Days tours are the stuff of my nightmares: traipsing from monument to monument at the crack of dawn, shoveling in food at all-too-crowded restaurants with the entire entourage, and learning about dead people rather than meeting live people.

Enter Serena Bartlett, a seasoned traveler from Philadelphia who has lived in and visited over 25 countries and currently resides in Oakland, California. Like many other travelers, she had trouble getting the bigger picture from the regular travel books – so she decided to pen an original series of urban eco-travel guides, GrassRoutes. The first two in the series, Oakland & Berkeley and Northern California Wine Country, will be released July 7. The Grassroutes San Francisco guide will hit bookstores August 1.

For travelers looking for the real deal, these books introduce local eats, shops, and more for a dynamic experience. Barlett’s creative and engaging activities are organized by states of mind, like “Up Early” and “Learn.” The idea, as Serena tells Traveler, is that “there are lots of ways to be on vacation no matter where you are” without much environmental and social cost.

Here, Serena reveals the inspiration behind her guidebooks and gives Traveler readers tips on how to discover authentic culture.