Access Travel Guides
As a result of his move to Los Angeles in 1978, and a lack of familiarity with the geographic layout of the region, Richard Saul Wurman began work on a guidebook that made sense to him. Access Los Angeles led to the creation of some 25 guidebooks over the next 20 years with diverse subjects ranging from baseball and medical services to attending the Olympic Games. The most popular of the "Access Travel Series" guidebooks are now updated periodically by HarperCollins.
Of particular interest to north American road trippers are the updated editions of the following travel guides released in the last two years: Access Boston, Access California Wine Country, Access Chicago, Access Las Vegas, Access Los Angeles, Access New Orleans, Access New York City, Access San Francisco, and Access Washington, DC. It's important to note that the format of each Access guide presupposes that the visitor is on a walking (or perhaps bicycling) tour of the area. The guides are organized by neighborhoods and broken into five color-coded subject headings, (Red = Restaurants, Black = Culture/Sights, etc.). Each neighborhood is further organized as if one were strolling the streets. In some of the books, there are descriptions of places that could only be found by walking down the avenues and lanes identified in the guides.
One of my personal favorites is the wine glossary and wine label deciphering chart in Access California Wine Country. All the guides have a good "how to get to " section detailing travel possibilities from local airports, bus and train stations. Many of the guides include sections catering to gay and lesbian visitors. One of the most complete is in Access New Orleans. There is an excellent introduction to the experience of eating Dim Sum in Access San Francisco, or if you have a hankering for a kangaroo filet, check out the Saddle Peak Lodge in the Santa Monica mountains mentioned in Access Los Angeles. Each guide features maps and layouts of local theatres and other noteworthy properties like the Museum of Fine Arts featured in Access Boston. And in case you're interested or in need, according to Access Chicago, the best ladies' room can be found in Chicago at the Drake Hotel--it's extra posh, private and relaxing.
The updates have been written for the most part by local travel writers, giving much of the information a "locals" feel. This bias has the side effect that some of the well-known restaurants catering to tourists found in other guidebooks do not appear in these guides. Common to all guidebooks is the problem of businesses that have closed or relocated since the publication date. For that reason, anyone purchasing a guidebook of any type should always verify that the venue is still there prior to driving there the first time. These books can enrich your visit to any of the cities found along the path of your next road trip. There are details about little known and fun things to do and see on nearly every page of these books.