The Hometown Issue

The Hometown Issue (#1)




How do you begin a fresh exploration of the United States in 2020? It’s home to 328 million residents in 3.8 million square miles, with expansive passageways and borders, diverse terrains and communities. It’s also an idea as much as it is anything else: A better way of life, achieved through democracy, liberty and opportunity. A City Upon a Hill. The American Dream. Exploring the country is all of this: people, places, ideas and more, across all 50 states.

For us, it was important to start our exploration with basic reasons why the country is exceptional and worth exploration. Which is why the debut issue looks at the country through the lens of hometowns.

Almost nothing says more about you than where you’re from. And no one can convey more about a place — about America, really — than all of us “townies.” Guides recommend where to go. Locals can tell you the spots they like. But we wanted to hear from people who know shit—to help resee well-known places, to learn about little-known adventures, and to discover anew. To get there, we tapped an immensely talented group of writers, photographers, and creators who’ve lived and breathed places, since there’s no better way to get the lay of the land than to talk to someone who knows a place. A local lives there, but someone who conveys a place’s cultural undercurrent, way beyond, say, where to eat brunch — that’s gold.

Guiding you, uniquely and artfully, through the essence of their hometowns are entertainment writer Jay Louis, who dishes on Boston with illuminating accuracy; Chicago-based restaurant critic Maggie Hennessy, who reintroduces us to dive bars (don’t use that term!); chef and journalist Katy Severson, who offers a different look at the Hamptons; former Time Out New York editor-in-chief Brian Farnham, who shares his refreshingly Brian look at his hood, New York City; author Joshua David Stein, who frames the Philly mindset perfectly; music journalist, author and critic Chuck Eddy, who takes us on a 27-stop tour of Texas (beyond Austin); music journalist and author Jonathan Cohen who reports from the just-opened Miami doors of Hometown BBQ; first-time writer Emily Carmichael, who makes a passionate plea to stop what you’re doing and get to Ninfa’s in Houston; and many more. There are twenty one features altogether over the course of 128 pages.

On page 14 of the magazine you’ll find a quote from American jazz icon John Coltrane that encapsulates everything we strive to be. Our North Star. To have a positive affect in the communities we serve is at the core of the magazine’s mission. That’s why we’ll give a portion of all profits to charities, to kick-start our social-good efforts. Also on page 14,  you’ll see a way to vote on how we focus our resources.

I hope there’s something here that you love and that you’ll see Fifty Grande as I do: a gathering point for those who aspire to a life well-lived and see travel, open-mindedness, and new experiences at the core of that pursuit.

—Chris M. Walsh

About us

A different kind of travel magazine, Fifty Grande is a new biannual that explores the U.S. Our mission is to inspire more people to take advantage of all the incredible places and experiences across the country. This is a magazine for the fun and adventurous—those who aspire to a life well-lived and see traveling, open-mindedness and new experiences central to that pursuit. Each issue explores the country through one theme which we bring to life through in-depth articles, essays, oral histories, roundtables, Q&As, photo essays, travelogues and more, about every phase of traveling: planning, getting there, staying, doing, and recovering. And since food and music are integral to traveling, and community and good citizenship are important to how we view the world, we use all four as cornerstones to our coverage.


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