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Leading indicators: Quality in geographical area

By: Michael Diedrick on May 15, 2012

Image of a bag of coffee from Krankies coffee companyWhen I travel somewhere, there a few leading indicators that tell you the quality of the place.  Here’s my top three: coffee, beer and radio stations. 

Case in point: Central and West North Carolina.  There are ten presets on my rental car, and literally all ten are taken by excellent local, community, college and even commercial radio.  Bluegrass, appalachian, classic country, local college/indie music, jazz, classical, you name it.  We’ve got a few radio stations in Milwaukee, but they’ve got ten.  They have a coffee company that roasts the most amazing espresso south of Metropolis Coffee -- Krankies.  I was stunned how perfect, smokey, chalky and sweet it was (pardon my non-nuanced coffee talk is...).  And NC is full of great breweries -- it’s as good as Wisconsin’s beer, and each is unique and has a great scene around it.  We’re not talking touristy, mediocre brew pubs, we’re talking Wedge in Asheville, Foothills in Winton-Salem and Big Boss in Raleigh...all serious beer and all pretty amazing. 

Now why these three leading indicators?  Not exactly sure.  But great music and quality beverages are what show a place to be full of people who’ve chosen quality over swill.  What are your travel-based leading indicators?