36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA and Canada is a big, beautiful, lavishly illustrated travel book that would make a great gift for any traveler in your life.
The book, which is over 700 pages long, has a gorgeous cloth cover with raised letters filled with vintage designs. It has convenient tabs to help you find the various sections...The Northeast, The South,The Midwest, The Southwest, and The West...into which it is organized, and five lovely ribbon bookmarks to help you keep your place.
Because the book is not divided by state or province, it can be a bit confusing, but overall it is pretty easy to follow. The premise is that you have 36 hours to spend in certain key cities, and the book offers a schedule for what to see, where to shop, where to eat, drink and listen to music, how to get around, and where to stay.
Given the New York Times' target demographic, some areas do get more coverage than others. Florida, for instance, gets more coverage than any other Southern state. California gets a lot of coverage, and so, of course, does New York.
Some cities get much better coverage than others. Atlanta, where I am from, for instance, is neither all African-American nor all gay, but the choices for the city were definitely for those niche markets. A roller skating rink? An excellent restaurant, but with a primarily gay clientele? There is no mention of world-class museums such as The High Museum of Art. Nearly all the choices seemed just a little odd, but maybe that was the plan.
The choices for shopping and eating tend towards the mid-to-upper scale, of course, but are usually interesting and not as expensive as one might expect. The hotels and other accommodations are definitely not for the budget-minded, but include a fair number of mid-range options.
Ski resorts get a LOT of attention.
The book is heavy on parks and nature reserves, which is wonderful, but a bit light on historic places and museums.
Overall, however, this is a useful book which is fun just to pick up and skim through, dreaming of traveling to the cities, or handy to use as a reference when you are traveling to these locations, whether for business, pleasure, or a bit of both. And the many photos are a delight to the eye, as well.