There are some writers - I'm not one of them - who can describe their surroundings so you feel you're right there. Daphne du Maurier did it in "Rebecca" - reading it, you felt that you'd just gone on a tour of Manderly. Generally, that ability starts with an abiding love of place. It's not necessarily the natives that make you feel that way - often, it's the transplant with a fresh eye who can weave the tapestry so they feel like a close neighbor of the reader.
One place I've never visited is New York City. The Sheila Variations is written by Sheila O'Malley, who writes about that city, and her experiences in the acting set. Through her blog, I've dined in the restaurants, walked the streets, and been a fly on the wall near her sophisticated conversations with friends.
I'm probably never going to live in the city. I might visit, but strictly as a tourist. But, thanks to her descriptions, I've had vicarious experiences in that amazing city.
She's been on the blogroll for some time. You should visit.