Top U.S. Wine and Dine Travel Destinations
to Tantalize Your Taste Buds
From outstanding pinot noir and seafood in Oregon to chardonnay and ham in Virginia, the U.S. boasts outstanding Food & Wine getaways "from sea to shining sea." Recently released, the tenth Orbitz Insider Index highlights fall Food & Wine getaways throughout the nation. Let's face it, Napa and Sonoma are king when it comes to wine making, but you don't have to travel far to get a taste of something special.
"Whether you fly or drive... there is a hotel getaway and a vineyard near you," said Heather Leisman, director of merchandising for Orbitz. "Across America, the fall is the perfect time of year to take a vacation of tastings and food pairings while on a quest to find that perfect vintage of wine."
"When many people think about a Food & Wine getaway, the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California are usually their first thought," said Leisman. In truth, there's a vast variety of great epicurean destinations with great cusine and wines - and not all of them are on the west coast.
Based on hotel room and package bookings on Orbitz, the most popular "foodie" destinations are as follows:
1. Ohio River Valley
2. Nashville/Bloomington, IN Area
3. Leelanau Peninsula, MI
1. Cayuga Lake, NY
2. Long Island, NY
3. Seneca Lake, NY
South / Southwest
1. Central Virginia/Monticello
2. Texas High Plains
3. Texas Hill Country
West / Northwest
1. Monterey County, CA
2. Santa Barbara County, CA
3. Puget Sound, WA
No matter where you're traveling, however, there's bound to be a great Food & Wine hot spot neaby. Check out some of the below suggestions for emerging dining destinations:
As a base of operations for a Food & Wine extravaganza, Portland is an outstanding destination. The city is full of delectable restaurants featuring fresh cuisine from local farms. For the traveler having difficultly deciding where to eat, head to the Portland Farmers' Market. This is the spot to pick up fresh food or get suggestions from the locals regarding where to eat. Once you've satisfied your stomach, head south about 30-45 minutes to the heart of the Willamette Valley. One hundred miles long and 60 miles wide, Willamette Valley is home to more than 200 wineries and is an outstanding area to taste world renowned pinot noir.
For travelers who love fresh seafood and wine, the Seattle area is the Food & Wine destination for you. There are more than 50 different wineries in the Seattle area, many purchasing grapes from wineries in the east. Because of this, wine fans have the opportunity to taste both western and eastern grown grapes in one stop. Wineries in the Seattle area are scattered throughout the entire region, making access to transportation a must. Before leaving, take advantage of great seafood restaurants in the area, many serving local wines to complement any entree.
San Francisco, CA
With two of the most famous wine trails just north of this beautiful city, great food and wine are abundant in and around San Francisco. Travel just north to the town of Napa to grab wine maps and great food before heading on your grape-filled adventure. With several hundred vineyards from Napa up to St. Helena and Calistoga, there is something for every type of wine lover. For those looking to maximize time in this gorgeous countryside, cross over to Sonoma Valley, which has an additional 40 wineries. After indulging in a wide variety of Napa and Sonoma wines, head to North Beach, San Francisco's "Little Italy," for great food in one of the oldest areas of the city.
What better way to spend a vacation than wining and dining at beautiful Charlottesville area vineyards. The Monticello Wine Trail, located in and around Charlottesville, features more than 20 vineyards. To help celebrate Wine Month (October,) the Monticello Wine Trail Festival is held annualy. This celebration features 18 different Virginia wineries and gourmet foods from leading restaurants! In addition, the entire state celebrates with its own festival - The Virginia Wine Festival - in Leesburg, VA, every year. If seeking fun outside the festival environment is more your taste, many local vineyards also offer picnics complete with food and wine as part of their year-round visiting options. As the weather cools and the leaves change, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting outside with some delicious food and wine.
Augusta / St. Louis, MO
Relish in the Americana of the Mississippi River's very own St. Louis. Featuring the country's first designated wine district, St. Louis is the perfect heartland getaway for wine-lovers to savor award-winning vintages. After a tour of the largest underground cellars in North America, visitors can head the opposite direction with a 630 ft. ride up to the top of the famed Gateway Arch, the nation's largest monument. With over 1,000 restaurants in St. Louis, travelers will not be hard pressed to clear their palettes with the authentic German fare for which the area is renowned.
Fredericksburg / Austin, TX
Fredericksburg is located in the heart of beautiful Texas Hill Country, which has more than 20 wineries and five special Trail Events throughout the year. Local wineries offer tastings of newly released wines, wine and food pairings, seminars, demonstrations and tours. Fredericksburg was settled in 1846 by German and immigrant families and offers great German cuisine as well as unlimited Texas hospitality.
Portsmouth / Newport, RI
For a classic New England experience, explore the quaint cobblestone streets of Newport, a city famous for its scenic coastline and magnificent mansions. Newport's three local wineries offer an intimate look into this historic destination, featuring varietals adept to its cool climate. Pair a wine tasting with the perfect meal at any number of Newport's waterfront restaurants. A fresh whole lobster or classic bowl of hearty clam chowder is the perfect complement to a gastronomic tour of this city-by-the-sea.