September marks the beginning of my absolute favorite season: FALL! Besides the fact I get to start wearing my fabulous pea-coats and scarves again (within reason, I DO live in San Luis Obispo, CA), fall bring beautiful scenery, delicious comfort food, and grape harvest . Kick-off this fall season with a wine-inspired get-away to one of these five gorgeous destinations around the US!
As if central Virginia’s fall scenery is breath-taking enough, the wine is equally as delicious. Travel to Virginia’s Piedmont region and indulge in a tasting at White Hall Vineyards, then opt to stay at one of the region’s adorable Bed and Breakfasts like Foxfield Inn. Next, tour Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, then pack a cheese and meats picnic with a bottle of wine from a local winery. Fall in Virginia also offers wonderful apple-picking opportunities, so be sure to stop at an apple farm too!
2. Calistoga, California
This picturesque town couldn’t be more beautiful than in the fall. Harvest season offers a variety of different events and festivals to join in on the grape stomping. Shop around for thanksgiving and Christmas accessories on the main street then end your day with a relaxing mud bath at the hot springs. Visit the famous Chateau Montelena, the birthplace of California Chardonnay, and the many other mom and pop wineries scattered throughout the hills. Be sure to stop in at Boskos Trattoria for a delicious Italian meal.
3. Hudson River Region, New York
When I think of the ultimate fall vacation, I think of upstate New York. My father is from Oneonta, New York (a town in upstate New York), and growing up I always thought it was the most beautiful place in the fall, full of color and juicy apples. Now, I have come to realize this region also grows great wine! For a taste of autumn paradise, visit Millbrook Winery, located in a renovated Dutch dairy barn…..is doesn’t get more homey. For your picnic, pick up some home-made creamy cheeses from Sprout Creek Farm and a fresh apple-pie from one of the local stands (yes, wine goes great with apple pie!).
4. Walla Walla Wine Country, Washington
Tour the unique Walla Walla wine country, stopping at notable wineries like Woodward Canyon Winery, L’Ecole No. 41, and Reininger Winery. When lunchtime rolls around, stop at the Olive Market Place and Café for artisanal cheeses, flatbreads, and sandwiches. Rent bikes for the day and enjoy the scenic trails throughout the valley. Downtown Walla Walla is an adorable town, stroll the streets, stop in the stores, and maybe even do a little antiquing:).
5. Willamette Valley, Oregon
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is filled with fall festivals and grape-stomping affairs in September. In downtown Carlton, the Crush Harvest Festival (Sept. 15th) includes twenty-four stomping teams from local wineries, barrel rolling races, a wine thief relay, and a watermelon eating contest……let’s just say if you’ve got a little competitive blood in you and you love wine, this is the destination for you. In addition to Carlton’s festival, there are countless other wine-filled activities planned in this region that are sure to be entertaining. For the ultimate fall experience, stay at Leaping Lamb Farm http://www.leapinglambfarm.com/, where lodging is provided in quaint cabins surrounded by orchards and a wrap-around deck.
So if you’re sitting at home sulking about the sun-filled summertime coming to an end, you can stop now that you know some of the treasures this new season has in store!
If I missed any of your favorite fall spots, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be sure to include them in my next post!