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30 Fabulous Fall Foodie Destinations

By Linnea Covington
September 16, 2013
Photo by: Paws Up Resort in Montana

Sure, summer has ended, and in many places the beaches have closed and residents are already pulling on sweaters and boots. But just because the weather is getting cooler doesn’t mean you can’t find a worthwhile adventure. From fancy pie-making weekends to a wine-focused cruise and food-filled festivals, here are 30 ways to eat your way through a vacation this fall.

  • The Fifth Annual Eat Real Festival in Oakland, California

    Why go: Oakland has slowly been making headway on the culinary map, giving both San Francisco’s haute restaurant scene and Berkeley, home of Alice Waters, a run for their money.

    What to do: The best time to go is September 27-29, when you can check out the Eat Real Festival in Jack London Square. It’s basically an energetic block party that meshes the city's street-food scene with a state fair. It’s free to get in, none of the eats costs more than $5, and all the food is regionally sourced and sustainably produced. That includes beer, wine and bites like handcrafted fruit popsicles from Fat Face, Argentinean empanadas by El Sur and a stand that specializes in bacon. The festival also features a whole-hog butchery competition on Sunday, plus demonstrations by chefs including Charlie Holowell of Pizzaiolo, Kyle Itani of Hopscotch and Russ Moore of Camino.

    Where to stay: Luckily, the nautical-themed Waterfront Hotel in Oakland is right in Jack London Square, so it makes getting to the festival easy. They also offer special packages with Savor Oakland Food Tours, so you can get in as much eating as possible. Rates start at $199

  • Photo by: John Ryan Brubaker

    Celebrate Life, Death and Food in Oaxaca, Mexico

    Why go: Any excuse to hit up the mole capital of the world and sample cacao, salsas, chiles, mescal or regional cheeses is good enough for us. But why not enhance your food tour of this Mexican state and go in the fall to experience a national holiday that's as foodie-friendly as it is festive. 

    What to do: Every year you can bet on a colorful Day of the Dead festival starting on October 31, the Day of the Dead, continuing November 1, All Saints Day, and concluding November 2, All Souls Day. Each moment is packed with ceremony, fiesta and plenty of food. To get the traditional dish of the festival, mole negro, head to the nearby village of Teotitlán del Valle, a place known for their hand-woven and naturally dried textiles, but also home to Tlamanalli, a lunch-only joint run by chef Abigail Mendoza Ruiz. Head back to the city to Central de Abasto, a market where you can shop for Mexican staples, sample more moles and grab a cup of the state’s traditional chocolate drink.

    Where to stay: For a good night’s sleep and a great restaurant option, stay at Casa Oaxaca, a boutique hotel in Centro Historico that also serves meals focusing on the flavors of the area. The hotel also offers cooking classes, food tours, a pool, private yoga classes and spa treatments. Another choice, given that Casa Oaxaca can book up fast, is Antiguo Fortin Hotel, a lovely place with a beautiful view and rustic charm. Rates start at $150 for Casa Oaxaca and $50 for Antiguo Fortin.

  • Pie Making and Master Chefs in Greenough, Montana

    Why go: There are two tasty reasons to check out The Resort at Paws Up this fall, one being the Eighth Annual Montana Master Chefs event September 26 though 29, and the second being a weekend dedicated to gourmet pie making, October 11 through 14.

    What to do: The September event features a handful of Bravo’s Top Chef winners and contestants including Hosea Rosenberg, Ben Jones and Kelly Liken for a weekend of dinners, wine pairings and culinary seminars, all interwoven with exploring the property and nature-themed excursions. For the pie camp, dubbed Upper Crust, guests get to utilize the expertise of the “pie whisperer” Kate McDermott, owner of The Art of Pie in Seattle. Some Top Chef alumni join McDermott, and the weekend includes hands-on instruction, professional photography tips, and plenty of food, drink and time to enjoy the fall in Montana.

    Where to stay: Naturally you will want to book a room at this luxury ranch, if anything for the pure-ease eating, indulging in wine all day, and then rolling yourself into one of their lavish tents or charming vacation houses. The resort has 37,000 ac. of untamed Montana wilderness to discover too, so if you need a break from eating, you can always go fly-fishing in the Blackfoot River, see the scenery on horseback or forage for mushrooms. Rates vary depending on packages - go to Paws Up for more info.

  • Apple Picking and Fall Harvest in Ithaca, New York

    Why go: Upstate New York is one of the best areas to be in during the fall. Of course, no trip would be complete without visiting some of the many places where you can pick your own fresh apples and pumpkins.

    What to do: For some of the best apple picking, Little Tree Orchards is the place to go. Right now you can get plenty of Jonathan, Empire and Courtland apples, but come October, the Fuji, Mutsu and Northern Spy apples will be ripening. Plus, the farm has guides on flavor profiles and what to do with all of them. Another great place to get eats is at the epic Ithaca Farmers Market, which sells local produce, wine from nearby wineries, fresh baked goods and crafts by local artisans. Finally, make sure to head to the Ithaca Beer Company for its latest brews. Take a tour, grab a pint and some food in their laid-back dining room, and then take some beer home - after sampling it, naturally.

    Where to stay: Located in the Downtown area of Ithaca, the historical William Henry Miller Inn exudes a classic charm, and each room offers guests a unique experience. For breakfast head down to the front porch and take in the crisp fall air while diving into their poached pear with mascarpone cream, eggs topped with sun-dried tomato hollandaise, or crème brûlée French toast. Rates start at $165.

  • Photo by: Linnea Covington

    Chocolate and Coffee in Quito, Ecuador

    Why go: First, given that Quito is situated in a valley between hills and inactive volcanoes, the scenery is to die for. Second, between cacao, coffee, plantains, bananas, sugarcane and guayusa, there are tons of tasty culinary treats to discover.

    What to do: No matter what you plan, you can be sure to have daylight between 6:30 AM-6:30 PM, just one of the perks of being on the equator. One of the best places to catch the sunset and a comforting cup of canalazo, the national drink that gets made with juice of the naranjillazo, cinnamon and sugarcane liquor, is at Café Mosaico, a Mediterranean restaurant with a terrace overlooking the city. Then head to Zazu for dinner - it's a fine-dining establishment with a succulent menu of modern Ecuadorian food, all expertly prepared by Peruvian-born chef Alexander Laud. During the day, visit La Ronda, a street in Old Town aka Centro Historico, and wander about the cobblestone streets. Here, you can pick up local chocolate, listen to traditional music and discover hidden bars and restaurants. To try another Ecuadorian classic, cuy, also known as guinea pig, opt for La Negra Mala, which is at the end of La Ronda and overlooks the street.

    Where to stay: There are plenty of small hotels in the city that are decent, but for true luxury head to the JW Marriot Quito in the Mariscal District. Here, the rooms are large and comfortable, with deep bathtubs and complimentary breakfasts, and there's an outdoor pool. Rates start at $139.

    Photo of llapingachos at La Negra Mala

  • Fifth Annual Wisconsin Cheese Originals Festival in Madison, Wisconsin

    Why go: Wisconsin is known for its cheese, especially fresh cheese curds, and where there are fried cheese curds you can expect to find craft beers and plenty of cheer. Aside from all the good eating, Madison itself is a charming reason to visit, and residents and visitors alike enjoy riding bikes around Lake Monona and strolling down State Street, an enchanting pedestrian mall Downtown.

    What to do: While you can fill up on good eats at the Weary Traveler and Graze, head to Madison November 1-2 for the Fifth Annual Wisconsin Cheese Original Festival at the Monona Terrace. Plan on meeting plenty of cheesemakers, exploring various creameries and farms, and tasting a whole lot of fromage. For a more lush cheese experience, book a seat at one of the special Cheesemaker Dinners, which feature three courses prepared by cheese professionals and chefs from The Old Fashioned, Bunky’s Café and Delany’s Charcole Steaks.

    Where to stay: For easy access to the festival, stay at the Hilton Hotel, which is connected to Monona Terrace via a skywalk. Rooms are smoke-free and pet-friendly, and many offer great views of Lake Monona. Rates start at $162.

  • Cornucopia in Whistler, British Columbia

    Why go: This tiny mountain town is touted as one of the best mountain resorts in North America, and aside from delicious, comforting food, there are enough outdoor activities to keep everyone moving.

    What to do: Before this charming mountain town gets buried in snow, check out the Cornucopia, a food and drink extravaganza running November 7-17. Buy tickets for a slew of events including the Night Market on November 10, wine pairings with short films about British Columbia’s wine scene on November 14, and plenty of chef talks with local and national talent. But wait, what about actual sitting down for a meal? Well, the festival also features Winemaker’s dinners and a "bubbles and brunch" event at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and an epic extravaganza dubbed the House Party that is all about barbecue, domestic wine and beer, and live music.

    Where to stay: Just looking at the Adara Hotel brings to mind the mountains, which you can see from most rooms. Located in the heart of Whistler Village, and close to all of the Cornucopia fun, this pet-friendly hotel offers an outdoor hot tub, bike packages and plenty of skiing deals, just in case you need a break from all that food and wine. Rates start at $89.

  • Islands Eats in Saint Martin aka Sint Maarten

    Why go: Because the island is split between France and the Netherlands, you get a hearty dose of these two cultures as well as the added bonus of being on a Caribbean island. Sip guavaberry cocktails on the Dutch side, where most of the nightlife is, or sample the rich French-Caribbean food on the other side - which, we might add, also specializes in nude beaches.

    What to do: There are plenty of things to do on this tiny island aside from lounging on towels at Mullet Bay or Happy Bay Beach. For one, they have great snorkeling there, especially if you head to Pinel Island, just a quick ferry jaunt from the main area. The Butterfly Farm is beautiful to visit too, but for more exploration, Seaside National Park offers horseback riding on the sand, hiking, nature tours and kayaking. After your day of adventure, or leisure for that matter, head to the Grand Case, an area known for its food. Here, try the French-island fare at Bistro Caraibes, where the menu includes Caribbean lobster, braised red snapper in creamy mussel sauce with saffron, and homemade ice cream nougat. You can also try Canoa, which gets its name from the classic Caribbean dish of plantains sliced and deep-fried that then gets covered with tomato, ground-beef sauce and mozzarella. Yes, they serve this, and actually, it might be all you need, though traditional conch chowder and the grilled grouper entree are also nice.

    Stay at: Since the French side arguably has the best food options, stay at the Radisson Blu Marina & Spa. This 18-ac. resort is located right by the teal blue water, and they offer cooking classes, rum tastings, mixology courses, and wine and cheese pairing, and, at sunset, there's an elegant champagne toast. Plus, their excellent C Le Restaurant artfully blends the local island specialties with French fare, so even if you never leave the resort, you know you won’t go hungry. Rates start at $330.

  • World Margarita Championship in Tucson, Arizona

    Why go: If you have ever been to the desert, you know how beautiful it can be, and Tucson is no exception. Catch stunning sunsets as the sun turns the Tucson mountains brilliant shades of pink, and once you are filled with the wonder of nature, satisfy your other hunger at one of the many desert cantinas and steakhouses that litter the city, like Tucson McGraws and La Cocina.

    What to do: Just in case you were looking for an excuse to drink tequila all day, the World Margarita Championship takes place on October 25 from 6-9 PM at the Tucson Museum of Art. It’s an extravaganza of local eats and 15 different types of margaritas to try, all to be enjoyed alfresco on the museum’s patio. At the Plaza Palomino on October 5, from 6-9 PM, you can also try what the city has to offer at the Taste of Tucson, a $75 event featuring over 30 restaurants as well as wine and beer. Of course, you could skip these events and just enjoy the city by spending the day exploring the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a living exhibit of cacti and other native plants and animals. Finish up with dinner at Wildflower, a tasty seasonal American restaurant.

    Where to stay: For a little taste of the West, book a room at the rustic Paca de Paja Bed and Breakfast. The adobe building houses Sante Fe-style rooms that exude a cozy charm. There are nearby hiking and biking trails, an outdoor campfire patio and a scrumptious breakfast, not to mention a gorgeous view of the desert. Rates start at $141.

  • Apple Festival in Peddler's Village in New Hope, Pennsylvania

    Why go: Nothing screams fall more than apple picking in a sleepy Pennsylvania town as the leaves rustle in the crisp air. Plus, New Hope is chock-full of history, including landmarked gristmills and charming antique shops. Be sure to take a ride on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, which carries visitors through the beautiful Bucks County.

    What to do: Aside from the aforementioned historical points of interest, you can’t visit New Hope without seeing the Bucks County Playhouse, a space that commonly hosted Broadway plays while they were still working out the kinks. Come this November 2-3, from 10 AM to 6 PM, head to this little town for some country fun at the annual Apple Festival in Peddler’s Village, just 10 minutes away from New Hope. Sample homemade apple butter, apple cider, apple fritters and apple zeppoles. 

    Where to stay: For comfort and class, stay at the stone-fronted Golden Plough Inn, where they not only specialize in gas-lit fireplaces and jetted tubs, but also offer a bunch of fun package deals. For example, one package includes two tickets to the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at Peddler’s Pub and dinner by the Cock ’n Bull Restaurant. You can also book a spa and shopping packages. Rates start at $175.

  • Second Annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape in Margaret River Valley, Australia

    Why go: Perched in the southwestern corner of Australia, just 90 minutes from Perth, you can find the Margaret River Valley, an area lush with wineries right by the Indian Ocean. This means that in the morning you can hit the beach and then head inland to catch a concert and sample wines from one of the area's 130-plus wineries.

    What to do: November 22-24, head to the Second Annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape. The festival stretches across multiple estates including the Fraser Gallop, Xanadu Winery, Howard Park Winery and Leeuwin Estate, where they host The Gourmet Village, featuring classes and talks with chefs from around the world, wine tasting and live music. Events include a French-influenced dinner by acclaimed chef Alain Fabrègues paired with Burch Family Wines; a gourmet beach barbecue; and a lunch in honor of Cullen Wines that includes biodynamic produce from the winery’s gardens. 

    Where to stay: Overlooking Gnarabup Beach, Margarets Beach Resort is suitable for families, groups and couples. Choose from hotel-style studios, or one-, two- and four-bedroom apartments and townhouses. It also offers excellent dining options at two restaurants: Gnarabar and the beachfront White Elephant Café. Rates start at $188.

  • Epcot International Food and Wine Festival in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

    Why go: Simple - Disney World and the Epcot Center, two places of childhood dreams that are surprisingly perfect for adults too.

    What to do: As if Disney World wasn’t enough, now you can head to this town for the 18th Epcot International Food and Wine Festival from September 27-November 11 at the Walt Disney World Resort. That’s right: 46 days of food and Mickey Mouse fun all under one roof. To enjoy food from Brazil, South Korea and Scotland, all you need is a Marketplace Discovery Passport, which you can get with your Epcot admission. And this isn't just kids' stuff: there are also daily wine tastings, an area dedicated to wine on tap and mixology seminars. At night is Eat to the Beat, a concert series featuring Spin Doctors, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters and, just because it’s Disney, Hanson will be making an appearance (P.S. check out our burger taste-test with the band).

    Where to stay: There are tons of options for places to stay within the Disney family, including the Boardwalk Inn (starting at $405), Caribbean Beach Resort (starting at $182) and the Yacht Club Resort (starting at $394). Another more economical option just outside the complex, but still part of the family, is the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel. It’s close-by, is family-friendly and has an outdoor pool. Rates start at $74.

  • Midwest Beerfest in Wichita, Kansas

    Why go: Not only is Wichita is the largest city in the famously flat state of Kansas, it also has the largest art scene in the area, tons of museums, and plenty of local brewpubs and barbecue spots to keep you going. 

    What to do: First up, head to the Midwest Beerfest on September 18 and 20-21 at locations around Wichita. This event highlights beer dinners and a grand tasting on the 21st, which is the perfect way to sample local microbrews from Kansas. If you don’t make it to the festival, you can still check out the beer scene at the Wichita Brewing Company and Pizzeria, where they serve their own brews including Half-Wit Wheat, Thunder Blonde and Fruit-de-Lis Passionfruit Saison. All these pair well with their selection of wood-fired pizzas such as the Chili Dog, the spicy Mother McCluck’R and the Hopperoni, a unique pie topped with hops-infused pepperoni. You can also head to River City Brewing Co., a 20-year-old brewpub in Old Town, a brick-lined historical area full of galleries, quaint shops, bars and restaurants. Also in the area is Cero’s, an old-school candy shop that makes the treats right before your eyes.

    Where to stay: Because Old Town is so darling, you should stay in the Hotel at Old Town, which is housed in a landmarked building built in 1906. Of course, the inside proves modern, and they have rooms with full kitchens and Jacuzzi tubs available. Rates start at $147.

  • Takayama Festival in Takayama, Japan

    Why go: In addition to delicious food and sake and markets galore, this small Japanese town interweaves history and tradition with tourism, including the brilliant architecture dating back to the Edo Period (1600 to 1868) in their Old Town and a plethora of art and history museums.

    What to do: The Takayama Festival, also known as the Hachiman Festival, is held twice yearly in spring and fall, arguably the most beautiful times of year. The fall version of the festival runs October 9-10 and celebrates the Hachiman Shrine in Old Town with colorful yatai floats, mechanical dancing dolls called karakuri (which you can also see in the town’s Karakuri Museum) and plenty of street vendors selling snacks to munch on while you watch. Make sure to look for Hido miso with chopped onions and mushrooms fired on a magnolia leaf, and sweet and savory steamed beef buns. Or, before the festival, head to the morning-only food stands at the Miyagawa Market to get some eats to go. Be sure to stroll in Old Town and take in the wonderfully preserved houses and the sake breweries, which can be recognized by the sugidama (balls made of cedar branches) hung over the entrance.

    Where to stay: The Yasuda Pension neighborhood is just 10 minutes by car from Takayama Station and is surrounded by lush trees that start turning a brilliant red in the fall. The friendly owners offer tips on traveling in the area, meals and pick-up service upon request. Rates start at $74.

  • Brooklyn Pour NYC Craft Beer Festival in Brooklyn, New York

    Why go: The question you should be asking is, why haven’t you been to Brooklyn yet? With tons of hot restaurants, artisanal food markets, awesome cocktail bars and culturally diverse neighborhoods, now is the time to head to the land of hipsters and see what all the fuss is about.

    What to do: Come October 12th, head to Fort Greene and attend the Third Annual Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival at Skylight One Hanson. There, over a dozen brewers will showcase their suds, including Goose Island, Dogfish Head, Brewery Ommegang and Lagunitas Brewing Company, plus a downstairs food court will offer plenty of eats to help line your stomach. If you can’t make it, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways to get your beer on in Brooklyn. For example, head to the swank Tørst beer bar in Greenpoint, Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg or Fulton Grand in Clinton Hill.

    Where to stay: With a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline and access to tons of great eats and drinks, including the acclaimed restaurant Aska in Kinfolk Studios and The Counting Room, stay at the Wythe Hotel. Its Brooklyn industrial-chic rooms feature exposed-brick walls, custom beds made from reclaimed pine from the hotel’s ceiling, locally made furniture and heated floors. Rates start at $340.

  • Best of Missouri Market in St. Louis, Missouri

    Why go: From a food perspective, it's all about the plentiful local produce and St. Louis-style pizza. But culture mavens will also want to head to St. Louis to stand under its iconic Gateway Arch, see the world’s largest mosaic installation at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, catch a jazz or blues band, or, better yet, see the St. Louis Symphony, the second-oldest in the whole country.

    What to do: Head to St. Louis for the Best of Missouri Market on October 4-6 at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. For three days, more than 120 food producers offer fresh produce, just-baked goods, handcrafted items and more. After the market, if you're still hungry, you're in luck because St. Louis makes one of the best and most unique pizzas around, the St. Louis, made with Provel cheese, sausage and peppers. Try it at the 30-plus-year-old Stefanina's Pizzeria or Lou Boccardi's Italian Restaurant.

    Where to stay: Located within stumbling distance from some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, the Moonrise Hotel sounds like it should be a Miles Davis song. You could always plug in your iPod to one of their in-room docking stations and make one up, or just relax on the Serta Enrapture double-pillow-top mattress. Yup, double pillow top, for you and your pet. They also have a newly opened rooftop lounge, free WiFi and the Eclipse Restaurant. Rates start at $169.

  • Baltic Herring Fair in Helsinki, Finland

    Why go: With the Nordic craze that has enveloped the United States, going to the source makes sense. True, you could head to Copenhagen, but in Helsinki you get the delicious food plus the town’s famous outdoor hot springs.

    What to do: Since 1743, fishermen from all along the south coast of Finland have gathered at the Market Square at the beginning of October to celebrate the end of fishing season, and to peddle their best catches. This October 6-12, the tradition continues, and you can find herring just about any way imaginable at the Baltic Herring Fair in Helsinki, a town worth checking out even when fish-themed events aren't the main attraction. For non-herring-related points of interest, book a table at Restaurant Demo, where the innovative tasting menu changes daily. To get a taste of Nordic eating habits, spend some time at the Eat & Joy Kluuvi Market, featuring foods from more than 500 Finnish small producers of cheese, jam, mushrooms, rye bread and wild reindeer, called poro.

    Stay at: Crisp and clean, just like a carefully plated dish at Demo, Hotel Kämp is a good bet for accommodations. Look for 24-hour room service, a full gym, spa and entertainment library complete with travel guides, books, music, movies and games. Rates start at $238.

  • Hood River Hops Fest in Hood River, Oregon

    Why go: Before mountain and winter sports start, a good reason to head to Hood River - a beautiful town with the benefit of the Columbia River Gorge - is to partake in wind and kite surfing, apple picking, wine tasting and more.

    What to do: While there are plenty of things to do such as indulging at the Full Sail Brewing Tasting Room and Restaurant, visiting one of the many stunning wineries or taking a scenic ride on the railroad, hitting up this town during the Hood River Hops Fest is a bonus reason to go. This event commences September 28 from noon to 9 PM and highlights Hood River County’s own microbreweries, as well as a handful of excellent Northwest brewers. Pair your suds with a day of local foods and live music, but be warned: no dogs allowed, and after 5 PM, the festivities become strictly 21 and over.

    Where to stay: The Seven Oaks Bed & Breakfast was built in 1928 by August Guignard, a French craftsman and renowned inventor, and lucky for guests, his clean, strong country lines and elegant facade are well preserved. This darling inn resides just outside the bustle of the downtown area and features lush gardens, a charming rustic barn and the option to rent a cottage complete with a kitchenette. A vegetarian breakfast is included daily, and they serve eggs from their own henhouse, pastries, homemade jam and organic, locally roasted coffee. Rates start at $100.

  • Smokin’ Hot BBQ Competition in Atlantic City

    Why go: Casinos, Boardwalk Empire and... barbecue? 

    What to do: Right in the heart of Atlantic City you can find some of the best barbecue on October 5 and 6 when pitmasters compete with their meat to win $50,000. This means guests not only get to sample ribs, brisket and burgers, but they can also attend grilling demonstrations, dance to the live bands and taste all sorts of products. Also on that weekend is the biggest rodeo on the East Coast at Boardwalk Hall. In addition, there is always the choice to hit up one of the casinos on the boardwalk and hopefully get your own $50,000 payday.

    Where to stay: For immediate beach access, even if you don’t want to swim in the now-icy Atlantic Ocean, the Flagship All Suites Resort is a good place to stay. Heck, if you really want to jump in the water, you can do so in their heated pool or soak in a hot tub. All their studio and one-bedroom spaces have private balconies with water views and useful kitchenettes. Rates start at $89.

  • Alba White Truffle Festival in Alba, Italy

    Why go: Alba, in the Piedmont region, is famous for its white truffles, peaches, rich wines and the chocolate company Ferrero, so the city is a particularly tasty one to visit.

    What to do: White truffles are a truly special thing, and in the United States and other countries, they are prized like diamonds. Imagine a whole festival dedicated to these nutty, earthy and somehow creamy fungi. From October 12 to November 17, you can head to Alba and learn all about the Tuber magnatum pico, and how to harvest, taste, smell and, most importantly, eat this treasured ingredient. Aside from the white truffle, the festival also features local gourmet foods, wine and even beer.

    Where to stay: Art meets wine at the funky Hotel Langhe, where you can enjoy the view of wine country, swim in a natural outdoor pool or borrow a bike to pedal around the city. Rates start at $87.

  • Food & Wine’s Fourth Annual Wine Voyage, Monte Carlo to Rome

    Why go: The opportunity to partake of a luxury cruise sailing from Monte Carlo to Rome, and one on which the focus is food and wine.  

    What to do: Aboard Oceania Cruises’ Riviera ship, this culinary cruise sets forth on October 11 and finishes in Rome on the 18th. Every day the ship docks, and ports include Provence, France, where an excursion is available to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and Italian ports such as Tuscany, Portofino and Sorrento, where you can learn about Roman history and explore the volcanic vineyards. At night, grand wine dinners commence, led by Food & Wine’s Anthony Giglio and experts from Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, a famed Tuscan winery that overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea. But with all this wine, what shall guests eat, you may wonder? Given that master chef Jacques Pépin oversees the food program, you know you will be in good hands.

    Where to stay: Naturally, you would stay on Oceana’s Riviera ship. For the whole week, rates start at $2,624.

  • Texas Mushroom Festival in Madisonville, Texas

    Why go: You can find the town of Madisonville about halfway between Dallas and Houston, and while it’s small, visitors can easily spend a few days here - especially if you like mushrooms.

    What to do: We heard that a lot of fungi (ha, fun guys) floats around this sleepy Texas town, but boy, oh boy, come October 12, you can expect even more. Touted as the “Mushroom Capital of Texas,” it’s only fitting that they would have a festival celebrating this tasty food item, and from 8:30 AM-5 PM, expect to munch on free mushroom fajitas, attend mushroom cooking demonstrations, sample wine and check out hundreds of fungi-friendly vendors. They even have a gala dinner on Friday, October 11, to celebrate this prized commodity. Then, to really drive in this town’s commitment to mushrooms, take a visit to Monterey Mushrooms, the largest producer of fungi in the state.

    Where to stay: For a bit of Madisonville history, book a room at the century-old Woodbine Hotel and Restaurant. It’s kind of like staying in a Victorian suite, only with modern amenities and complimentary breakfast. Just keep an eye out for the giant Chihuahua running around the joint, we hear he is in charge. Rates start at $85.

  • Crave Sydney in Sydney, Australia

    Why go:
    As the largest city on the whole continent, Sydney is a prime place for vacations, whether cultural (think icons like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge) or culinary in focus.

    What to do: Make a beeline for Crave, an international food festival that happens the entire month of October and encompasses guest chefs, special meals, classes and tastings all across the city. On October 3-6, check out Omnivore, a special event featuring 20 chefs from France, America, Australia and New Zealand who host classes, pop-ups, dinners and tastings. Expect to see Rene Redzepi, the famed chef-owner of Noma in Copenhagen, who will be talking about his upcoming book. As for the special dinners, one to check out is the Good Dinner Under $30 series that takes place in eateries including Avenue Road Café, Belgrave Cartel and Lox Stock & Barrel.

    Where to stay: The best part about staying in the Shangri-La Hotel is the panoramic view of Sydney Harbour. When you decide you have had enough mooning over the scenery, a pillow menu is available to help you sleep. Rates start at $290.

  • 180th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

    Why go: If you like beer, there is no better place than Munich to be in at the end of September and early October - or any other time, for that matter.

    What to do: It’s time again for Oktoberfest, a celebration of beer and an important tradition among the Bavarian people since 1810. An Oktoberfest spent in Munich cannot be compared to the one you may have celebrated at your local bar; each year six million people from all over the world attend this 16-day festival, which this year spans September 21-October 6. Only six breweries that can produce Oktoberfest beer, according to the criteria of the Reinheitsgebot (aka the German Beer Purity Law), and you can sample all of them here. Finally, where else can you pop in and out of tents wearing a Bavarian goat-hair hat and shouting “O'zapft is!” as each keg is tapped?

    Where to stay: Should you need a change of pace after a day of beer drinking, the Novotel München City Hotel is located minutes away from cultural attractions such as the Deutsches Museum and the Gasteig Cultural Center. This comfortable hotel has clean, crisp rooms, a heated indoor pool, a sauna and a fitness center. Rates start at $355.

  • Wine Touring in Saint-Émilion, France

    Why go: Fall is the perfect time to visit any wine region, and the vast stretches of vineyards that surround this French municipality are no different. In addition, this area includes the charming medieval town of Saint-Émilion.

    What to do: Harvest, we hear, will start mid-October this year, and that’s a great time to get in the spirit of the wine. Visit one of the 700 small, beautiful vineyards, such as Château Angélus, Château d’Arcole or Vignobles Bardet. Meanwhile, in the city part of Saint-Émilion, you can always sample vin at one of the many shops or restaurants. After touring the 11th-century monolithic church, an underground structure carved out of a single stone and the largest of its kind in the world, get lunch at the restaurant in l’Hostellerie de Plaisance, presided over by chef Philippe Etchebest, a television personality who hosts the French equivalent to Gordon Ramsay’s show. For more wine options, stop by wine bar L’Absolu, and for dinner, L’Antre Deux Verres, which serves local and seasonal fare and has a stellar view.

    Where to stay: Located in the heart of town, the Au Logis des Remparts Hotel has 20 air-conditioned (rare for the area) rooms, a pool, parking, a stunning garden and a great view of the town. Rates start at $104.

  • Music City Eats in Nashville, Tennessee

    Why go: Between the country music, Southern food and bourbon, Nashville is a great place to spend some quality time.

    What to do: The Music City Eats festival on September 21-22 combines the best aspects of Nashville for two days of pure indulgence. On the food side, you have panels by local chefs including Tandy Wilson of City House, Jay Flatley of Tavern and Deb Paquette of Etch Restaurant Deb Paquette, among others, and there will be goodies dished out at the Flavor of Nashville from award-winning restaurants like Catbird Seat and Rolf & Daughters. Haute Southern chefs including John Currence, Edward Lee and John Besh host the Harvest Night, a farm-to-plate feast on Saturday from 7 to 9 PM. Also, that night is the music portion of the festival dubbed Petty Fest, which features the songs of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  

    Stay at: Though you may never want to sleep, book your room at the pet-welcoming Hutton Hotel, a luxury hotel sans the pomp, but with amazing bathrooms and a dedication to making the space eco-friendly. Rates start at $379.

  • Photo by: Gregory Moine/Flickr

    International Spanish Wine and Food Festival in St. Augustine, Florida

    Why go: Established in 1564, St. Augustine is America’s oldest city. Along with plentiful local seafood, you can take in the historical sights.

    What to do: October 21-26, head to St. Augustine for the International Spanish Wine and Food Festival. In honor of the town’s Spanish beginnings, sample vino and food from Spain at numerous restaurants around the area including Rhett’s Piano Bar and Brasserie, The Raintree and The Tasting Room. The 25th brings a Spanish cava reception and dinner at the beautiful River House, an event complete with Spanish music, dancing and plenty of bubbles.

    Where to stay: Located directly across from the Matanzas Bay, the Bayfront Marin House Inn has a lovely view and is also close to the city’s historical sites and museums. Each elegant room is unique, but most feature a Jacuzzi, a view of the water, complementary WiFi, and a hot, Southern-style breakfast in the morning. Rates start at $179.

  • Festival of Lights in Goa, India

    Why go: Of all the areas in India to visit, Goa is the most partylike of any them, a status partially due to the Portuguese influence and the fact that it’s a beach town with tourists interwoven with the locals. However, because it’s on the water, the seafood proves super fresh, and when you combine that with Indian and Portuguese spices, the dishes get a whole-new flavor profile worth exploring.

    What to do: Revel in Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which commences November 3 and runs for five days. During this time, the already festive city of Goa constructs huge effigies of Narkasura: according to legend, the demon god once controlled Goa but was destroyed by Krishna. When the sun sets, the effigy is set on fire, adding another flame to the already glowing sea of candles, firecrackers and glittering lights that are customary for the festival. For sustenance, sample the bountiful seafood of the city at Oasis on the Rock or Zeebop by the Sea.

    Where to stay: If you have ever wanted to sleep on a four-poster bed in a grand, 19th-century mansion, stay at the Heritage Panjim Inn. Rates start at $54.

  • Photo by: Emily Hart Roth

    Art, Ice Cream and Sunshine in Santa Monica, California

    Why go: While most of the country consigns itself to boots and sweaters, the residents of Santa Monica still revel in summerlike temperatures in October - and most months, for that matter.  

    What to do: Drive east to Los Angeles and take in a show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (coming up: Beethoven with Dudamel & Andsnes) and then have dinner at Patina - both are celebrating their 10th anniversaries. In honor of this milestone, the chefs are dishing out a tasting menu that features $10 dishes across the board; note, it’s only offered on October 10. For dessert, ice cream fans must visit the Sweet Rose Creamery, a small-batch ice cream shop Santa Monica residents go gaga over. Everything here is made from scratch by owner Shiho Yoshikawa, who offers experimental flavors, soft serve, pour-over coffee, and sweet and savory breads baked at sister restaurant Milo & Olive

    Where to stay: In the place where Pico Boulevard meets Ocean Way, stop at Hotel Casa del Mar, a space designed for luxury and to showcase art, which they will be doing on September 28 with the launch of Glow, featuring artist Janet Echelman and others who are reimaging the Santa Monica Beach. This private installation happens once every three years, and only occurs for one night. Of course, if you don’t make it in time for the show, the hotel itself is still worth checking out. Rates start at $425.

  • Safari and Taking on Arusha in Tanzania, Africa

    Why go: September and October are perfect months to embark on an African safari in Tanzania. If being one with the wildebeest isn’t your thing, head to Arusha for a taste of city life.

    What to do: The best way to see Tanzania, especially nature and wild animals, is by taking a safari. Tour company Imagine Africa offers custom-tailored luxury packages. You can also book an outing to Arusha National Park to see the Ngurdoto Crater as well as giraffes, zebras, hippos and more native creatures. Aside from taking in nature, the city of Arusha also offers the Natural History Museum, also called Boma, and Via Via, the restaurant in the gardens behind it. Also check out Khan’s Barbecue, a popular joint to get grilled meat and large salads - just make sure to go there at night because during the day it doubles as an auto parts shop.

    Where to stay: If you are on a safari, your guide will likely have you stay at one of the camps scattered about. In Arusha, the recently renovated Kibo Palace Hotel now has a cool pool to dive into and plenty of comfortable rooms. Rates start at $160.

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