Eating and sipping your way, coast to coast.
On the west coast, California is known for its extraordinary wines that truly rival any in the world. The Golden State’s wine country spans the beautiful regions of Northern California. These include Napa Valley, Sonoma and Monterey County to the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara regions, and even Malibu. Further south and just inland from San Diego about an hour’s drive, the Temecula Valley is also rich with a number of outstanding wineries.
Angelenos, as well as global travelers, love to visit Santa Barbara wine country. Centered around the town of Los Olivos, there are five distinct wine appellations. They are located just a few hours north of Los Angeles and 45 minutes from the city of Santa Barbara. Bop in and out of vineyards on your own. You can even try wine tasting made easy and fun with local companies like the Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours.
Santa Barbara County is home to more than 100 wineries located within a region of microclimates, gorgeous terrains, small villages and rolling rural hills, just a few blocks from the ocean and beaches. The modern era of grape and wine production started in California during the 1960s. Production has grown dramatically since then, now featuring resort-style wineries. The weather in this area is generally beyond pleasant. Generally, it is 10 degrees warmer than the Santa Maria Valley and 10 degrees cooler than Santa Ynez. Small vineyards reside alongside large tracts of grapes growing Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Riesling, Viognier and Pinot Grigio among others.
Where to Stay
Accommodations are easy to find and range from small and charming hotels to luxurious boutique inns like the 4-diamond bed and breakfast Ballard Inn & Gathering Table, (ballardinn.com) owned by Chef Budi Kazali and designed as the perfect getaway for weekend travelers and known for its award-winning cuisine. The Santa Ynez Inn (santaynezinn.com) is a turn-of-the-century luxury inn praised for its warm hospitality. Former Hollywood legend Fess Parker bought his eponymous inn (fessparkerinn.com) in Los Olivos, down the road from his critically acclaimed vineyard. This Preferred Boutique property was redone in 2012 and is still family-owned and run. If planning a trip to this region, visit californiawineryadvisor.com for more tips and information.
On the east coast, culinary adventures are a way of life. New Yorkers celebrate food, wine and brew while embracing their diverse melting pot of cultures. They do this grandly when, every October, the Big Apple hosts New York City’s largest food and wine festival. The Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF.org) is a national, star-studded, four-day event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs, culinary personalities and America’s most beloved television chefs while supporting charity and efforts to end hunger.
The spring and summer months are the perfect time to head north a few hours from the city to upstate New York’s very own wine country in Keuka Lake, Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake wine trails. There are more than 200 wineries and a slew of lake activities. Check out details at fingerlakeswinecountry.com.
Where to Stay
New York City offers some of the most beautiful hotels in the world. These hotels are in every different area of the city, including many boutique hotels that will have you feeling like a guest in someone’s magnificent home. For instance, check out: The Crosby Street Hotel (firmdalehotels.com) and The Broome (thebroomenyc.com), both in hipster Soho; The NoMad Hotel (thenomadhotel.com) near Broadway; Sanctuary Hotel New York (sanctuaryhotelnyc.com) by Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center; and the innovative and much acclaimed Library Hotel Collection Hotel Elysée (libraryhotelcollection.com), a small oasis of luxury, elegance and calm in bustling midtown Manhattan.
Playwright George Bernard Shaw was right when he said there is no sincerer love than the love of food. We even have it coast to coast for those who thrive on epicurean travel and culinary adventures.
Bon voyage and bon appétit!