Best Wineries to Visit in All 50 States
The dating reviews website MyDatingAdviser.com has ranked the best wineries to visit in all 50 states.
There are more than 11,000 wineries across the US, which has doubled in the last decade. That is over 2,000 more options than even craft beer alone. There are many opportunities to visit local wineries and enjoy remarkable wines from some of the nation’s most reliable producers.
If you’re planning a wine tasting getaway and looking for the best towns to visit in the USA, these wineries are a great place to start. The analysis of over 700 wineries across the USA reveals you can be whatever wine drinker you want. If you prefer a homegrown Bordeaux blend, you can find it. Or maybe you want a sparkling wine that can rival Champagne.
The comprehensive list of the best wineries highlights a world-class wine scene that has taken generations of boundary-pushing to reach its excellence. The rank of wineries is according to the quality, popularity, and things to do in the area.
Whether you’re looking to plan your next great wine country getaway or simply want to sample something unique next time you’re buying bottles online, these are the wineries to look for.
Not surprisingly, California wineries came out on top.
It’s no surprise that California wineries made the top of the list, with 16 wineries in the top 100 rankings, as California accounts for 90 percent of American wine production. There are more than 1,200 wineries in the state, ranging from small boutique wineries to large corporations with distribution around the globe.
The best winery in California is Judd's Hill Winery and MicroCrush in Napa. Located only minutes from downtown Napa, near the foot of the Silverado Trail, Judd's Hill was given a score of 82.85 in the study. From fermenting grapes in their garage to opening a well-respected vineyard, they have come a long way to become a premium producer of fine wines. Here you can enjoy tastings, wine club, wine and food flavors tasting experiences as well as classes on blending.
Interestingly, the study found Tennessee to be a popular state for wine tasting.
The top three wineries are in Tennessee: Tennessee Homemade Wines, Sugarland Cellars, and Tennessee Cider Company - all in Gatlinburg. Most of the wineries in the state are located in Middle and East Tennessee. Since Tennessee is in a transition zone they can grow a wide array of grape varieties and make many different types of wines. There is also a fair demand for fruit wines in this state
The number one winery to visit is Tennessee Homemade Wines in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This study found that Tennessee Homemade Wines in Gatlinburg, TN is the best winery in the USA, ranking first out of 746 wineries and with an overall score of 90.31 out of a possible 100. This winery is known as Gatlinburg's best local winery and producer of the best sweet wines in Tennessee. They specialize in local flavors like muscadine, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and peach.
New York’s best winery is Three Brothers Wineries and Estates in Geneva.
Three Brothers Wineries and States had a total score of 74.21. Here you can find three unique wineries, a microbrewery, and a café all on one estate in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.
Washington’s best winery is Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards
Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State's oldest winery, located in Woodinville, Washington, near Seattle - given a total score of 82.47. It produces Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, and Riesling, and has winemaking partnerships with two vintners: Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany's Piero Antinori.
Best winery to visit in all 50 states:
- Alabama, Jules J. Berta Vineyards & Pizza (Albertville)
- Alaska, Bear Creek Winery (Homer)
- Arizona, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Tasting Room (Cottonwood)
- Arkansas, The Winery Of Hot Springs (Hot Springs)
- California, Judd's Hill Winery And MicroCrush (Napa)
- Colorado, Balistreri Vineyards (Denver)
- Connecticut, Jones Family Farm (Shelton)
- Delaware, Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery (Frankford)
- Florida, Panama City Beach Winery (Panama City Beach)
- Georgia, Crane Creek Vineyards (Young Harris)
- Hawaii, MauiWine (Kula)
- Idaho, Telaya Wine Co. (Garden City)
- Illinois, Lynfred Winery (Roselle)
- Indiana, Urban Vines Winery & Brewery Co. (Westfield)
- Iowa, Stone Cliff Winery (Dubuque)
- Kansas, Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery (Basehor)
- Kentucky, Purple Toad Winery (Paducah)
- Louisiana, NOLA Tropical Winery (New Orleans)
- Maine, Cellardoor Winery (Lincolnville)
- Maryland, Linganore Winecellars (Mt Airy)
- Massachusetts, Plymouth Bay Winery (Plymouth)
- Michigan, Fenn Valley Vineyards (Fennville)
- Minnesota, Carlos Creek Winery (Alexandria)
- Mississippi, Old South Winery (Natchez)
- Missouri, Pirtle Winery (Weston)
- Montana, Yellowstone Cellars & Winery (Billings)
- Nebraska, Cellar 426 Winery (Ashland)
- Nevada, Pahrump Valley Winery (Pahrump)
- New Hampshire, Seven Birches Winery (Lincoln)
- New Jersey, Cape May Winery & Vineyard (Cape May)
- New Mexico, Casa Rondena Winery (Albuquerque)
- New York, Three Brothers Wineries And Estates (Geneva)
- North Carolina, Biltmore Winery At Antler Hill Village (Asheville)
- North Dakota, Prairie Rose Meadery (Fargo)
- Ohio, Gervasi Vineyard (Canton)
- Oklahoma, Girls Gone Wine (Broken Bow)
- Oregon, Willamette Valley Vineyards Tasting Room In McMinnville (McMinnville)
- Pennsylvania, Mount Hope Estate & Winery (Manheim)
- Rhode Island, Newport Vineyards (Middletown)
- South Carolina, Duplin Winery (North Myrtle Beach)
- South Dakota, Prairie Berry Winery (Hill City)
- Tennessee, Tennessee Homemade Wines (Gatlinburg)
- Texas, Messina Hof Winery (Bryan)
- Utah, IG Winery (Cedar City)
- Vermont, Snow Farm Vineyard And Winery (South Hero)
- Virginia, Williamsburg Winery (Williamsburg)
- Washington, Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards (Woodinville)
- West Virginia, Lambert's Vintage Wines (Weston)
- Wisconsin, Cedar Creek Winery (Cedarburg)
- Wyoming, Big Lost Meadery And Brewery (Gillette)
Here are a few tips for your next wine tasting:
1. Sight. Look down into the glass and hold the glass to the light. Tilt your wine, and roll towards the edges. The depth of color indicates the density and saturation of the wine. For example, a deep-saturated purple-black color might be Syrah or Zinfandel, while a lighter, pale brick shade would suggest Pinot Noir.
Swirl your glass to look for “legs” or “tears” running down the side of the glass. Wines with good legs are wines with more alcohol and glycerin content, indicating they are more extensive, riper, mouth-filling, and dense.
2. Smell. If there are no obvious off-aromas, look for fruit aromas. Wine is from grapes, and it should smell fresh. You can learn to look for specific fruits and grapes, and many grapes will show a spectrum of fruit scents.
3. Taste. Take a sip, not a large swallow of wine in your mouth, and try sucking on it as if pulling it through a straw. You should encounter a wide range of fruit, flower, herb, mineral, barrels, and other flavors. Use your taste buds to help determine if the wine is balanced, harmonious, and complex.
Information about the most famous wine varieties:
- Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Burgundy are the most famous wine varieties across the nation.
- Chardonnay is the most planted variety, with 106,000 acres (43,000 hectares). However, it’s not a very popular grape and has declined in the past ten years.
- Another favorite, Cabernet Sauvignon, is in second place, with 101,300 acres (41,000 hectares). Plantings of Cabernet are stable and growing.
- The Burgundy grape Pinot Noir has seen a surge in growth and is now in third place with 61,800 acres (25,000 hectares). It’s the emblematic grape in Oregon, and the state is more or less synonymous with Pinot Noir. It also accounts for 60% of Oregon vineyards.
To determine the best wineries across America, MyDatingAdviser.com compared over 700 of the best wineries on TripAdvisor. They then ranked the top wineries across the USA.
This study took the winery quality, popularity, and things to do into account. The analysis was across six key metrics of winery perfection: 1) TripAdvisor rating, 2) Google reviews rating, 3) Number of TripAdvisor reviews, 4) Number of Google reviews, 5) Number of restaurants within 3 miles, and 6) Number of attractions within 6 miles.
Each winery has a ‘Winery Index Score.’ This value represents the quality of the winery experience that you can have there.
MyDatingAdviser.com is a US dating website committed to offering singles advice and reviews. Amy Pritchett started her website in March 2019 and has a passion for providing people love and relationship advice.
Things to do in June
Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic Santa Rosa, CA - June 4-5 After a two-year hiatus, due to the pandemic, the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic will finally get to have its 30th anniversary on June 4th and 5th. The big news for the Classic is the venue change. For the previous twenty-nine festivals, it was held in Windsor. But attendance grew so much that parking became an issue and it seemed apparent they needed a new location. This year the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California will be the new home, and with it comes a world of possibilities for growth and spaciousness, not to mention ample parking for cars and RVs. It’s right off the freeway, easy to find, and fully dialed in for an event like this. Brace yourself for the fact the gates open at 4am. Why would anything start at such a sleep-shattering hour? Because it’s calm. Wind is not the best friend of the hot air balloonist. The more peaceful the air, the more maneuverable the balloon, and dawn is the peak launching time. Also the visual experience has no match. Before the main launch, which happens as the sun’s coming up, there’s what’s called the “Dawn Patrol.” While it’s still dark, the balloons are lit, creating a magical glow which, especially up close, is awe inspiring. The launch itself is equally gasp-worthy, when as many as three dozen balloons go up in unison, including colorful and clever specialty-shaped balloons, with characters from cartoons, the movies, and other realms. Attendees get to talk to balloon pilots, get up-close to experience tethered balloons, and see first-hand what it takes to inflate and launch them. Tethered ride tickets will also be for sale so visitors can experience a hot air balloon ride without leaving the ground. A few lucky people will have the opportunity to make an Instant Sponsorship which allows them a full ride on a hot air balloon during the event. They’ll be able to wave to the crowd on the ground as they lift off with the pilot on a 30-45 minute ride through the skies with dozens of other hot air balloons. There’ll be lots of family activities, unique gifts and goodies, and plenty of delicious food, coffees, beers, champagne and mimosas. This is an ideal family festival. Kids are fascinated by hot air balloons, especially in this day and age of computers and special effects. The science behind them is ancient and the magic eternal. Not only is this festival a great reason to travel to Northern California in early June, it’s the perfect opportunity to get a full day or weekend of the unmatched beauty and deliciousness of Sonoma County. By attending so early in the morning you’ll have the rest of the day free to explore the stunning landscape from mountains to the ocean, shop, wine taste, eat out, and do all the things you’d like to fit into a vacation day, but often don’t get up early enough to do. 59th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival Lenoir City, TN - June 4-5 Lenoir Arts & Craft Fair - Courtesy of lenoircityartsandcrafts.com The quintessential summer-at-the-lake season kicks off in early June with a colorful waterfront arts event in Lenoir City. Lenoir City Park hosts the 59th Annual Lenoir City Arts & Crafts Festival. More than 200 artists and crafters from throughout the Southeast and beyond will be featured. Items range from ceramics and glassware to metal work and jewelry, to baskets, woodwork and much more. Food and beverage vendors add to the enjoyment with tasty treats for all. Lenoir City Park overlooks Fort Loudoun Lake and the Smoky Mountains. With the Smoky Mountains rising over a vast network of lakes and rivers, Loudon County, Tennessee, is the road less traveled to the National Park and the preferred location for those looking for the ultimate mountain lake vacation. Along with discovering authentic historic downtowns, art and antiques, contemporary and traditional restaurants, days are filled with boating, canoeing, fishing, waterskiing and simply exploring the land itself on foot or bike. If golf is your game, Loudon County is a great place to tee it up. Don’t miss a visit to Sweetwater Valley Farm, a working dairy farm and cheese producer where visitors can sample and see the process, and the award-winning Tennessee Valley Winery, where free tastings are offered at one of the oldest operating family-owned wineries in the state. Red Bull Cliff Diving World SeriesBoston, MA - June 4th Orlando Duque of Colombia dives from the 27.5 metre platform at the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Boston August 2013 / Courtesy of Red Bull Following an exciting and record-breaking comeback in 2021, Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns this year for its 13th season, with eight competitions planned at locations around the world. It all kicks off on June 4 in Boston, USA. It’s been nine years since the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series last touched down in the sports-mad city of Boston, and this highly anticipated return marks a two-fold premiere. For the first time, the Institute of Contemporary Art will serve as the season opener to a year in which the competitions will be more easily accessible for the fans than ever before. In addition, the waterfront museum will be the debut for the women in one of America’s oldest cities. Fans can expect 2022 to deliver another season packed full of high-flying drama, dizzying aerial acrobatics and tense title fights. Boston offers more things to see and do then you can possibly pack into one trip, or even a dozen. From famous historical attractions to iconic events to whale watching cruises to sports and theater, Boston is full of interesting activities and places for you to explore and enjoy. Boston's small, compact size makes getting around easy. For the ultimate walk through history, follow the red strip of the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail to see 16 sites important to American freedom and civil liberties. Be sure to visit Charles street in Beacon Hill area, full of boutiques, antique stores, and wonderful places to eat, it's only about five or six blocks long, and runs across the width of the neighborhood from Beacon Street to Cambridge Street. Bonnaroo Music & Arts FestivalManchester, TN - June 16-19 Bonnaroo Festival - IStock/epicurean Bonnaroo is a hub for art, music, and food packed with activities! “Bonnaroo” is slang for “Good Stuff” in Creole, and they pride themselves on having just that! Having been cancelled the past two years, there is much excitement for the 2022 festival, with previous acts such as Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Phish and The Lumineers, there is a strong mix of artists that participate in Bonnaroo. Grab your camping gear and get ready to experience a magical few days! With 10+ performance stages, 4 campground party barns, and entertainment that goes ALL NIGHT LONG, you will NOT be bored. While most people stay at Bonnaroo the whole weekend you are only about an hour from Nashville so you might want to take advantage and come in a day or 2 early an experience Music City! No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to Broadway, the hottest spot for music in the entire city. Just down the street from Broadway is Printer’s Alley or “the District,” which is a tiny slice of downtown Nashville that is packed to the gills with nightclubs, honky tonks, and jazz clubs for any would-be partier looking to soak up the nightlife. You can't talk about Nashville without mentioning Nashville hot chicken - The original Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack can only be found right here in Nashville, so if you’re a sucker for hot chicken, this is the place for you!
The best cities in the U.S. for foodies and music fans
It’s never too early to start planning your next great vacation. Whether you’re in the mood for an epic national parks road trip this summer or a relaxing staycation closer to home, these nine cities and locales offer some of the best places to enjoy local food and music in the country. If you’re craving a little live music during your travels, these cities definitely deliver, with enough jazz, blues, rock, and country music venues to suit every taste and budget — plus plenty of incredible food to enjoy while you’re in town. New York City With such a diverse population, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to finding a good meal in New York City. Manhattan and Brooklyn’s got heaps of trendy restaurants, though its mom-and-pop diners and eateries, run by families from all over for several generations, are also a major highlight. In Queens, Astoria is known for its Greek, Cypriot, and Brazilian food; Flushing and Bayside for their Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean restaurants, bakeries, and markets; and Jackson Heights for its Southeast Asian, South American, Mexican, Indian, and Nepali eateries. Head to the Bronx for Italian markets along Arthur Avenue, and a variety of Bengali, Jamaican, Columbian, Guyanese, Trinidadian, Cuban, African, Mexican, and Vietnamese specialty spots. If Italian, Filipino, Mexican, or Sri Lankan cuisine is what you crave, ride the free ferry to Staten Island from Lower Manhattan. While you’re in the Big Apple, catch a Broadway show (stop by the TKTS booth in Times Square to score last-minute discount tickets) or head to a legendary jazz club like Birdland, Blue Note, Bill’s Place, Arthur’s Tavern, or the Village Vanguard for a great night of live music. Boston Seafood is the name of the game in Boston, whether you prefer to hit up local lobster (“lobstah!”) joints for truly mouthwatering lobster rolls and bisque or venture out to Provincetown in Cape Cod for an epic clam bake dinner. Don’t leave without trying Boston baked beans, cream pie, clam chowder (“chowdah!”), lobster mac ‘n cheese, a Fenway Frank, traditional Boston-style pizza, or a cannoli or two from Mike’s Pastry in the North End, which offers 18 delicious flavors to choose from. Courtesy of mikespastry.com For live music, head to Symphony Hall to see the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra perform, House of Blues Boston for Southern dishes with a side of blues, and The Sinclair or The Middle East for performances by local alt-rock, indie, and hip hop musicians. Scullers Jazz Club and Paradise Rock Club are also worth checking out, as are Club Passim and The Beehive, if you’re into jazz, blues, rock, soul, funk, folk, or world music. Nashville Whatever you do in Nashville, it’s bound to be a rollicking good time, especially for night owls who love country music. Join a free line dancing class and kick up your heels at Wildhorse Saloon, then follow the music and hit the honky tonks on and around Broadway — start at Rippy’s, Layla’s, Nudie’s, Honky Tonk Central, Robert’s Western World, Tootsies Orchid Lounge, or The Stage and see where the night takes you. Learn all about the city’s history of country and bluegrass music on a tour of Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry radio show. Nearby, the Country Music Hall of Fame offers guided tours of its Historic RCA Studio B, where Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, and Roy Orbison once recorded music. Die-hard fans of the Man in Black should also stop by the Johnny Cash Museum to see its vast memorabilia collection. Courtesy Corsair Distillery After a big day of sightseeing, indulge in some Bar-B-Q at downtown hotspots like Peg Leg Porker, Jack’s Bar-B-Que, or Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. Sample locally made spirits — Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Nashville Craft Distillery, Ole Smoky, Corsair Distillery, and Pennington Distilling Co. each offer tasting menus — or venture out to Jack Daniel’s Distillery about 90 minutes south in Lynchburg. Memphis Elvis fans, rejoice! Not only is Memphis home to Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and B.B. King, among other rock ‘n’ roll musicians all their recorded music, it’s also where the King made his home at Graceland. Take a tour of the mansion, view collections of his gold and platinum albums and jumpsuits, and check out his legendary pink cadillac. You can also board his luxurious airplanes — decked out with gold-plated seatbelts and sinks — reflect on his life and music in the Meditation Garden, and pay your respects at his grave site. Some of the greatest blues clubs in the U.S. are also in Memphis, including B.B. King’s Blues Club, Rum Boogie Cafe, Blues Hall Juke Joint, Blues City Cafe, and Silky O’Sullivan’s, all located along Beale Street. Visit the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum for a closer look at how modern-day rock ‘n’ roll traces its roots back to blues, soul, and gospel music. The Memphis Bar-B-Q scene is also worth digging into, with popular Midtown spots like Central BBQ, Corky’s BBQ, The Rendezvous, Tops Bar-B-Q, Payne’s Bar-B-Q and The Bar-B-Q Shop serving up the good stuff with tangy and tasty wet and dry rubs. New Orleans IStock/joeygil Home to an incredible jazz scene — this is where Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., and countless other jazz greats got started, after all — New Orleans is all about live music, whether you’re seeing a show at a bucket-list destination like Preservation Hall or at a local jazz joint along Frenchmen Street, such as d.b.a., The Spotted Cat, The Blue Nile, Snug Harbor, or the Three Muses. Though a bit more touristy, there are also plenty of live music venues scattered throughout the French Quarter and along Bourbon Street, including Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, the city’s oldest. When it comes to food in New Orleans, it’s all about Cajun and Creole cuisine — have some gumbo, crawfish étouffée, jambalaya, red beans and rice, a po-boy, a muffaletta sandwich, or dig into a crawfish boil if you can. Treat yourself to bananas foster for dessert or some beignets (fried dough pastries covered in powdered sugar) from Café Du Monde, A New Orleans institution that has been serving them from its French Market coffee stand since 1862. Santa Fe “Red or green?” is the official state question of New Mexico, and one you’re likely to hear a lot during a trip to Santa Fe regarding the type of chile peppers you’d prefer (just say “Christmas” if you want to try both). Head to La Plazuela at La Fonda on the Plaza to sample exquisite New Mexican cuisine featuring traditional recipes with modern twists — the enchiladas and rellenos de la Fonda are a real treat — or its Bell Tower Bar for gorgeous sunset views and swanky rooftop cocktails. Several Santa Fe distilleries also offer behind-the scenes tours and cocktail-making classes if you’re interested in learning more about what makes them so delicious. After dinner, head to Tonic to hear live jazz, Vanessie Restaurant and Piano Bar for more of a traditional piano bar experience, Boxcar for a sports bar and club vibes (on weekends), or check the Santa Fe tourism board’s website to see if there are free festivals, concerts or other cultural performances happening on the Plaza downtown while you’re visiting. Seattle Coffee enthusiasts, rejoice! Start with a visit to the birthplace of Starbucks at Pike Place Market, where the venerable brand got its start back in 1971, then pick up some fresh seasonal fruits and veggies, freshly baked pastries, hot-smoked salmon, and other snacks for a picnic at one of the city’s beautiful parks and gardens. To learn more about coffee-making, book a guided tour of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery, located in the nearby Capitol Hill neighborhood. Finish off a busy day of sightseeing with a beer tasting at Fremont Brewing’s Urban Beer Garden, where you can try seasonal beers and ciders alongside visitors and locals alike. Starbucks Reserve - Seattle /Courtesy starbucksreserve.com Seattle is home to a truly eclectic music scene and is where legendary artists like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, and Macklemore all got their start. For a relaxing jazz-filled evening, visit Jazz Alley downtown or Vito’s in First Hill. Metal fans should stop by Highline or Chop Suey in Capitol Hill, The Crocodile in Belltown, or Funhouse and El Corazón in Eastlake, while those who prefer country music should try Slim’s Last Chance in Georgetown. Portland Not only is Portland, Oregon, home to a burgeoning foodie scene, it’s also where you’ll find some of the best food carts in the U.S., whether you’re craving sushi, banh mi, Somali lamb mandi, tacos, Oaxan specialties, Korean Bar-B-Q, Norwegian fare, Filipino favorites, or spicy chicken, among countless other offerings. If time allows, visit the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, located two hours from downtown Portland and home to several Indigenous communities, for a Native American River-to-Table dining experience featuring freshly caught salmon from the Columbia River. Back in Portland, catch indie, punk rock, psychedelic garage band, and other musical acts at Mississippi Studios in Boise; singer-songwriters, folk pop and hip hop artists at the Doug Fir Lounge downtown; or hit up Holocene for DJ dance parties and techno music. San Francisco and California Wine Country Home to fine seafood restaurants and a beautiful natural landscape dotted with wineries, San Francisco and California Wine Country — located about a 90-minute drive away in Santa Rosa, Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Healdsburg — definitely deserve a spot on your travel bucket list. Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco - IStock/Ben185 Start with freshly caught favorites like lobsters, Dungeness crab, and oysters at one of the posh places along San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf, or dig into some delicious Hog Island oysters at a Tomales Bay tasting. For fine wine and a relaxing day at a scenic vineyard, head to Healdsburg — Banshee Wines and Cartograph Wines are popular spots to sip wine by the Russian River — or sample local flavors from family-owned cellars in Sonoma, known for its pinot noir and chardonnay varietals. In Napa Valley, Yountville delivers with 15 tasting rooms and a number of cabernet sauvignon options, while nearby Santa Rosa is known for its Bordeaux. Back in San Francisco, enjoy live jazz music with a side of Ethiopian food at Sheba’s Piano Lounge in the Fillmore District — or pizza at Club Deluxe in the Upper Haight neighborhood — live blues at The Saloon, the city’s oldest bar, or everything from cover bands and DJs to local artists at the Grant and Green Saloon in North Beach. Content sponsored by IntrepidYour North America adventure is right here, right now. Learn more at https://www.intrepidtravel.com Check out more people and planet-friendly adventures at Intrepid Travel:Explore epic national parks of the USIntrepid
Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival - Bodega, California
It began as a harmless, ‘what-if’ conversation with my then-husband (fondly referred to as my ‘wasband’ these days), about putting on a festival on a ranch overlooking the ocean. We’d already been producing a very small art and wine festival in a quaint rural community on the Russian River, in Sonoma County California, and had been approached by a local landowner wanting a festival on his property. The ranch owner had offered his land and this opportunity to us at a time in our lives when we were least prepared to accept it. Both of us were craftspeople: Michael was (is) a photographer and I made hand dyed and printed women’s clothing. We both traveled to various places in the country to do art shows, and we're in the final stages of leaving our Sebastopol home to rent a house in Key Largo, Florida for the winter months. We’d each booked nine festivals back there, as there were none during this season close to home. We visited the ranch, we're intrigued by the possibilities, but unsure how we could put on a new festival when we’d be on the East Coast until April, but we gave him a tentative yes. When we hit the road we looked like something out of Grapes of Wrath, Michael’s van towing mine, each loaded to near-explosion with everything we’d need for three months away from home. The endless miles between us and southern Florida opened up a world of conversations. Festival creators Michael and Janet - Courtesy of Janet Ciel “What if we did a seafood festival?” Michael was flipping through a publication called Sunshine Artists, which had hundreds of festivals, fairs, art shows listed, all in the Gulf States. I was driving, or trying to. Towing something this back-heavy meant the front of the van barely touched the ground, making steering this monstrosity akin to maneuvering a bumper car. “I mean, the ranch overlooks the ocean, and there are a ton of seafood festivals in Florida, but there’s nothing quite like this in our area.” I had to admit, it did sound like a good idea. And so it began. Being in Florida we got to see firsthand how some of these events were set up, and found most to be carnival-like. Since our world revolved around artists, we determined this would have to be a high quality event, to draw fine art and craft-vendors and an appreciative crowd, even if it was on a dusty horse ranch. From our little condo in Key Largo we sent solicitations out to all the artists and craftspeople we knew. We reached out to food vendors, wineries, tenting companies, graphics people, and more. By the time we returned in mid-April we found ourselves deep into full-blown festival production, and by the end of August of 1993 the first Bodega BAY Seafood, Art and Wine Festival opened its gates. We had almost eighty artists, several dozen wineries participating in a tasting, a dozen food vendors, including a couple of local seafood restaurants, and excellent entertainment. Courtesy of Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival For ten years we held the event every August on the ranch, located just north of the village of Bodega Bay on Highway 1, a scant two hours from San Francisco and other Bay Area locales. It had horse rental facilities, a bed and breakfast, and ample space for the 7000+ attendees. At times the location was a spectacular asset, when the skies were clear and the views picture-postcard worthy, but more often than not the site was enshrouded in thick fog or had fierce winds, which destroyed artists’ tents and merchandise. Because it was a horse ranch there was a constant pile of horse manure in the parking lot, and an accompanying stench that, though some might have considered charming and rural, vendors and the health department were not so fondly inclined. You might note the word BAY is capitalized in a previous paragraph, and wonder why. It’s because the festival is no longer located in Bodega BAY, but rather in the village of Bodega. Year eleven we were fortunate to find a beautiful ranch inland from our previous location. On Highway 12, or Bodega Highway, Watts Ranch sits across the road from the famous schoolhouse featured in the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds, in the teeny village of Bodega, one mile inland and four miles south of our previous site. With a large willow bank to the west blocking the wind, no horses or cows, and generally warmer and more pleasant conditions, the new home for the festival has continued to be the perfect spot for this wonderful event. Yes, Michael is now my ‘wasband,’ but we still produce the festival together. This is year twenty-six for us, and you’ll find similarities to the very first years, but lots of growth as well. Besides attendance having increased over the years we now have more than a hundred fine artists and craftspeople filling the aisles, along with fifteen+ food vendors, featuring all types of food, with an emphasis on seafood. Crabcakes, oysters, calamari, fish tacos, shrimp Louie, and dozens of other dishes are available, along with lots of chicken, meat and vegetarian options and bevy of desserts. Courtesy of Bodega Seafood, Art and Wine Festival/ Margot Duane The Wine, Microbrew and Cider Tasting is a very popular part of the festival, featuring 50+ companies. Customers buy a commemorative glass and 6 tastes (1/3 of a glass). They can buy additional taste tickets for $3 each. They can also buy wine and beer by the bottle/6pack to take home, or beer and wine by the glass, which is available at the Beer/Wine Booth. For those who love to go wine tasting, imagine being able to taste dozens of wines and beers in one location. Three stages of entertainment keep the energy high throughout the weekend. Two stages feature blues, jazz, Latin, Cajun Zydeco, and other excellent music, and the third stage has comedy, magic, juggling and more. We have a large dance floor at the main stage, which is generally filled with joyful dancers. We love families and have wonderful kids’ activities, including interactive exhibits set up by our beneficiary, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, the non-profit working in conjunction with the California State Parks in the Russian River region. The festival also benefits the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department, and ours is an event that welcomes (and gives discounts to) firefighters and first responders. Our area has seen its share of fire in recent years, and we’re forever grateful to the men and women who put their safety on the line to protect ours. We’re a scant few miles from the ocean, so the festival is a perfect add-on to a beach adventure. We’re also a ways down the coast from the Russian River, another popular day outing which works nicely paired with a few hours of eating, drinking, dancing and shopping. So Hold Onto Your Halibut! Bodega Seafood, Art & Wine Festival is August 27th and 28th from 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. Watts Ranch is at 16855 Bodega Highway, in Bodega California 94922. More information can be found at www.bodegaseafoodfestival.com. Don’t miss it!
The Best and Worst Cities for Retirees to Visit
We spend years dreaming of life beyond the daily grind, but when retirement finally comes around, the options can be overwhelming! If you’re looking for where to start, the team at Coventry compiled and analyzed data that might be able to help you decide. They ranked the 50 most populous cities in America to find the best cities for retirees to visit. Factors included everything from the average cost of accommodation, transportation, and food and drink, to airfare, entertainment opportunities, and the percentage of the retiree population. Notably, two Florida cities made the top 5 best cities and two made the worst! Here’s what they found: The Best Cities for Retirees to Visit Bayfront Park in Miami - Florida USA / IStock - Working In Media While the majority of the cities in the top 20 list are located in warmer climates year-round, cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Seattle, and a few others make the list. Hopefully, retirees will be visiting in the warmer months, although there are still a lot of things to do in these cities. Baltimore, Philadelphia, Providence, San Diego, and San Francisco all boast a high number of art and theater events. #1 Miami, Florida #2 Tampa, Florida #3 Phoenix, Arizona #4 Cleveland, Ohio #5 Dallas, Texas The Worst Cities for Retirees to Visit Aerial view of Las Vegas strip in Nevada / IStock - f11photo Cost was a big factor when ranking these cities with 6 out of our 8 ranking factors analyzing this metric, so it’s no surprise cities like Las Vegas and New York make the top 10 worst cities for retirees to visit. The accommodation costs alone in Las Vegas are $147 more than the number one spot, Miami. #1 Las Vegas, Nevada #2 Orlando, Florida #3 New York, New York #4 Indianapolis, Indiana #5 Jacksonville, Florida Find the full list and detailed rankings here.