Travel News: 10 Tasty Food Festivals for Autumn 2018

By The Budget Travel Editors
January 12, 2022
Bright red apples in bins for a fall festival.
Culinary festivals from coast to coast capture regional tastes and traditions of the season.

Apples and pumpkin-spiced everything are as much a part of autumn as foliage and trick-or-treating, but there's more to seasonal flavors than oversize gourds and crisp early-harvest McIntoshes. Throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean, local and regional culinary customs have become reasons to celebrate--some of them distinct and intriguing enough for hungry travelers to check out and see for themselves. We rounded up 10 unique and delicious events that are worth the trip this gorgeous season. 

1. Festival and Flavor: Beer, Food & Football: Foley, AL

Fall weekends were pretty much made for college football in Alabama, so you better believe that a food festival on a Saturday in Alabama is going to feature plenty of pigskin. The Festival and Flavor event, which is taking place for the seventh year in Foley, about 40 miles southeast of Mobile, near the Gulf Shore, will have televisions broadcasting the day’s games so fans don’t have to miss a beat as they sample bites from area food trucks and local restaurants and chefs. And that’s to say nothing about the wine and beer that will be poured. Each entrance ticket comes with three drinks and unlimited food. Additionally, jewelry, soaps and oils, pottery, and heaps more from local makers will be on sale. ($20 adults, $10 kids under 13; October 6,  

2. Harvest Festival at El Ranch de las Golondrinas: Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico’s traditions, from crafts to food, are the draw at this Harvest Festival, which takes place at Santa Fe's El Ranch de las Golondrinas, a sprawling, living history museum devoted to preserving the traditions of Hispanic culture of Spanish colonial, Mexican, and Territorial New Mexico during the 18th and 19th centuries. Throughout the festival weekend, El Ranch, which consists of over 30 historical buildings and agricultural fields on 200 acres, becomes a flurry of museum staffers and volunteers dressed up as “villagers” and leading guests in time-honored activities, like crushing grapes by foot in deerskin vats (kids only, please), pressing apples for cider, making tortillas, and grinding sorghum for molasses. There’s also an artists' market, live music, and mule-drawn carriage rides. ($8 adults, kids under 12 free; October 6-7,

3. Hometown Homegrown: Pittsburgh, PA

It’s fitting that the John Heinz History Center, an institution named for the late senator, Pittsburgh native son, and descendant of the ketchup kingpin. After all, is there any food item more popular than that iconic condiment? Pittsburgh’s food scene is quickly gaining visibility on the national radar, and all the reasons why are available for sampling at Hometown Homegrown. Local chefs, food purveyors, distillers, and brewers will be on hand for the one-day event, where they’ll participate in cooking demos and showcase their specialties—not to mention their hometown pride. With tables organized by neighborhood, the expo provides a flavorful map of Steel City’s exciting and ever-evolving culinary landscape. ($16; October 20,

4. Sauerkraut Festival: Waynesville, OH

It was October 1970 when the Waynesville Retail Merchants served a sauerkraut dinner as part of a sidewalk sale. About 1,500 visitors indulged in 528 pounds of fermented cabbage during that inaugural meal, and now, nearly half a century later, the annual event draws some 350,000 visitors who collectively consume no less than seven tons of sauerkraut—and not just piled on bratwurst. Yes, you can get cabbage rolls and a Reuben—from a variety of vendors, in fact—but some maverick chefs have been known to push boundaries, dishing out sauerkraut pizza, brownies, pies, donuts, and bread. There are local purveyors selling non-cabbage nourishment too, with 450-plus vendors from 25 states offering handmade goods and art over the course of the two-day event. (FreeOctober 13-14,

5. Cranberry Fest: Eagle River, WI

The berry that’s all too often relegated to juice or pigeonholed in its role as a Thanksgiving dinner side dish gets the spotlight during the first weekend in October at the Cranberry Fest in Eagle River, Wisconsin, about 100 miles south of Lake Superior. Tours of the nearby cranberry marsh will run Thursday through Sunday and include shuttle transportation (reservations required). But on the weekend, you can try more cranberry food and drink than you ever imagined—cranberry brats, char-broiled chicken sandwiches, soups, beer, and baked goods. In fact, there’s an entire tent where you can buy sweet treats to take home for later. And that’s to say nothing of the 10,000 pounds of fresh local cranberries and craisins expected to be sold that weekend. Add to that live music and nearly 300 vendors selling original arts and crafts, as well as dining and shopping activities off the festival grounds, and you’ll end up with enough to do to fill the whole weekend. (Free; October 6-7,

6. Harvest Fair: Bristol, RI

Leave it to a New England institution to show you how farmers lived, circa 18th century. And in Bristol, a harbor town established in 1680 that became a seafaring commerce and industry hub in the subsequent two centuries, farming life was vibrant, so history is rich. Coggeshall Farm Museum preserves it magnificently year-round and during special events, like the 45th annual Harvest-to-Table Fair combines old-world regional foodways (see: johnnycakes, a signature of the museum’s eatery) with a showcase of the area’s contemporary food scene. East Bay chefs will be presenting samples of seasonal dishes, largely made with local ingredients. But back to the 18th century. There will be plenty of ways for kids to get a sense of life back then with pony rides, hayrides and art and craft activities. (FreeOctober 14,

7. Chicago Gourmet: Chicago, IL


Chicago’s high-profile, Bon Appetit-sponsored culinary fest is just over a week away, and while the weekend’s main event is sold out (and at $310 a head, it wasn’t exactly budget-friendly to begin with), you can still snag tickets to some mouth-wateringly tempting ancillary affairs. The crowd-favorite Hamburger Hop may be at capacity, but tickets for the after-party—dubbed Late Night Gourmet, with small bites, cocktails, a dance floor, and DJ-driven beats—are still available. Blues, Booze & Bites at River Roast takes the “chefs are the new rock stars” meme literally, with an assortment of local talent serving up snacks and suds as everyone rocks out on the waterfront. Perhaps most relevant to the peripatetic set is Global StrEATS, a celebration of international street fare from Chicago chefs of wide-ranging cultural influences. But if only the main event will do, day passes are still available for Sunday, but they’re going fast, so you’ll want to grab them asap. (From $40 for individual events; Sept. 28-30,

8. New York African Week Food Festival, New York, NY

Historic Harlem plays host to the Taste of Africa Festival, part of African Restaurant Week. Flavors from all over the continent will be shared by more than 25 area restaurants and food purveyors. Plus chefs from far and wide, as well as down the block, are part of a packed schedule of food demos. But this festival is about more than eating your way through a mid-October Saturday. Check out the fashion, beauty, and cultural items for sale and DJ sessions as you learn everything you never thought to ask about the foodways of many different African nations. (From $12; Oct. 13, purchase tickets here.)

9. Toast of Brooklyn: Brooklyn, NY

Few places in the United States are more culturally diverse than Queens and Brooklyn, a fact that manifests in the rich culinary landscape of each borough. The bounty of the latter takes center stage at the annual Toast of Brooklyn, which started in 2007 as a celebration of the socioeconomic revitalization of Bedford Stuyvesant. Today it takes place at the William Vale, a sleek boutique hotel in the ultra-hip Williamsburg neighborhood. The walk-around tasting, a fundraiser, will include bites from chefs who helm area restaurants. Accompany those with what promises to be an exciting assortment of beer and spirits, from small batch Brooklyn-made hooch to familiar global brands. There are two tasting sessions (12:30pm-4:30pm; 5:30pm to 9:30pm) ($60;, Nov. 13

10. St. Bart's Gourmet Festival: Saint Bart’s, West Indies

One year after hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on the Caribbean, Saint Bart’s is bouncing back. Most of the the island’s villas and hotels have reopened for business, and its pricier signature resorts are slated to welcome guests within the next few months—just in time for the fifth-annual St. Bart’s Gourmet Festival in early November. The four-day event features multi-course tasting menus from Michelin-starred French chefs for the high-rollers and free activities everyone else. Cheer on local mixologists at the bartender competition, support aspiring pastry masters at Les Petites Toques, where kids 15 and under battle for dessert supremacy; check out the Chefs Challenge, a cook-off judged by this year’s guest chefs; and take in La Course des Garçons de Café, in which business-attire-clad servers race down the street bearing trays laden with bottles and glasses, and the first to cross the finish line with their tray intact takes home the prize. (From $110 for fixed-price menus; November 1-4,

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Travel News: Coast-to-Coast Bargain Trips for Fall 2018

We’re just getting started covering some of the hottest fall bargains, deals, and steals. As summer temperatures drop, so do the vacation prices, from Pacific coast hideaways like Morro Bay, CA, to posh Atlantic resorts like The Sea Pines, in Hilton Head, SC. Here, five of the latest bargains you should pounce on now. A STYLISH STEAL ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC A two-bedroom villa on Hilton Head, SC, from $136/night. Any questions? We didn’t think so. But you should know that The Sea Pines Resort is one of the top-rated properties on Hilton Head, and fall (and winter) stays are an absolute steal. The resort’s Getaway Package includes lodging and activities available Sept. 8, 2018 through March 1, 2019, including tennis, cycling, golf for all ages, dinners and food discounts, spa discounts, and even a complimentary family portrait photo session on the beach. Rates start at $136/night for a minimum of four nights in a two-bedroom deluxe villa in the resort’s Plantation Club. A NEW MARITIME MUSEUM IN MORRO BAY, CA We named Morro Bay one of the Best Budget Destinations in America 2018, and we are so pleased to announce that, after 25 years of fundraising and hard work, the charming fishing village that makes visitors feel like family is opening the Morro Bay Maritime Museum on September 29. Located right on the town’s bustling waterfront (home to some of the finest fresh seafood anywhere), the museum will offer free admission each Saturday through the end of the year. Exhibits will include an authentic crafted Salinan Tribe Tule Boat, U.S. Navy history and memorabilia, and much more. And Morro Bay packs a bunch of festivals into its fall calendar, celebrating the region’s seafood, avocados, wine, and more. LEAF PEEPING IN THE ADIRONDACKS, NY A fall visit to Adirondack State Park, in upstate New York, offers, in addition to hotel rates well under $200/night, the opportunity to savor eye-popping fall foliage from a variety of unusual angles. These include: an aerial tour of the region’s legendary reds, yellows, and golds, with takeoff and land in Long Lake and Inlet; an Amtrak dome car, with windows on all sides, from Albany, NY, to Montreal, Canada; a luxurious dinner cruise on Raquette Lake; a quiet river rafting excursion in the Hudson River Gorge; a cycling tour to historic Great Camp Santanoni with its lake views and apple orchards; kayak one of the region’s seemingly endless waterways amid fall finery. Get Adirondacks foliage updates starting September 12 at CANOE WESTERN MONTANA Western Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley, roughly south of Glacier National Park and north of Missoula, offers an unparalleled chain of lakes and quiet waterways closed to motorized boats, the Clearwater River Canoe Trail. It’s about a  two-hour paddle that takes you past incredible mountain vistas, marshes, and Montana’s bursts of autumn yellows and golds. Lodging in Seeley Lake and other communities along the waterway is always reasonable, and vacation rentals on Seeley Lake offer pinch-me views ( FALL FOLIAGE IN THE BRONX New Yorkers and those visiting the Big Apple should seriously consider a autumn stay-cation or day trip to the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx (yup, the Bronx, one of our Best Budget Destinations in America 2017). The Botanical Garden highlights foliage season with two Fall Forest Weekends that include guided walks through the largest remaining tract of old-growth forest in NYC, the 50-acre Thain Family Forest, as the leaves put on an annual show that rivals that of any region in America. Visitors can canoe down the Bronx River, experience birds-of-prey demonstrations, and even take in live Shakespeare performances. Now that’s a fall weekend (


Travel News: 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America

We’ve been devouring OpenTable’s list if the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America, which is based on more than 12 million reviews of restaurants across the U.S. by “verified diners” (meaning the reviews were not written by the restaurants themselves or by public relations reps). The varying vistas these eateries offer range from seascapes, nature to city skylines to iconic landmarks. But even a quick glance at the list makes it clear that some of the most beautiful restaurant views come with a hefty price tag. With that in mind, we did a deeper dive into the scenic restaurants whose menu items are aimed a bit more at bargain seekers like us - those where dinner with a drink and tip will come in roughly under $30/person. The good news is there are plenty of affordable options in all regions of the U.S. Here, a few of the standouts (to learn more or book a reservation, look them up on OpenTable). THE WEST It’s no secret that Budget Travelers love California’s Central Coast, and Ventana Grill, right on the water in Pismo Beach, will knock you out with seascapes (ventana, after all, means “window” in Spanish), good prices, and great Latin American fare and, of course, seafood.. Beachcomber Cafe - Crystal Cove, in Newport Beach, CA, is right on the water and gets high marks for breakfast and beignets. Duke’s, in La Jolla and in Malibu, CA, wows visitors with its ambience and Hula Pie. El Five serves up a popular paella - not to mention breathtaking views of downtown Denver, CO. THE NORTHEAST Boat House Waterfront Dining, in Tiverton, RI, offers lobster fritters along with waterside views. Legal Harborside, in Boston, MA, is the place for fish and chips (and, do we have to say it… chowder), served, yes, harborside. Parc, on beautiful Rittenhouse Square, in Philadelphia, PA, gets raves for its French cuisine, including the cheesy, bubbly onion soup. THE MIDWEST The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard, in Canton, OH, offers beautiful vineyard views plus a posh interior and, of course, great wine. Primavista serves affordable Italian food with sweeping views of Cincinnati, plus a bread pudding you should save some room for. THE SOUTH The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing, on the water in Richmond, VA, generates plenty of buzz for its shrimp and grits. Columbia Restaurant - SandKey, in Clearwater, FL, pours a popular sangria in an open, airy space with windows looking out on the water. Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, in Charleston, SC, focuses on seafood, including its ever-popular shrimp and grits.


Travel News: 100 Travel Discounts You’ll Love, Streaming Audio From the National Parks, You Can Afford Nantucket

From a discounted African safari to a plate of Massachusetts scallops, from a tour of the art of Florence to the sound of a mountain stream delivered right to your earbuds, this week’s travel news is all about pushing boundaries and seeing more. 100 TRAVEL DISCOUNTS YOU’LL LOVE This news takes the concept of Shoulder Season to the next level. The United States Tour Operators Association’s (USTOA) Travel Together Month (September 1 - 30) will offer exclusive savings, perks and airfare deals on dozens and dozens of amazing trips around the world. “Cruises, safaris, walking tours, independent trips, and more… Travel Together Month includes a wide variety of live-like-a-local experiences in countries around the world” said Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA. From art and culture in European cities to wildlife in Africa and the South Pacific, these trips are high-end experiences with seriously discounted price tags, often saving travelers $1,000 per person. STREAMING AUDIO FROM THE NATIONAL PARKS Love America’s national parks? Well, listen up, people. Seriously.  Listen. The National Park Foundation, the official charity partner of the National Park Service, has just launched PARKTRACKS, an audio streaming experience that can (virtually) transport you to your favorite national parks any time. The National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division captured unique audio experiences such as waterways, wildlife, and more at national parks across the country, available to download or stream online at Find Your Park. YES, YOU CAN AFFORD NANTUCKET You already know that the island of Nantucket, off the coast of Cape Cod, is gorgeous, popular, and pricey in summer. But did you know that the island’s population drops from 80,000 to 10,000 when vacationers head home for the fall? That leaves miles of beach and fun events like the Cranberry Festival, Half Marathon, and the opening of Nantucket Bay Scallop Season, plus plummeting hotel prices and shorter lines for Juice Bar’s ice cream (try the Crantucket, with cranberry ice cream and chocolate chunks) and seafood at Toppers and Brant Point Grill.


Travel News: This Fall's Not-to-Be-Missed Museum Shows

As the leaves change and temperatures drop, back-to-school vibes are in the air, and our thoughts turn to educational pursuits. But not to worry: The fun doesn't have to end at Labor Day. Museums across the country are rolling out autumnal programming that will get your mental juices flowing, and there's not a dull bit in the bunch. We've rounded up the best of the best, from fashion and film to paintings and pinball. Here's how to expand your horizons this fall. Los Angeles While most of the world obsesses over Virtual Reality and IMAX films, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art ( casts a glance backwards to look at the whole history of the three-dimensional experience. 3D: Double Vision, 175 years of 3D imagery (through March 31) presents artwork from as far back as 1830, when the Victorian invention of the stereoscope changed how people consumed photographs and current events, and moves through 20th-century developments like 3D motion pictures and View Masters. Underscoring the crossover between pop culture, art, science, high-tech, and nature, it’ll likely get you thinking in new dimensions.   Baltimore Beloved in cinema circles for boundary-pushing movies like Pink Flamingos and cult classics like Hairspray and Cry-Baby, John Waters isn’t particularly known for his visual art—but that’s about to change. This fall, Baltimore welcomes home its native son with the first retrospective of his non-film work. John Waters: Indecent Exposure opens at the Baltimore Museum of Art ( in October, running through January 6 before continuing on to Columbus, Ohio’s Wexner Center in February. The exhibit features more than 160 photos, sculptures, and video and sound pieces by the outré director, plus peep-show style film footage from the ‘60s. In keeping with Waters’s reputation, you’re pretty much guaranteed a provocative show. New York City Another much-lauded, multi-talented filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick might be best recognized for such masterpieces as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, and The Shining, but before he stepped behind the viewfinder, he used a camera to capture the pulse of New York. In the years preceding his film career, he served as a staff photographer for Look magazine, and a collection of his images—many previously unpublished—are on display at one of our favorite institutions, the Museum of the City of New York ( Through a Different Lens: Stanley Kubrick Photographs (through October 28) lends insight to his formative years and shows the full range of his vision, from nightclubs and street scenes to sporting events and slice-of-life snaps. You could call Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (November 12 to March 31) at the Whitney Museum of American Art ( a homecoming. Few figures did as much to define New York City’s—and America’s—arts and culture landscape as he did, and this show at the Whitney’s new downtown location brings together 350 pieces to celebrate his legacy, making it the first Warhol retrospective in the United States since 1989. The show is designed as a chronological record of his career, showing the evolution of his work from his early days as a commercial illustrator to pioneer of Pop Art to trailblazer and tastemaker in the worlds of experimental film and painting. And looking at it through the lens of our digital era, there’s a good chance you’ll come away with a newfound respect for his creativity. Detroit Just when you thought the world had had enough of Star Wars, the Detroit Institute of Arts ( takes a spin into a galaxy far, far away, presenting Star Wars and the Power of Costume. There’s still time to catch it before it closes on September 30th, and catch it you should. Whether or not you’re a fan, it’s not an exaggeration to call it the opportunity of a lifetime. The original costumes of Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Han Solo, and all the rest are on display alongside videos that give you an up-close look at the designers’ creative process and how they worked with the actors to get the look and feel just right. And when you consider that Smithsonian scholars penned the text about the historical and cultural context of costume, the intergalactic, immense impact of Star Wars on society becomes crystal clear. Philadelphia The Philadelphia Museum of Art ( has long had an exceptional costume collection, but many of the pieces will be on view for the first time in this fall’s Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look To Now (October 16 to March 3). The haute inclinations of iconic designers are showcased in select gowns, bridal wear, daywear, and more, running the gamut from elaborate to bold and eccentric to intriguing. With their use of unorthodox materials and bold colors, the exhibit drives home how the showcased designers’ creativity and bold ideas influenced and changed the public’s understanding of fashion. Cleveland Pinball wizards take note: From Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Pinball Machine to The Who's Tommy Machine, legendary rock-n-roller-themed versions of the classic arcade game are now on display in Part of the Machine: Rock and Pinball, a new permanent exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ( Cooper himself was on-hand to consecrate the exhibit when it was unveiled in early August, and he did the voiceovers for his namesake game. Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and other Rock & Roll Hall of Fame members also have their own dedicated pinball machines. All the machines—vintage and new—are playable with admission to the institution.  Chicago A Life magazine assignment by noted photographer Gordon Parks and a decades-long chronicling of an improvisational music club by Mikki Ferrill, who contributed photos to Time, Ebony, Jet, and the Chicago Tribune, capture the character and style of Chicago’s South Side in the second half of the twentieth century, a time when the neighborhood was undergoing a sweeping transition. These photos and films are on display alongside those of other local artists in Never a Lovely So Real (through October 28) at the Art Institute of Chicago ( Collectively, the works document the neighborhood’s artistic evolution, from the Black Arts Movement to the revolutionary Bronzeville mural “Wall of Respect,” and show how the community contributed to Chicago's standing as an important city of culture.