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By: Terri Ogan
There’s no better way to wrap up a perfect summer than with exploring all of the fall wonders the world has to offer. Whether it’s a food festival on the coast of Massachusetts, a concert in Texas, or a beer tasting in Germany, we have a list that will squash your post-summer blues and get you excited for the leaves to turn your favorite shade of red.
1. Austin City Limits (Austin, Texas):
This fall, Austin, Texas is celebrating what it does best: music. Join travelers from all over the nation for the 2013 Austin City Limits music festival, slated for Oct. 4 to 6 and Oct. 11 to 13 at Zilker Park. This stellar festival, which earned Austin the title of “Live Music Capital of the World,” includes over 100 red-hot bands and artists, including The Muse, The Weeks, Eric Church, Passion Pit and many more. Ticket packages starting at $225 for a three-day pass, can be purchased on the festival’s website, which also includes information on travel, lodging, and additional festival facts.
2. Wellfleet OysterFest (Wellfleet, Massachusetts):
Summer may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to indulge in the season’s finest cuisines, and the 13th Annual Wellfleet Oyster Fest allows us to do just that. Slated for Saturday Oct. 19 and Sunday Oct. 20, head down to Wellfleet, Mass. and enjoy the coast’s most delicious shellfish all for a good cause. The festival is produced by Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (SPAT), a non-profit organization devoted to fostering a greater understanding of the town’s shellfish industry. The two-day event features live music, arts and crafts, and a shucking contest as well.
3. 23rd Annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta (Santa Fe, New Mexico):
About 75 fabulous Santa Fe restaurants and over 100 world-class wineries are uniting to bring you the 23rd Annual Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta. This four-day event, scheduled for Sept. 25 to Sept. 29, will feature guest-chef luncheons and tastings, wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, and wine tastings. In addition, the event will include a live auction luncheon enabling visiting chefs to network with local chefs to raise funds for surrounding food charities. If you have over indulged in the food and wine tastings, no need to worry. Attendees can participate in the 20th Annual Gruet Golf Classic just 15 minutes outside of Santa Fe.
4. Great American Beer Festival in Denver (Denver, Colorado):
Dive into a slice of beer heaven with this three-day event that includes 600 breweries serving up over 2,800 beers. The Great American Beer Festival is scheduled for Oct. 10 to Oct. 12 in Denver, Colo., with events that include tastings, book signings, sessions about the science behind the perfect beer, and of course, burgers. Founded in 1982, the Great American Beer Festival has been dubbed the premier US beer festival and competition, bringing together the best brews in the nation.
5. Chicago Film Festival (Chicago, Illinois):
Almost 49 years ago, organizers of the Chicago Film Festival kicked off an annual event in efforts to introduce the Windy City and the rest of the world to new filmmakers, new stories and new points of view. Every year since then, the festival has done just that. The 49th Annual Chicago Film Festival will feature over 100 films from all over the world including the US, England, Italy, Denmark, Finland, in categories such as comedy, spotlight Africa and world cinema. The two-week event starts on Thursday Oct. 10 and wraps up on Oct. 24. The festival is presented by Cinema/Chicago, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image, according to its website.
6. Hamptons Film Festival (East Hampton, NY):
Starting on Thursday Oct. 10, visitors will hit the Hamptons not for the beach, but for the films at the 21st Annual Hamptons International Film Festival. The event was founded in order to provide a forum for independent filmmakers from around the world to express their vision. Opening night will feature Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe of the Harry Potter series, along side Michael C. Hall of Dexter, Elizabeth Olsen, Ben Foster, Jack Huston and Dane DeHaan. The remainder of the films, which include documentaries and dramas, among others, will be shown at venues across South Hampton and Montauk.
7. Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany):
At this time of year, what do you think of when someone says Munich, Germany? You think of beer! The infamous Oktoberfest is going to hit the city like a large glass mug hitting a table: hard. The much-anticipated 180th annual beer festival is scheduled for Monday Sept. 21 to Sunday Oct. 6 and attracts millions of people from all over the world. New this year, Oktoberfest will feature a smartcard entry key, as well as souvenirs and unfortunately, a beer price that is $.35 more expensive than last year. Have no fear, the same historical rides, beer tents, and other fun activities will be back to make this the most epic Oktoberfest the world has ever seen.
8. Galway Races (Ballybrit, Galway, Ireland):
If you enjoy adrenaline-pumping action and the ladies of fashion, the Galway Races in Ireland are the perfect fall activity for you. Based in Ballybrit, Ireland, the exhilarating historic races, which date back to the 1700s, are scheduled for Sunday Oct. 27 and Monday Oct. 28. On location at the track are numerous restaurant, bars, and suites for those that are willing to spend more than the typical race-goer. Organizers of the Galway Racers say that the October meeting is a favorite amongst its supporters.
9. Sonoma County Harvest Fair (Sonoma, California)
Wine, cider and festive foods are just a few things that come to mind when we think of the brisk fall season and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in California has all of those fall features we love. Starting on Friday Oct. 4, the three day festival entails wine tastings at over 150 wineries, wine sales, food-pairings, craft beer and cider tasting, chef demonstrations, workshops, a world championship grape stomping and more. In its 38th year, the festival is also adding unique and educational demonstrations with a rejuvenated focus on artisanal products. The event draws attendees from all over the world including countries like South America, India and Australia.
10. World Championship Punkin Chunkin Contest (Bridgeville, Delaware):
On Friday Nov. 1, pumpkin hurlers from all over the country will gather in Bridgeville, Delaware for the sixth annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin pageant. Punkin Chunkin is a sport of hurling or “chucking” pumpkins with mechanical devices like slingshots, catapults, and canons of sorts. The competition is organized by the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA), a non-profit organization that raises money for organizations that benefit the youth and local communities. Attendees and participants partake in the event mainly for the “chunkin,” but the event also includes a chili cook-off and live music, among other things.
Looking for more to do in the upcoming months? Check out our additional fun fall trips here: http://www.flipkey.com/trip-ideas/fall-travel/.
Summer might be coming to an end, but Californians are excited because September equals wine, and lots of it. September is California Wine Month, celebrating wineries, vineyards, and growers of all types of vino.
California Wine Month was created to recognize how much the state of California benefits from the wine industry in terms of economy and lifestyle. California produces 90% of the wine in the United States and is the fourth-largest wine producer in the entire world.
There is plenty to do all month, according to VisitCalifornia.com:
“During this statewide celebration of the Golden State’s rich wine history, you can participate in events from picking and crushing grapes to VIP tours to tastings, concerts, and so much more.”
According to our Travel Insights, the two most popular locations to visit in the California Wine Country are both on the North Coast: Napa, with 26.4% of all travelers heading that way, and Sonoma, with 24.4%. Most travelers go for a romantic weekend getaway, with the most common party size being two and the most common reservation requests made for just one or two days.
Sunset Magazine describes the most-visited location, Napa Valley, as
“the best wine region in the New World. Period. Back when our neighbors to the west were taking the prune market by storm, Napa was uncorking our national appetite for fermented grape juice, giving it a seat at the table alongside the great wines of Europe.“
There are so many different types of California wine to choose from, including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah, and Zinfandel. Over 700 miles of winegrowing areas include more than 100 American Viticultural Regions full of different types of wine and people.
In Bon Appetit Magazine, renowned Napa chef, vintner, and TV host Michael Chiarello explains how to choose which winery to go to:
“Wine tasting shouldn’t be a crapshoot where you’re just stopping at every shop that you see. Prioritize the wineries you want to hit on your journey. Even if you’re a neophyte, if you’re going to wine tasting, there’s a good chance you’ve had wine before—start by researching a varietal you like, agnostic of brand. Then, when you get to the tasting room, let your preferences be known (‘Hi! I’m here for the pinot noir!’), and let the staff guide you from there.”
Wine is not just something you drink with dinner: it has a history, a culture, and it brings people together. So what are you waiting for? Grab that special someone and take a weekend adventure to the California Wine Region.
If you are worried about not knowing how to properly taste the wine, check out Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s article on How to Taste Wine.
Following up on our top summer beer festivals list last week, blogger Drew Hendricks felt that the West Coast was underrepresented. Drew is a beer enthusiast, tech, social media, and environmental addict. He’s written for publications such as Huffington Post, National Geographic, and Technorati.
by Drew Hendricks
From the beaches and deserts of Southern California, to the bars and clubs of Portland, to the offices and corporate headquarters in Seattle, the West Coast offers travelers and visitors something new and different at every stop. It also offers some of the best beers you can find west of Boston. Here’s a look at the top seven breweries on the West Coast.
1. Stone Brewing Company, Escondido, California
Found in Escondido, California, the Stone Brewing Company is confident enough of its status as
one of the best brewery on the West Coast that it’s flagship brew is named Arrogant Bastard Ale. The brewery produced almost 150,000 barrels of beer in 2012, and they offer free tours, tastings, and a bistro.
2. Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon
Bend, Oregon offers a reward for those willing to brave its mountains and cloud cover. The tiny mountain town is the home of Deschutes Brewery, which offers guests a beautiful tasting room, the experimental The Abyss, and the brewery standard Black Butte Porter. There are always eight beers on tap, and the friendly and knowledgeable staff will make this a wonderful stop on your West Coast brewery tour.
3. Rogue Ales Brewery, Newport, Oregon
If Seattle has the coffee, then Oregon brings the beer. The Rogue Ales Brewery in Newport, Oregon provides visitors with their choice of a pint from 40 taps while they wait for their tour to start. Atypical appetizers and one of the biggest draft selections in the area add up to a must-see brewery when you’re in the Pacific Northwest.
4. Fremont Brewing, Seattle, Washington
Seattle has over 150 breweries within its relatively small borders, but only Fremont Brewing has the trifecta of delicious beers, a pub that allows kids and dogs to hang out (but not drink), and an outdoor patio. The brewpub doesn’t serve food, but they allow you to bring your own or order from nearby eateries. Inexpensive beers and taster sizes make Fremont Brewing one of the most popular stops for beer lovers in Seattle.
5. Russian River, Santa Rosa, California
Back south in California, we find the Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa. Their Blind Pig brew is renowned for its hoppiness, but there are a number of others on offer that bring customers back time and again, including the Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger sequence of double and triple IPAs. The food combinations put together by Russian River rank Santa Rosa among the top choices for brews and eats on the West Coast.
6. Mother Earth Brewing Company, Vista, California
With a name like “Mother Earth,” you just know the Vista, California-based brewery is going to be good for you. The brewing team focuses on creating a down-to-earth vibe and tasty beers brewed with local ingredients. The tasting room has given birth to more than 30 beers since it was established in 2008. If you’re looking for a spot that’s a little less rooted in antiquity, and a little more part of the 21st century, then the Mother Earth Brewing Company is the place for you.
7. Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach, California
Another new entry into the West Coast brewery scene, Beachwood Brewing in Long Beach, California offers guests a classy brewing experience. The modern brewery boasts a state-of-the-art system to maintain a perfect balance of carbon dioxide and temperatures, producing some of the most top quality house beers of any brewpub on the West Coast. They also serve up tasty BBQ in Long Beach and Seal Beach.
by Emily Monaco
Ever since the Michelin brothers introduced their guide to culinary greatness in 1933, food and travel have been inseparable. The Michelin Guide doesn’t cover food festivals, but if you want to discover the international chefs who are worthy of one or more stars, then traveling to a festival is an unbeatable experience. Get inspired this year by taking your taste buds on a food and wine tour of some of the best gustatory events in the United States. Celebrating everything from seasonal ingredients to creative new presentations, a trip to a food festival is the perfect excuse for a vacation. In time for the next few months of travel planning, we present our top 10 list of travel-worthy food festivals across the country.
by Meg Hawes
Puerto Rico is becoming increasingly known as a gastronomic destination. Puerto Rican cuisine incorporates the flavors and ingredients of its Taino Indian ancestors, along with Spanish and colonial influences and American flavors to create a cuisine and flavor profile all its own. From the casual roadside food stand to fine dining restaurants headed by world-renowned chefs, there are limitless possibilities to eat your way through Puerto Rico. The question is, where to begin? Here is an outline of some of the places that you should check out on your culinary tour of Puerto Rico…
Puerto Rico takes breakfast very seriously. Beginning with coffee. Puerto Rico offers up one of only three Super Premium coffees in the world and it is served similar to an espresso. Then move on to some of Puerto Rico’s quintessential pastries: the Mallorca is eggy and sweet, similar to a brioche. It can be eaten alone or as a sinfully good sandwich. The Quesito is a cheese-filled pastry twist that can be found in every bakery. Also try the Brazo Gitano, Puerto Rico’s version of the jelly roll. The city of Mayaguez is known particularly for this sweet treat.
Casual Roadside Food
Wherever you travel throughout the island, you will encounter the roadside food stand or kiosko. These are the places that serve the typical Fritura – fried snacks – that Puerto Rico is well known for. These fritters are pasties filled with meat, fish or cheese and are either dough-based or plantain or cassava based. Try an Alcapurria for something a little unusual. It is filled with meat or fish and has a cassava/plantain outside. The most famous kioskos can be found in Pinones, Loiza (just east of the airport) or in Luquillo (on the eastern coast).
A visit to Guavate in Cayey is also a must to experience the legendary Lechon. Lechon is a full pig roasted on a spit; a time-consuming process that takes most of a day. They can be found on the weekends throughout the island, but in Guavate you are able to experience this specialty any day of the week among the over twenty restaurants that serve it there. It is paired with other Puerto Rican specialties such as Rice and Beans; Batata (sweet potato); Yucca (cassava); and various Bananas (Tostones, Guineos Escabeche, Amarillos).
There are excellent restaurants throughout the island, but to experience cutting edge and visionary gastronomy by renowned chefs, you need look no farther than San Juan. Visit one of Wilo Benet’s restaurants: Pikayo or Varita. He was on season one of Top Chef Masters and he is known for taking authentic Puerto Rican foods and reinventing and twisting them into something familiar yet extremely creative. Visit Roberto Trevino’s Budatai or Mario Pagan’s Laurel, located at the Museum of Art. There is some amazing culinary talent on the island!
Food Festivals and Tours
There are several excellent food festivals throughout the year. The premiere event is Saborea! in April that brings some of the top names from around the world and Puerto Rico together. The SoFo Culinary Fest is named after the area South Fortaleza St in Old San Juan and is a festival where all of the leading restaurants open their doors for tastings. Bi-annual event, dates vary.
Many tour operators are now offering culinary tours of Puerto Rico, where one is able to tour local ingredients and flavors. From visiting the local fruit markets to cooking classes or lunch and dinner tours, there are many ways to get close and personal with Puerto Rico’s top culinary talent.
Written by Meg Hawes, Caribbean Trading Company, www.caribbeantrading.com. Caribbean Trading Company are Purveyors of Unique Gifts & Caribbean Treasures in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Join the Crew and Start the Journey – Your Caribbean Connection™ for news, events, lifestyle, and all things Caribbean.