Cheers to These Delicious Destinations: Culinary Delights and Lush Libations
Perhaps your preferred drink is barrel aged and served straight up. Or, maybe it's something off the vine enjoyed in a stemmed glass. Your favorite food? It could be coastal fare, a classic dish or something with destination-specific flare. Whatever your taste, culinary delights and libations across the country abound and are waiting to be discovered. So raise a glass and grab a taste of these destinations full of unforgettable fizz and fresh eats!
Holmes County—Ohio Amish Country—is the perfect place for groups to fill their plates and their spirits. Feast on home-style Amish meals and enormous desserts at Der Dutchman, indulge in a hot Swiss and bologna sandwich at Troyer's Trail Bologna, find a seat at the counter and enjoy 99-cent coffee, buttery biscuits and buckwheat pancakes for breakfast at Boyd & Wurthmann Restaurant, and more.
Sips could also be found at every turn in Holmes County. If wine is your jam, cool off with a wine slushy at Sunny Slope General Store, or revel in the ultimate in wine and cheese pairings at Doughty Glen Winery, among others. With 20 brews on tap, Millersburg Brewing Company is a great option for hop fans—and those who enjoy singing karaoke on the weekends; try the French Ridge IPA or the Lot 21 Blonde Ale, for starters.
A mere 25 miles from the nation's capital, with more than 45 wineries and 30-plus breweries, sits the rural yet beautiful Loudoun County, Virginia, also known as DC's Wine Country. Here, groups can take advantage of experiences like Henway Hard Cider's new Cider Cocktail Making Class, a farm tour and customized barn dinner at Longstone Farm, chocolate making and cocktail classes at The Conche, a Murder Mystery Dinner at Oatlands Historic House & Gardens, a tea tasting at Dominion Tea, and plenty more.
"Our winemakers create surprising blends, grow unique varietals and offer everything from blending courses to vine-to-glass experiential tours that create a memorable experience for any group," said Hannah Oliver, Tour & Travel Sales and Visitor Center Manager, Visit Loudoun. "With access to abundant seasonal ingredients and locally grown products, Loudoun's chefs embrace the farm-to-table movement with open arms and showcase their culinary creations in equally impressive settings, including repurposed buildings, trendy urban centers and historic downtowns."
Groups looking for dinner and a show will be thrilled after a visit to Toby's Dinner Theatre, located in the heart of Columbia, Maryland. For over 40 years, Toby's has been providing audiences with award-winning Broadway and original musicals, partnered with an exceptional buffet-style dinner, complete with offerings like an extensive salad bar, carving station, a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar and a full service cocktail bar. With eight shows a week, groups have plenty of options for joining in on the fun.
The Finger Lakes region in New York is dotted with dozens of unique cities and villages, all offering their own unique charm. Wine enthusiasts will feel right at home with the many wine trails and tastings to choose from, including the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, the first organized and longest-running wine trail in America.
The Finger Lakes culinary scene is also bustling with farm-to-table cuisine across a variety of cultures and styles of cuisine. Add a visit to NY Kitchen to your itinerary, home to a hands-on cooking classroom offering classes and an auditorium where groups can view demonstrations. Be sure to also stop in the village of Naples, often called the "Grape Pie Capital of the World."
You can't talk about Kentucky without mentioning the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, especially since the state is the birthplace of bourbon and crafts 95% of the world's supply. Distilleries are aplenty and groups are welcome to visit one—or all 18 on the trail. Grab the Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide to collect stamps along the trail and taste to your heart's content at establishments like Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Old Forester, Lux Row and more. Don't forget about the food to fuel your journey! Grab some fast casual bites at Star Hill Provisions at Maker's Mark, a signature pizza at Creed Café at Jeptha Creed Distillery, or American brandy-paired dishes at the Rooftop Bar & Restaurant at Copper & Kings Distillery.
Situated in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina boasts a sophisticated yet bohemian vibe, alongside over 250 independent restaurants and more breweries per capita than any U.S. city. Appalachian cuisine is a way of life and its roots are as deep as the mountains are old. Groups could explore this by embarking on expert or self-guided tours of powerhouses like New Belgium and the popular South Slope neighborhood. A visit to the WNC Farmers Market is also recommended for enjoying the local food scene. Don't forget to visit the Black Mountain Ale Trail (a 15-minute drive to the east) and the new Beer City Brewery Tours, offering unprecedented behind-the-scenes access.
"Lately, Asheville's mature craft beverage community has clearly embraced sips and fermented drinks of all sorts," said Beth McKinney, Sales Manager at Explore Asheville. "From natural wine to hard cider, kombucha to mead, sake to whiskey and even mocktails, Asheville has expanded into a destination for (free) spirits of all kinds."
Look no further for a genuine Cajun & Creole experience than Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, a buzzing city located only a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you prefer traditional fare like gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée, or are craving something with a more modern twist, Lafayette has it—including seafood that's beyond fresh.
Unexpected adventures are always on tap in Downtown Lafayette, including beer tasting at the Wurst Biergarten, the world's last Borden's Ice Cream Shoppe, a drive-thru daiquiri shop, and catch-and-cook crawfish at Crawfish Haven. Groups could also set off on the delicious Cajun Boudin Trail, discover where and how TABASCO brand hot sauce is created, enroll in "Rum School" with Wildcat Brothers at Gator Cove, and take part in the cochon de lait experience at the Acadian Superette.
With various locations across the country, Pinstripes combines delicious made-from-scratch dining with face-to-face gaming in an exciting environment groups will love. Bowling and Bocce are just the beginning of this unforgettable experience. Indulge in house-made Italian-American dishes and gluten free options, along with handcrafted cocktails and a wide selection of fine wines. It's a strike every time.
MORE DESTINATIONS TO CONSIDER:
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Savannah, Georgia
- Austin, Texas
- Columbus, Ohio
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.
This article originally appeared in the Mar/Apr '22 issue of Groups Today.