(Photo: flickr/lee coursey)
Most of us don’t need much urging to get outside and enjoy the warming temperatures and fresh scents that springtime brings. But just in case, allow me to set a scene for you: gentle breeze, dipping sun, emerald green vines lined into perfect rows, and a golden glass of wine resting in your hand.
Wine country dreaming now, aren’t you? Save the cash you were about the blow on airfare west and instead put it toward filling up the gas tank. We may not be in Napa, but we have a number of worthy wine tasting destinations just around the corner. You can quickly and easily turn an ordinary weekend into a mini wine trail escape; pick one of these tasty wine trails and enjoy the fruits of your own region.
Brandywine Valley Wine Trail
The Brandywine area is already a destination in its own right thanks to its historical significance in both the creation of our country and the artists haven it became during the turn of the century. Wine, too, it does quite well. Stretching from the far, western edges of Philadelphia’s Main Line suburbs down to the border of Pennsylvania and Delaware, the wine trail is made up of seven wineries, making it the perfect size for a two-day tasting adventure. Add in a stroll at Longwood Gardens to recoup after a heavy tasting and stop for dinner in super quaint Kennett Square. Check out bvwinetrail.com for "sip and stay" packages and a full list of winery events — may we suggest the oh-so-tempting Wine & Cupcakes pairing at Penns Woods Winery each weekend in April? Yes, times two.
Monticello Wine Trail
It’s hard to argue with this beautiful area in the Blue Ridge Mountains as a wine destination — it’s home to the first vineyards in America owned by a guy named Thomas Jefferson. Years later, now 23 thriving wineries call the appellation home, each creating small batches of wines often not shipped out of the area. The region is broken into four mini trails, but is easily navigable during a long weekend. Must-stops include Monticello itself and lunch or dinner in charming Charlottesville. Visit monticellowinetrail.com for lodging options and an events calendar — the annual pig roast at King Family Vineyards on May 20 caught our eye.
Chesapeake Wine Trail
Maryland’s Eastern shore is a stunning backdrop for many a spring and summer getaway thanks to its adorable boating towns. Add in a few glasses of wine and — voilà — instant perfection. Stretching along the entire coast of the bay from the Delaware border south, the trail features 11 stops offering a wide array of wines and styles in picturesque towns like St. Michael’s. Head to marylandwine.com for details on the area's events and accommodations, as well as links to the four other trails within the state.
— Melissa Auman Greiner, The Drink Nation