Congrats! You or someone in your squad is getting married. Before you start researching all the hottest wedding trends, there’s a bachelorette to plan. By now, you know the drill: Commence email thread. Cue endless back-and-forth debating between Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Miami. If your bride-to-be cares more about what’s on her plate than what’s playing at the club, you may want to route the party to one of these foodie-friendly destinations. Here are seven places worth checking out.
1. Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah, may get all the buzz come wintertime when the ski bunnies invade the slopes, but visit during off season for surprisingly affordable deals and culinary gems in this next-level chic ski town. The bountiful foodie adventures in town start right at the hotel: Prepare for your #bridesquad to be dazzled with market-fresh breakfast (included with your room) options like a green farmer’s market scramble with asparagus, spinach, Brussels sprouts and goat cheese or caramel-apple pancakes. After a day of hiking or stand up paddle board yoga in a 10,000-year-old cave, mosey on over to Riverhorse on Main, where dinner might start out with a local goat cheese crisp topped with quince jam. Progress into Utah red trout with a pistachio crust or a local rack of lamb. Come nighttime, toast the bride at High West Distillery (grab a bottle for the boys waiting back home!), before a nightcap at No Name Saloon, a local staple since 1903.
Celebrate the bride to be at Tupelo, Park City’s newest buzzy hot spot where chef and owner Matt Harris learned to cook and rose to top chef in a few impressive culinary empires like that of Jean Georges Vongerichten. Expect high-quality, eclectic fare featuring the ingredients of small-batch American producers in inventive dishes like Rye Whiskey Cured Trout with Snake River Caviar; Spicy Radish, Crème Fraîche and Rye Toast (pictured above) or Grilled Heirloom Carrots, Cured Lemon, Crème Fraîche, Sunflower Seed and Carrot Top Pesto. Make sure your belt has an extra notch or two to spare.
2. Newburgh, New York
Hamptons, step aside. Up-and-coming areas nestled in the Catskills mountains along the stunning Hudson Valley are proving themselves formidable foes in the culinary boxing ring. It’s best to check out this neck of the woods during fall foliage, with equally pretty and pleasing rates during the season from $129-200 a night at The Four Points by Sheraton. This affordable and full-service hotel is a quick drive from a dizzying array of local attractions for food and adult bevvy enthusiasts. Sign your group up for Wreath Fineries at the Wineries, running in November and December, a festive self-guided wine tasting tour along the Shawangunk Wine Trail where all 14 member wineries will be decorated and awaiting you for wine tasting and holiday shopping merriment.
Surprise your glowing bride with a special elevated farm-to-table dinner at Soons Orchards, a monthly, rezzy-required event where Chef Shawn Hubbell prepares a unique menu using the freshest ingredients for just $42.50 a person. If a cider bender is more your crew’s thing, be sure to swing by the tasting room at Orchard Hill Cider Mill for some refreshing hard cider. Farmer’s markets enthusiasts? The cold doesn’t stop the Catskills from an impressive lineup of winter produce markets; check here for more info. Wash down all that mayhem in between meals with a dose of virtuous patriotism as you tour President George Washington’s headquarters for just $4 or venture out to Bear Mountain and see the beautiful fall foliage for free.
3. Martha’s Vineyard, MA
If a spring bachelorette is on your horizon and seaside escape and New England food sounds like a recipe for #ShallBeWed success, the Victorian-style Harbor View Hotel offers unparalleled views of Edgartown Harbor and lighthouse. For a wallet-friendly retreat, the spring shoulder-season offers guest room rates starting at $129 per night in April, or a two-bedroom Captain’s Cottage Suite that can be booked for as low as $479 per night (raunchy bach decorations not included). While on the island, start your night on a happy, buzzed note at Henry’s — the hotel’s pub — for a bite to eat and a cocktail. You’re probably going to want to go with the meatball parm or signature “knuckle Sandwich with warm buttered lobster on toasted brioche” (need we say more?). Next, gather the gang at the Newes of America Pub down the street (which also happens to be one of the Vineyard’s most historic sites) where you can indulge in a flight of local craft beer and fish and chips next to a roaring fire. Edgartown (Martha’s Vineyard’s first colonial settlement) also offers an array of small shops featuring goods from local artisans, salons, cafes and Bad Martha Brewery, as well as speedy access to biking trails and nature reserves, to make sure that laid-back and carefree girls’ getaway fits in some quality time with fresh air and shots of the crew amidst stunning panoramas.
4. The Crystal Coast
Wild horses seriously couldn’t drag us away (We’re tipping our hats to you, Rolling Stones). For a coastal culinary getaway, you’ll love The Crystal Coast, located along the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina with gems to explore like Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Beaufort, Pine Knoll Shores and Cape Lookout. Known for its bustling local culinary scene (and, lest we forget, good-looking southern boys), the Coast offers more than 85 locally owned restaurants, 20+ of which participate in the Carteret Catch program, changing their menu daily based on the catch of the day. Pro tip: confirm your bride loves all things seafood before booking your travel, because there will be a tantalizing profusion of options.
Lay your head at Oceanfront Atlantis Lodge, which even allows pets if your bride can’t bear to part with her loyal Fido for the festivities (during off-season in December through May, standard rooms hover from around just $69-124 a night, with large suites going for around $109-144). Foodies into that whole ambiance thing will rejoice in the air infused with the same ancient salty-sweet ocean scents that have caressed the coast for centuries and the not-so-uncommon view of wild horses running freely on Carrot Island, just across the beautiful, crystal clear waters of Taylor’s Creek while dining waterfront in Beaufort. Some waterfront fan favorites well-suited to dazzle the bride include Front Street Grill at Stillwater (the Spicy Glazed Yellow Fin Tuna is a must-try and the outdoor, heated Rhum Bar will have you drooling over choices like the On the Banks made with Covington, North Carolina Sweet Potato Vodka, ginger, cranberry, lime and soda) and The Spouter Inn (try the Mahi Crab Au Gratin, and your entire family will still hear you talking about it at every family gathering for years to come). If the bride comes from a Big Fat Italian Family, or you’re just craving Italian, try Atlantic Beach’s newly opened Pescara Wood Oven Kitchen featuring rustic coastal Italian fare. House-made orecchiette, anyone? Don’t mind if we dig in…
5. Kennebunkport, MA
Boston? Pffft. Portland? Pffft. Enter: Kennebunkport, a cozy and affordable haven for food aficionados that’s a quick trip for most New Englanders. Fall in Kennebunkport offers way more than stunning tree colors (discounted rates, for one thing). Known for its lobster (or as you’ll hear it pronounced out there, lob-stah), the White Barn Inn provides your foodie gang the experience of a lifetime as they bike through the Maine foliage during the Crustacean Crawl. It starts out with Chef Derek Bissonnette, who was just appointed executive chef, meeting your group on the property before departing on the Inn’s bikes for a leisurely six-mile tour (or they’ll take you around in a car, if you prefer). First stop is at the local marina, where you’ll meet the chef’s trusted fishermen for an information-packed lesson (bring your cutest notebook for jotting things down…) on selecting the best lobster, which will be cooked for dinner back at the White Barn Inn Restaurant that evening in a four- or nine-course dinner; depending, perhaps, on whether or not you want your bridesmaid dresses to fit after. Next, the chef will bring you around to sample the best of Kennebunk’s crustacean treats at phenomenal haunts that might be somewhat unknown to tourists but that locals swear by.
Looking for a quirky and quaint culinary town bachelorette getaway in the summer? Explore the mid-June Kennebunkport Festival, which spotlights food, wine and art, where you’ll be immersed in so much oyster and vino-infused deliciousness, you’ll wonder why you don’t make this charming oceanfront town an annual girls’ vacation. Enjoy brews, tunes and bites before the swelling summer season of vacationers with world-renowned chefs and enough stellar events even for the most Type-A bride to get excited about slotting into her planner.
6. Scottsdale, AZ
Just another bachelorette in the dessert? We think not. Swap Vegas for Scottsdale for an other-worldly culinary experience at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, with sweeping views of the Sonoran dessert. With a restaurant featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with majestic mountain views, you’re really in for a feast for all senses. To keep your wallet happy, avoid peak season in March and the spring, and opt for a June, July or August escape. Perfect for a hands-on bride — you know, the one who’s making her own wedding cake — the “Mi Casa, Mi Chef” package takes the relationship between diner and chef to new and tasty heights. From the arresting vantage point of Sanctuary’s Mountainside Estates, guests work hand-in-hand with a Sanctuary chef (like Food Network star Beau MacMillan) to plan and execute their customized dining experience, with the day’s best bounty of fruits, vegetables, fish and meat shaping the menu. Guests join the chef in the kitchen of their private home, working side by side to prepare the feast. Wow the bride with a thoughtful in-home spa treatment to take the day to truly over-the-top bliss.
Adventure-seekers can also hike Camelback Mountain, and those who prefer to lay low can unwind with a dip in the largest infinity pool in Scottsdale. For an epic sunset view, if you’ve decided to splurge on a Camelback Suite, whose design encompasses its desert landscape, enjoy sipping on cocktails from your dry bar. To further dazzle your taste buds, book a rez at some of Scottsdale’s best resaurants, like Olive & Ivy, a chic Mediterranean-Californian restaurant and marketplace, or throw your hats off at Cowboy Ciao, a casual and whimsical restaurant and bar (expect to see “Cowgirl Barbie” hanging off a pole behind the bar) with inspired American grub. They’re known for their Exotic Mushroom Pan Fry, which compelled one guest to proclaim, “That mushroom dish is go good, I want to take my clothes off and roll in it!” But don’t take our word for it… Run, don’t walk.
7. Hot Springs, VA
For room rates under $200 a night (excluding taxes and other fees) in the winter season, gather up your gaggle to this southeastern gem that offers a variety of culinary adventures both nearby and on the premises. This season, Omni Hotels & Resorts is inviting travelers to enjoy the flavors of the world with a unique ¡Destinación Chile! culinary package where you can surprise your bride with a bottle of Chilean wine delivered to your room, a bottle of Merquen, traditional Chilean spices, a recipe card (beef empanadas — sign us up!) and a chance to savor more flavor with an exclusive Chilean dinner and wine pairing with hits like Costilla Con Puré Picante (pork ribs slowly cooked in beer and palm honey with potato puree and Chilean smoked chili pepper, pictured above), Seared Sea Bass with Braised Tomato, Yellow Corn and Cilantro Salad and Tres Leches Cake (sponge cake soaked with three milks and served with fresh strawberries).
When you’re not chomping your way to paradise, and when the Allegheny Mountains are blanketed in white over the winter, it is the perfect time to embark on a little ski fiesta with the gals. With the resort offering more than 45 acres of wide, well-maintained trails, the slopes are perfect for beginners, or, you know, when your belly too full and your head too woozy from yesterday’s activities. To reward yourself for an active day on the slopes, take a quick road trip — about an hour — to the Devil’s Backbone Outpost Brewery and Taproom, which offers casual live music on Fridays, growler events and brewery tours at a picturesque hillside location in VA’s heartland (Just one breath of fresh air and the view and you’ll see why they say Virginia is for lovers). And as added conversation fodder when you’re back home to brag to the boys: It was voted mid-size brewing company and brew team of the year at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival. Cheers, ya’ll!
What are some foodie destinations on your girls’ weekend bucket list? Share with us in the comments!
(Photos via Tupelo Park City, Brotherhood Winery, Harbor View Hotel, Crystal Coast Tourism Authority, White Barn Inn, Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Omni Homestead Resort)