Escapes for Foodies & Winos
Meals worth flying for. Also, many of these are on working farms that champion sustainability, so you can experience the whole production line (without necessarily getting your hands dirty).
Auberge du Soleil180 Rutherford Hill Rd., Rutherford | 707.963.1211
Set up on a hill above an endless—and undulating—vista of vineyards, Auberge du Soleil has been maintaining the luxury standard in Napa for thirty years. Though it's since spawned two sister hotels (Solage and Calistoga Ranch), Auberge du Soleil is the reigning patriarch in Napa Valley, particularly when it comes to old-school indulgences and creature comforts (the other two spots are a bit more modern and laid-back). Here, the cottage-like rooms are organized into private little villages (they all feature patios and terraces). With two Michelin stars, Auberge's main, global-inflected restaurant draws a crowd that swells well beyond hotel guests—the Japanese breakfast is particularly dreamy. Don’t miss the spa: While hotel treatments often aren’t that great (particularly for their generally inflated price tags), this was one of the best massages we’ve ever had, particularly because it was followed by a soak in the outdoor bathtub. Meanwhile, Quintessa Winery, one of our favorites, is just across the street.
Blackberry Farm1471 W. Millers Cove Rd., Walland | 865.984.8166
Buttermilk biscuits with a view. Equal parts luxury hotel, world-class kitchen, and working farm, this 4,200 acre foodie resort in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is a slice of heaven for those hungry for rest, relaxation, good music, and, of course, incredible Southern cooking. Check their calendar before booking for events that may be of interest like truffle hunts, photography workshops, wellness weekends, and featured celeb chefs like Joanne Weir and Daniel Boulud.
Foxglove Farm1200 Mt Maxwell Rd, Salt Spring Island | 250.931.5336
A stone’s throw from Vancouver, Salt Island is something of a creative enclave for the culinarily inclined. Think impossibly picturesque, rugged setting where you’ll find vintners, cheese makers, and other creative types in residence year-around. It’s just that spirit that inspired Michael Abelman and Jeanne-Marie Herman to open Foxglove Farm, a 121-acre organic farm which holds cooking and gardening classes, plus mushroom-foraging and cheese-making courses. Its location, 1,200 feet above sea level, means they regularly grow everything from peaches, plus, quince, figs, cherries, plus a nourishing mix of veggies and legumes. (As a result their veggies have graced the table at the likes of Chez Panisse and Zuni Cafe, too.)
Los Poblanos4803 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, Albuquerque | 505.344.9297
This sweet, 25-room hacienda-style hotel in Albuquerque offers unfussy elegance among kitchen gardens and dreamy lavender fields (which supply their in-house line of bath and beauty products). Their homey, Rio Grande Valley cuisine is inspired seasonally and sourced locally—so much so that they call their menu field-to-fork. Clean, classic, and comfy rooms make it hard to get out of bed, but one big plate of pork carnitas with fresh tortillas may be all the motivation you need.
Meadowood900 Meadowood Ln., St. Helena | 877.963.3646
If making the pilgrimage to Napa Valley is a must for any foodie or wino, then Meadowood in St. Helena—officially one of the world's best hotels—is most certainly Mecca. In the Restaurant, Chris Kostow continues to wow critics, guests, and chef friends alike with his vision, passion, and downright deliciousness (proof: Kostow's cookbook A New Napa Cuisine). Plus, there's no better place to sleep off a three Michelin-starred meal than in one of their cozy rooms by a roaring fire (unless you count the massage table at the seriously idyllic spa).
Salt Water FarmSalt Water Farm Rd., Lincolnville | 207. 230.0966
After working in some of the world’s most popular restaurants and assisting a well-known chef in NYC, Annemarie Ahearn decided to pack-up, move to the New England countryside, and lend her skills as a culinary teacher. What she ended up creating is a cooking empire of sorts, with a school, café, and a new cookbook, Full Moon Suppers at Salt Water Farm: Recipes from Land and Sea. At her farm on the Maine coast, she takes a hands-on approach to instill resourcefulness in the kitchen, teaching you techniques to cook instinctually with what’s seasonally available. From pasta-making to pickling to bread backing, she teaches one-off courses or week-long workshops, all of which take place in an idyllic barn. A note: While there are no on-site accommodations, the surrounding towns offer an ample selection of B&Bs and hotels.
The Inn at Dos Brisas10000 Champion Dr., Washington | 979.277.7750
Set within 300 acres of lush green meadows and rolling countryside, Dos Brisas is a Spanish-style ranch offering up a little bit of rural Texas (with plenty of foodie and outdoor activities)—that said, it has all the amenities you’d expect in the city. After trying your hand at cheese making courses, wine tastings, and cooking classes, take a breather at one of the nine Spanish-style Haciendas or Casitas. The on-site restaurant sources organic and seasonal ingredients from Dos Brisas' very own farmland and orchards. It also happens to be the only Forbes five-star in the entire state of Texas.
The Inn at Little Washington309 Middle St., Washington | 540.675.3800
Consider this gourmet getaway as American as apple pie, so long as that apple pie pairs nicely with one of the 14,000 bottles of wine in the restaurant's massive cellar. Spend the days exploring Rappahannock County and the Town of Washington, which dates back to 1769, and the nights knocking back Barcat Oyster Slurpees and truffle-stuffed pheasant before retiring to rooms decked out with proper English Country Manor vibes.
Thacher House4424 Thacher Rd., Ojai | 248.420.4108
Hovering somewhere between a bed and breakfast and organic co-op farm, LA-transplant Calvin Zara’s refurbished four-bedroom Thacher house and its four private cabins is where you want to be for a fully-immersive, get away from it all experience (it accommodates no more than 20 guests at a time). If you stay here, be prepared to share the lush grounds with chickens and a family of goats, in addition to citrus and pomegranate trees and a garden. Needless to say, all the food served at the beautifully appointed dining room is sourced locally or from the Thacher House farm itself. Also on offer: classes in cooking, baking, olive-oil pressing, wine-making, and so much more.