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Looking for wine tour or posh area for a Bachelorette-Party weekend

I need some help and good advise. I'm getting married in April and I am trying to avoid the typical bachelorette party. Very few of my friends are foodies like me, but they will be fine with anything that includes wine. My ideal weekend would be the wine tours in Napa and the like, but most of my friends don't have the budget. I am hoping to stick to the eastern seaboard...
I am looking for a place with a vineyard or an area with several amazing restaurants that we can explore during the weekend. Preferably with something else to do during the day. I am inviting my mom and future mother and law, so shopping and/or antique stores are a plus. Most of my friends are from big cities, so I am hoping to find something more remote...
Is there a gem like this anywhere??
Someone suggested Berkeley Springs in WV...anyone have any input?

Thanks so much for your help...hopefully I can come up with something that does not involve me wearing a veil made out of toilet paper all weekend!!!

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  1. I don't know anything about vineyards in the area of Berkeley Springs, k.

    I can suggest the following three areas in the Northeast to jumpstart your research:

    1) North fork of Long Island;

    http://www.liwines.com/

    2) Connecticut Wine Trail;

    http://www.ctwine.com

    3) Sakonnet Vineyards, Little Compton, RI/Newport

    http://www.sakonnetwine.com/visit.cfm

    The LI wine industry is quite active, with many of the vineyards located on the North Fork of the easternmost tip of the Island. Plus you can center many of your other activities on areas such as Montauk, Southhampton, Easthampton, etc., a little further south. Definitely "posh", though less active and probably more value available than you'd have in the summer. Lots of antiques and interesting restaurants.

    I believe Sakonnet Vineyards remain open all year, with abbreviated public hours from around Columbus Day through Memorial Day. Located in Little Compton, RI, on the mainland (Massachusetts side) about a half-hour to 45 minutes from Newport, where there are plenty of lodging, antiquing, shopping, fine dining and partying opportunities throughout the year. Book *soon* though, for a weekend visit. Countless B&Bs in Newport; some of the nicer traditional places to stay include The Viking; The Vanderbilt, The Inn at Castle Hill, Oceancliff Resort. Plus a few of the standard chain types in between.

    The Connecticut Wine Trail has two loops; one on the eastern half of the state, one in the west. I'm more familiar with the latter (essentially, Litchfield County). This will be the most rural choice. Lots to do during the day if you like antiquing, especially with Woodbury nearby; tons of four-star dining, but you will be driving. Nightlife, not so much--okay, hardly any from Labor Day to Memorial Day, but dinners at the inns and nicer restaurants tend to be leisurely affairs to savor, anyway. Lodging, more limited than, say, in Newport or the Hamptons, but lovely old country inns. One of the best is Hopkins Inn on Lake Waramaug, which has a very fine restaurant plus its own winery. or if you need something larger, chain lodging (not quaint, sort of corporate and special event type) available in Danbury, Southbury.

    I don't know if you're in the Northeast, but just in case you're contacting us from points further south, I will caution you that the weather in April--especially the first half--is still iffy in these places, and definitely chilly. Western Connecticut, of the three, would be the place where you'd be most likely to still get a little snow at that point, but none of them will be balmy. You should also check carefully on the hours of places you're interested in at that time of year; some, whether it's lodging/attractions/vineyards, may be closed to the public until Memorial Day, or at least may have shortened hours.

    So...if you want a "busier" destination at that time of the year, I'd say Newport/Sakonnet first; the Hamptons and LI's North Fork, second; CT, last.

    If you want antiquing, good food, and quaintness, I'd say Connecticut's Litchfield County first.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MaggieRSN

      Maggie--Thank you so much for you invaluable advice. I sent your post to everyone and they are all excited to research your suggestions. I truly appreciate you taking the time to help me out!!

      1. re: kmills9408

        You're welcome, k. I wish I could have recommended more hospitable climates for your time of year. (Not that they're polar.)

        One lovely place that I could recommend further south would be The Inn at Little Washington (in Virginia). It came to mind because you had mentioned Berkeley Springs.

        http://www.theinnatlittlewashington.c...

        Just in case you're not familiar with the area, this is a deluxe and charming five-star accommodation located in the Shenandoah Valley, about an hour, 90 minutes outside of Washington, DC. (It's a favorite "getaway weekend" place for Washingtonians.) Its restaurant has often been selected in various polls as the best dining experience in greater DC, and it has won many national and international culinary and hospitality awards and distinctions.

        While I'm not personally familiar with wineries in Virginia, there is an active marketing enterprise for its numerous small vineyards and wineries. Here's a link to that site:

        http://www.virginiawines.org/wineries...

        To identify which wineries are in reasonable proximity to The Inn, you'd be interested in researching those in the Shenandoah and the Northern regions on this site's lists and maps.

        I can't speak at all about wine-related attractions in VA, but I can freely recommend The Inn. It is everything promised.

        Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful time with your friends. Best wishes on your upcoming marriage. A very exciting time for you!

        1. re: MaggieRSN

          Along the lines of The Inn @ Little Washington, and The Biltmore, I'll add Blackberry Farm, on the edge of Smoky Mountain National Forest, http://www.blackberryfarm.com/

          For a food review: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/452867

          It's a bit more remote, but the dining and wine are so good, you would never think of leaving. Lots of activities, and they even give you a Lexus to tool around in (not for the entire time, but they're lenient).

          They have a ton of culinary and wine events, so check their Culinary Specials calander. Had we not had a prior engagement, we'd have been back, in a month of our visit, for the Turley Winemaker dinner.

          They are in the same fine inns and resorts group as is Little Washington. Both are known for their dining - true world-class.

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            The cellar there must drive you crazy. I've never been, but would love to attend one of BBF's cooking schools. In reading about its menus before, they always seemed to me to represent the best kind of tasteful (really, no pun intended) innovation fresh American ingredients have brought to cuisine, without being gimmicky.

            I see a common Relais property theme here in the options we've mentioned to k. Always a good sign. On that note, k, if you come back and are researching into the Connecticut options, look into The Mayflower Inn in Washington, CT. I should have mentioned it along with Hopkins, since they are not far from one another.

          2. re: MaggieRSN

            If Napa is too expensive, then the Inn at Little Washington would definitely be out, an evening there, room, dinner, and no wine will set you back almost a grand a couple.

            However, the Virginia wine country is a good suggestion. There are plenty of nice, even fancy B and Bs, antiques abound, and there are plenty of wineries to visit. There is even history galore. I'd suggest that the area around Charlottesville. There are several fun wineries to visit, the views can be spectacular, antiques are everywhere, plenty of very good dining establishments, and there is Monticello to visit as well as other historical landmarks. A couple of wineries that are well regarded include Barboursville Vineyards (but tours are only on weekends) and Prince Michel Vineyards, but there are quite a few more. You should check the boards for more recommendations.

            1. re: dinwiddie

              Thank you so much. I appreciate your input and I'm looking forward to researching a little more and making a decision.

      2. What about funky Asheville, NC? The Biltmore Estate, a former Vanderbilt pile with some OK wines, is nearby and, while not exactly high-end, the city's restaurant scene is hopping. Quite a bit in the way of culture, too, and of course the Smokies are only minutes away.

        Another possibility: New York's Finger Lakes. If you're willing to cross the border, there's Ontario's Niagara Peninsula and the up-and-coming Prince Edward County (near Kingston and the Thousand Islands district), home to several pioneering and promising wineries and fine restaurants. April can be dicey weatherwise, however.

        2 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          I think Asheville is a wonderful suggestion, carswell. I agree, not exactly high-end, but lots to amuse and beautiful country. Springtime is magical in that general DC-to-the Carolinas region. Heh, heh, "...a former Vanderbilt pile..." Talk about house-poor.

          1. re: MaggieRSN

            Ashville is a lot of fun, but there isn't a decent vineyard in the state. It is however, a craft nut's paradice, and you can definitely hear some great music there. My wife and I spend a long weekend there for one of our anniversaries and had a wonderful time. There are some very nice restaurants, the scenery is wonderful, the deco buildings are really quite something, and the people are very nice. Biltmore was quite impressive (and expensive) and they serve a wonderful Sunday brunch in the restaurant there.

        2. North Fork of Long Island (NY) sounds like just what you are looking for. Look into the B&Bs in/near Greenport. There's a pretty dock with an old-fashioned coastal village. A couple of excellent restaurants, farm stands and vineyards galore, all within 30 minutes driving. You can also get the ferry to the Hamptons, if you're so inclined. Of course, I was there in August, so I can't say how lively (or how the weather) will be in April.

          4 Replies
          1. re: vvvindaloo

            Everyone--Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I never thought I would get so much helpful input. I greatly appreciate your help. Your posts have gotten me so excited!! I'll let you know what we choose! thanks again.

            1. re: kmills9408

              Kmills9408,

              THAT is a requirement. You MUST do a review of the venue, that you choose!

              Enjoy,
              Hunt

              1. re: kmills9408

                You're very welcome, k. I was impressed that you're so thoughtful and taking such care to make sure each lady has at least some activity that she especially likes. Look forward to hearing about your weekend, whether you end up at one of these or choose something else from your research.

              2. re: vvvindaloo

                The North Fork wine region of Long Island, New York is an excellent venue for a destination Bachelorette Party. I`d suggest the Village of Greenport and that you contact North Fork Wine Tours.com. They do many bachelorette parties every year and put together packages that also include local B&B`s, hotels, or apartments with dinner. There are reviews on trip advisor, yelp, merchant circle etc.

              3. I wanted to update everyone (in case you're interested). We decided on Asheville. Though it never crossed our minds before this thread, after doing some research, it seemed like the best option for us all. Especially the weather. Anything further north was just too cold for some of us Sunny-Floridians.

                We will be heading out this weekend and I will write back with an update on my return.

                I wanted to thank you all for your invaluable advice! Along with other posts on Chowhound, we have emassed an incredible amount of information which I know will help us have the best trip possible.

                Thanks again!

                1. We have several winery's near asheville, biltimore, rockhouse, shelton just to name a few. All are within an hour or so. Also you might want to look at hot springs, great hot tubs with champagne. it's hard to be bored in asheville. check out this place for a group, www.hickorynutgapinn.com

                  1. You don't say where on the Eastern Seaboard you are.

                    Sakonnet in Little Compton Rhode Island is a lovely, lively place with very good wines and wonderful, welcoming staff. I believe they have enough guest houses on their property.

                    There are multiple choices on the North Fork of Long Island, too numerous to enumerate here, but Shinn Vineyards has a B&B and a top-notch chef, David Page (formerly of Home). Claudia Fleming and her co-chef/husband have a wonderful restaurant nearby, as well.

                    There are also some nice places in the Hudson River Valley. Xaviars in Piermont comes to mind, and the Mohonk Mountain Lodge.

                    If you're thinking about closer to DC area, you might check out The Lafayette Inn in Stanardsville, VA http://www.thelafayette.com/ lovely setting, great food, and near to several VA wineries as well as Monticello and the University of Virginia.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Ahhh...Berkeley Springs. A lovely little village.

                    2. You do need to be more specific about where you are on the Eastern Seaboard. If you're in the mid-Atlantic, then northern Virginia wine country is a good choice (it's the area around Little Washington). If you're further up the seaboard, the Hudson Valley or Long Island wine country would be good choices. Further north still, Quebec would be terrific, though it will be substantially more travel time. Give us a better idea of where you are and I'm sure you'll get more specifics from the board.

                      n.b. Wineries are increasing reluctant to deal with large groups using wine tours as a cheap way to get drunk (not that it's your intention or style) and many bar groups larger than 4 or 6. You would need to check ahead before visiting your wineries of interest.