Unexpected Weekend Getaways in the Southeast
Take a trip into bourbon country
It's the perfect time of year to plan a weekend getaway to the southeast, before winter weather kicks into full swing. Enjoy the autumn colors of the Blueridge Mountain Parkway, or the bourbon and blues of Kentucky's Bluegrass region. Or, if the beach is more your thing, south Florida awaits.
The Bluegrass Region
Don’t miss the bourbon, blues and bluegrass of Kentucky, where you’ll spot young Thoroughbreds galloping across horse farms in Versailles, and then just a few miles down the road you can sample bourbon at Woodford Reserve and eat farm-to-table gourmet meals at the Holly Hill Inn, in a restored 1800’s mansion in Midway. There is also wine tasting at the nearby Equus Run Vineyards, and more delicious food at the low-key Wallace Station. The Bluegrass region stretches between Frankfort and Lexington, and it is filled with a variety of bourbon distilleries, from Four Roses to Buffalo Trace, the maker of the famous Pappy van Winkle bourbon. Be sure and take a tour at Buffalo Trace, which is located on the river in Frankfort. Just be prepared to sample bourbon no matter the hour – and remember it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
As the weather turns cooler, head south. Savannah has the same vibe as Charleston, S.C., with its Spanish moss, Southern accents and creepy graveyards, but it’s more eccentric. You’ll find ghost hunters blending in with college students and historical preservationists, and edgy cafes and pubs sitting next to true Southern-fried eateries. Take a tour of Forsyth Park, visit the City Market, and make sure you stay at the historic Mansion on Forsyth Park with its unbeatable spa or the interesting and artful Andaz Savannah.
A major perk of being a Florida resident or living in the Southeast is that you don’t have to go far to enjoy indulgent beach vacations. This season, just hop in the car or catch a plane and head on over to Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale and enjoy the breeze.
For the ultimate ocean views, head to Steak 954 at the beautiful W Fort Lauderdale, just steps away from Fort Lauderdale Beach. With unobstructed views of the beach, and a unique 15-foot long jellyfish aquarium, it's a definite crowd pleaser. Of course, the hotel is a fabulous place to hang your hat for a weekend stay as well. (Tip: Florida residents can often snag discounts.)
For a more casual experience, head to Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar with a full sensory Mexican dining experience complete with live mariachi bands and free tequila pourings. Sample from over 330 varieties of tequila, nibble on guacamole prepared tableside or enjoy a traditional Mexican dinner at the playful restaurant that embodies the true spirit of Mexico. You’ll find Rocco’s Tacos sprinkled throughout south Florida.
Asheville is the ultimate hipster town and it’s known for its eclectic restaurants and craft breweries. Try the pub and grub crawl with Creative Mountain Food Tours to experience some of the best pubs and eateries in town. Or, if you want to see the sights while you indulge, opt for the Pubcycle, which is a 13-person pedal powdered contraption that is motor assisted in case you don’t feel like pedaling the entire time.
Stay at the famous Biltmore, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau nestled in an 8,000-acre estate. The fall landscape is gorgeous, and the Biltmore decorates for the holidays unlike any other resort. It’s not to be missed. The Biltmore has experiences that cater to all, whether you're a foodie, history buff, garden lover or love the outdoors. There’s also a winery on site.
If you’d rather stay somewhere smaller and more intimate, Carolina Bed and Breakfast is a precious, historic inn that gets overlooked for its size, but has a stupendous breakfast and is a gorgeous place to sit on the porch and take in the neighborhood.
When you’re ready to fully experience breathtaking autumn color, head to the Blueridge Parkway. The 469-mile roadway begins in Virginia, winds through Tennessee, and ends in North Carolina and is a great way to see the Appalachian Highlands. Make sure to stop at the farmers markets along the roadside for warm apple cider. Opt to stay at the Art of Living Retreat Center in Boone, N.C., and experience the ultimate serenity at the Shankara Ayurveda spa and mountain-top yoga classes.