So the holidays are over. And any decent-looking lump of vacation time seems depressingly distant. That doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let winter tread its sloshy way all over you. There’s a simple solution to the mid-winter doldrums, a way to keep hope alive while the sun makes its slow return to the northern hemisphere: the weekend getaway.
More specifically, the weekend wine (or beer, or spirits) getaway—that perfect little slice of time that reminds you that you’re not only the master of your domain, but that you can actually use some of the money you work so hard for on fun, non-bank-breaking things. We’ve got a regional sample below, but it’s hardly representative of what’s available throughout the country. Let’s call it inspirational—do a bit of research, figure out how far you’re willing to travel before a “destination” seems not quite worth it, and book yourself a couple of days of something completely different.
Bonus Points: Since it’s winter, a lot of destinations will be quieter, meaning more time in the tasting room just for you and yours.
An hour by flight from Chicago and two hours from Grand Rapids by car is this multi-purpose winery, inn, and distillery bundled into one destination. If you haven’t enjoyed Michigan wine country yet, this is the way to do it—wine from vineyards on the 45th parallel, fruit brandies, and a restaurant on the premises. Basically exactly how a weekend can remain comfortably “packed.” BONUS POINTS: ALL IN ONE
If you live in Seattle, you’ve got access to a few local distilleries, no problem. But if you’re looking to get out of town for the weekend, drive forty minutes upstate to this hyper-sustainable distillery sitting on the edge of the ocean, “in the Waterfront Center at the Port of Everett.” Visit the cocktail bar, do a yoga session that ends with a drink, or learn to infuse your own organic vodka and bring it home for bragging rights. Open almost all day Saturday and Sunday, you can drive up either day or find a hotel and stay the night. BONUS POINTS: YOU DRANK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
There’s plenty to do in Austin, maybe too much. Sometimes you wanna get away, maybe an hour away, to a place with a winery, romantic villas, and beautiful Texas Hill Country scenery. With a café on premises, plenty of wine tasting opportunities (including a happy hour), you can fill your weekend well—and if you’re feeling extra luxurious, retire to your very own personal villa to sleep it all off. BONUS POINTS: PERSONAL VILLA, ‘NUF SAID.
Winter in Philadelphia can be less than kind, so fight back with an hour’s drive to this unique Buck’s County distillery. You can book a private tour or tasting, or just stop in for some Pennsylvania bourbon made with local heirloom corn. Twenty minutes from nice accommodations (and a bunch of shopping) in Peddler’s Village, so you can divide your time between spirits and retail. That’s a weekend. BONUS POINTS: UNIQUE DISTILLERY
Sure, a summer weekend for New Yorkers means (somehow) getting to the beach. But winter has its “upstate” escapes, like this cidery, distillery, and winery—maker of Doc’s Draft—just an hour and forty-five minutes away. Beyond city limits, you’ll get a real country experience, complete with a bakery, live music, and multiple nearby bed and breakfasts. It’s got quaint to spare, and you deserve some. BONUS POINTS: COUNTRY CHARM
People tend to think of Virginia as more of a wine destination, but just under three hours from D.C. and closer to two and a half from Alexandria is this picturesque brewery. “Pioneers of the Virginia rural brewery,” Blue Mountain does everything on site (including two hop fields and a nearby hop yard for locally grown Cascade hops), offers a rotating tap list, and even allows pets (on the outside patio) at its on-site restaurant. Once it’s time to tuck in, hit the Afton Mountain Bed & Breakfast, less than 3 miles away. BONUS POINTS: LOCAL HOPS STREET CRED