Memorial Day is already at our doorstep, and with just a few days left, lots of B&B’s are booked and flights are sold out. What can we say? The day of remembrance for our fallen troops has come earlier than usual this year, and for those who have waited until now, it’s time to figure out some last minute plans for the extended weekend. Don’t fret, we’re here to help. Check out these last minute ideas for activities in every region of the country.
The dream of the 90’s may or may not be alive in Portland, but one thing’s for certain: the food and booze options in this city are endless. However, this weekend might be the time to trade bar hopping for a caffeine fix by participating in a coffee crawl. Experience the complex culture of the city’s coffee scene by visiting some of Portland’s favorites cafes, such as Heart Coffee Roasters, Courier Coffee Roasters, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Before your coffee rush subsides, make sure to visit some of Portland’s urban wineries, such as Hip Chicks Do Wine, where the labels are drawn by local artists, or Clay Pigeon Winery, famed for their Oregon Syrah.
Meanwhile, 50 miles north of Portland in Washington State, the majestic volcano of Mount St. Helens stands. This week marks the 35th anniversary of the volcano’s gigantic eruption in the 80’s. A lot has changed since the explosion and nature has taken its course to repair the park, so take a trip to the East Side of the park and embrace the breathtaking view of the crater. Make sure to bring your camera, it will be well worth it. After your volcanic excursion, head over to Columbia Valley (known for their huge production of Cabernet Sauvignon), one of the many AVAs in Washington, and tour the 14 Hands winery.
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When it comes to the Southwest, major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas offer plenty to do. If wine is what you’re looking for, obviously Napa Valley is there waiting for you. However, don’t knock off other wine regions. You can take a tour through Zinfandel-rich Lodi where you can stop at Jeremy Wine Company for a glass, or sip some sparkling rosé at Gruet Winery in Albuquerque. You can even find great wine by the US-Mexico border at Callaghan Vineyards in Arizona, which has had their wine served in the White House three times.
While the wineries may be a go-to for a weekend getaway, an escape into the nature around you may be just what the doctor ordered. The Rocky Mountains are extremely beautiful, so take advantage of the long weekend to encounter the scenery around you. Simplicity is bliss, so the perfect last minute activity of a picnic and a hike can not only provide you with some much needed fresh air, but also give you the perfect backdrop to sip a little vino. For your picnic, stash a box of wine (take suggestions from our reader panel) for easy carrying, opening, and enjoyment.
Spring may be a late bloomer this year in the Northeast, but don’t let the cold stop you from enjoying this weekend. Grab a sweater and take a peek at one of nature’s most majestic creatures: the whale. 7 Seas Whale Watch offers incredible whale-watching tours. Trust us when we say the experience will make you truly appreciate the beauty of these oceanic mammoths.
After relaxing by the sea, head over to the nearest metropolis. Hop on a train out to New York and discover the rising culture of bourbon. Tired of the city? You can head over to East Hampton, New York or Belmar, New Jersey (which also features BeachHaus Brewery) to do some antique shopping and soak up some sun. Just beware of the 60 degree ocean.
Nebraska is a huge producer of cattle, grain, and corn, but it also features some great drinking cities. Nebraska’s largest city, Omaha, has lots of fantastic restaurants and bars, including M’s Pub, Dario’s Brasserie, and Avoli Osteria which many claim is the best Italian eatery in the area. While wandering the streets of Omaha, stop by Upstream Brewing Company or take a tour of Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. and try their Certified Evil brew.
If buzzing Chicago is more your thing, have no fear. You can grab a CityPASS and get premium access to the Art Institute of Chicago, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and even the Shedd Aquarium. Take the time to explore the amazing art community and stop by the aquarium to see the penguins. In the evening, head over to the FEW Spirits tasting room and get a sip of their handcrafted gin. If you like your liquor a little bit darker, travel to Kentucky, where there are countless bourbon distilleries to explore. Four Roses, the Buffalo Trace, and Evan Williams are just a few distilleries worth visiting.
If you’re from the Southeast, you know the heat is on and summer has arrived. This Memorial Day weekend, take the time to cool off from the 100 degree heat and head to the coast. The sun may be hot, but the water is still chilled, bringing much needed relief to your sweltering skin. The Golden Isles of Georgia are gorgeous and have plenty of restaurants and beaches, including St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island. Alcohol is allowed on the beaches, as long as you keep the glass at home and don’t get too rowdy. But, if you’re looking for a more “country club-esque” experience, make sure to check out Sea Island for some golf with a view of the ocean.
Are you not into UV rays and sand in your shoes? No problem. The city of Charleston, South Carolina is filled to the brim with history, jaw-dropping architecture, and tons of bars for your summer sipping pleasure. Make sure to grab lunch at Xiao Bao Biscuit in their unique location, which used to be a gas station. If you’re feeling like more southern fare, Husk will deliver you modern twists on classic southern comfort food with ingredients they grow on site at their refurbished Victorian-era location.
If you find yourself down south, take a wine tour through one of America’s up and coming wine regions: Hill Country, Texas. The area is booming with vineyards, and is not only growing the grapes we know and love, but tons of new experimental blends. Spend the weekend taking a tour through a few vineyards by day, and if you’re still up for more, Austin is there waiting for you with its hyper-trendy food and drink scene. Stop by The Draught House bar for a plethora of beers on tap or Banger’s and try their non-traditional sausages in their beer garden.
If you’re near the Gulf of Mexico, take a trip to the beach. Let’s be frank, it’s hot and no amount of shade can shield you from the immense temperatures, so beat the heat by dunking in the water. Plus, there’s no better way to kick off the summer than sipping on a perfectly chilled rosé while looking out to the sapphire waters of the Gulf.
Not really game for an adventure? Invite some of your close friends and family over to enjoy the warm weather with some cider or the perfect wine to go with some barbecue. Instead of traveling, take the time to sit back, relax, and prepare for the week to come. Then get comfortable on the couch, uncork a Merlot to accompany some binge-watching of Mad Men, and take deep breaths. It is a long weekend after all, enjoy it.
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