Fall Travel: Satisfy your hunger at these 10 culinary destinations

Stone crab, po-boys, craft beer, Goo Goo Clusters and Johnny cakes are on the menu.
Join award-winning barbecue pitmaster Carey Bringle at the Swine & Wine Weekend at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville. 
(Courtesy of Barnsley Resort)

Credit: Hannah Michelle Photography

Credit: Hannah Michelle Photography

Join award-winning barbecue pitmaster Carey Bringle at the Swine & Wine Weekend at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville. (Courtesy of Barnsley Resort)

Fall promises countless opportunities for food-focused travel. Venture through the Southeast or hop a flight to the Pacific Northwest or Caribbean and treat yourself to a gourmet getaway. Whether you’re in the mood to try heritage fare in the North Carolina mountains, sip local brews along Alabama’s Gulf Coast or experience a seafood boil in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, these 10 escapes celebrate the culinary culture of each destination. Just be sure to bring your appetite.


Hogs have provided sustenance in the Peach State since Colonial times, and pork is still often the meat of choice at celebrations and events. This fall in North Georgia, the weather will chill just in time for the Swine & Wine Weekend in October at Barnsley Resort in Adairsville. Join award-winning barbecue pitmaster Carey Bringle of Nashville’s Peg Leg Porker and sommelier Heath Porter for a delicious weekend.

Participate in three unique culinary events: an interactive tasting that offers an introduction to wines from around the world, the Swine & Wine Supper Club whole hog dinner at Manor House Ruins Pavilion and a tasting of Bringle’s namesake bourbon, the first established by a barbecue pitmaster.

Swine & Wine Weekend. Oct. 27-28. $79-$145. Barnsley Resort, 597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville. 770-773-7480, www.barnsleyresort.com/swine-and-wine

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Alabama’s craft beer scene is on the rise, and there’s no better time to indulge in local brews than the fall season. Pair an IPA with a gooey grilled cheese or a lager with a succulent lobster roll at the Coastal Alabama Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival Nov. 11-12. More than a dozen food trucks will churn out the likes of tacos, gourmet hot dogs, smash burgers and other foodie favorites from the area, along with regional and national craft beer. Kick back on a blanket at Gulf Shores’ Town Green for this two-day mobile food fest. Children and lawn chairs are welcome.

Coastal Alabama Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival. Nov. 11-12. $18-$36. Town Green, 101 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, Ala. 781-956-3832, www.foodtruckfestivalsofamerica.com/coastal-alabama

Celebrate the po-boy and revitalized Uptown Carrollton neighborhood at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival in New Orleans. 
(Courtesy of Zack Smith)

Credit: Zack Smith

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Credit: Zack Smith

New Orleans

The “poor boy” — now called po’ boy — dates to 1929 when Martin Brothers’ French Market and Coffee Stand in New Orleans created the humble yet filling sandwich. French bread stuffed with fried potatoes, gravy and roast beef scraps fed hungry workers during an electric street car strike. Since then, the hearty specialty has evolved to incorporate fried chicken, duck, crawfish, oysters and other fillings, becoming as diverse as New Orleans itself.

Celebrate this Louisiana classic and the revitalized Uptown Carrollton neighborhood at the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. Presented Nov. 19 by Tony Chachere’s, maker of Creole seasonings and condiments, the festival invites revelers to feast on a variety of po’ boys from 40 different vendors. The all-day block party will also feature an arts market and live music.

Oak Street Po-Boy Festival. Nov. 19. $9-$10. 8100-8700 Oak St., New Orleans. 508-228-3349, www.neworleans.com

Surry County, North Carolina, offers eight stops to indulge in Sonker, a sweet cobbler-inspired delicacy. 
(Courtesy of Bill Russ)

Credit: Bill Russ

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Credit: Bill Russ

Surry County, North Carolina

Heritage foods are alive and well in the foothills of Western North Carolina. Carnivores can get their fill of the local dish called ground steak on Surry Ground Steak Trail. Diners and burger joints scattered throughout Surry County will serve the modest dish created during the Great Depression and consisting of ground beef or chuck thickened with flour and water. It’s served on bread with coleslaw, mayo and tomato. The local dish can be found in 11 spots, including the iconic Snappy Lunch in Mount Airy, Andy Griffith’s home town.

Also in Surry County, the legendary Sonker Trail highlights local eateries that serve the regional dessert known as “sonker.” A delectable marriage between a cobbler and a deep-dish pie, a sonker comes stuffed with sweetened blackberries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries and other fruits. Claiming to be the only place where the confection is made, Surry County offers eight stops to savor this North Carolina delicacy.

Ground Steak Trail and Sonker Trail. Locations vary. Surry County, North Carolina. 800-948-0949, www.groundsteaktrail.org. www.sonkertrail.org

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Oysters have a deep history in the Lowcountry, originating with Native Americans and remaining quintessential in modern Southern cuisine. Meet up with other bivalve enthusiasts at the Hilton Head Oyster Festival taking place Nov. 10-11 in Shelter Cove Community Park and Lowcountry Celebration Park.

All-you-can-eat steamed local oysters, Lowcountry boil, chowder and an oyster shucking contest round out the seafood offerings. After your fill of oysters, head across the street to the Courtyard Marriot for the official Oyster Festival Afterparty. The Hightide Rooftop Bar will offer libations at happy hour prices.

Hilton Head Oyster Festival. Nov. 10-11. $45-$132. Shelter Cove Community Park and Lowcountry Celebration Park, 39 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head, S.C. 843-681-7273, www.hiltonheadoysterfestival.com

Servers from Pinchers serve stone crab claws non-stop during the annual Stone Crab Festival in Naples

Credit: Pinchers Naples

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Credit: Pinchers Naples

Naples, Florida

Tender and slightly sweet, stone crab is one of Florida’s most delicious delicacies. Crabbers harvest only the claws, protecting the life of the crustaceans. Because these crabs actually regenerate their claws, stone crab is a sustainable seafood.

To honor the shellfish, head to the Stone Crab Festival on the Sunshine State’s Paradise Coast Oct. 27-29 in Naples’ Tin City, once the town’s fishing hub and now a trendy maritime downtown shopping area. The three-day party includes stone crab races, ice cream eating contests, tours, live music and more, with nearby restaurants like Pinchers selling the seafood delicacy. The cracking of the first stone crab will occur at 5 p.m. Oct. 27, followed by music from Tobacco Road Band.

Stone Crab Festival. Oct. 27-29. Free entry, food prices vary. Tin City, 1200 5th Ave. S., Naples, Fla. www.stonecrabfestival.com


Eating and drinking your way through this foodie city is pleasurable enough, but take your trip to Music City one step further with culinary classes. The Goo Goo Cluster — a medley of caramel, nuts, nougat and milk chocolate — is Nashville’s official candy bar and has been around since 1912. Learn how to make your own at Goo Goo Chocolate Company in the heart of downtown. The experience includes a tasting, a history of the candy, a hands-on candy-crafting class, an apron and your handmade chocolates to take home. Goo Goo also hosts wine, spirits and chocolate pairing sessions.

Post-chocolate, head to East Nashville for a cocktail-making class at Fox Bar & Cocktail Club. Seasoned bartenders share their knowledge of the history of spirits and reveal tricks of the trade while teaching guests how to mix three craft cocktails. Become a pro at shaking and stirring in this hour-long, boozy event.

Taste of Goo Goo class. $55-$90. Goo Goo Chocolate Company, 116 3rd Ave. S., Nashville. 615-490-6685, www.googoo.com. Cocktail making class. $100. Fox Bar & Cocktail Club, 2905B Gallatin Pike, Nashville. www.thefoxnashville.com

In Seattle’s Pike Place Market, book a tour and cooking class with Atrium Kitchen. 
(Courtesy of Atrium Kitchen at Pike Place Market / Andrew Garcia)

Credit: Andrew Garcia

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Credit: Andrew Garcia


Spanning 9 acres in downtown Seattle, the Emerald City’s famed Pike Place Market is where farmers, chefs and culinary artisans showcase their foodstuffs, and this gastronomy destination is arguably the holy grail for culinary travelers, offering a way to eat around the world in one place.

You can wander around on your own or take deeper dive by booking an experience with Atrium Kitchen, a food-business incubator and commercial kitchen available for rent by community groups, chefs and market vendors. It’s also the home of cooking classes.

Take chef-owner Traci Calderon’s Market to Table tour and cooking class, in which she talks about the history of Pike Place and escorts guests to the stalls where they purchase ingredients for Calderon’s cooking tutorial in the kitchen, where the group prepares a meal and dines together.

Market to Table tour and cooking class. $75-$148. Atrium Kitchen, 93 Pike St., Suite 101, Seattle. 206-829-9525, www.atriumkitchenpikeplace.com/classes

The Great Umpqua Food Trail presents a string of unique culinary experiences, including Hillcrest Winery, one of 30-plus wineries in the region. 
(Tracy Kaler for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Tracy Kaler

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Credit: Tracy Kaler

Umpqua Valley, Oregon

Located in the center of Oregon, Umpqua Valley is home to the Great Umpqua Food Trail featuring a string of unique culinary experiences alongside a captivating landscape. The self-guided scenic tour allows you to choose from more than 40 stops featuring local ingredients grown, raised, harvested or created in Southern Oregon.

Focus on one section, or take several days to explore the Great Umpqua Food Trail in its entirety. Set itineraries are also available, including Rambling Rivers, Old Wagon Roads and Sips to Sea. Farms, cafes, breweries, bakeries, a lavender garden, a sustainably sourced roasting company, an olive oil producer and 30-plus wineries round out the offerings.

Great Umpqua Food Trail. www.experienceroseburg.com/great-umpqua-food-trail/

Enjoy fresh produce and other locally sourced ingredients at Aurora Anguilla’s farm-to-table garden dinners. 
(Courtesy of Salamander Hotels & Resorts)

Credit: Jamal Gumbs

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Credit: Jamal Gumbs

Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla

Enjoy West Indian cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients beneath the stars at Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club’s farm-to-table garden dinners. A multi-course menu celebrates the bounty of the resort’s hydroponic farm, with dishes featuring vegetables and herbs harvested daily.

The resort also offers an Anguillan cooking class that encourages guests to immerse themselves in the island’s culinary culture. Gather ingredients from the on-site farm and learn how to prepare Anguillan specialties such as jerk butternut squash, piña colada salad and Johnny cake, a fried dumpling and local staple.

Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club. Rooms $599 and up; fall special $299 and up. Farm-to-table garden dinners, $110 and up. Cooking class, $120 and up. Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla. 800-210-6444, www.auroraanguilla.com