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It’s Wine Time! Take A Wine Country Vacation

Taking a vacation in wine country is a great way to enjoy beautiful countryside while sampling the best of America’s vineyards. But if your favorite adult beverage is something else — beer, Scotch whisky or bourbon — you can build a trip around that, too.

California’s Napa and Sonoma counties, north of San Francisco, are the state’s two premier wine regions, home to hundreds of vineyards that have earned international acclaim. Napa offers grand estates, spacious tasting rooms and elegant accommodations, many lining the scenic Silverado Trail. Sonoma tends to have a more intimate feel, especially as you head north toward the Russian River. There are several ways to visit wineries while leaving the driving to someone else, including hiring a limousine service, booking a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train, or hitching a ride on a replica 1890s cable car in Sonoma County.

While California’s is the best known, you’ll find wine regions across the country that make terrific vacation destinations.

Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region, with its breathtaking gorges and cascading waterfalls, is home to more than a hundred wineries, breweries and distilleries. Western Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, a pastoral area surrounded by mountains, has become a powerhouse of winemaking. The Texas Hill Country is another popular grape-growing spot. Extending west of Austin to the northern reaches of San Antonio, you’ll find more than 50 wineries. The area is also known for hiking, biking and antique shopping.

In 1964, a congressional resolution declared bourbon to be a distinctive product of the United States. Today, you can explore the past and present of bourbon manufacturing along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. You should start at the Welcome Center in Louisville, located in the Frazier Kentucky History Museum. Then, you can chose from among 37 distilleries that offer tours, tastings and an inside look at bourbon making from start to finish. Experienced cyclists can bike along Kentucky’s rolling hills to visit stops on the trail, with most riders choosing trips of one to three days.

If you’re a connoisseur of craft beer, you have lots of ways to explore your favorite beverage from coast to coast.

Whether you’re seeking a seaside getaway, a mountain escape or an urban adventure, you’ll find variety along the Maine Beer Trail. The stops are as diverse as the geography — they’re in city pubs and revitalized mills, in downtown storefronts and dirt-road hideaways. If you’d rather head west, the Denver area is home to a hundred brewpubs, breweries and taprooms.

The world’s largest concentration of Scotch malt whisky distilleries is in Speyside, in northeastern Scotland. On the Malt Whisky Trail, you’ll learn about entrepreneurs behind some of the most famous brands as well as boutique producers. Speyside is also home to the 45-mile Moray Coast Trail, a beautiful long-distance walking route, as well as historic sites like the ruins of 13th-century Elgin Cathedral and 16th-century Ballindalloch Castle.

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