Head to the Source this Autumn on New York Food and Beverage Trails

From chocolate to cheese, apple pies to artisan breads, beer and wine, head to the source this autumn on the New York food and beverage trails.

There is a culinary revolution in America and it’s all about going to the source: for apples and cheese, bread, beer, wine, even chocolate, and New York is leading the way.  From late summer until the snow starts to fall, visitors throughout New York this year will have multiple opportunities to explore incredibly delicious food and beverage “trails” to discover what the great new restaurant chefs have already found out: that nothing beats homegrown, hand-crafted and local food and beverages.  Enthusiastic foodies can even stop for a day or two and learn from the chefs themselves or take a “farm fresh” cruise.  Continue reading to learn how to combine a culinary tour or two with welcoming accommodations at hotels, motels and inns throughout the state for a flavorful mini-vacation.

Here’s a round-up of some of New York’s most exciting and innovative gustatory adventures:

  • The Finger Lakes have become synonymous with wineries and wine trails that weave throughout its eleven lakes.  What you may not know is that the region also has a fabulous cheese trail featuring 15 small, family-owned farms throughout the Finger Lakes region.  Be prepared to sample everything from Gouda, Colby and cheddar to mozzarella, Swiss, Brie, Jack, along with local goat cheeses, and even some very unusual choices like Irish washed-rind cheese.  The Trail has open houses throughout the year, offering tours, tastings and family activities.  Upcoming dates include a Summer Open House, August 25; Columbus Day Weekend, October 6-7; and a Holiday Open House, November 17.  Check out www.flcheesetrail.com or “like” the Finger Lakes Cheese Trail on Facebook.

  • The Orange County Apple Pie Trail, in Hudson Valley, features more than 25 varieties of New York-grown apples baked into pies.  From September through early October, more than a dozen orchards and farms throughout Orange County will be open for apple picking, many serving fresh pies as well.  To complement a day of touring, visitors have their pick of hot air ballooning, harness racing, outlet shopping, arts and crafts, horseback rides and winery tastings.
  • Farm Fresh Tours and Farm Fresh Cruises in Hudson Valley represent “one stop shopping” for fresh produce, apples and other fruit, cheeses and wines throughout the region.  Fall Harvest Wine, Cheese & Apple Picking Tours on Saturdays and Sundays, from September 29 through October 21, depart from Metro North’s Poughkeepsie train station.  For wine lovers, the Dutchess Wine Trail features Clinton Vineyards’ two locations – Clinton Corners and Millbrook Vineyards – for tours and tastings.  And, Empire Cruise Lines offers Hudson River voyages on the M/V Mystere in conjunction with Farm Fresh tours.  Departures leave from Waryas Park dock, two blocks from the Poughkeepsie station and operate from late August through weekends in October.

M/V Mystère © 2012 Empire Cruise Lines


  • The Culinary Institute of America Food Enthusiast Classes, in conjunction with Farm Fresh Tours, offer the opportunity to spend a day with celebrated chefs to learn a thing or three about turning fresh ingredients into mouthwatering dishes.  Between September 15 and October 13, there will be classes on Spanish, Italian and World cooking; seafood; outdoor grilling, healthy cooking for one; chocolates and confections; and baking skills, from artisan breads to cookies.
  • The Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail through the Capital-Saratoga and Hudson Valley regions is the best way to sample handcrafted and award-winning wines, beers and spirits from the Berkshire Hills to Albany and down the majestic Hudson River.  Events featuring five establishments – Furnace Brook Winery, Hudson-Chatham Winery, Chatham Brewing, Harvest Spirits and Brookview Station Winery – are scheduled on the second Saturday of the month, August through December.  The beverage tour is also an opportunity to stock up on local fresh produce, cheeses, baked goods, maple syrup, apple cider and more.

  • The Lake Ontario Wine Trail in the Finger Lakes, closely following the national scenic byway Seaway Trail, features five boutique wineries – Young Sommer Winery, Thorpe Vineyard, Ontario Barn Vineyards, JD Wine Cellars and Casa Larga Vineyards – plus charming bed& breakfasts, great restaurants and bountiful farm markets. Upcoming special events affiliated with the Wine Trail include:a Spice Themed Weekend, September 15-16; a dessert themed weekend, October 20-21; the Annual Winter Wonderland Shopping Fling in Wayne County, November 9-11; and the 3rd Annual Holiday Tour, December 8-9.
  • The Thousand Islands – Seaway Wine Trail is set amidst some of the state’s most breathtaking scenery.  Since opening in 2005, the 78-mile scenic drive has connected seven family-owned and operated wineries and vineyards.  The trail provides easy access to a wide variety of award-winning Thousand Island wines.  The regions’ shared use of cold-hardy grapes produces wines unlike any others you’ve tasted before.  In addition to the incredible wines, you’ll discover museums, galleries, specialty shops and artisan creations with many towns offering events and special weekends throughout the year.

Photo by George Fischer, Courtesy "I LOVE NY" Official New York State Tourism Bureau


  • The Niagara Wine Trail USA in the Greater Niagara region is just minutes from Niagara Falls and Buffalo and showcases a wine producing tradition dating back more than 100 years.  Soils and moderate climate are ideal for producing highly regarded Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Syrah and, of course, the Niagara region’s world-famous ice wines.  Historic towns and villages, restaurants, antique shops and farm stands add to the appeal.
  • The Cooperstown Beverage Trail in Central New York is a reminder that the city is not just famous for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cooperstown has a centuries-old history as the hops-growing capital of North America and today is noted for its handcrafted beers, wines and local ciders.  The Beverage Trail includes the Bear Pond Winery, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Brewery Ommegang, Fly Creek Cider Mill, Rustic Ridge Winery, and Butternuts Beer & Ale.
  • The Chocolate Trail in Corning’s Gaffer District is a delightful and decadent discovery of specialties found only in this historic corner of downtown Corning, with treats for all ages, from chocolate fudge to white chocolate raspberry martinis.

Dancing Cat Saloon, Bethel, New York


Of course, not all of New York’s epicurean pleasures are found on food and beverage trails.  There are plenty of other ways to savor innovative and trend-setting products that are shaping the world of food and drink.  In Sullivan County in the Catskills, for example, there are numerous wineries, breweries and distillers to visit, including: Catskill Distilling Company and Dancing Cat Saloon in Bethel; the Prohibition Distillery in Roscoe; the Dudukju Distillery, Bashakill Vineyards and the Aaron Burr Cidery in Wurtsboro; Eminence Road Farm in Long Eddy; and Catskill Brewery in Livingston Manor.

The Tug Hill Vineyard in Lowville in the Adirondacks region is internationally acclaimed, producing fine wines from grapevines developed at the University of Minnesota to withstand cold mountain climates.  In 2011, Tug Hill brought home medals from nationwide competitions, the International Cold Climate Wine Competition and the New York Wine and Grape Classic. Every Thursday evening during the summer there is a “Wine Down”from 6-9pm featuring live acoustic music and visitors are welcome for tours through December 31.

© 2012 Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission. All Rights Reserved


Long Island’s wine industry has grown from one small vineyard to over fifty producers of world-class wines.  Encompassing Nassau and Suffolk Counties, with the majority of wineries and vineyards at the East End on the North and South Forks, age-old growing techniques are combined with state-of-the-art technology to produce a range of world-class wines from specific varietals and selected blends.  A tour of the Long Island’s wine region offers an opportunity to sample award-winning wines directly from producers while enjoying beautiful scenery, comfortable hotels and romantic bed & breakfasts, great food, and a wide range of sports, leisure and entertainment activities.

Discover more of New York’s wines and beers by visiting www.nywgf.org and www.thinknydrinkny.com.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.