Paradise Found: Southeastern Connecticut
Long-distance doppelganger: Napa Valley, California
Drive from Boston: Two hours
If you’re looking for acres of vineyards, bountiful wine tastings, and fantastic food without the cross-country flight, take a journey along the Connecticut Wine Trail, which highlights 25 producers around the state. Unique varieties—from dry, barrel-fermented chardonnays and seyval blancs to sweeter vidals and vignoles—grow in different pockets along the route. Given the wide swath of the state the wine trail covers, it’s best to spend a weekend in one area—say, southeastern Connecticut—before moving on to another region to check off all the vineyards in your “trail passport.”
Where to Stay
The Colonial-style Inn at Stonington, overlooking Fisher’s Island Sound and close to restaurants and shops, has whirlpool tubs in most of the rooms. Also in the sleepy borough of Stonington is the Orchard Street Inn, where the Captain’s State room features a water view and a welcoming Jacuzzi tub. Just across the border in Rhode Island, at the west end of Quonochontaug Pond, lies the historical Weekapaug Inn (pictured), which offers suites decked out with kitchens, fireplaces, and decks.
What to Do
Spend time at each of the vineyards in the area. At Saltwater Farm Vineyard (pictured), a converted airplane hangar is now a chic tasting room that hosts live music on Sunday and Thursday nights. Missing those California grapes? Head to Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, which has a sister vineyard in Napa and serves guests varietals from both coasts. Stonington Winery is also in the neighborhood, while Preston Ridge Vineyard, Holmberg Orchards and Winery, and Maugle Sierra Vineyards are within an hour’s drive.
Where to Eat
Noah’s dishes up seared Stonington scallops and grilled Point Judith swordfish, along with other casual-dining staples. The authentic Mexican eats and chipotle margaritas (made with jalapeño tequila) at Milagro’s Café will put a spring in your step.
Take a break from sipping and swishing to create something delicious all your own at the Gray Goose Cookery, in Mystic. The store offers a range of cooking classes, from a Sunday-brunch primer to a lesson in Italian specialties.
Save the Date
The Mystic Outdoor Arts Festival (8/9–8/10) recruits 250 artists for a juried show of more than 1,000 pieces.