Weekend Vineyard Excursions for the Autumn Season Within Driving Distance of Westchester County

"Fall" into some weekend wine escapes



You worked hard all summer, so why not reward yourself…now? Before the chilly holiday season sets in, consider treating yourself to a scenic sojourn to the region’s premier vineyards. In addition to sampling—and stocking up on—some delicious locally produced wines, you can take tours and take advantage of the region’s other offerings (art, music, history, gaming, and more). So pack your bag —and corkscrew—and take along the following guide.

Adair Vineyards
New Paltz, NY
(845) 255-1377; adairwine.com
Driving Time from White Plains: 80 minutes.
What It Offers: Two white wine varieties, Seyval Blanc and Vignoles, and two red wine varieties, Foch and Millot. Visitors can roam the 10 acres of fields and vineyard to look around or simply enjoy the Hudson River Valley view. 
Recommended Picks: The 2009 Pêche is a unique style of dessert wine made totally from peaches. Adair's venerated Rosalais, a dry rose in the Loire Valley style, works well paired with Indian or other Asian food.
Where to Stay: Lefèvre House (14 Southside Ave, New Paltz  845-255-4747; lefevrehouse.com). This renowned B&B offers fantastic food, a homey atmosphere, and a walkable, rustic setting. Maplestone Inn (541 Rte 32 S, New Paltz 845-255-6861; maplestoneinn.com). A little hike away from the village of New Paltz, this is a longstanding family-owned inn surrounded by seven acres of lawn, gardens, and sugar maple trees. Guests also receive their own Maplestone Inn robe.
Make It a Weekend: Historic Huguenot Street in downtown New Paltz features several original stone houses from pre-Revolutionary times, the earliest dating back to 1692. Guided tours are available through October, but visitors can stroll the lively street anytime. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (bethelwoodscenter.org) sits on the site of Max Yasgur’s old farm where the original Woodstock music festival took place in 1969. In addition to offering an onsite museum, it hosts a number of big-time pop acts, along with classical music concerts. Performances run throughout the year.

Clinton Vineyards
Clinton Corners, NY
(845) 266-5372; clintonvineyards.com
Driving Time from White Plains:
75 minutes.
What It Offers: Specializes in producing white wine and Champagnes made in the classic French method, Champenoise. In recent years, Clinton has added dessert wines to its portfolio.
Recommended Picks: Owner Phyllis Feder suggests the Cassis, a dessert wine, which was a gold-medal winner in the Los Angeles International wine competition, making Clinton the only winery in the U.S. to win a gold medal in international competition for a Cassis.
Where to Stay: Millbrook Country House (3244 Sharon Turnpike, Millbrook 845-677-9570; millbrookcountryhouse.com) is more than 200 years old and known for the sculptures and flower gardens on its grounds. The Porterhouse Bed and Breakfast (17 Washington Ave, Millbrook 845-677-3057) offers packages that include horseback-riding lessons.
Make It a Weekend: The Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, located in nearby Hyde Park, features tours of FDR’s lifelong home and is the site of his presidential library. Close to the FDR house sits the Vanderbilt Mansion, a Civil War-era National Historic Site. A short drive north to neighboring Columbia County will bring you to Olana, the Persian-style mansion that was home to famed Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. Tours are available year-round.

Bear Pond Winery
Oneonta, NY
(607) 643-0294; bearpondwines.com
Driving Time from White Plains:
3 hours, 20 minutes.
What It Offers: In addition to the standard wine tastings and tours, Bear Pond Winery has a café featuring, among other things, panini, burgers, and fresh-cut fries. If you’re interested in giving a bottle as a present for a special occasion, the winery offers custom labels.
Recommended Picks: A combination of black and blue berries, the aptly named “Bruiser” is a popular dessert wine made without any grapes. The 2006 Riesling is a sweet, fruity offering that is also popular.
Where to Stay: Kountry Living Bed & Breakfast, (576 Rte 28, Oneonta 607-432-0186; kountryliving.net) is a former Federal, nearly 140-year-old farmhouse, which offers a full-course breakfast. The Inn at Cooperstown (16 Chestnut St, Cooperstown 607-547-5756; innatcooperstown.com) was built in 1874 and is a quick walk to all of the village’s main attractions.
Make It a Weekend: A quick, 15-minute drive from Oneonta is the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, obviously a must-see for even the most casual baseball fan. For sports fanatics, the National Soccer Hall of Fame is located down the road. The Glimmerglass Alice Busch Opera Theater, also in Cooperstown, is a world-famous opera venue with performances year-round.

Stonington Vineyards
Stonington, CT
(860) 535-1222; stoningtonvineyards.com
Driving Time from White Plains:
2 hours, 15 minutes.
What It Offers: A nice variety of whites and reds, but located in a maritime microclimate makes it most suited for growing Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes.
Recommended Picks: Co-owner Nick Smith reports that the Seaport White, an easy-drinking wine, is among Stonington’s most popular.
Where to Stay: Antiques and Accommodations, (North Stonington Village 860-535-1736; antiquesandaccommodations.com) is a quintessential New England B&B, a perfect mix of coast and country setting. The Morgan Inn, (16 S Broad St, Pawcatuck 860-599-5470; themorganinn.com) has a large antique collection on the premises.
Make It a Weekend: Nearby Mystic Seaport is always a popular tourist destination. The replica 19th-century fishing port has more than 17 acres of interactive exhibits. For enticing nightlife options, two large nearby casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, have hundreds of gaming options, as well as many restaurants and nightclubs.

Lancaster County Winery
Willow Street, PA 
(717) 464-3555; lancastercountywinery.com
Driving time from White Plains:
3 hours, 30 minutes.
What It Offers:  In addition to wine tastings and tours, this winery is often used as a picturesque setting for weddings and receptions. The winery is on the grounds of a working farm established in 1718.
Recommended Picks: The Colonial Spiced Apple variety, an apple wine.
Where to Stay: Country Inn of Lancaster (2133 Lincoln Highway E, Lancaster 717-393-3413; countryinnoflancaster.com), offers many local amenities, including handmade wooden rockers and Amish-style quilts. E.J. Bowman House (2674 Lititz Pike, Lancaster 717-519-0808; ejbowmanhouse.com), is a restored Italianate Victorian home built circa 1860.
Make It a Weekend: Since you’ll be in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, attractions will abound, including buggy rides, farm trail rides, and Amish village tours. The nearby Carlisle Sports Emporium features more than 20 acres of fun and games, including mini-golf, batting ranges, go-kart riding, and an arcade for the kids or young at heart.

Shelburne Vineyard
Shelburne, VT
(802) 985-8222; shelburnevineyard.com
Driving time from White Plains:
5 hours.
What they Offer: This winery has three different vineyards in the town of Shelburne with varieties including Cayuga, LaCrescent, and Zweigelt.
Recommended Picks: Shelburne Vineyard has won 50 medals in various competitions, so there’s a lot to choose from. Its 2008 Riesling is a standout. The 2008 Cabernet Franc, aged in European Oak, is another recommended vintage.
Where to Stay: Willow Pond Farm Bed & Breakfast (133 Cheese Factory Ln, Shelburne 802-985-8505; virtualcities.com/vt/willow.htm) borders the Shelburne Pond, with 400 acres of swamp, marshes, and woods associated with it. Some of the wildlife to spot in this area includes ospreys, wild turkeys, and otters. The inn’s grounds also feature 20 birdhouses and several rose gardens. Elliot House Bed & Breakfast (5779 Dorset St, Shelburne 802-985-2727; elliothouse.com), a Greek Revival farmhouse built in 1865, is adjacent to 400 acres of protected land, including trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking. The inn’s grounds include a horse farm and swimming pool.
Make It a Weekend: No trip to northern Vermont would be complete without a visit to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, also in Shelburne. The tour gives you an inside look at how the famous bears are stuffed and stitched. Another Vermont institution, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, is also a must-visit. A tour of the factory in nearby Burlington shows how the company’s unique ice cream flavors are made, and you can also visit the “flavor graveyard,” a cute faux cemetery featuring one-time flavors that have since been canceled.