October Culture Travel Guide

Great American Beer Festival
Sip the country's best brews at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado. (courtesy, Brewer's Association/Jason E. Kaplan)

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Start practicing now if you expect to be a contender at Wellfleet Oyster Festival's annual shucking contest. Last year's winner, Barbara Austin, a local shell fisherman, shucked 24 oysters in three minutes, 52 seconds. The October celebration of the bivalve on Cape Cod also features kayak races and outdoor concerts. But, eating those oysters, whether they're on the half-shell, fried, or steamed, is still the main attraction. (www.wellfleetoysterfest.org)

Denver, Colorado
More than 450 of America's microbrews compete at Denver's Great American Beer Festival each October. You don't have to be a judge to swig the one-ounce samples from the competitors. Live music, food, and tours of the city's breweries are all part of the fun.

Woodbury, Connecticut
Autumn antique hopping in New England is an annual ritual, especially when the destination is Woodbury, Connecticut. Start at the Woodbury Antiques and Flea Market, which runs every Saturday. Then hit the 35 or so shops and galleries on a six-mile stretch of Route 6; you just might find that gem that's been passed down from generation to generation since the time the town was settled in 1672.

San Francisco, California
For three weeks in late October and early November, the city by the bay holds one of the finest jazz festivals in the world. The Palace of Fine Art, Herbst Theatre, and many other venues around town feature such jazz greats as Sonny Rollins, Arturo Sandoval, and Alice Coltrane.

Disney World, Florida
Epcot Center hosts their annual International Food and Wine Festival from late-September to mid-November. The event features cooking demonstrations, wine seminars from 100-plus wineries, food samples from around the globe, and nightly concerts from the likes of The Beach Boys, Four Tops, David Sanborn, and Little Richard.
(Epcot International Food & Wine Festival)

There are many reasons why bikers cherish Vermont—the numerous backcountry roads connect picturesque hamlets, all with little traffic; the rolling hills challenge the experts, but allow the novice to feel a sense of accomplishment. However, it's the scenery that makes a bike trip in Vermont so appealing. Around every bend, a greener meadow appears, a freshly-painted white steeple pierces the clouds overhead, and a Green Mountain stands tall in the distance. During fall, the maple leaves turn red, yellow, and orange. Depending on your ability, budget, and length of stay, Vermont Outdoor Guides Association will develop a detailed itinerary that includes accommodations (B&Bs, youth hostels, or campgrounds), bike routes (including a map and a description of the terrain), and even a bike.

Bowdoin College, Maine
Built by master architect Charles McKim, Maine's Bowdoin College Museum of Art has remained unchanged since it made its debut in 1894. That is, until now. On October 14, 2007, the Museum reopens to the public after expanding its building by more than 50 percent. The additional space was necessary to showcase their vast collection, from 9th-century Assyrian reliefs to modern works by Marsden Hartley and Eva Hesse.

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Kodak calls the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta the most photographed American event of the year. Every October, hundreds of hot air ballooners from around the country hit the skies above New Mexico's mesas and plateaus. A rodeo, car show, and wine tasting add to the festivities.

Loretto, Kentucky
T.W. Samuels, Jr., a fourth-generation distiller and owner of Maker's Mark, is determined to preserve bourbon's place in American history. He has restored most of the 1880s buildings on the 650-acre property his father bought in Loretto, Kentucky, in 1953. Now he's just finished working with others in the industry to establish a 130-mile driving trail of "bourbon landmarks" through central Kentucky, a mere 45-minute drive from Louisville, to showcase where the drink was developed. The trail takes visitors to Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, and four other distilleries, as well as the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. To sample a variety of the latest stock, head to a local favorite—the bar at the McKinney House restaurant in Bardstown.

The Turkish Mediterranean Coast
One of the last unspoiled regions of this great sea, the Turkish Mediterranean boasts aquamarine waters relatively free of boat traffic and mountainous shores that contain few posh hotels or high-rise condominiums. The most luxurious way to view this pristine coastline is aboard a chartered gulet (a Turkish wooden yacht) on the legendary Blue Cruise. Your daily itinerary usually includes a swim before breakfast, a visit to Lycian tombs at lunch, and a feast of fresh fish and lobster for dinner. Book a cabin on one of these yachts with a reputable Turkish broker like Vela Dare in Gocek.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at farandaway@comcast.net.

Published: 25 Jun 2007 | Last Updated: 22 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »