If your idea of the perfect road trip includes beautiful scenery, live music, and world-class food and wine, we have a feeling you might get love-drunk on this magical journey. So fill your wine glass and set off on a virtual road trip through New York State, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
The “Northeast Wine Trails” itinerary is a stunning combination of all your favourite sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feels. This journey will immerse you in some of the finest American culture and catapult you back, to a simpler and more magical time.
From trendy spots in Soho to the dramatic natural wonder of Taughannock Falls and lush greenery of Brandywine Valley to a chocolate lovers’ dream at Hershey and Harrisburg; this mouthwatering fun-packed itinerary will showcase the very best of the area’s wine offerings and much, much more.
Explore all of Brand USA’s 31 Amazing Self Drive Road Trip itineraries here.
Northeast Wine Trails: Route Highlights
1. New York, New York
Why hang around when you can get straight into the action? Your travels begin at City Winery New York in Soho, where you can enjoy a culinary and cultural experience. Think live music, food, and wine, bringing wine country to the middle of New York City.
City Winery’s cellar is eco-friendly and holds 300 French oak barrels with 11 tap lines that automatically cool the wine to optimal temperatures. If that’s not perfection, what is?
Choose to book a tour or visit the Barrel Room, an intimate, 40-seat restaurant and tasting room serving wine fresh from the tap as well as a full food menu. YUM.
2. New York, New York > Cape May, New Jersey
Next up, head south for New Jersey wine country. En route take the opportunity to visit Princeton and catch brunch at Jammin’ Crepes. While in Princeton, art enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Princeton University Art Museum, which is home to over 72,000 works of art.
Okay, wine time now. Your first wine stop is Amalthea Cellars Farm Winery, where you will be transported back in time to a boutique chateau in southern France while taking a tour that includes a 100-year-old horse carriage and tasting in a candlelit barrel cellar.
Once you’re done there, pop across the road to White Horse Winery, one of the newest wineries in New Jersey, followed by the six-story Lucy the Elephant, along the shore in Josephine Harron Park in Margate, New Jersey.
The final winery is Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery just outside of Cape May. The vineyard is a natural safe harbour of serenity and abundance and the perfect location for your final tasting before setting off to Cape May.
At the tip of southern New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula, Cape May is known for its grand Victorian houses and the Cape May Lighthouse, which provides views across the bay and ocean. Did you know, the entire city is a National Historic District? It boasts nearly 600 preserved Victorian buildings.
Enjoy dinner at The Lobster House on Fisherman’s Wharf overlooking Cape May Harbor.
- DRIVE TIME: 254kms: 2 hours 45 mins drive time
3. Cape May, New Jersey > Delaware > Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
The first vineyard stop is in Lewes, just a short drive from Rehoboth Beach. Nassau Valley Vineyards was the state’s first winery, established in 1993. Once you’ve sampled the vino there, drive to Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel in the Delaware countryside. Red wine lovers, rejoice, as the waters of the Chesapeake region allow their grapes a longer, warmer growing season, which is ideal for reds.
Then, discover the historic town of Kennett Square, known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” Love mushrooms? Perfect! Explore State Street’s unique stores, such as The Mushroom Cap, offering mushroom-based gifts and culinary items, before enjoying dinner at Portobello’s.
- DRIVE TIME: 159kms: 2 hours 15 mins drive time
4. Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania
Once the sun sets, take a short drive from Kennett Square to West Chester, Pennsylvania and explore Market Street boutiques offering local arts and produce. Finish your night with a fabulous steak dinner at Pietro’s Prime.
5. Kennett Square, Pennsylvania > Hershey, Pennsylvania
On the drive from Kennett Square to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, stop just before in Strasburg to eat at the Java Junction Coffee Bar. Menu items include bagels, sandwiches, and creative creations like the Hangover Helper – which you might need the assistance of!
If you’re craving some culture, the oldest Amish settlement in the USA is in Lancaster, as well as over 90 art venues, historic architecture, and great cultural and entertainment attractions in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
If wine withdrawals are setting in, you will find Waltz Vineyards Estate a short drive north of Lancaster, in Manheim, Pennsylvania. The European-inspired tasting room complements the estate-grown wine.
Finish your day in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where you can visit Cullari Vineyards and Winery, a boutique operation specialising in both traditional dry and sweet red, white and pink wines. The main tasting room is in the heart of Hershey on Chocolate Avenue.
- DRIVE TIME: 105kms: 1 hour 30 mins drive time
6. Hershey and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Wine Region
What goes well with wine? CHOCOLATE does.
Later today, you will explore the Hershey and Harrisburg wine regions, but first, you must visit The Hershey Story Museum on Chocolate Avenue to learn about Milton S. Hershey, his “Great American Chocolate Bar” and the town named after him.
The first wine stop of the day is at Armstrong Valley Vineyard & Winery, where a waterfall greets you, as you enter the tasting room in a 200-year-old barn with rustic beams. Then, enjoy a tasting with a spectacular mountain view at J & P Winery. Finish your day at Cassel Vineyards, where you can sample wines at a long bar in the high-ceilinged tasting room or on the patio that spills onto the lawn.
7. Hershey, Pennsylvania > Ithaca, New York
Today, drive northeast toward New York State’s Finger Lakes region.
For something a little different, stop in Corning at the famous Corning Museum of Glass. Explore 3,500 years of glass history and see 50,000 objects in a building designed to mimic the flow of glass, then watch live hot glass demonstrations. You’ll never look at glass the same way again!
Continue to the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country in Ithaca, New York, on Cayuga Lake and home of Cornell University and it’s I.M. Pei–designed Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.
- DRIVE TIME: 354kms: 3 hours 45 mins drive time
8. Finger Lakes Wine Region, New York
Today, explore Ithaca Falls near downtown, then head to the Seneca
Lake Wine Trail. Seneca Lake is the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes
and provides a beautiful backdrop to your wine-tasting experience.
Your first stop will be Lamoreaux Landing Wine Cellars in Lodi, New York.
The wine tasting will be in a soaring Greek Revival building designed by Ithaca native Bruce Corson.
Next, travel to Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery, one of the most prestigious wineries in the Finger Lakes. Frank, the winery’s founder, began a winemaking renaissance in the region in 1962 and it is commonly acknowledged that without his contributions, the Finger Lakes Wine Region would not be as respected today.
While you’re in the area, stop at the 1880s Belhurst Castle overlooking Seneca Lake. The stone castle was a speakeasy during Prohibition, casino, and supper club, and now is a perfect lunch stop with two restaurants.
Be sure to visit the Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard on your way back. This vineyard sits in a shell of a 90-year-old barn on the western shores of Seneca Lake. Return to Ithaca and enjoy an evening exploring The Commons, a downtown shopping and dining area.
9. Finger Lakes Wine Region, New York
Take in the smells and sounds of nature, with a visit to Cayuga Lake to the spectacular Taughannock Falls, which plunge 66 metres past rocky cliffs towering nearly 122 metres above the gorge.
If you’re feeling active, hike the Gorge Trail to experience views from below the falls or drive to the Gorge Trail Overlook for breathtaking vistas from above.
A short drive along Cayuga Lake will bring you to your first winery stop today, Sheldrake Point Winery, with amazing lake views from the tasting rooms. Farther along the lakefront, you will find the Thirsty Owl Wine Company with over 600 metres of lake frontage and 61 hectares of vineyards. This is the perfect place to enjoy a wine-tasting experience with lake views and to eat lunch at the Thirsty Owl Bistro, which specialises in incorporating fresh, local ingredients into its delicious dishes and plates of wine-friendly cuisine.
After lunch, cross the highway to get to Hosmer Estate Winery. With some of the largest and oldest vines on Cayuga Lake, Hosmer is a leader in environmentally-friendly wine production, focusing on preservation and sustainability. Then, last but not least, stop at Buttonwood Grove Winery, one of Cayuga Lake’s most scenic wineries. Set high above the road, the wrap-around deck offers views of the vineyards, beautifully landscaped grounds, and Cayuga Lake. Savor a tasting of the award-winning wines, including the Frances Amelia Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Eat Italian cuisine tonight at chef-owned Mercato Bar & Kitchen on Restaurant Row in Downtown Ithaca.
10. Ithaca, New York > New York, New York
This morning, depart the Finger Lakes through upstate New York, stopping for lunch in the beautiful Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania before crossing the Delaware Water Gap and returning to New York City.
What a journey!
Download the complete ‘Northeast Wine Trails’ itinerary here!’
Get the Road Trip Playlist
This playlist is an infusion of upbeat bangers to sing along to, dance to after a few bevvies, and relax to while taking in the beautiful scenery of the open road.
Leon Bridges, the Fugees, OutKast, Prince, Nick Galemore, and other fab artists will have your toes tapping and glasses raising to good music, delicious food and wine, and great vibes!
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To learn more about the USA’s diverse food and drink offerings complete the ‘Food & Drink Specialist’ badge on the USA Discovery Program! Or to learn more about booking your client’s dream USA road trip with the ‘Alamo’ badge!
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PLUS! Design your own Road Trip with the USA TRIP PLANNER
The Visit USA Trip Planner is an amazing (and free!) tool that matches your personal travel preferences and style.
With over 230 million data points including the best places & times to visit, reviews and hidden gems, this is one smart piece of travel tech.
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Find out more: Trip-Planner.VisitTheUSA.com
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