There are those who love to travel and then those who love to travel for the food and booze and I’m definitely one of the latter.
Last year, I managed to clock in a handful of food festivals while traveling, some intentional and some as a tack-on-to-an-already-planned vacation. From sipping on Cognac (in Cognac, France) at a blues festival to eating paella with Jose Andres and Katie Button in Asheville, North Carolina, and even getting the #meatsweats at the “Meat Olympics” with Team USA, there’s never a dull moment when it comes to festivals. It’s a definite way to spice up any vacation or all the more reason to book a trip solely for the barbecue.
In the case you’ve been hoarding points and looking for an excuse to clear out your account, here is a list of eight standout festivals — plus how to get there and where to stay.
in Greenville, South Carolina (September 17 – 20)
Euphoria Greenville, celebrating 15 years, was dreamed up by singer Edwin McCain and Greenville restaurateur, Table 301’s Carl Sobocinski. While McCain is no longer with the festival, its legacy of music and outstanding food events has withstood the test of time. (Little known fact: Michelin’s North America headquarters are based in the city, so every year there are a series of Michelin dinners and educational events.)
“While we are proud of euphoria’s growth over the last 15 years, we are also very intentional about keeping it small enough for guests to interact with Michelin-starred chefs, songwriters who’ve written number one hits, and some of the best winemakers, mixologists, distillers and chefs from across the Southeast,” says Morgan Allen, the festival’s executive director. “That intimacy, along with multiple music-driven events, is what sets us apart from other food and wine festivals and makes euphoria one worth traveling for.”
Each year, the team shakes events up but make sure to scoop tickets to Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown, where kids in school cook with Michelin-starred chefs to promote healthier school lunches; Sunday Brunch, entailing the South’s best pitmasters and copious amounts of barbecue; and Sunday Supper, a true way to wind down and enjoy a sit down dinner with chefs and new festival friends.
Stay: The Residence Inn is within walking distance from mostly all major events and a gathering place for all festival goers. As a Category 4 hotel, this property can cost as little as 20,000 points per night, or this can be a good use of the annual free night certificate offered by several Marriott credit cards.
How to get there: Fly direct from several cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Charlotte, Newark, Miami and more. American Airlines has by far the largest presence at this airport, so check the price calendar to find your best options for reward flights.