Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"I Want To Go To There"

For someone that lives in a bustling urban metropolis, ironically I like to escape it more often than not. Two years ago, on a whim, I moved to The Windy City from rural Ohio with cliched fantasies of life according to Sex & The City. Well, city living is not at all like Sex & The City. Sure, for the first few months I was still living in that daydream, skipping around downtown and heading out every weekend. But, after a while, all that came to a hault. I missed the vast country, the peace and quiet, and not having to look over my shoulder at every waking moment.

Thankfully, I'm slowly finding ways to appease my pastoral desires. Have you heard of "glamping"? Or farm dinners? Or farm vacations, for that matter? With a little time and money (okay, a lot of money), you can have the most relaxing, luxurious and countrified vacation. All three of these outings would appeal to you foodies out there as well - because these hot spots revolve around fresh, local gourmet food.

During a visit to The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana, you can stay in a "luxury canvas community," as they call it. Don't you worry though, this isn't your typical camping experience - each tent has electricity and heated floors in the private master bath. You can even arrange for a private gourmet chef (or cooking lesson) and butler (because who else would start the campfire?). The nightly rates include three gourmet meals a day and transportation from Missoula International Airport. You can make reservations for between $715-$915 per night. So start saving your money, honey!

But if luxury camping in The American West just isn't your style, then try taking a trip to a farmstead. Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee is just 25 minutes from Knoxville in the heart of the Great Smokey Mountains. This place is the stuff that dreams are made of. The farm sits on 4,200 acres and guests can enjoy and a multitude of activities - from fly fishing and hiking, to cooking classes and yoga.

Blackberry Farm has two inventive gourmet restaurants that prepare meals from the fruits of their own orchards, livestock, produce gardens, and bee hives. They make their own cheese, honey, preserves, breads, and serve their own eggs. Included in the nightly rate are three gourmet meals a day. Estate Rooms start at $995 a night, and private Hill Cottages or Mountain Homes are also available (believe me, you don't even want me to list those prices!). This hotel continuously receives recognition as one of the world's top travel and leisure destinations, but unless I win the lottery, I will just have to settle for a visit in my dreams.

I'm happy to say that I'm looking forward to planning a more afforable excursion, a farm dinner. Outstanding in the Field, a California-based traveling culinary experience, re-connects diners to the origins of their food. So far, they have arranged 54 dinners in ten U.S. States and Eastern Canada. These dinners sell out quickly - but don't worry, there's always next year! Ingredients are almost all local and prepared by a chef of the region. A long white linen communal table is arranged for each dinner. Depending on the location, you may be dining at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. After a quick tour of the site - producers, farmers, culinary artisans and guests all sit down to enjoy the food, company and surroundings.


Outstanding in the Field Photo: Andrea Wyner

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, I want to be at that table so badly! I'm going to check it out now...in the middle of a workday, it looks so enticing!