About Susan McKee

Susan McKee

Susan McKee is an independent scholar and freelance journalist specializing in history, culture and travel. She honed her craft as a general assignment reporter for more than a decade at a major metropolitan daily newspaper before fleeing corporate journalism for the peripatetic life of a freelancer.

Susan writes for a wide variety of publications, both print and online. Bylines have appeared in Global Traveler USA, JaxFax, HGTV's Front Door, Global Foodie and Road Trips for Foodies.

Latest Posts by Susan McKee

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Over Labor Day

August 29, 2014 by  


Any plans to go to the West Coast over Labor Day Weekend? The Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is August 29 through 31, 2014, with winemaker events county-wide.

For three delicious, decadent days, you can experience, up close and personal, Sonoma’s full bounty of flavors. Rub shoulders with winegrowers and makers from the pioneers to the rising stars.

For example, the Taste of Sonoma takes place at MacMurray Ranch August 30, and the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction is August 31 (alas! it’s already sold out). There are winemaker lunches, winemaker dinners and winemaker barbecues.

Jointly produced by the Sonoma County Vintners and the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation, all proceeds benefit local charities. Since its inception, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend has raised over $12 million for charities that benefit students, children, farm workers and people in need in Sonoma County communities.

(Photo courtesy of Sonoma Uncorked)

The Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival in Mid-September

August 27, 2014 by  



vermont_wine-harvestThe seventh annual Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival is set for September 19 through 21 in Dover and Wilmington, Vermont, and will include winemakers, distillers, brewers and food and craft artisans from all over the Green Mountain State.

The long weekend in the Mount Snow Valley includes tastings, dinners, culinary demonstrations, shopping and entertainment.

On Friday evening in Wilmington village, the welcome event includes Vermont Soup Contest. The wine tasting portion of the night, including a wine glass, is $10 per person.

On Saturday and Sunday at Mount Snow resort in West Dover, admission is $15 per person per day ($26 for a two-day pass). The tickets include the official Festival wine glass and a specified number of tastings.

(Photo courtesy of Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival)

Apple Butter Weekend in West Virginia

August 26, 2014 by  



apple-butterIf your Labor Day Weekend driving plans take you near Parkersburg, West Virginia, you might want to detour to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.

Not only ca you watch members of the Stillwell 4-H group, dressed in colonial-style attire, make apple butter in a copper kettle over an open fire, Road Trips Foodies, but you’ll have a chance to buy the finished product. Yum!

Shrimp + Petroleum Festival in Morgan City Louisiana

August 20, 2014 by  



louisiana_morgan-city_shrimpThis foodie event has legs. It’s the 79th year for the Shrimp & Petroleum Festival over Labor Day Weekend in Morgan City, Louisiana.

Sure, there’s music, a parade, children’s games, an arts & crafts fair, fireworks and other entertainment, but for Road Trips Foodies, the centerpiece is shrimp: shrimp cooked every which way plus Cajun and Creole specialties including jambalaya and fried alligator.

The Cajun Culinary Classic is held in Lawrence park from 5 to 11 p.m. today (August 29, 1014), noon to 11 p.m. Saturday (August 30) and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday (August 31).

Vanishing Tastes Festival in Alaçati Turkey

August 16, 2014 by  



turkey_alcantiHere’s a foodie fest for the cognoscenti: The Vanishing Tastes Festival set for October 10, 11 and 12, 2014, Alaçati, Turkey.

Alaçati is an Aegean town on the western coast of Izmir Province in Turkey, which is known for its architecture, vineyards and windmills.

The festival celebrates the traditional home cooking of the Aegean region that has been lost or is on the verge of being lost. The focus will be on recipes especially suited to autumn and winter.

(Photo courtesy of Explore Alaçati)

Rhône Valley’s La Cité du Chocolat for Interactive Experiences

August 11, 2014 by  



france_cite-du-chocolateAttention chocoholics: Valrhona has opened its Cité du Chocolat in the heart of France’s Rhône Valley, on the Drôme/Ardèche county border. The Cité is next to Valrhona’s historic chocolate factory in the town centre of Tain l’Hermitage.

You can journey to the epicenter of Valrhona and get an inside glimpse into the mysterious world of chocolate-making.

Established in 1922, Valrhona is a purveyor of chocolates to gastronomy professionals and gourmet enthusiasts. La Cité du Chocolat aims to showcase the brand’s artisanal excellence. Visitors step into the world of ingredients, aromas and flavors, professions and skills, creativity and tradition, as they learn about the entire process from the cocoa farms to artisans’ kitchen labs.

La Cité du Chocolat offers various interactive experiences, including visits to the sensory studio; the recipe bar; cacao farm; the chocolate factory; the chef’s Kitchen Lab, where visitors can become chocolatiers or pastry chefs for a day; a series of chocolate workshops, and finally a selection of chocolate artworks.


(Photo courtesy of La Cité du Chocolat)

The Annual Minnesota Garlic Festival in August

August 10, 2014 by  



minnesota_garlic-festivalAlthough the focus is on the growing, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to eat garlic at the Minnesota Garlic Festival.

Check out the cooking demonstrations and the Official Garlic Festival Cookbook, but be sure not to miss the “the best ephemeral restaurant in Minnesota”.
The Great Scape Café is ephemeral because it only lasts one day each year. Cafe mastermind Greg Reynolds, organic vegetable farmer, will once again assemble a roster of local chefs to design the menu and do the cooking throughout the day.

A full dinner menu will be served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you’ll be able to have your favorite Minnesota wine or craft beer with your meal. Proceeds from The Great Scape go directly to Sustainable Farming Association programs – all the chefs and café staff are volunteers.

It all takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. August 9, 2014, at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Minnesota.

The National Buffalo Wing Festival on Coca-Cola Field…Yes Really!

August 7, 2014 by  



newyork_buffalo_baby-wingThe National Buffalo Wing Festival takes place (where else?) in Buffalo on August 30 and tomorrow August 31, 2014. Look for it at Coca-Cola Field, 75 Washington Street, Buffalo, New York.

Needless to say, it’s a popular event (more than four million wings have been sold since the event’s first year in 2002). Contests help things along. Your Road Trips Foodie’s favorite is “bobbing for wings” in a tank of bleu cheese dressing. Others are the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championship, Amateur Chicken Wing Eating, Amateur Traditional Sauce Contest, Amateur Creative Sauce Contest, Ridiculously Hot Wing Eating Contest, Baby Wing (pictured), Buffalo Buffet Bowl and College Wing Eating Competition.

Admission is $5 per day (kids under 8 years old are free) but that doesn’t include food. Food tickets are $1. The festival guide which is available at the festival entrance has a listing of all the food prices. Jumbo chicken wings are $1 each.

(Photo courtesy of National Buffalo Wing Festival)

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