Visit Historic Charleston, SC on VBT’s ‘A Southern Reel’ Biking Tour

Along the beautiful South Carolina coast, at the confluence of the Cooper and Ashley rivers, lies the city of Charleston, the state’s oldest city. VBT travelers will savor the relaxed charm and unhurried pace of “Chucktown” and experience its colonial roots, historic architecture, delicious food, and meet friendly locals on the first 2 days of Anson Roomour popular Charleston to Savannah: A Southern Reel biking tour.

Our home base for the time spent in Charleston is luxurious Ansonborough Inn. The inn is located in the heart of Charleston’s historic district in the Ansonborough neighborhood, which is named after Admiral George Anson, a British Lord that first came to own the land by way of winning it in a spirited poker game. The inn itself is an old shipping warehouse that was transformed into a luxury boutique hotel and has since received AAA’s coveted 4-diamond award in 2011 and 2012.

During your stay you’ll have some free time to check out the city and wander along “Rainbow Row”, a group of pastel-colored homes along East Bay Street, or visit the Battery—a historic seawall-turned-promenade at the tip of Charleston’s peninsula. We also recommend listening to some local Gullah-inspired jazz music during your stay as the city’s rich musical tradition first captured American ears with “Charleston Rag” and James P. Johnson’s famed “Charleston” dance. The city also serves as the setting for the Gershwin-penned musical masterpiece, Porgy & Bess.

BridgeExploration beyond the city limits begins with an adventure over the Cooper River Bridge via its dedicated bike/pedestrian lane. Soak in expansive river views from the bridge while en route to Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms. Glance at some of the area’s prettiest beaches and most sought-after homes while cruising along the Intracoastal Waterway before ending up at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island. Here we’ll learn how the fortress played a key role in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and how Edgar Allen Poe was once stationed here from 1827 to 1828. Also, the use of palmetto tress in the fort’s construction inspired both South Carolina’s flag and state nickname.

Charleston Tea Plantation
Another day of riding brings us to “Angel Oak”, a Southern live oak tree on John’s Island that is estimated to be more than 1,500 years old and stands 65 feet tall. The tree is so massive that its widest crown is 180 feet, point to point, oakand it shades 17,000 square feet. After, we make our way to nearby Wadmalaw Island, where we’ll tour the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only place in America where tea is still grown. Before enjoying a picnic lunch on the plantation, we’ll tour the working tea factory, visit the tasting room and enjoy a trolley tour of the fields.

Charleston is only one example of the historic Southern cities we’ll explore on this popular biking tour that also has stops in Beaufort and Savannah. To read more about what else awaits you on this coastal adventure in America’s southeast, please click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Explore California Wine Country with VBT

Biking Sonoma

California wine country produces 90% of America’s wine and its 1,200 wineries would collectively be considered the fourth largest producer in the world, if California were its own country. Some of the most highly regarded varieties are grown in the coastal valleys northeast of San Francisco where a combination of Californian sun, cool sea breezes and fog provide the perfect weather for grape growing.  These valleys also offer amazing cycling terrain with rolling hills, redwood groves, dramatic coastlines and historic, welcoming towns. Travelers will discover that VBT’s California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast biking tour is the perfect getaway for biking enthusiasts and impassioned oenophiles alike.

Group Cheers

The cycling part of our vacation begins along back roads in the Carneros district, a viticulture region that stretches Grape tastingacross the lower reaches of both Sonoma and Napa Valley near the San Pablo Bay that is renowned for its still and sparkling wines.  The benefit of the encroaching fog and cooler ocean air allows the winemakers to grow cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. VBT guests will hop off their bikes at the Madonna Estate Winery for a tasting of delectable Napa Valley wines—including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio—that have been refined over four generations of winemaking.

Chateau St. Jean
Chateau St. Jean Bottle ChardonnayA day spent riding in the “Valley of the Moon”—the Native American translation of “Sonoma”—among the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, leads us to the Chateau St. Jean Winery, one of the quintessential Sonoma wineries. The winery’s grounds feature both sprawling vineyards and lush, manicured gardens that were inspired by formal estate gardens in Italy and France. We’ll enjoy a tasting in the Vineyard Room during our visit before shuttling back to our hotel in Bodega Bay.

Russian River Valley

One of the other highlights of our California Wine Country tour is a ride through the Russian River valley, known as the “Kingdom of Pinot Noir”. The cycling routes along both the east and west sides of the valley offer striking views of lush, productive vineyards. The Russian River Valley’s climate is known for the cooling fog that ebbs and flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the Russian River. The fog typically arrives mid-evening and California Coast bikingoften drops the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high. By morning, the mist retreats back to the ocean. This so-called “natural air-conditioning” effect allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity during an extended growing season—often 15 to 20 percent longer than found in the surrounding regions—while retaining their life-giving natural acidity.

These are just a couple examples of the memorable bike rides and wine tastings you’ll find on our California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast​ biking vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.