Genuine Italy

To keep our travelers well-informed about VBT vacations, we’ve introduced a great tool, our Traveler Reviews. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback through this new channel and we just couldn’t resist sharing this testimonial about our Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast vacation. Enjoy!

Did we know about Puglia before we chose this VBT bike tour? Not really. It is off the beaten path for tourists. But that is what we loved about this trip. The landscape, people, food, towns are so like the Italy one imagines. I was fascinated by the masseria – the self-contained walled compounds dotting the countryside. I was thrilled we had a chance to stay in two remarkable examples of masseria during this VBT trip!

Italy Vacations, Italy Tours

We biked every day along olive groves on quiet roads edged with low stone walls. It was a full sensory experience: seeing the individuality of the twisted, ancient olives; smelling the sweet wild fennel and oregano along the roads; feeling the sound-wave chirr vibration of cicadas; breaking open fresh green pods to find sweet, tender almonds inside; feasting on olives and cheeses and seafood and the local Primitivo red wine made locally. Did I mention I learned to make pasta with the master chef at the amazing masseria where we first stayed?

Italy Bike Tour

We were drawn to Puglia because of the charming, quirky conical dry-stone Trulli houses found in this region. I delighted in every one of these amazing structures I saw, whether the vast numbers in the World Heritage site of Alborobello or the unpretentious homes we rode by. My curiosity was satisfied by our opportunity to see the inside of a Trulli and how the architecture perfectly suited the environment.

Italy Bike Tour

And to cap it off, biking along the Salento coast looking out towards the Adriatic. Monopoli! Ostuni! Lecce! Each town magical in its own way. Do I want to go to Rome and Venice? Probably. But maybe I’ll just come back to Puglia.

-Anne M., Puglia: Italy’s Undiscovered Coast

Italy Bike Tour

Thanks Anne! To give our travelers the opportunity to enjoy even more reviews, we’ve got a great contest. If you submit your own review about a previously taken VBT vacation by October 31, 2012, you’ll be entered to win $1,000 in Travel Credits!* Head to www.vbt.com, find a tour that you’ve taken with VBT and click the Traveler Reviews tab to fill us in on your experiences.

*Contest rules: VBT travelers who post a review by Wednesday, October 31, 2012 will be entered into a contest to win $1000 in Travel Credits. This prize is non-transferrable and not redeemable for cash. Respondents must be 21 years of age or older and must have taken the VBT trip that they reviewed. Entries must be posted by Wednesday, October 31, 2012 and a winner will be drawn on Monday, November 5, 2012. To obtain the name of the winner, send your name and address to Paul Williams, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, 614 Monkton Road, Bristol, VT 05443. You may contact VBT with questions or concerns related to customer support and satisfaction.

Fall Foliage and Harvest Season

The onset of fall means many things, but if you’re anything like us, the cooler temperatures and shorter days really get you excited for brilliant foliage and a new harvest season!

Our home in Northern Vermont is undoubtedly one of the best spots to enjoy fall foliage, and it’s a privilege we don’t take for granted. In fact, fall can be one of the most pleasant times to grab your bike and go for a nice long spin, enjoying the best Fall in Vermont.

Fall in Vermont, Vermont Foliage, Fall Tours

The refreshingly low temperatures will keep you comfortable and the promise of more and more orange speckled landscapes can keep you riding for hours. But don’t wander off too far. Fall also means that once the sun dips below the horizon, it’s lights out. We recommend riding with a light or two, especially for those rides that just don’t want to end.

For us it’s a perk, for vintners it’s work. Autumn means that grapes are ripening and new wines are on the verge of maturing. To keep up with nature, winemakers are working around the clock to pick their grapes at just the right time, ensuring a smooth and delicious fermentation process.

In California the busy harvest season is known as “The Crush.” We’re just about half-way through the California Crush, with Pinots and Chardonnays having already been picked and pruned. If you’re more of a Cabernets or Syrah drinker, you’ve still got a couple weeks to wait until your grapes are plucked from their vines.

Moving across the country, and then traversing the Atlantic, our friends in France are just gearing up for their busy wine season. And they’ve got, perhaps, even more of a frenzy on their hands as the newest wine of the year, le vin d’annee, will be bottled in just about eight weeks.

Beaujolais Nouveau, Burgundy Wine

The historic race to distribute Beaujolais Nouveau is a lot fun for most wine drinkers, but the tradition can be a controversial one – while those with a lively palate enjoy the myriad flavors of a very young wine, other purists feel that an eight-week old wine is simply too immature to be enjoyed. Regardless of where you stand on the great wine debate, it’s difficult to resist the draw of the year’s very first wine.

What’s your favorite part of fall?