Road Trip Guide - Page 9 - Tap into a tourist trail continued (2)

Road Trip Guide
- Page 9
Tap into a tourist trail continued (2)
of small towns, examples of remarkable engineering feats needed to make the roads in the first place.

But most of all, these all-but-lost highways brought me to scenes of an America I thought had long been lost.

• California Trail: The largest migration in history crossed this trail in the 1840s and 1850 to the rich farmland and gold fields of California, covering more than 1,000 miles.

• Lewis and Clark Trail: The famous trail over 2,000 miles that led fur traders, trappers, missionaries and settlers west.

• Oregon Trail-Pony Express Trail: The system of riding the mail from Missouri to California in only 10 days before the Civil War and the railroad.

• Santa Fe Trail: Leading from western Missouri west through Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

• Trail of Tears: The 1830’s trail of the forced migration of the Cherokee tribes west from the southeastern part of the United States.

• Wine, of course, is the main potable of pilgrimage. It put Napa and Sonoma on the map, after all, followed by the Finger Lakes Wine Trail in upstate New York. Now every state in the country produces wine, and every one of them has a wine trail. Wine trail associations encourage people to linger longer, see more of the area and, yes, spend more. Information: americaswinetrails.com.

• Beer is coming up a strong second (who’s left to drive?). Craft brew aficionados will find beer trails across the country, often backed by their states’ craft brewers associations and tourism offices as they promote local business and help bring visitors to the area.

The Delaware Ale Trail has partnered with the Delaware Tourism Office to showcase the growing craft beer industry in the state. The trail currently includes 13 breweries and works to promote the local beer-scene and show visitors what craft beer in Delaware has to offer. Many of these trails also have passport programs and offer a free gift after your pamphlet has been stamped at a certain number of breweries Info: craftbrews.com

For a good old brewery tour experience, go to brewtrail.com. There you’ll find databases of breweries that offer tours and have taprooms and a search engine that lets you blaze your own trail.

• In 1999, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association formed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour to give visitors a firsthand look at the art and science of crafting Bourbon. In the past five years, nearly 2.5 million visitors from the U.S. and abroad have done the trail. A minimum of three days is recommended— more if you really enjoy it. Info: kybourbontrail.com.

• The White Lightning Trail of Tennessee (tntrailsandbyways.com): Not a spirit trail, though it’s in there. It’s a new, 200-mile motor route that starts in Knoxville and winds its way up the Clinch and Powell river valleys to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The route includes a drive along the Maynardville Highway, a main artery for running moonshine during Prohibition. But it also includes five state parks, 15 marinas and numerous craft shops and restaurants, circumnavigating the big cities for small towns in less-visited counties.

The White Lightning is the fourth in what eventually will be a system of 16 motor trails designed to showcase interesting and offbeat tourist attractions across the state through a program called Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways.

• The Crooked Road (crookedroad.org): Subtitled Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, it is a 330-mile route from the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Coalfield region of Virginia, connecting eight major heritage music venues with a thriving network of jams, festivals and concerts in the communities along the way.