Calling all coastal culinary adventurers! These eight food forays, which range from a few hours in Portland to five days on the Virginia coast, get you up close and personal with gathering, fishing, cooking, and (of course) eating.
Photo: Bob Balestri/iStock
Get your own personal taste of eating off the land with this three-hour adventure on the rugged coastline near St. John’s (itself a trending culinary city). Professional forager Lori McCarthy will guide you on a walk to collect wild edibles including oyster plants, crow berries, mussels, urchins, and sea greens, before setting up camp on the beach for a traditional boil-up of Arctic char, mussels, cod, smoked mackerel, or other seasonal fish over an open fire. (McCarthy packs the seafood.)
Book it here: Wild Foraging in Newfoundland and Labrador, $140 per person
While you’re there: Don’t miss a meal with chef Jeremy Charles, who’s credited with leading Newfoundland’s food revolution, at Raymonds Restaurant (raymondsrestaurant.com) in St. John’s.
Photo: Courtney Keating/Getty Images
Long Island, New York
It’s great to be an adult when 21+ status earns you a spot at this all-grown-up sleep-away camp in New York’s North Fork—one of the country’s hottest wine destinations. Learn the ins and outs of winemaking, from grape (the vineyards are ripe with Merlot and Chardonnay varietals) to barrel to bottle, plus how to blend and taste wine like an expert, all while enjoying the breezes off Long Island Sound. The four-day itinerary includes visits to more than eight wineries, alfresco meals with wine pairings, and 12 bottles to take home as souvenirs.
Book it here: Wine Camp, $1,299 per person (double occupancy)
While you’re there: In nearby, charming Greenport, Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market is the perfect pre-camp (and post-camp) spot for a bucket of “shuck yourself” local oysters.
Photo: Greg Currier
It’s certainly acceptable to honor the Maine coast by eating all the lobster you can while there, but take your game up a notch by learning how to catch and prepare them yourself. The Camden Harbour Inn’s luxury lobster excursion begins with a two-hour lobster fishing trip on a working boat, followed by a hands-on lobster cooking class with Chris Long, executive chef at the inn’s Natalie’s restaurant. Enjoy that lunch on the inn’s front porch, and come back for a five- course lobster-and-wine tasting menu that evening. Bibs included.
Book it here: Lobster Like a Maine Native, $1,399 per person (with two-night stay)
While you’re there: It’s worth the 45-minute trek inland to The Lost Kitchen, chef Erin French’s extraordinary single-seating restaurant housed in a historic gristmill in tiny Freedom, Maine. Reservations are a must.
Photo: Megan Schlow/Offset
Crawfish Haven/Mrs. Rose’s Bed and Breakfast is aptly named—just behind the cottage is a pond teeming with the region’s iconic denizens. For crawfish lovers, this B&B is the center of the universe: Take a guided excursion or use old-fashioned drop nets and bait to catch your own on the grounds (if you’re a guest), and boil them up yourself (or have these folks boil them for you).
Book it here: Crawfish Excursion, $50 for guests ($75 for non- guests), plus market price for crawfish
While you’re there: Go seriously authentic at Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant, a local institution that will introduce you to turtle stew (called “turtle sauce picante”).
Photo: Eyecrave/Getty Images
Lummi Island, Washington
Reef netting for sockeye salmon has been practiced by Native Americans on Puget Sound for centuries, and now it’s your turn. This all-day adventure heads to Lummi Island, where you’ll tour pristine farmland before a class in this historic style of fishing. A sunset salmon dinner includes tips and tricks for cooking fish over an open flame.
Book it here: Lummi Island Reef Netting and Salmon Bake, $175 per person
While you’re there: Notch your PNW culinary belt with a visit to Blaine Wetzel’s heralded kitchen at the Willows Inn on Lummi Island. Unless you’re a guest of the inn, reserve by phone only: 888-294- 2620.
Photo: Juanita Turner Photography/Getty Images
Santa Cruz, California
Foraging and pickling could not be hotter right now, and this miniadventure combines both culinary trends in a two-part excursion. Learn how to harvest kelp and other sea vegetables from the area’s rich tide pools, and return with your haul for pickling. While spring is kelp season, eager explorers can also sign up for a seafood foraging class November 11–13.
Book it here: Kelp Pickling Class, $80 per person ($45 for children)
While you’re there: Check the schedule at POPUP, a bright storefront in town that curates a delicious rotation of local-food events, including kickin’ chicken, curry, and tamale nights.
Photo courtesy of Coastal Food Tours
Unique topography—fertile farmland meeting the lush waters of the Atlantic, Chesapeake Bay, and multiple rivers and estuaries—makes eastern Virginia a mecca for culinary pursuits. This five-day tour offers insider access to the chefs, farmers, and fishermen behind the coast’s bounty, from an aquafarm producing plump Atlantic oysters and the Eastern Shore’s Chatham Vineyards to a historic farm where you’ll learn to traditionally smoke and cure Virginia ham.
Book it here: Virginia Harvest Feast Food Tour, from $125 per day
While you’re there: Set aside a morning to spend at Commune, Virginia Beach’s relaxed and welcoming (but utterly sophisticated) farmer-owned restaurant that’s open just for breakfast and lunch.
Photo courtesy of The Meadow
Founded by Mark Bitterman, a James Beard Award–winning salt harvester and selmelier (the salt equivalent of a sommelier), gourmet boutique The Meadow hosts events designed to educate novices on the nuances of sea salts harvested from coasts around the world. In the 90-minute class, you’ll learn why a light New Zealand flake salt adds the right amount of bite to springtime salads—and chocolate cake— and taste the outdoor boldness of a smoky Alaskan variety that pairs well with red meat and fatty fish.
Book it here: Craft Salts 101, $40
While you’re there: Sample eight chef concepts at Pine Street Market, a new food hall and culinary-themed marketplace that opened this spring near the waterfront in downtown and elevates the promise of grazing to astonishing heights.