Hotel at a Glance: Tuscany House Hotel
Southern New Jersey is home to one of the most historic vineyards in the U.S.: the Renault Winery, which dates back 150 years. That's when French-born master vintner Louis Nicholas Renault began producing champagne here; soon enough, he was one of the largest distributors of bubbly in the U.S. In 2001, the winery's current owners added a 50-room hotel to the vineyard, naming it the Tuscany House Hotel for the way its design calls to mind the Italian countryside.
- Tee off on the 18-hole Vineyard Golf Course.
- Onsite dining: Joseph's Restaurant, where executive chef Joe DeGennaro crafts Italian entrees, homemade soup, and sorbet.
- Live music at Joseph's Restaurant on the weekends
- Learn more about the winery on a 40-minute tour and tasting for two, included with some deal options.
Egg Harbor City, New Jersey: Pastoral Countryside and Wineries 20 Miles from Atlantic City
Egg Harbor City is a pastoral town about 20 miles inland from Atlantic City. Thanks to a microclimate and soil that's similar to France, the area supports a handful of award-winning wineries, including Renault Winery and Sylvin Farms Winery. Each offers tastings and tours.
The bright lights of Atlantic City are a quick drive away. No trip to that glittery destination would be complete without a stroll along the famous boardwalk, which stretches for 6 miles along the coast. Originally built in 1870 to keep sand out of hotel lobbies, the boardwalk grew in popularity as a place where you could drink and gamble without much trouble from the police during Prohibition, as depicted in HBO's Boardwalk Empire. The casinos are still lively, but the boardwalk has grown more family-friendly over the years; visitors are just as inclined to sit at the beach or stop at one of the many carnival rides.
It's also worth checking out the Absecon Lighthouse, which is more than 150 years old. Climb its 228 steps to the top for sweeping views of the city skyline and the sea. Down at the base, you'll find a replica of the original light keeper's lonely cloister and the collection of sock puppets he created to keep him company.