May is a magical time in the temperate climate zone. The air warms and the earth softens. Oh, and that avalanche of laughter? That’s just sounds of excitement coming from your child’s school that’s on the verge of letting out for the summer. In other words, now is a great time to score one more break before you’re relegated to carpooling duties. We’ve pulled together four stateside destinations worthy of the quick jaunt.
Laguna Beach, California
Say “Laguna Beach” and you’ll likely envision pristine sand and waves. But there’s another reason to visit Orange County that has nothing to do with relaxing on the beach. On May 17, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Montage Laguna Beach’s Studio restaurant hosts Taste of the Nation, an afternoon of wine, specialty cocktails and delicious bites prepared by some of Southern California’s most renowned chefs (Montage’s own Craig Strong and Lee Smith will lead the epicurean charge). The only issue you’ll have is deciding whether to dine inside Studio’s cozy cottage or outdoors, where you can look onto an oceanfront bluff.
Charleston, South Carolina
From May 22 through June 7, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston’s historic theaters, outdoor spaces and churches with stellar performances on stage, dance and a range of musical styles. Founded in 1977, the Spoleto Festival is an annual treat for the cultured sect, and this year’s engaging lineup — highlights include the Scottish Ballet’s retelling of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, the American premiere of Francesco Cavalli’s Veremonda l’amazzone di Aragona and a concert from jazz titan Dianne Reeves — promises to continue the tradition. Ask about the Spoleto Grill Gourmet package when booking nights at the elegant Four-Star Belmond Charleston Place. The promotion includes a discount to select festival events, daily breakfast and dinner for two at Four-Star Charleston Grill.
For this hamlet of just more than 2,100 residents to have such a small presence on the map, it sure knows how to throw grand events. From golf (August’s 2015 PGA Championship) to gastronomy (October’s Kohler Food & Wine Experience), Kohler can celebrate with the best of them. Now that it’s time to properly honor two of the state’s biggest industries, beer and cheese, it’s pulling out all the stops. From May 29 through 31, the Kohler Festival of Beer will take over, dousing the resort town in happenings like a lobster boil, a 5K beer run, beer-and-chocolate pairings and a host of brew-backed dinners. Score The American Club’s Kohler Festival of Beer Weekend package and you’ll gain access to six of the premier events in addition to getting two unforgettable nights at the charming Five-Star estate.
Highlands, North Carolina
As if you need another reason to travel to picturesque Old Edwards Inn & Spa in the Blue Ridge Mountains this spring, the Four-Star retreat is teaming up with golf legend Annika Sorenstam for a May 24 event benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau and The Annika Foundation. Beyond presenting the opportunity to rub elbows with the eight-time LPGA Player of the Year, the dinner reception will also feature passed hors d’oeuvres, wine, door prizes and live and silent auctions. Should you come up empty with your bidding, though, rest assured you’ll feel like a winner the moment you open the door to your charming, antique-filled room on the property.