Come September, if you've got a hankering for Pink Lady tomatoes or purple Peruvian potatoes along with a little case of wanderlust, look into this handful of hotels that fall within close proximity to excellent farmers markets. Whether you’re two blocks from the country’s largest farmers market in Madison, Wisconsin, or simply a short walk away from the fresh-produce market within your Vancouver hotel, these stays will give you a major reason to second-guess ordering room service. Some properties even toss in an exclusive tote to easily stow away purchases of vegetables and fruits. It's a—dare we say it—fresh idea that's definitely worth looking in to.
Hotel Madera, Washington D.C.
The "Farm to Table to Bed" package at this Dupont Circle Kimpton hotel includes a Saturday-night stay, handmade herbal soap, a seasonal-produce shopping guide, reusable tote, and $10 to spend at the local farmers market on Sunday morning. After browsing the stalls, brunch for two is served at Firefly, Hotel Madera’s restaurant. The package (from $249 per night, using the code FARM when booking online) is offered in partnership with FRESHFARM—which runs this farmers market, plus 11 others—and 10 percent of the proceeds go to this non-profit organization.
Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Launched last summer, the farmers market held in an adjacent plaza (every other Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm through September 22) at Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver is still going strong. Cooking demos by Iron Chef American alum Wayne Harris (of MARKET by Jean-Georges Restaurant) are at noon. After the market, enjoy a three-course brunch ($29) at MARKET inspired by what’s sold at the stalls (including goat cheese, wine, and olive oil).
The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Each Friday (from 12 pm to 6 pm) and Sunday (from 10 am to 3 pm) from May through November there is a farmers market (Charles Square Farmers Market) in the lower courtyard of the Charles Hotel, in the bustling Harvard Square area of Cambridge. Farmers from throughout New England hawk their produce and grass-fed meats, while artisan bakers sell homemade pies and candies.
Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, Madison, Wisconsin
Walk two blocks and you’re at the mother lode: the country’s largest farmers market (Dane County Farmers Market), held each Saturday at Capital Square through early November from 6 am to 2 pm. Back at the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, which hugs Lake Monona and is adjacent to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace, the package (available through October 31, 2013) includes one night’s accommodations, two espresso drinks to go, and a keepsake shopping bag.
Hotel Lincoln, Chicago
This year-old hotel is right across the street from Lincoln Park (home to a farmers market, Green City Market, held each Saturday in the southern part of the park from 7 am to 1 pm through October 26, 2013). The "Farm-to-Room" package includes a Hotel Lincoln tote bag, $50 food/beverage credit for in-room dining (or at Perennial Virant, inside the hotel), and a $5 donation to the farmers market in the guest's name.
Kristine Hansen is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee where she reports on food, wine, and travel topics around the globe for Fodors.com, along with new-hotel openings. She also writes for Wine Enthusiast, TIME, Whole Living and American Way. In 2006 she co-authored The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coffee and Tea (Alpha Books/Penguin). You can follow her on Twitter @kristineahansen or through her web site.
Photo Credits: Hotel Madera, Washington D.C.: Courtesy of Hotel Madera, A Kimpton Hotel; Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver: Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd.; The Charles Hotel, Cambridge: Courtesy of The Charles Hotel; Hilton Madison Monona Terrace, Madison: Courtesy of Hilton Madison Monona Terrace; Hotel Lincoln, Chicago: Courtesy of Hotel Lincoln