Wine, Dine and Unwind at Autumn Big Band Blast

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Autumn seems to arrive a little bit later in Myrtle Beach than it does for many of our Northern neighbors. While Labor Day weekend marks the traditional transition from summer to fall, on the Grand Strand, the month of September usually remains sunny and warm without all the heat and humidity — and it's typically October before visitors get to experience that unmistakable chill in the ocean air.

This year, Oct. 1 also signals the return of another popular fall ritual to the Myrtle Beach area — the Autumn Big Band Blast at La Belle Amie Vineyard in the nearby town of Little River. Located about 15 miles north of Long Bay Resort, just below the Carolina border, La Belle Amie knows how to throw the perfect party to kick off the most comfortable month of the year.

Situated on 38 scenic acres that have served as a farm for the Bellamy family (hence the name “La Belle Amie”) since the 1800s, this winery serves up a variety of activities beyond wine-making and wine-tastings. La Belle Amie throws a series of celebrations throughout the year, giving locals and visitors alike the chance to enjoy live music, good food and excellent wine in the great outdoors. Although a winery is not normally considered a kid-friendly attraction, La Belle Amie goes the extra mile to create a fun atmosphere for all ages.

The Oct. 1 Big Band Blast is one of the most popular events of the year and a fall tradition not to be missed. Featuring big bands belting out timeless classics on an outdoor stage, the event sees La Belle Amie invite guests to bring a beach blanket or chair, stretch out on the lawn or around the bonfire, and dance barefoot on the grass to the sounds of the 1920s, '30s and '40s. The collection of horns cranking out popular swing songs set the mood for a festive occasion where patrons can grab a dance partner for a spin on the makeshift dance floor and mix and mingle with others who share the same love for music, wine and life.

While you are visiting the beautifully landscaped property, be sure to take a guided or self-guided tour through the vineyards, the meadow and the old tobacco barn that has stood for generations. Visitors can also take part in wine tastings of the house-made line of wines, known as the Twisted Sisters label. Producing a wide selection of reds, whites and dessert wines, La Belle Amie specializes in grapes that are native to the Carolina coast, such as scuppernongs and muscadines.

La Belle Amie's wines have received both national and international acclaim, and you can sample them all with the purchase of a $3 souvenir tasting glass you can take home with you as a keepsake. Visit the Tasting Room to enjoy sips of Twisted Sisters wines, and you can purchase bottles of your favorites at a discounted rate. The gift shop also offers a nice selection of wine chillers, corkscrews and other wine-related accessories, as well as a boutique that features candles, jewelry, paintings and other items to help you remember your visit.

If you can't make it for the Autumn Big Band Blast, La Belle Amie offers other fall festivals every other weekend. Stop by for the Rock Back The Clock Music Fest (Oct. 15), the Halloween Saturday Bonfire (Oct. 29), the Island Fever Music Fest (Nov. 5), WineStock (Nov. 19), the Holiday Spirits Bonfire (Nov. 26), the Stardusters Afternoon of Holiday Tunes (Dec. 10), the Yuletide Music &  Bonfire (Dec. 26) and the New Year Bonfire (Dec. 31). Admission ranges from $3 to $10, and guests can receive $3 off admission by donating two canned goods for the local food bank.

After a fun day at the festival, return home to Long Bay Resort for a little rest, relaxation and recovery. Bring back a bottle of your favorite Twisted Sisters wine and enjoy a nightcap on your private balcony overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It’s just one more reason to take a fall getaway to Long Bay Resort.