As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Most pop-up dinners take place in restaurants or event spaces, but we’ve pulled together our favorites dinners that have risen in striking locales outside. Get ready to enjoy a hand-crafted feast alongside new friends in a picturesque field, frozen tundra, or the middle of an oyster farm.
Adventure Dinner, Various Locations Around Vermont
For a recent edition of Vermont’s speakeasy-style Adventure Dinners, guests got a text 24 hours ahead of time letting them know to meet at a marina on Lake Champlain. They took a cruise, accompanied by craft cocktails and appetizers, to a secluded rocky point and enjoyed a lakeside dinner cooked over an open fire by a local chef. The next dinner is slated for a flower farm in southern Vermont in July, complete with a treasure hunt and a lamb roast.
Outstanding in the Field, Various Locations
Outstanding in the Field calls itself a “roving culinary adventure.” Since 1999, they’ve been hosting farm-to-table dinners with local chefs in outdoor locales from islands to vineyards to mountaintops. This summer, you can sign up for a hosted communal dinner at an oyster farm on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, a cattle ranch in Jackson, Wyoming, a dairy near Lincoln, Nebraska, or a fruit orchard in New York’s Hudson Valley.
The Gardens, Tulare, California
At the Gardens, a shop and event space in Tulare, California, by day, you can buy succulents or gourmet kitchen items or sign up for a workshop on making driftwood art. By night, join for one of their outdoor pop-up dinners in a lush garden setting under string lights, where you’ll be treated to cocktails and appetizers, followed by a three-course dinner and an outdoor movie, complete with buckets of popcorn and a wine bar.
Raw-Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Frontiers North Adventures leads guided trips through the Canadian subarctic, including a special dinner event they call Raw-Churchill. You’ll take a ride in a heated tundra buggy usually used for polar bear sightings across the frozen Churchill River to the Prince of Wales Fort, a Canadian historical landmark. There, you and 20 others will enter a tent structure with a clear roof for viewing the northern lights and an open kitchen, where a top chef whips up a multi-course meal. The event began last March, with the next slated 10-day run happening in March 2017.
Handmade Events, Various Locations
Flash picnics from Handmade Events started in California’s Bay Area in 2011 and they now take place around the country, from Brooklyn to Chicago to Sonoma Wine Country. At 3 p.m. on the day of the event, you’ll be notified of the specific location, often held in a park, field, or open space. Bring your own picnic dinner and dress all in white: Those are the only rules. After dinner, there’s live music and an impromptu dance floor. By 10 p.m., everything disappears and the canvas is blank again.