One of my absolute favorite things to do in either of our BMW cars is to plot, pilot, and partake in Drive and Dine (D&D) events. These excursions can be planned months in advance or tossed together like a garden salad—it’s right up there with watching football on an autumn Sunday or listening to classic rock through a set of premium headphones.

There’s nothing better than a trek along a carefully chosen path, followed by a gulp and grub at a charming eatery. Alone, with friends, or in a larger group, we so enjoy an excursion with a reward at the end. It’s always best if the weather cooperates, but nothing the forecast can provide has ever kept us from joining a D&D when we set our minds to it.

Some are as easy as the idea itself, but others are more complicated to orchestrate. It’s generally harder to coordinate the more guests that you have, and distance can be another factor. The venue might present its own set of difficulties, but these are all just challenges to overcome.

This wine cellar is a great venue for a larger group.

Unofficially, there are five categories of D&D events that I will now discuss, and they have their benefits and potential drawbacks. I’ve experienced all of these in some form or another, but any one of them can be worthwhile if you have the right blend of ingredients. Most stand a good chance to surprise you, but here they are for your review:


I’m referring to one car here—regardless of the number of occupants. Getting out for a run with a favorite target in mind can be loads of fun. Privacy in your own BMW is just the ticket to unwind after a long week. And it’s no surprise that my favorite haunts are usually at the end of an exceptionally pleasant route.

Sometimes the intimacy of going solo is as satisfying as a larger group attending. For one thing, you can pick your own trail—and perhaps alter the destination on the fly. Whether alone or with a significant other, being on your own offers some distinct advantages over a more formalized D&D.

Good friends and great conversation at the end of a long drive.


When it comes to this D&D category, in is the operative term—this means eating in your BMW. Sonic Burger, Chick-fil-A, and other drive-in or drive-throughs are most typically a stop along a route, often on a longer trip where the ultimate destination may be hours away.

The one caveat (for most enthusiasts that I know) is participant cleanliness. I have some car friends that forbid any unopened food from entering the vehicle. OK—I admit that was me not terribly long ago. It was a hard and fast rule that I didn’t break until I was forced to go on a trip with no time on the itinerary. I have since relaxed my self-imposed mandate. But I trust few passengers!


The “drive and arrive” is the most common D&D for us—meeting up with friends at a pre-chosen bistro, and this knife can cut both ways. On the one hand, driving separately to the same location seems a bit counterintuitive, but it’s also the best way to see friends that live further away. Pick a spot in the middle, choose a good course and compare notes over dinner!

Just last month we met up with our BMW CCA friends Dave and Sherry at a lovely spot that was roughly equidistant from each of our homes. We’re otherwise two hours apart, otherwise making a dinner evening an all day affair. Each of us drove about an hour—refreshed for conversation and a healthy appetite from the journey.

Making our own dinner at the BMW CCA Vermont Rendezvous.


Group drives can be a lot of fun. Often there is a meetup place big enough to gather a large collection of guests—a well-planned drive from there to a restaurant with enough room to host a large and rowdy crowd of car enthusiasts. A group drive D&D is fun to attend, but challenging to organize.

The rendezvous should be 45-90 minutes away from the destination with enough parking to accommodate the number of cars. You may want to meet an hour or so before “wheels up” to allow time for your guests to admire their cars. I’ve been hosting this kind of D&D for many years—and I’ve had my hands full, but they’re quite rewarding.

The meetup for a Dine and Drive should have plenty of room to admire all the great cars.


Overnight D&D events are rare because the setting has to be pretty special to commit to a hotel. But I’ve been on some, and I’ve planned a few myself. The most common reason for a sleepover D&D is that either the guests are too far apart, or the target is further away than you can comfortably navigate with a group of friends in an acceptable time frame.

Once you determine a dining location is worth an overnight trip, it’s all downhill from there. Planning is all about getting there, but you can also plot out a nice jaunt at your destination. Success is in brevity once you arrive—especially when guests have been in the car a while. Don’t worry about gaps in your schedule. Your fellow travelers will fill them in!

Whether or not you realized it at the time, you have likely been a guest on one or more drive and dines. Some of you have even organized a few. One of the easiest ways to arrange one is to tack it on to an existing event or meeting. D&D is a great way to socialize with friends and fellow members of the BMW CCA. So pick a place, plan a route and enjoy! —David Newton



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