September 23 – An apple a day

Madison apple picking

This morning we hopped in our rental and drove to Stribling Orchard in Virginia.  Madison and I, surrounded by kids, picked a good variety of apples ( two pecks) and enjoyed the simple farmer life. We felt just as excited for the caramel apples and cider that the tots running around were begging their parents for. This week: Swedish Apple Pie, apple butter, and caramel apples will be making my kitchen smell sweet with the scents of fall. Well, that and my Yankee Candle Pumpkin Spice candle.

I almost lost Madison to the simple life today. He would totally fit in with the Hatfields. Or the McCoys. Sigh. I just love the country, and wish we had a car so we could get out here more often.  One day…

PATs tonight, getting pumped with game day bean dip. =)

-V

PS How cute does Madison look in his new glasses?

September 9 – 29 bottles of wine later

Veritas Vineyard – I don’t think you can find a more beautiful place.

I could get used to this.  Mountain air. Nature. WINE. After some blueberry pancakes for breakfast we took to the roads and toured Skyline Drive.  I have been here before, with Mom, les trois soeurs, and Grandma and Papa back when we lived in Virginia. I remember seeing a deer and getting very excited and thinking we were very high up. Well, this trip was very much the same, with some good memories of my last visit.  =) We saw a deer, and I uneasily looked over the guard rails, thinking hmm we’re pretty high! After driving through Muir Forest in San Francisco though, this was nothing. It was a beautiful cool and sunny morning to be in the mountains.

When we were back in the valley we decided to try another vineyard – Veritas was recommended by other people staying at our B&B so we drove over and boy are we so glad we stopped.  This place is stunning. I’d really like to come see it in the fall with all the foliage – might have to arrange a trip back in a  few weeks…

Plus – they’re all about the “V” in their decorations – I have  shot of a V made from corks, hanging from the ceiling. It’s a keeper.

Who’s in for coming back to this beautiful place with me?

-V

PS: The title is true… we came back to DC with 29 bottles (some are Christmas presents) but still… we are ridiculous. =)

September 8 – Merry Christmas Madison!

Barboursville Vineyard

Our first stop of the day was Barboursville Vineyard. They have a great tasting tour, where we sampled about 15 wines! I was definitely not expecting them to let us sample all their wines, but I was very impressed with their variety.

I wasn’t a big fan of their whites but their reds were great.  Throughout the tasting you get to talk to different wine reps, and we were able to pick their brains.  Madison learned that you can describe a wine as “chewey,” and I bonded with someone who works their over the sparkling wine.  When I sipped it, my reaction was “France.” This woman (I don’t remember her name) exclaimed “yes!” She used to work for Mum vineyards which is where I toured with GWU – Barboursville sparkling wine tastes JUST like their champagne.  We obviously had to buy a couple bottles. =)

Madison also couldn’t resist buying a bottle of Octagon, their specialty wine that was served to to Queen when she visited the states. I’m not complaining!

Something we learned at all our vineyard tours – do. not. buy. red VA 2011 wine. It was a rainy season and all the grapes were bloated and the flavors, diluted. You can really taste the difference.

We ended our wine tours for the day at White Hall.  Our guide, Elliot, was really nice – he gave us a personal tour of the grounds and taught us a lot about making wine. When it was time to leave, there was a violent storm with torrential downpours that we had to run through with our just- bought- wine.  We were soaked! Summer storms are the best – this one rolled out as quick as it came and we were left with a stunning sunset.

Even though we had to wait most of the year to enjoy Madison’s Christmas present (this trip) it was worth the wait.  I can’t believe I haven’t come down here until now and I’ve been living in DC for 6 years!!

-V