Recently Dave and I had the pleasure of spending time in Lost River, West Virginia with some friends who own a getaway in the mountains. We turned the three day Columbus weekend into four for a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of DC! After a couple conference calls on Friday morning (for Dave) we packed up the pups and our bags and headed west. Our plan was to beat the afternoon traffic, but we got on the road later than we hoped and it seemed everyone else had the same idea.
Finally we made it out of the Route 66 “parking lot” and made our first stop at Valerie Hill Vineyard. We love going wine tasting in Virginia and try to incorporate a new winery (or old favorite like Aspen Dale!) whenever we can. A Valerie Hill, tastings take place in the old brick manor house, with many different rooms to sit and enjoy. We bellied up to one of the tasting bars and finally relaxed while taking our first sips. While we did not purchase anything, I actually enjoyed their 2013 Chardonnay and normally I am a red girl!
Our next stop, Wicked Oak, particularly interested me because it is a family farm and winery run by two brothers and their wives – I was on a mission for farm fresh eggs and all natural breakfast sausage – and since it’s almost Halloween, the name seemed fitting. Although they were out of sausage, we snagged two dozen eggs, some that were directly from the hen house! We enjoyed tasting the wines while chatting with two of the owners and even got to try two specials, Sassy Sweet Tea Sangria and Warm Holiday Pie Wine. I loved the mulled wine so much that we sat down with a glass (which was rimmed with honey and cinnamon! mind = blown) before getting back in the car for our last stretch of the drive.
Marc and Thatch have a beautiful home in Lost River Valley next to the Guesthouse where they’ll get married next year. (Naturally I forgot to take pictures, which just means I’ll need to take another trip!) Over the weekend we ate a lot of yummy food, including ribs a la Thatch, hiked at the Trout Pond and Lost River State Park, shopped at the Wardensville Fall Festival and visited the Lost River Brewery. Fall foliage was definitely peaking and had a spooky look at times with all the rain and fog. Since fall is my favorite time of year (tied with Christmas), I was in heaven! Jackie came with us on both hikes and she loved it, and Daisy enjoyed her long naps followed by time in the backyard or walks around the neighborhood.
It was so fun to spend time with Marc, Thatch and his sister, Kealy – I was not ready to leave! (The pups on the other hand were so tired they immediately passed out, Jackie in my lap!) Luckily we had fun plans for the ride back, including the Woodbine Market and a couple more wineries, and Kealy rode with us. At the market we picked up several pumpkins, pumpkin spice syrup and the best cookies ever. The cookies were so good that I ate them right up before I could even take a picture!
Dave picked the first two wineries for their view, which was mostly blocked by a foggy haze. Our first of three wineries was Twin Oaks Tavern Winery in Bluemont, VA. It used to be a weekend vacation spot for people in DC. Apparently they would ride the train and then take a horse and buggy to the then inn. Of their wines, I enjoyed the Peach (which was new for me!) and the Norton.
Next up was Bluemont Vineyard, where we were able to get close to the vines and actually see some of the fruit. Usually when I’ve gone tasting, the fruit is too young or has just been harvested, so this was neat! Bluemont was buzzing, with a full outdoor seating area and crowded tasting bar and bistro area. We nestled our way into a corner spot and the wine began to flow. The winery partners with Great Country Farms across the street so their labels all feature a different animal from the farm. We bought a bottle of the Farm Table Red, but liked several of the others as well. With a cute shop inside, seating with a view and frequent live music, Bluemont would be a great stop for a group (ahem, bookclub) looking to relax in a great setting with some delicious vino.
At this point I was really getting the “back to work blues,” so it was good we had a third stop at Casanel Vineyards in Lessburg, VA. When we first walked in, I thought we were in the wrong place because it looked like a wedding venue. Because of the weather, they moved all tastings over from the smaller tasting room, which was kind of a bummer because they had totally different atmospheres. We still enjoyed the wines (duh!) and left with a bottle of Petit Verdot.
The weekend could not have been any better, except maybe if we had more sun. A HUGE thanks to Marc and Thatch for hosting us and also a big thanks to Kealy for being a fun new friend! And just for fun …