Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vacation Day Four

Rodney the Rooster
The adventure for today: vineyards and mountains.

I picked up my traveling companion this morning and off we headed. Pointing the car west on route 6 and we were off and running.

There really was no specific destination in mind as we began our journey. Loosely the idea was to visit at least one winery and reach the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It was a very leisurely drive. Stopping along the way at anything that caught our fancy. Columbia provided loads of pictures. We even learned a thing or two about St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. There was an old gas pump just down the road from the church that was rusty - the price per gallon on the pump read 64-cents!!! Boy had it been out of use of a long time, I'm guessing since the early to mid-70's.

Rodney the Rooster's residence is outside of Lumpkin's Restaurant & Motel. There is even a sign posted on his butt that says, "He loves having his picture taken, but please do not climb on his back." Personally I think that would have been a very tough thing to do the sign on his butt is about 5 foot off the ground, and I'd estimate he's nearly 15 foot tall.

delfosse Vineyard & WineryOnward towards to find a vineyard - please bear in mind that we had no particular winery in mind. We relied on those lovely winery signs along the highway. Our first winery sign happened to be for the delfosse Vineyard & Winery.  The signage along the route to the winery was fun and reassuring that we were indeed on the right road. One other neat point, the vineyard has trails for hiking, mountain biking & even ATV rides, that are part of the Nelson County Parks & Recreation Department.

Arriving at the elegant wrought iron gate, with grape clusters and leaves incorporated into the design, it sets the stage for the entire visit. As we crested the hill the serenity and beauty of the arbors and surrounding hills gave us plenty to look at and set the tone for the day. We drove to the top of the furthest parking lot to take some photos of the valley and vineyards. The grapes were hanging on the vines - give them a few more weeks and they will be plumped uneven more.

The tasting room provided a relaxing and beautiful view of the surrounding hills. Our tasting 'guide' was very knowledgeable and informative, since this was my very first visit to a vinery it was great having someone there to explain the differences. We sampled the red wines produced here. I had a couple that I really enjoyed.

Having enjoyed our tasting and purchased a bottle for home, we were off once again. Between vineyards I stopped to shot some photos of a dear at the edge of a field. I was able to get out and walk up closer until the

Mountain Cove VineyardsOur next stop was the Mountain Cove Vineyards, Virginia's oldest winery. Having traveled down off the beaten path we found the winery's mailbox. Love it!  Now only to decide which fork in the road was the "right" road to the winery. We picked the fork that looked like the "road less traveled" which happily turned out to be the right one!!

The owner, Al Weed, chatted with us in the tasting room about the various wines that he produces and when he first came to the area to plant the vineyards. We tasted a number of fruit wines and came away with a bottle of Blackberry wine. It will be great with a piece of cheesecake or added to some Fresca for a sparkling summer drink.

Off on now a mission for Dad - freestone peaches! Mr. Weed had provided us with directions to Saunder's Brothers Farm Market. Where we were able to get just what were had been sent for! The market had a nice selection of fresh vegetables. They even had lemon cucumbers! Now of course, I had to get some of these just to try. (They didn't have a lemon taste at all but I did love the compact size. They would be great to grow if you didn't want the typical cucumber. I may have to try these one year.) Then there were all the canned vegetables, salsas (of all kinds), jellies & jams. A few of them really caught my eye: T.O.E. Jam (tangerine, orange, elderberry); F.R.O.G. Jam (fig, raspberry, orange, ginger); and then there was the Moonshine Jelly!!

Rock Point Overlook, by Judy P. Smith
The rest of the trip seemed to go by very quickly. Hopping onto the Blue Ridge Parkway we stopped at the Fork Mountain Overlook for a picnic lunch.

It was great getting out of the car for a nice long stretch. I took a few pictures of the black swallowtail butterflies on the flowers nearby. The yellow finches were flitting here and there in the meadow, too far away for a photo but they definitely did standout against the greenery. A very peaceful place for a picnic.

On to Afton via the parkway for the trip home, we stopped at a few more of the overlooks, and waited for the construction workers to waive us through (there was a lot of paving going on up there). The trip down 250 to Richmond was uneventful, although we did pass that one pond the the bear with two cubs and the scorpion mailboxes.

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