Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Yes I have been MIA as someone recently pointed out, sorry about that. A quick summary and then I'll go into details later.

I have been off on a recent weekend adventure kayaking on the New River (pics to come later), I am moving (yep to a new city in NC), looking for a house to buy and trying to find a job.


Check back for more details later this week, maybe even this weekend!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wine, Mountains & Camping, Oh My!

So in keeping with the fun of all my mini vacations so far this summer; this past weekend myself, Lu and a group of new friends from Greenville Outdoor Adventure Club trekked to the NC mountains for some wine tastings, camping and hiking. The first morning we arrived I had to have coffee, thank God for a french press! I thought this was a cool photo when I was pouring my cup.

We had a GREAT weekend, the weather was gorgeous; mid-80's but low humidity and a wonderful mountain breeze wafted the smell of honeysuckle under our noses all weekend. Looking through the pictures I hope they capture some of the fun we had and the beauty of where we were.

The first vineyard we visited was Stoney Knoll; unfortunately I don't have pictures at that vineyard of us, someone else took most of them there. We did taste 8 different wines and most of us thought this place was a top favorite. The Coe's own it and they allowed us to watch them bottle the wine; which is all done by hand. This vineyard is a hobby for everyone in the family. Everyone down to the grandkids help with this process, they fill them, seal them, label 'em and ship them all by hand. The day we visted they had 900 bottles they were processing; again all by hand! Ouch! I did capture this shot of their vineyard standing outside. You really can't beat this view!

We then piled our somewhat tipsy happy selves into vehicles with DD's of course and headed to our next stop; Flint Hill Winery. The food here was delicious! The property was beautiful and had been restored from an old farm home which was in sad shape. The home was the owner's childhood home and he decided to keep the home in the family he would renovate and start a winery. You see this a lot in NC since tobacco farms are slowly diminishing in the state. While this winery had delicious food it was our least favorite for wines. I think it had something to do with while it's a family vineyard, the place was being run by a staff and the owners were nowhere to be found. It just didn't seem to have the same cozy feeling we experienced at the first stop. Plus you didn't get the history of the place and hear the stories. Isn't this what makes it fun? I mean of course we were there for the wine, but the atmosphere was lacking. However, we ate lunch out in their courtyard and afterwards I walked through the grass in my bare feet and laid underneath a rose bush while taking in the beauty around me. Now THAT can't be beat!

Our third stop was at the Divine Llama winery. Every one of us agreed that this vineyard was the best! I mean it can't be beat for hospitality, warmth, and the wines were delicious! The owners Mike and Tom have been best friends since college and opened this winery on May 1st, they were celebrating their one month anniversary this past weekend. And to add to their coolness was the fact that they really do have llamas. They must have had 20+ plus and as we walked around the farm enjoying the wine we enjoyed the company of their dog Luke and the beauty of the blue ridge mountains in the distance. We had such a wonderful talk learning about the history of their friendship and learning about their newly formed partnership. Here's a toast to them that their vineyard is successful for many years!

The last place we landed for the day was West Bend Vineyeards. We rolled in to the parking lot at 5:10; they close at 5:00, but I was willing to beg to get in. I have been wanting to tour this vineyard for three years; yes I did say 3 years. I discovered this vineyard while driving through the country one afternoon when Lu was at work. I was bored and thought; "let's go for a drive", as I often do when I want to reflect. That day when I drove up to the large wrought iron gates I knew I had to see what was behind them. I'm sort of a kid that way; you can't keep me out! :) I went several times afterwards while he was living in the area and each time they were closed. So since I had been waiting for three long years, okay a bit of a dramatization; I ran in like a crazy woman asking if we could come in even though they were closing. Now this was a big deal for me to ask cause I am one of those people who hate it when people come in near closing time and want me to accommodate them. BUT, the woman was barely gracious when she said yes; I think she would have re-thought this if she knew seven people would be piling in to taste wine after closing time. However, all but one bought wine so I think we made it worth their while. No pictures at this vineyard because they rushed us through; but the wine was good and if I had more time I would go back to learn the history; after all this is the oldest winery in NC.

After getting back from drinking a lot of wine we ran over (literally) this box turtle; he wasn’t hurt though and we set him free in the woods. He was a little shy for the camera but since this was the only wildlife we saw all weekend we took a picture, although Travis claimed there was a beaver by the road; I think it was the wine!

After spending a really, really great day drinking wine and buying (did I mention we bought 14 bottles?!?) we headed back to where we were camping (thanks Barry & Penny) and enjoyed our wares by a blazing fire; but not before we had to explain the "brown chicken Brown cow" joke to Mike. (think 70's porn)

What are the dirtiest animals on the farm? Brown Chicken, Brown Cow! Really if I had the music for this you would definitely get the joke!

Beach Weekend

So I have been having a lot of mini-adventures lately. That's the way I prefer it; instead of taking a bunch of time off I like to spend my weekends getting out and away to new places. Now my regular followers will know that since I don't have kids my dogs generally go with me (after all they are my babies). So several weeks ago myself, Lu, Rogue & Ridge piled into the SUV and went to Altantic Beach. What a gorgeous day! My dogs loved it and it was great temps and few people; just the way I like it. It was the first time Ridge had ever seen the ocean and Rogue loved romping in the surf with him!

And as I was laying on my beach towel soaking up some rays my pooches had glued their sandy wet bodies to my side and I couldn't resist snapping these cute photos! Is there any doubt that they ARE the cutest dogs in the world? Sorry Nola, your aunt K loves you too!

And lastly, we spent Memorial Day weekend in Michigan. Now, while not my favorite trip because my MIL is crazy (definitely will will tell you more about that later), my dogs had a blast! Can you tell how spoiled rotten they are? If this picture doesn't say it all!