“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
So we danced and it rained non-stop. As Hurricane Joaquin headed towards the east coast, we headed west to higher ground; one very patient man with his grandmother, mother, aunt and sister in tow. But the hurricane wasn’t the reason for our exodus; it was because we were the recipients of a beautiful early Christmas gift. My children have always been generous to a fault and on this particular weekend, I was marking one more thing off of my bucket list; the opportunity to stay in one of those cozy little cabins in the country. We were headed to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to taste wines, pick apples and to shop. The first item on our itinerary was lunch and of course nothing says road trip like a visit to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. After feasting on country fixins’, we continued west towards Afton Mountain where we enjoyed wine tastings at Veritas Vineyard & Winery followed by the King Family Vineyards in Crozet. The novices in the group (that would be all of us with the exception of one) were introduced to wine tasting and the art of swirling, sniffing and swishing. We also learned a few things about making wine too like the grape skins determine the color of the wine. With so many wine choices, I had a difficult time figuring out which ones I liked the best. But one thing for sure, we all had a ton of fun tasting and learning about the different varieties.
By now it was getting late in the afternoon and we were eager to check out our cabin in Scottsville known as the Old Peddler’s House. Upon our arrival, the innkeeper greeted us with fresh eggs from his 250 acre working farm. We were then led down a long gravel lane to an idyllic setting where we found the beautifully restored 1790s home. The property was surrounded by woods and meadows complete with an old red barn on site and a creek out back. After a brief history lesson, the innkeeper went on his way. It felt like we had taken a step back in time where for a couple of nights, we could pretend to be the Waltons. In fact, it is believed that this home is where the old peddler lived who sold books to Olivia Walton. Instead of turning in the book order, the old peddler used the money to buy a doll for his child. He later returned the doll and ended up giving Olivia her money back.
The cabin was cozy and warm and very tastefully decorated with comfy furniture and beautiful antiques in every room. Of course there were modern amenities too. We really enjoyed relaxing in the family room in front of the fireplace and sitting around the large kitchen table laughing and talking while helping my son with a project that he had brought along. My daughter picked up walnuts from the tree outside to be used for arts and crafts projects with her little girls when she returned home. The sleeping arrangements were just right but after the first night we realized that we sounded like a den of grizzly bears which was not conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. The only logical solution seemed like ear plugs which we would purchase the next day when we went into town. The other option was to drink enough wine before bedtime to pass out and then the snoring wouldn’t bother any of us. Regardless, it was the best and the worst sleepover these five grownups have had in a long time.
On the second day of our adventure, we had breakfast in Charlottesville and then visited the Plow & Hearth Outlet for a little fall shopping. It was soon time for more wine tasting so we headed to the Barboursville Vineyards. Next stop was the Trump Winery where, because of the rain, we enjoyed our delicious picnic lunch on the covered front porch. Those who passed by seemed envious as we continued to laugh and “dance in the rain” in spite of the relentless storms.
Early on the last morning of our stay I was pretty emotional as I reflected on the magnitude of the gift that we had all been so generously given by my son. God blesses us so that we can bless others and we had truly been blessed this weekend. Tomorrow it would be back to the real world. On the way home we visited Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards which turned out to be my favorite winery of them all. Our apple picking adventure at Carter Mountain Orchard was rained out but we still managed to enjoy hot apple cider, fresh baked donuts and of course apples that had already been picked. Our final stop before leaving the area was Albemarle Ciderworks and Vintage Virginia Apples where I discovered that I AM a fan of cider. Like the fine wines that we had experienced throughout the weekend, our memories will continue to age beautifully over the coming months and years.