Tuesday, August 15

while jake's away, the parents will play

My Mom and Dad took Jake to the beach this week. Brian and I have been trying to squeeze in an overnight motorcycle trip all summer, but things never worked out--until now. This seemed like the perfect time to do it (especially after our stress-filled vacation of last month). We decided to go on a trip and hit some Virginia wineries. We left town on Sunday and headed to Winchester, Virginia for the night. We left Johnstown in mid-afternoon and, after a few stops, arrived in Winchester in the early evening.

We are well-acquainted with the Winchester area as this is the town where we get our tattoos. Thanks (mostly) to Brian, we've been there a multitude of times. Over the years, Brian has become friends with his tattoo artist, John Joyes, so whenever we are passing through the area, we always stop in to say 'hi'. We hit our favorite local restaurant, Pargo's, that night for supper and then settled in to our hotel for an evening of watching television. This trip was interesting in that we had to pack light. Packing light meant not taking any books to read. Luckily, it was Sunday night, so we got to watch our usual HBO shows: Deadwood, Entourage, and Lucky Louie.

The next morning, we got up, ate our free breakfast (you gotta love the Hampton Inns) and then packed up our stuff and went on our way. I think we're official bikers now because we had to bungee-cord our duffel bag to the back of the bike in order to free up the saddle bags for our pending wine purchases. (Well, ok, there probably aren't a lot of bikers going on wine tours--I was referring to the bungee-cording of luggage in my biker reference.) It was too early to visit any vineyards at this point, so we went to State of the Art Tattooing to say hello to John. After a short visit, we hit the Triangle Diner for lunch. It's been a while since we've been there and the place had changed ownership. The only difference we noticed was that they tripled the prices. Still pretty inexpensive, though.

On our way out of town, we stopped by the local Harley Davidson dealership. We find ourselves doing this everywhere we go anymore. I thought the H-D dealership in Toronto was nice, but it didn't have anything on this place. Next up: the wineries.

We stopped at Three Fox Vineyards, but they were closed. Next up was Naked Mountain Vineyard and Winery. The wines here were quite good. Since Brian was driving the motorcycle, I was the designated taster. We snatched up a bottle of Cabernet Franc. Then we went to Piedmont Vineyards and Winery. We'd been here a few times before, so I didn't do a tasting (I had to pace myself as we only had the one bungee cord--being used for the luggage--and I needed to be able to stay on the back of the bike of my own accord). They are known for their Chardonnay here, so that's what we bought. We fully intended on buying Cabernet Sauvignon from them, but they ripped out all of their vines years ago and no longer make it. This was a real disappointment because their Cabernet was the best wine I have ever had. It's interesting to see the changes the wineries make through the years. We first went here maybe 10 years ago. The same guy is still working there, but their tasting room has gone through a revolution. The guy has gone from nice to snooty back to nice again. It's good to see that (the nice part, I mean).

After that, we went to Swedenburg Winery. For some strange reason they were closed (they were definitely supposed to be open). I was disappointed because we've been here a few times before and I really liked their Cabernet. After not being able to buy any at Piedmont, I was counting on them as my backup. Instead, we made our way to Chrysalis Vineyards, where I did another tasting. Their wines were pretty good, too, but they touted this "Norton" grape, that I wasn't into so much. But, their other stuff was fine. We bought a bottle of really good Viognier here.

Next, we made our way to Leesburg. Our first stop was at Windham Winery. They had a pretty nice variety of wines here, so I did yet another tasting. The hour was getting late, so we bought two bottles from them, Merlot and Riesling. We had the Riesling for supper this evening and it was quite good. It was done in the Alsatian style, which results in a drier wine than the German style Rieslings. Riesling is my favorite white wine, by the way. This winery was very picturesque (there were horses running around outside and there was a pond by the main building) and the lady running the tasting room was the most personable person we met all day. And, to top things off, they had a "winery dog" there. At least that's what the sign said, but Lucy was nowhere to be found.

We had room for one more bottle of wine in the saddlebags, so we stopped at Breaux Vineyards. We didn't arrive there until 5:05 and their sign said they were only open till 5:00, so I didn't do a tasting (not that I needed to do another one at this point, anyway). They had some higher-end wines here, so I grabbed up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (finally) and we went on our merry way.

The trip home was uneventful, but we didn't arrive home until 10:45. After leaving the last winery, we headed for Berkely Springs, WV via some non-highway-type roads. We took a wrong turn at one point, but this only put us behind by about 20 minutes. You could tell when we got to West Virginia because as soon as we crossed the state line, you could hear the dueling banjos (not that Pennsylvania is much different, but the way you could tell we finally made it to our home state was the dreaded "road construction"). We finally arrived in Berkeley Springs at 7pm and headed to Tari's Cafe for some supper. The food was good, but we were antsy to be on our way--we really thought we'd be home by that time plus we didn't want to be travelling on the bike in the dark, but there wasn't much we could do about that at this point. The rest of the trip went ok. But, it took extra long because we had to make a bunch of rest stops because my ass was killing me! I guess you could call this my version of the Iron Butt. We did nearly 400 miles over the course of two days and about 270 of them were yesterday. And, not only did Brian get to hone his night driving skills, but he also got to practice his parking lot driving and riding on dirt roads.

We concluded our mini vacation by riding out to the Flight 93 (temporary) Memorial today.

You can view our pictures from the past few days here.