A few weekends ago I used my standby privileges to visit Charlotte, North Carolina.
I never thought of Charlotte as a place to visit, it's more of a stop over city to me but (shrugs) I've been wrong before. Thanks to a close friend and her network of friends, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world. And that's what happens when you travel, folks.
Prior to the trip, we saw a few Groupons for wine tastings and vineyard tours in and around the Charlotte area. But see....I'm always prepared so I had already been researching things to do and reading blog posts about quick getaways near the city (the beach, the woods, the mountains, etc.).....so I was exceptionally game for a short road trip and pleased that the others readily agreed.
- Sidenote: I researched quick getaways from the city in case I grew weary of my travel mates. In the event of such an occurrence, I would be fully prepared to rent a car and escape on a solo expedition.
On Saturday, our friend and expert in all things Charlotte, drove us about 30 mins from our hotel to an area near Davidson College. There we would have brunch at a cute, quaint restaurant called Famous Toastery . My banana walnut pancakes were delicious but my favorite part of the meal was the bacon. If you can imagine all the good things in this world, all of them...then roll them up real tight so they are snug in a bundle of goodness, coat them in heavenly magnificence and then bake them in an oven that's heated by the rays of the sun, then you still may not be able to fully grasp how good this bacon was. And I don't even love bacon....but it was ridiculous.
After breakfast, we set out on the road trip to Stony Mountain Vineyard in Albemarle, NC. As I mentioned, I researched the vineyards, read reviews, looked at pictures, and of all the options, this one was the most endearing and gave me a particularly unique vibe. There was a vineyard with a treehouse but Stony Mountain stood out to me because it was family owed and because of the spectacular views. My goodness, the views.
The drive up to the vineyard was gorgeous. I love a short road trip (short meaning no longer than 4 hours and that's pushing my tolerance for being trapped in a confined space with your knees in your chest because there's no leg room and you're dancing around the fine line between daily hydration goals and having to stop every 15 miles to pee). Also a road trip makes me feel like an adept, adventure seeking explorer - when I'm really only about 15% that. You get to see so many cool things that travelers would never consider like the small town life along the way. This drive was really great principally because the fall colors were just beginning to take over the tops of the trees. Around one turn there was a beautiful lake, then down another stretch we were in the middle of the woods, then crops and farmland on either side of us. Red, orange, yellow....**insert googly eyed emoji here*
We drove up the windy, narrow road to the vineyard, walked into what looks like a huge log cabin and noticed that there were setting up for a wedding. What a gorgeous place for a wedding! The back wall of the building was open to the outside and provided panoramic outlook of the vineyard, the Uwharrie Mountains and the lower Yadkin Valley in the background....stunning.
For $7 we were able to sample 7 different wines and got a keepsake glass. The owner's daughter described the wines to us and made us laugh. She was actually one of the highlights of the visit.
After the tasting, we purchased a couple bottles of red and went out onto the veranda to take in the scenery which became the backdrop for our mini photo shoot. We even made a few new friends. Of course friends are easily made of strangers sharing bottles of wine and amazingness. The Mountains beyond the winery provided the perfect scenery, the perfect relaxing atmosphere. After a little chatting, we walked down into the vineyard to take pictures among the grapevine. The wedding was scheduled to begin at 6 so we had to wrap things up and head out.
Aside from the wine, because tasting and learning about new wines is obviously the best part, I really love great scenery. I think it really completes the whole experience. Ups the level of magic just beyond enchanted. Here are some pics:
Fun times, indeed.