The next morning, Labor Day Monday, the plan was to check out wineries, since we learned about Veritas Vineyards from some people in the glass-making class. Given our challenges with mornings, we asked Wendy in advance to wrap up our breakfast since the only time that was offered was 8AM. We ambled down around 10AM and ate our delicious breakfast sandwiches and blueberries at our leisure. We decided to take it easy and spend our Labor Day enjoying the fruits of other peoples’ labor. What better way than to take in some wineries?
We painlessly checked out and made our way for Veritas Vineyards in Afton, but got sidetracked on the way by Bold Rock cidery where we stopped for an interlude. Brendan had some of this cider the night before and really enjoyed it, and randomly, here it was again! It was universe telling us to drink cider, clearly. We enjoyed the Disneyland-esque approach up a long windy, tree-lined walkway, greeted at the top by an exuberant and friendly blind man who welcomed us loudly to the cidery. We were primed with magic.
We ordered a cider sampler from the bar and found a spot in the large, multi-roomed dining area to relax and enjoy our beverages (until a family decided to start a ping pong game on top of us). We then strolled the grounds, taking in an educational exhibit upstairs overlooking the operation, and then strolled outside where we noticed a movie screen set up in the middle of huge grassy field, as well as a tri-level patio nicely shaded. It would also have been cool to have a wedding here (we noticed a sign for one which caught our interest). Debating whether to buy any cider while passing the gift shop led to us rationalizing that we could probably find Bold Rock in Colorado. We made a mental note of our favorite flavors – the blackberry and the IPA (note – does NOT mean Indian Pale Ale).
After our hour interlude at the cidery, we continued along beautiful country roads to Veritas Vineyards, where we spent the next few hours having a tasting, a few glasses, and a picnic on the veranda.
Surprisingly, we really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc as well as the Claret at Veritas Vineyards. We purchased one of each as souvenirs, to accompany our wine glasses. We also ordered a sandwich and a cheese plate for the patio deli and enjoyed a snack with a full glass of each of the two wines we most enjoyed. The ambiance was great, but it was sweltering. We were glad to get back inside after our lunch to finish our glasses and cool off before hitting the road around 230PM.
We made our way back to 29 North and back towards the Brightwood area, which we passed on the drive down. For the next two nights, we would be staying at Brightwood Farm & Vineyard, a certified organic farm run by the Vidal family. Years ago, I had stayed on the property just after the place opened, fell in love with it, and remember it after all these years. I wanted to share it with Brendan. There was a small A-frame cabin on the property sitting atop the Robinson river that we were welcomed in to, once again, by Susan Vidal.
It’s rough on the outside, but luxurious and comfortable on the inside – enough nature to make us feel like we were in it, but not enough where we had to experience any of the negatives (heat, humidity, insects, rain, etc.). After checking in we immediately took a nap until Susan came back a little while later with our basket for our make-your-own organic breakfast.
After napping we both read a bit and eventually made our way to Culpeper (30 minutes north) for dinner. The town was absolutely dead due to the holiday, which was a shame because the main street was exceptionally cute. Every restaurant we had scoped out on the limited cell signal on the farm turned up a goose-egg, except for a quick-serve bbq joint called Shawn’s. Even though we had previously had our heart set on Thai, we eventually wrapped out heads around the only available option, which turned out to be delicious! I ordered a pulled-chicken sandwich and Brendan ordered the brisket. It came with two sides, and they even served Bold Rock cider!
We were in and out quickly, and soon back on the road to our Brightwood cottage. We spent the rest of the evening reading, going to bed around 1130PM.