One of the best things about living in the DC area is that you're never at a loss for things to do when guests come to visit. Museums, monuments, vibrant neighborhoods, restaurants whose menus span the globe and nearby cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia mean the only problem you'll have is not enough time. Virginia vineyards are particularly fun to show off, so when a dear friend and her husband came to town for the weekend I jumped at the chance to partake in a mini winery tour. Joined by two other DC-based friends (including one pregnant woman, nature's glorious way of providing the rest of us with a designated driver), we piled into a very cramped Honda Civic and headed for greener pastures, just beyond The Beltway.
The morning started out with a light snowfall followed by steady rain, but by noon had thankfully given way to sunny skies. With Chrysalis Vineyards, Barrel Oak Winery and Piedmont Vineyards and Winery all on the itinerary, there simply wasn't time for a weather disaster. We sipped on such specialties as peach and chocolate wine, only stopping to picnic with a newly bought Chardonnay. Unfortunately, unlike most of the tastings I've done at wineries in France, sipping in Virginia will cost you: anywhere from $3 to $6 for a multi-glass flite is standard, but some will waive the fee if you buy a bottle. Fortunately, the scenery of Virginia vineyards is magnificent, complete with rolling hills, winding gravel roads and patios offering majestic, sprawling views. I picked up a bottle of my favorite white at Chrysalis, and was delighted to hear that their new creamery should start selling cheeses by early summer. As if I needed another reason to return.
While the reds, whites, and sparklings all hit the spot, it was the company that truly made my day. Sure, I've done a fair amount of solo travel, loved it, and would recommend it to anyone who's looking to discover not only the sights, but a bit of themselves as well. It's just that you get a bit extra when you travel with friends. Between the belly laughs, photo-ops and inside jokes, you'll never want the trip to end. When it does end, you have shared memories that can be discussed, dissected and glorified for years. The whole wine tour gang is coming over to chez moi tonight for dinner, and I'm guessing we'll do exactly that.