Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fall Vacation, Day 3

My sister, Jeanie, lives in a small town in Virginia called Front Royal.

Front Royal is a cute little town, with shoppes lining both sides of the street in its "downtown" district". It was a beautiful sight to see in that time of year with all of the oranges, reds and purple color of the trees and shrubs. Usually when we visit my sister it's already dead winter and all of the fall color has faded and fallen to the ground.

This is a shot of the clock that stands at an intersection in downtown Front Royal. The place you see in the background in red is also a must if your visiting this area. It had some of the best food that you wouldn't expect in this are of Virginia. It's called Soul Mountain Bistro and It's soulful alright!

In the city plaza sits this copper topped gazebo, perfect for wedding venues. I just love the look of it situated in the center of the town surrounded by the fall colors.

Next stop of the day was a small drive down a winding dirt road to Chrysalis Winery.
This place is unlike any other in the region for wine and one of the many Virginia winery's that serve wine made from Norton Grapes. I would consider their wines very eclectic. The views from this winery and travel to this winery are unlike any I have ever seen. From the rolling hills to the mountains in the distance this place is truly beautiful. 

We did a wine tasting here and the wines are very good. Im not a white wine type of person but I thought the Stainless Steel (chardonnay) was pretty damn good. After the tasting I decided to have a glass of their sweet red called Sarah's Patio Red. There's a very interesting story as to why they call this wine Sarah's Patio Red. Sarah was a former family member of the original owners of the property back in the old days and Sarah is actually buried near the patio, with tombstone and all. 

After about 2 hours of wining, we decided to leave and venture around a little more. 

Leaving the vineyard, we came across a few old dilapidated homes that were eerily beautiful. 

The place we found to do our apple picking was actually only 5 miles from my sisters home in Markham, Va.  Hartland Orchard was a very beautiful orchard on a mountainside. Unfortunately the apple season had come early and they had to go ahead and do all the picking which was a real bummer but we understood. The owners let us walk around the orchard anyway just to explore the farm. 

This particular orchard made its own honey and the BEST unpasteurized apple cider I've ever had in my whole life.

The orchard also had a corn maze but being as late in the day as it was when we went it was closed. This place was truly amazing. 

The last two pictures have to be my favorite pictures of the day at the orchard. To me they looks like pictures from a magazine.

I enjoyed this day very much and hoped that it was just a sign of things to come during our fall vacation. 

Stay tuned to see more from my trip to Virginia.

 - Rich

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fall Vacation, Days 1 & 2

Whoa. I can't believe it has been since October since my last post. So much has gone on in the past few months that I just kind of got sidetracked!

In October, John and I took a fall vacation to visit my family in Virginia.  It was an amazing trip filled with a lot of traveling. This post will be just one of a few that I will do to show off pictures from our trip and our excursions throughout Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Day 1: Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

We also walked around and did a little bit of antique shopping and had lunch at Tari's Cafe. The food was amazing and the service was unlike any other. Must stop in and have a bite while in this tiny town.  

It was a very small town with charm only seen in movies, possibly most famous for George Washington's Bathtub . It's a stone structure that is said to have been the place in which George Washington bathed in 1748. Crazy, I know!We also did a little exploring and found a park near Berkeley Springs in which it was a 2 mile drive to the top of the mountain, it was worth it!
This was the view driving up the mountain, the fall colors were amazing! I have never been to see the changing of the seasons. 

This is yet another view of the drive up the mountain side. 
This is what was awaiting us at the top of that 2 mile drive up the mountain! The view was breathtaking and much colder than it was at the bottom, for sure! The colors almost look fake. I was in awe of the West Virginia countryside. 

Day 2: Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Lancaster Pennsylvania is known mostly for its Amish country. This was my first trip to Pennsylvania and my first time seeing anything Amish! It was a lot of fun, we drove around "stalking" the Amish (not really), but we drove throughout Lancaster County. We got to see covered bridges, Amish families in their buggies and even did a little bit of shopping in the Amish shops. 

This is a traditional Amish buggy, the family would all pack inside with mom. We even passed this small child at most, 5 years old, driving a single rider carriage. It was the cutest thing. 

The covered bridges were a sight. I could take a day trip photographing these beauties! Unfortunately, I only captured this one because my camera went dead. 

They also had roadside carts selling the fall gourds and pumpkins from their farms. They were so trustworthy that they left a box for you to pay. 

As you can tell so far, we had an amazing time and took too many pictures to post. I will post more as we spent 7 days there. Stay tuned!

 - Rich