Wednesday, May 5, 2010
If anyone needs GPS it's me! It would have been extremely comforting to have a computerized co-pilot prevent me from going 1 hr in the wrong direction on the turnpike and also to assure me that I do need to go thru West Virginia before reaching Virginia on my way to visiting my sister LeVonne this past weekend in Harrisonburg VA, where she's teaches theater arts at James Madison University.
Alas, I did eventually arrive on my sister's doorstep; after a quick update on recent purchases both decorative and wearable, we headed to one of the local University (JMU) hang outs - PennyBacker (14 East Water Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801-4006), for Brooklyn Brown Ale and tater tots dipped in a wasabi remoulade, while sitting roof-deck, surveying the "city".
My sister has a fun, eclectic group that meets for Happy Hour every Friday, one of the couples from that group invited us over for a movie night - Chris Rock's Good Hair (my second time viewing, click link to read past review). They were perfect hosts and a lovely couple, but they are white, so it kinda felt like watching 9 1/2 Weeks with your grandmother, kinda squirmy. A matter I made worse by explaining the benefits of weave over wig when it comes to sex, despite the cost.
Harrisonburg is not all pizza joints and bar hang outs as attested to by Sunday's grand opening of Union Station (128 West Market St.
Harrisonburg, VA 22801), this new restaurant is located in a reconstructed warehouse, the decor is cosmopolitan, open, airy, spacious, a cross between a large pub and a quaint train station coffee house. The cozy bar section is split level from the restaurant, set away from the diners, for patrons who just want to come in for a drink and watch the game. I haven't had a buffet brunch this good and cheap in I don't know how long! The homemade Biscuits and Sausage Gravy was worth the $9.99 price alone!
The highlight of the weekend was the Montpelier Wine Festival, my real incentive for driving 286.79 miles. Well, that and seeing my sister, of course, but everyone knows wine strengthens the bonds of sisterly affection.
Note my festive Wine Fest attire (see pics)
The Festival takes place on the spacious grounds of James Madison's historic home. 24 wineries from the surrounding area took part. We only made the rounds to half of them, but I have to say Virgina grapes are far, far superior to Pennsylvania grape growing. I've been to several PA Wine Festivals and never really wanted to purchase anything. Lake Anna Winery I placed highest on my list; particularly loved their Seval Blanc 2008 and their table wines, Totally White and Totally Red, would prefer a table wine stay in the price range of $11 or $12 a bottle, these are $13 but if you buy 3 btls you get $3 off. Most often I'm in the market for just a basic dinner wine, so my second choice would have been Veritas Vineyard and Winery's White Star 2008 and Red Star 2008 $18 a bottle, although, really, that's not the reason why I choose Lake Anna over Veritas.
My sister's in love with Octagon IX 2006 a signature wine produced at Barboursville Vineyards, It is a multi-sided Bordeaux red wine blend. I found out this wine was served at President Obama’s inauguration gala (2005 vintage). The 2006 vintage is $40 a bottle, so God knows what the 2005 sells for. It is a wonderfully full-bodied red; something you'd want to sip on a ski trip in a Swiss Chalet, but I didn't fall as hard for it as my sister and her friend, Vicky.
Speaking of which, the saying the more the merrier was never so true, we met up with more of LeVonne's happy hour friends at the festival, some of which are from the Bio Chem dept at JMU, I never knew scientists could be so much fun, but then again I guess they do know about fermentation.