Monday, March 02, 2009

I Saw That Coming

There's no doubt that this date has been on the calendar ever since we made things official last year around this time... and I kinda started realizing it was on the horizon about two months ago, but seeing the time come and go - and all the memories and emotions that bubbled up inside of me thinking back to those amazing 24-hours and the year that's ensued since then... that, that absolutely took me by surprise (and we're talking like the startling, scream-inducing kindofathing-a-ma-bob).

Being new to this whole anniversary thing (and even newer to caring about it), we decided even one year was a good-enough reason to celebrate (and here's a quick pause to celebrate all of you who've done this many, many more years) so off we headed to discover that Virginia is not just for wine lovers (admittedly a far cry from this time last year in St. Lucia).

Saturday morning, we headed west towards Charlottesville (sadly, the Wake victory over UVA didn't make it on the itinerary but I was more than happy to be in the vicinity) for an afternoon tour, consisting of visiting two breweries and two wineries. We checked into our cute inn and after grabbing lunch on the run, our great tour guide, Chris, whisked us away, immediately filling our heads with his un-ending knowledge of all things wine (we learned so much!).

Our first stop was Starr Hill Brewery which was a great start to the afternoon (and subsequently, my favorite of the two breweries).

We relaxed at their tasting bar for a little while before starting their 30-minute tour during which we tasted some of the barley and even though I definitely lean towards the darker, stout beers, I found out that I prefer non-roasted barley (note to self)! I highly recommend their Amber Ale or Jomo Lager.

Next we headed to Blue Mountain Brewery and enjoyed their sampler of 6 different housemade beers. Their brewery was really more of a restaurant (everyone there had delicious looking plates) so if I went back (and I would go back), I'd order a glass of Evil 8 along with their thin crust veggie pizza.

After visiting two very different breweries, it was time to turn our attention to wine. What would become my favorite was up first, Pollack Vineyards. I learned all about two wines new to me, Petit Verdot and Viognier, and specifically loved their Viognier.

Chris' choice of the winery was their Meritage which he enjoyed as we sat down to our cheese, fruit, and chocolate platter (a big YUM to Farmhouse Cheddar locally produced in the Charlottesville area... oh! and the crostini, and the chocolates...).

After our perfectly timed break at Pollack, we headed to our last stop of the tour, King Family Vineyards. What a finish it was - the grounds of this vineyard are also polo fields and are more than stunning (go figure I left my camera in the van). We got lucky and met the Master Winemaker who happened to be conducting the tastings when we arrived! He was extremely knowledgeable (and real-live French!) and even sneaked us some of the last tastes of their yummy Late-Harvest Viognier "Ice Wine".

All roads led back to downtown Charlottesville where we had some downtime until it was time for dinner at delicious and modern Zocalo. *thanks, Emily, for the recommendation!!! In a word (or a few), I would recommend this restaurant with no qualms. It is located on the cute downtown mall and while their menu wasn't very long (or overwhelming), it provided something for everyone. I enjoyed their Key Lime Free-Range Chicken and Chris drooled over his Grilled Double-Cut Pork Chop. We scooted over to nearby South Street Brewery for one last drink and to share a traditional hot fudge brownie dessert.

We concluded our short but memorable visit Sunday morning with a yummy homemade breakfast and were back on the road to finish celebrating our day together.

Thanks to the aforementioned pizzas that we had seen earlier at Blue Mountain, I was inspired to start an anniversary tradition for us of having homemade pizza. If anyone's listening, it's true - the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but if it's Chris' - pizza is the key to unlocking it.

(don't look too closely at these pizzas - their inception was very last minute so I literally cleaned out the fridge to find the toppings)

The finale to our memory-laden weekend was snacking on these delicious cookies; turns out our top cake layer is no where to be found but my sweet mom deep froze some of our left-over favors (one of my favorite parts of our day) and sent them to us so we could celebrate with them!

Sharing a cookie (or two - no shame here, they are delicious!) while watching the highlight 'reel' from our wedding DVD (yes, I am a glutton for high cheese-factor) and thinking about what the future might hold, officially finished a truly incredible year one.


  1. Already a year?! Time flies.


  2. Fun!!!

    I have been to a few of those vineyards. I love the King Family Vineyard and the view. Amazing!

    Congratulations on one year! :)

  3. Oh, how wonderful, Kara! Here's wishing you and your love many more years of happiness and good eating. :)

    PS- There's something delicious for you over at my blog!

  4. Those chocolates are beautiful and the pizza looks amazing.

    Happy anniversary!


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