All Roads Lead to Virginia

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

To be honest, Gretchen, I hadn’t even started thinking about my route yet.  But since you’ve asked…

Like you I have a couple of different options, both of which hover around 9 hours of driving time (that’s NOT counting New York/New Jersey/DC traffic) – definitely do-able in a single day, but I will likely split up the drive both days for some stops along the way.

The first and most direct route is I-95 which, after skirting Manhattan, will take me down through Jersey, past Philadephia,  through “Baltimore and DC now” (hmm… are you hearing Martha and the Vandellas, too – “don’t forget the Motor City…”  Oh wait, that’s the previous weekend), and then a quick jog west to Charlottesville.

This route takes me through the southern New Jersey wine country which is home to 17 wineries in the area south and east of Philly, four of which appear close to I-95 according to the Garden State Winegrowers Association map.

 

The alternate route bypasses Philadelphia and DC, cutting west across New Jersey on I78 to Pennsyvlania and then picking up I81 to head south into Charlottesville.   The attraction to this route (other than missing the Jersey and DC traffic)?  Gettysburg.  Not only have I never visited the battlefield, but what better tie in with the War and Wine series I hope to kick off with this trip?   And there are also two wineries in close proximity to the park.

I still need to build out an actual itinerary, but right now I’m trending towards the I78/I81 route on the way down with a stop in Gettysburg the first day to visit the local wineries as well as the park.  The park itself is open until 10 pm, so if I time it right, I should be able to make it to the area in time for lunch, visit the wineries and then make my way over to the park before the visitor’s center and museum closes and still have some time to drive around the battlefield in the evening.  The next morning would then be a leisurely 3-hour drive to Charlottesville.

Then I’m thinking it’s the I95 route home; hopefully if I leave early enough I’d miss the worst of the DC traffic.   My thoughts right now are to stop outside of Philly, spend the afternoon touring some of southern Jersey’s local wineries, then dinner and a relaxing evening in Philadelphia, before heading home the next morning.

Those are pretty full agendas, so I need to do some work on the itineraries – this is supposed to be a vacation after all, not an endurance test!

 

Avoid the Malls – Spend Black Friday on the New Jersey Wine Trail Instead

Marguerite BarrettThanksgiving
Contributing Writer

November is New Jersey Wine Month, and the local wineries are capping off the month with the Holiday Wine Trail Weekend!  Friday, Saturday, Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend (November 27-29), local wineries across the state will be offering tastings, tours, and in many cases special events.  Many of the wineries offer gift baskets and gift certificates so you could also get a lot of your holiday shopping done at the same time.    Who knows?  Maybe it’ll be the start of a new “Win(e)ding Road” holiday tradition…

Personally, I’m liking the idea of winery gift certificates; knock out most of my holiday shopping in one fell swoop!

Holiday Wine Trail Weekend Participating Wineries include:

Alba Vineyard, Milford, NJ     **VINO VERVE VISITED**

Bellview Winery. Landisville, NJ

Brook Hollow Winery, Columbia, NJ

Cape May Winery, Cape May, NJ

Cava Winery & Vineyard, Columbia, NJ

Cream Ridge Winery, Cream Ridge, NJ

Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery, Rio Grande, New Jersey

Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Pennington Vineyards

Laurita Winery,  New Egypt, NJ

Natali Vineyards, Cape May Courthouse, NJ

Plagido’s Winery, Hammonton, NJ

Sharrott Winery, Blue Anchor, NJ

Swansea Vineyards, Shiloh, NJ

Ventimiglia Vineyards, Wantage, NJ       **VINO VERVE VISITED**

Villa Milagro Vineyards, Finesville, NJ   **VINO VERVE VISITED**

Westfall Winery, Montague, NJ

The wineries listed are within a day trip from New York or Philadelphia.  Check out the Garden State Wine Growers’ Association website for wine trail “cluster” suggestions – mini-trails of 4-5 wineries.

New Jersey “Jazz It Up” Festival

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

SEPTEMBER 5TH & 6TH

NEW JERSEY’S “JAZZ IT UP WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL”

Hosted by the Garden State Winegrower’s Association

Allaire Village

Allaire State Park

Farmingdale, NJ

On the grounds of the historic Allaire Village, the Garden State Winegrower’s association is hosting the Jazz It Up Wine and Food Festival over Labor Day weekend.

More than 25 New Jersey wineries will be on hand pouring more than 200 local wines.  Included among the attendees will be Alba Winery, 2009 New Jersey Winery of the Year,  and Governor’s Cup winners Tomasello Winery, Heritage Vineyards, and Pagido Winery.   Featured musical artists include The Gambone Project with Vel Johnson on Saxophone (Saturday) and Jazz in Pastel, a quartet led by Buzz Saylor on drums (Sunday).

Adding to the adventure is the setting, the historic Allaire Village, a 19th-century Industrial Iron-Producing Community.  While sampling the local wines and food festivalgoers can step back in time as they stroll through the village grounds.

The festival runs from 12-5 both Saturday and Sunday; admission is $20, and there is a $5 car park fee.  Farmingdale is roughly 90 minutes from both New York and Philadelphia; detailed directions can be found on the Allaire Village website.

New Jersey Fresh Wine & Food Festival

Marguerite Barrett
Contributing Writer

On Saturday, August 8th (12-5) and Sunday, August 9th (12-5) join The Garden State Wine Growers Association for the

Jersey Fresh Food and Wine Festival

The festival will feature wines from 20 New Jersey wineries along with locally grown food and arts & crafts.

The event is being held at Heritage Vineyards (480 Mullica Hill Road (Rte 322), Richwood, NJ 08074 Phone: 856-589-4474 ).  Heritage Vineyards, owned and operated by the Heritage family, has been producing award-winning wines since 2001.

Richwood is located in the Southwestern corner of New Jersey, close to Philadelphia, and about 2 hours from New York city.