Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Whine Trail

Living in the Hudson Valley of New York State allows us the opportunity to visit a number of local wineries.

Some of our favorite are Baldwin Vineyards,, Millbrook Winery,, and the Robibero Family Vineyards, are many others and you can find them by doing a web search of Hudson Valley wineries.

When my wife announced today that she was thinking of "doing a trail," I thought she meant the wine trail and I quickly suited up for the trip!

We have recently hiked and cross country skied and she said that she wanted to take it easy today.  I thought, "Nothing better than sampling some of the local winery treats," and was in the car before she unlocked it.

We drove quite a ways heading north, the opposite direction of where the wineries are located from our house.  But, as we all know that my sense of direction is way off, I figured she knew a shortcut.

We drove into a parking lot, with just a few cars, and she popped out of the car and instructed me to follow her. 

I was a little surprised to find myself walking across a frozen lake, with no buildings in sight, but figured she was in a hurry to get to the wine tasting building.  As we all know, the quickest route is a straight line!

We walked across the full length of the lake, and I kept my questions to myself.  I know better than to ask her, "Are we there, yet?"  I followed along as we took a trail off the lake and headed into the woods!

I did see signs for "Trail," and figured we were gaining on the vineyards.  All trails lead to wineries, no?

I didn't see any little grape icons or other wording that would leave one to believe that vino was in sight, but continued in trust.

The winding trail took us up and down, around the lake, and I noticed that there were woods everywhere.  Wondered where the grape vines were.

But, I know that some winemakers import grapes, due to the short growing season up here and the lack of many varieties of grapes that thrive in this area, so I pushed on.

I finally spoke up and said, "I see signs for Trail, and Trail Marker, and for Foot Trail, but I don't see anything that says Wine Trail!"

"Stop your whining," my wife replied, "We're enjoying the day, and the snow, and it's not always about wine, you know!"

Not always about wine? Why did I come? And who's whining?  I was making a comment about the markers, thinking we were headed to wine country!

And, why would I be trekking mile after mile if there weren't a reward?

About another half a mile up the trial, I spied a marker that gave me hope!

The tree marker was slightly atilt, a sure sign to me that someone had to have been drinking to put it on the tree that way.

I was energized to push further along.

About another half mile passed before I spotted the next marker...again, no words leading me to believe that we were any closer to my anticipated destination, but a sure sign that it was a possibility. 

It took me a few minutes to realize that I was laying on the ground looking up at this marker, having taken a fall on the trail.

As I lay there, I was now thinking that I really needed a know, to help me to my feet and soothe the soreness from the fall.

My wife said, "You're all right.  Just get up.  We're almost to the end!"

"Almost to the end," I asked, "You mean almost to the winery?"

She again expressed the opinion that I should get up, "Before you freeze to death," and I turned on my side to make the move upwards and thought I spotted something under the trees.

Could it be?  Had we found an outside winery?  Wouldn't the wine freeze?  Maybe someone just placed it there, knowing that we were on our way?

Now, I've heard of "Winter Wine," and I think I have even taste-tested it during a recent trip to the Finger Lakes. 

Spotting the bottles laid together out in the woods, in the snow, gave new meaning.

It meant it was already chilled!

I squinted again at the display and things seemed to get blurry. 

I asked my wife if she thought there was a corkscrew in the vicinity.  She told me to, "Stop fooling around.  Are you able to get up?"

I thought she said, "No fooling, there's a table set up!"

That, of course, encouraged me to muster every ounce of energy I had left and I dragged myself to my feet!  I could see what she was talking about!

I was ready to sample the offerings of the Winter Woods Winery.

After I was on my feet, I turned to make my way to the table and it all disappeared...I couldn't have imagined it, and I didn't have a thing to drink, honestly, but it was all gone.

Again, I heard, "Stop your whining.  We're not on the wine trail, but I'm starting to think we've found a similar one!" 

Off she tromped towards the parking lot.

As we were about the leave the trail, I spotted the next sign. 

Was it still the clunk on the head?

A sign with which I'm sure my wife had something to do, or is there really a new trail system?

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