The Beloved planned a Day Trip for us last Saturday. Last time we went, I took him to the beach, remember? And I drove the whole way. Because it was His Day. Since Saturday was My Day, he drove all the way. That was the First Treat. Here are some pictures from The Drive.
We ended up driving to Mt. Airy, NC. We thought it was Closer than it was, but it was 4 hours away. Of course, we were Avoiding interstates so we could actually see some cool stuff along the way, but still. Four hours is A Very Lot.
Mt. Airy is the home of Andy Griffith, one of our national treasures. For those of you who might not be familiar with Andy Griffith, he has been acting for probably well over fifty years. Arguably, his most notable role was as Small Town Sheriff Andy Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show. And how to describe this show for the Uninitiated? Kind of an idealized but very skewed snapshot of small town life in the US of the 1960s. 249 snapshots, to be precise. What we didn't see was The Civil Rights movement, the Peace Movement, Viet Nam protests or Anyone Being Assassinated. What we did see was humor, the bonds of family and friendship, and wisdom wrapped in an Aw Shucks naivete. If you're not familiar, or even if you are, take a look:
One of my favorite Barney Fife monologues--it doesn't get much better than, "Men, here at The Rock..."
Busy businessman from Charlotte (yay!) learns to slow down
See? Anyway, Mayberry was modeled after Mt. Airy. Here's what Mt. Airy looks like today. If you'd like to listen to the Andy Griffith Show theme song, and I can't imagine that you Don't, click here. It will open in a new window, because I am a Helper:
So, did The Beloved just throw a dart at the map of NC and head out for Mt. Airy? Did he take me there because I am such an Avid Fan of the Andy Griffith Show? No and no. We made a pilgrimage to Mt. Airy to eat a world famous pork chop sammich at Snappy Lunch. We heard about this sammich several years ago--maybe on The Food Network, or maybe in an article by Jane and Michael Stern. Maybe both. We've been dreaming about this sammich for at least ten years, and we finally had one. I'm not sure about you guys, but when I've been anticipating something that I've read about or seen on TV and then I finally get to experience it For Real, I get very emotional. So there we were, in line outside of Snappy Lunch, and I was all Welled Up. I welled up again when I saw the menu, and then again when the sammich came. I am a Weller and a Sap, I admit it freely. Please, enjoy this Photo Montage of our visit to Snappy Lunch.
After the excitement of the pork chop sandwich, it was time to go to a local winery. The majority of wineries in North Carolina make muscadine wine. It is, shall we say, an acquired taste. We are working on acquiring the taste, but we're not quite there. Yet. In the Yadkin Valley and in the Appalachians, there are a few wineries that make wines from Vinifera grapes. So, we went to one. I got to pick it, so of course I picked the one with the most Whacked Out Name: RagApple Lassie Vineyards. Apparently, RagApple Lassie was the NC State Grand Champion bovine one year back when all they had was black and white film. Here's a picture of RagApple Lassie the second.
These guys have 30 acres under cultivation, and they must grow about ten different varieties of grapes. While we found their drier wines to be a little on the petroleum-y side, their off-dry and sweeter wines, of which we are usually Not Fans, were quite good. We got to taste about fifteen wines for twelve dollars, plus we got to keep the glass. And here's a Very Cool Thing they did. They had unfermented grape juice for us to taste: pinot gris and chardonnay. I can't tell you how many wine tastings and winery tours we've been on, and nobody has ever let us taste the "raw" juice. Very, very cool. Neither were what we expected. The pinot gris tasted much like pear nectar, and the chardonnay was a bit brighter and more complex with a bit of a citrus note at the end.
Anyway, here are some pictures from the vineyards.
RAL was selling four-packs of pints of wine while we were there. The story is that they were supposed to have gotten in a shipment of skinny bottles for their sweet dessert wine (think a less syrupy eiswein). They opened the boxes and realized that the bottle folks had sent the wrong bottles. Oops. One by one, everyone looked in the boxes and said, "Oh my God, there are the wrong bottles." Rather than sending them back or recycling them, they came up with a new, one-time-only, red blend and called it "Oh My God." We bought a four pack, both because it was tasty and because the story is priceless.
So, that's pretty much it for our trip--we had a wonderful time. The weather was perfect, and The Beloved and I like hanging out and driving around, so it was a Great Day. Here are some more pictures that I took because the subjects Amused Me. Enjoy!