Saturday, October 20, 2018

Halloween May Come Now

The prerequisite things for Halloween to come have now happened. The viewing of Night (Curse) of the Demon? Check! The viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown? Check! The trip with Ms. B. to the Blue Ridge Parkway for breakfast at Mabry Mill, roaming the countryside and grabbing any stray geocaches we can find, and having wine and a picnic at Villa Appalaccia Winery? As of today... check! Now, this is not to say other things aren't going to happen—such as picking up pumpkins for jack-o'-lanterns, maybe getting in a bit of decorating, watching some more scary flicks, and having a Halloween party. They will. But with these most necessary of necessary things now out of the way, Halloween can actually occur with our blessing.

Brugger and I went to Martinsville last night and took Mum out for a pleasant, slightly belated birthday dinner at Rania's restaurant. Then, well before dawn's early light this morning, Ms. B. and I hit the road for the Blue Ridge Parkway and arrived at the mill/restaurant a bit before 8:00 a.m., their usual opening time. But how nice—we now come to find they're open at 7:30 a.m., which is a first (a very welcome first), so we were able to walk right in and get seated. Historically, there have been some very long, very cold pre-dawn waits, as the staff would not unlock those doors till the striking of the hour, no matter the bitter elements patrons might face. An autumn trip to Mabry Mill has been tradition in my family for just about as far back as I can remember, and I love nothing better these days than keeping it going. You know, for the longest time, I've said Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I reckon it is, but the best day of the Halloween season is the one where Brugger and I make the Parkway Pilgrimage. Due to weather and other conditions, things worked out a little differently than planned today, but it still turned out to be everything we hoped it would.
A wee bit blustery on the mountaintop
Brugger talked me down from Lover's Leap.
Pretty, but not much fall color yet this year. The peak is about a week late.
Breakfast was basically my typical favorite: three pancakes—one buckwheat, one sweet potato, and one traditional—with a side of sausage and flowing rivers of hot coffee. Ms. B. enjoyed eggs, sausage, a biscuit, and hot cocoa. From there we had intended to hit the trail head at the western end of Rock Castle Gorge, which we've hiked several times, but always from the other end. Today, however, the road leading to the trail head was closed off, and the weather was looking somewhat menacing, so we opted to make other plans. There was a geocache at the nearby Floyd Fest site, adjacent to Villa Appalaccia, so we popped over there, wandered the grounds for a while, and made the cache find ("Got Wild?" GC7TA5Y). Afterward, since we had plenty of time before the winery opened at 11:00 a.m., we drove into Floyd and wandered one of the shops Ms. B. had enjoyed on a previous outing. Then, as the 11 o'clock hour struck, we hastened back to Villa Appalaccia to do those things that had to be done.

We were the first customers to arrive, so we ended up having an excellent tasting and some entertaining and educational conversation about Italian wine with our hosts. After the tasting, we carried a couple of glasses with us down to the garden terrace area, which is the best place we know to drink wine, and there... we drank wine: delicious Sangiovese and Toscanello for me, and a fine Aglianico for the nice lady. Also following tradition, we had packed a picnic lunch, which we destroyed in a fairly spectacular feeding frenzy.

After all that, we had thought to perhaps check out some wine at Chateau Morrisette winery, which we frequently include in our plans, but once we arrived there, we ran into an all-but-impassable wall of humanity (mostly engaging in sweet wines, it appeared; oh, ye poor unsnobbish souls), so we opted to forego the Morrisette experience and return to Casa de Rodan for a couple of episodes of Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House, which we have been enjoying. We both love the restaurant at Chateau Morrisette, but I'm afraid we haven't had many stellar experiences at the winery. It's generally mobbed, the wines are fair at best, and the service is hit-or-miss (we've had at least as many misses as hits). So though we cut the outing a little shorter than anticipated, our alternate plan worked out much more to our liking.

And what all this means for you, ladies and gentleman, is that Halloween may now come. We accept donations via cash, Paypal, and all major credit cards as tokens of your appreciation.
Stopping for a little love on the way to the cache
Waiting for the dead to perform
Waiter! Where's my wine?!
Oh, there it is. And a nice lady in the bargain. Happy horrorween!

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