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11/6/17-11/8/17 Charlottesville KOA, and Monticello, Charlottesville VA.

Took the longer but easier pass over the mountains by going Rt 340 all the way to Waynesboro and then I-64 over the Shenandoah mountains. The farms between Gettysburg and Front Royal were the prettiest, but the drive from Front Royal to Waynesboro is not surpassed by any road I have been on. Not as grand as some, including Skyline Drive, but just darn pretty. Farms on both sides of you as you meander in the middle of the valley between two mountain ranges.

We unfortunately followed the GPS down Lynchburg road to the campground. About 10 miles of 35, 25, and 15 MPH narrow, winding turns. The campground looked to me old and run down. Lots of trees, few campers, and an old looking camp building. However, the facilities were bright, updated and clean (perfect), the sites were mostly pull throughs, and we were given a choice of sites. We took a pull through that ran parallel to woods separating us from a horse farm. The utilities were in a great spot, the most extra parking for the truck of any place yet, and a good picnic table and fire pit. Wood for the fire was $6 a bundle (all places to date were $5), but it was good and dry and lit and burned nice. It was 77 degrees at one point during the day, with rain and cold in the future, so we used this opportunity to have a cook out and do the expected hot dogs and salad (and beer!). We have been really eating quite good (maybe too good), so this was a change for us.

11/7/17 Monticello, Corby’s Urban Viddles and Monticello Vineyard

Monticello was a bucket list stop for me (Bill). Sitting high (really high) on a hill top the facility and tour were first rate. Everything about the tour was a surprise to me. The rooms were so small. Typical for the period I know, but seeing the photos of the exterior I expected an immense mansion. The tour was extremely informative and interesting and the details of the building, how it was constructed and designed, the gardens, and the role and life of the slaves were all fascinating. There was a sample of one of the slave family homes that we went in. The day was cold and rainy and standing in there made me shiver even more thinking about how they had to endure in this little one room.

Have to mention the lunch stop. Saw average 5 star yelp reviews for Corby’s Urban Viddles. We had hush puppies filled with pimiento cheese with a red pepper peach sauce. Sandy had the Hot Mess, which were two good size pieces of corn bread smothered in pulled pork and pulled chicken with creamy pimiento cheese and barbecue drizzle with a side of mashed cauliflower with brown gravy. This was a tiny sandwich shop next to a grocery store, yet, the owner (Corby) came over several times to see how we were doing and refill our iced tea and water. The menu said one of the items was from his childhood in south Florida so I asked him where. He said he was from near Jupiter, and I told him we were going camping next month in Jupiter Inlet. He was all excited and said what a beautiful campground it is and that he used to surf at the beach there. I told him I used to go there and watch people surf there as I could;t get the hang of it.

After getting sufficiently stuffed, it was a good time to pick up a couple items at the grocery store next door and then off to a winery. I had no idea this was such a prominent wine area and there were many tours available. With limited time, we chose the closest winery, Monticello Vineyard, which was just about half way down the hill from Monticello. There is a story on the label of their wines that says the original vineyard was started from a suggestion by Thomas Jefferson to the farmer/landowner.

We had a very informative talk with a woman who gave us about a 8 wine tasting. They had a wine called Meritage, which is a name given to a vineyards best wine blend. There are strict rules to be followed to call it that. She said that years ago there was a contest in California for a blend. The winners got to name the new wine. They joined Heritage with Merit to come up with Meritage, which is now a trademarked name, and they get a royalty on every bottle of wine sold by that name. I told her that was a very lucrative contest to win!

She said that this wine is a good one to age. She said that after 5 years the acidity will be mostly gone and that by 10 years it will be incredibly smooth. I asked her a stupid question (I expect everyone knows this but me). I asked what makes one wine better to age than another. She said it is in the oak that they store it in. The oak acts as a preservative, and the longer it is in the oak, the longer it will keep.

The good part to the rainy day is that I get to catch up on transferring photos from my phone and camera to my laptop and try to sort through the mess. So many nice photos and so many travelogue photos - hard to keep track.

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