The first stop of our lovely trip was to Childress Vineyards in Lexington, NC.
The vines in winter…
Couldn’t you just picture self sitting there , gazing out onto the vineyards with a glass of Meritage, maybe some prosciutto?
We walked inside to see an incredible fountain with amazing woodwork all around. After searching for the tasting room and browsing for several minutes, we were approached by a hostess that asked if we would like a tasting.
She described that they have three levels of tastings costing $10, $12, or $15. We chose the middle level as had another couple down the bar from us. We were the only ones there but for some reason, it seemed as if she prefered to chat with the other couple about the salmon she made last night with chardonnay. Their Reserve Select Chardonnay is a very dry white ( I’m not the biggest fan of dry white) but it had a toasty oak and buttery flavor, which I am sure was fantastic with her salmon. I, of course, enjoyed the Cabernet Franc most. It started off very subtle and jammy, but then had definitely an earthy finish with cocoa aroma. I think it would be amazing with anything you normally enjoy with a “good red” – especially filet. It was suggested to pair with chicken and ribs, which I think would be alright but not enhance the flavor. Cab Franc, to me, has more impact than a Cabernet Sauvignon- but not as sweet as Merlot.
So we continued our drive to check into our mountain cabin and onto another vineyard and restaurant.
We have arrived! We were staying in an original Tobacco Barn Cabin at Pilot Knob Inn.
Jeff carrying in our bag
We quickly threw down our bags and headed onto quite possibly the best meal ever! We drove about 15 minutes from our cabin to Shelton Vineyards in Elkin, Nc. We found a long driveway filled with vineyards on each side leading the way to the Harvest Grill Restaurant and Shelton Winery. We could barely see the winery as we arrived at dusk but we could tell it was gorgeous. Inside the restaurant, which is nestled in the vineyards, we sat on the enclosed patio at a table next to the fireplace. We could see inside, how wondefully rich and cozy the inside seating was but outside had a wonderful view open to the vineyards.
The Harvest Grill offers dishes that have been created with one of their wines and fresh produce from their very own on-site kitchen garden! I love supporting local economy. We started out with a warm, chewy bread and homemade goat cheese
and then chose “Artisan Cheese with Artisan Flights”
We shared four, 2 oz pours of wines that we selected out of their full list. Our four pours included Cab Franc, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon and Syrah. Yes, we chose all of our favorite reds that we enjoy best with cheese and fruit! As you can see the four types of cheese with fresh pineapple, strawberries, and grapes and crusty baguette slices.
I ordered a glass of the Cabernet Franc and Jeff had a glass of the Syrah. The Shelton Cabernet Franc was more of what I expect in a Cab Franc, it was spicier but still had a nice finish. The Syrah was definitely a much lighter wine with more fruit but still delicious!
My entree: Tuscan Grilled Grouper
“With capers, roasted tomatoes, olives, pepperoncini, chardonnay and butter accompanied by smoked gouda polenta and grilled asparagus”
It was the most delicious blend of flavors I have ever had (I really think so). Oh, I wanted to eat every single bite! I prayed for the appetite of another hungry person so that I could finish and I almost did! I left one bite of the fish and a good bit of the polenta for Jeff to finish.The fish was grilled perfectly, it was so soft but had a smokey, crisp crust. The olives, capers, and other vegetables were flavored perfectly all together with every part of this dish. The asparagus was also grilled to perfection- it was very crisp but consistent in every bite. The smoked gouda polenta was so creamy but had small bits of chewy gouda that quickly melted. I had to take breaks because it was absolutely incredible! Delightful, beautiful, absolutely worth every bite, and sharing a meal like this with Jeff is the only way I could have imagined it.
Jeff’s entree: Rack of Lamb
“Dijon, rosemary crust, mint and balsamic syrup, wild rice pilaf and baby green beans in pecan butter”
I had a bite of his lamb and I don’t like lamb. This lamb? It was scrumptious!
The syrup was very,very sweet and neither of us are a fan of balsamic but- the star of the plate was that delicious crust and the lamb itself. It was cooked beautifully.
I could not fit dessert so we ordered it to go. It was called “The Devil’s Triangle”. It had an incredibly thick layer of delicious chocolate mouse sandwiched inside chocolate cake triangles then dipped complete in ganache ( I mean 360*, top, bottom, sides- all covered in gorgeous ganache) On top was homemade caramel sauce, homemade cinnamon syrup and on the side was cinnamon gelato. Oh lordie, this was so much better than any dessert I have had in so long! (I am actually mad that I could not finish it and had to leave it in the cabin the next day. It wouldn’t have made it through hiking and our trip home.) The textures were all so tasty but each different (mouse, cake, ganache, syrup, sauce, and the cold gelato) that it was difficult to not enjoy any part of this.
We had this in our cabin while we sat next to the fire Jeff built.
Day 2…another phenomenal day.
We started out by walking up to breakfast at the main lodge. They had a fantastic spread of fresh fruit ( blueberries, kiwi, canteloupe, grapes) and muffins, yogurts, all kinds of spreads, lemon pound cake, trail mix and homemade granola.
I am so glad I ate as much as I did because after breakfast we cleaned up…
just kidding – it was jeff’s idea-
packed up our things and went hiking on the property, down to this 6 acre lake.
Then we headed off to hike at “Pilot Mountain” but one more shot of our cabin and the mountain on the way back to Lurlota…
We really wanted to hike that Big Pinnacle- and we did if you look near the bottom of this photo ( above) ! Look in the middle then scan to the right , you will see a trail path. We found that trail and hiked our way ( it was moderate and said 0.8 miles) to the “Big Pinnacle’ as that is called. We then hiked literally all the way around it…
The map description mentioned raptors, bald eagles and a bird with blue wings- We thought this guy and his two buddies might have been raptors protecting the Vineyards, after all it is the Yadkin Valley which produces over 500,000 gallons of wine every year! Check out this link for more information on visiting The Yadkin Valley Wineries
So we made it all the way around, and headed back down this trail…
We had been on all the moderate trails and figured the strenous would be fun. It was .. but at the end, it certainly felt WAY longer than 2 miles.
Managing a smile through the huffing and puffing!
What must have been a mile down, after my legs started shaking a little, we saw this Three Bears Gulley. We considered hiking up it ( it seemed easy to kind of crawl up there) but then decided to keep going. Oh my…
The top of where we were thinking of climbing up!! I think we were supposed to go up it to make the trail the 2 mile loop. Instead, it took us a long way around and back up. Many Many Many rock-stairs later, we got back to our parking space.
We hiked for about 4 miles total according to the maps but we certainly felt like it was much much harder! My tiny calf muscles and feet muscles were shaking uncontrollably! It was such a great way to exercise off all that wine and delicious food!
On our way home we stopped at Jeff’s little brother’s college and grabbed some lunch.
I ordered a cup of chili and a Tropical Chicken Salad:
The salad had blue cheese crumbles, fresh mango, strawberries, mandarin oranges and dried cranberries. It was DELICOUS! I could only manage 1/2 the chili- the jalepeno’s were incredible hot!
We stopped in to Jeff’s parents and picked up Jack, thanking them for watching him. Of course, we were greeted with a glass of wine! A reserve bottle of Santa Rita Chilean wine-
That is all folks! Thank you for coming along on our trip with us! I hope you enjoyed my photo recaps. I had the best time, I know Jeff did also. We enjoyed every minute, every sip and every bite.