Road Trip: Apples and Vines in Virginia

My general stance on the great outdoors is that nature is a problem that mankind solved by making cities. I don’t like itchy leaves, practical clothing, or insects that feed on human blood. I’ve never been camping, although it strikes me as oddly regressive to retreat into the woods and pretend that we don’t have access to modern amenities. It also strikes me as a widely-condoned example of role-playing.

Despite my usual reservations about connecting with the natural world, I joined a group of friends on Sunday for a day-trip to pick apples at Stribling Orchard and knock back some vino at nearby vineyards in the rural depths of Virginia. Six Garmin regional accent settings later, I found myself in the irrefutable South. This realization was hammered home as we passed a roadside yard sale that prominently featured a bean bag toss game called “Ass Toss,” wherein the hole in the wooden board was surrounded by a cartoon man bending over backwards. You get the idea. I thought about posting a photo, but immediately regretted typing “ass toss” into Google Image Search at work and couldn’t click the ‘X’ quickly enough. Your move, senior management.

Apple picking was actually a delight. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that apples are picked using a threatening mechanism comprised of a pole, metal cup and sharp prongs that envelop and yank high apples from their stems, thus infusing a gentle and wholesome activity with a pinch of violence. The alternative – using ladders – is apparently out of vogue, rendering the pants I was shamed into wearing instead of a skirt woefully functionless. Stribling Orchard also sells an apple pie so mean it will hurt your feelings. We devoured it not sixty minutes later on the lovely grounds of Delaplane Vineyard on the heels of a lovely picnic, my contribution to which was Safeway potato salad and Doritos. (I was upstaged.)

Back-to-back wine tastings at Delaplane and Three Fox Vineyards proved that Virginian wine itself isn’t quite as appealing as the grounds from which it is borne. Still, there is an unimaginably high bar for how offensive a wine would have to be before I’d refuse to drink it. I came awfully close with the Gatto Bianco from Three Fox, though. The Chardonnay-Viognier was cloyingly sweet, and would probably yield a hangover akin to tossing my cerebellum into an office shredder. I was shocked to find that it won the Bronze Medal in the 2010 Hilton Head Island International Wine Competition, which suggests to me that there must have been a total of three entrants.

Frolicking around Virginia with wine and friends was certainly a perfect way to spend a lovely Fall afternoon. As we drove back to DC, we realized that we weren’t the only ones who had a great day. As we once again passed the roadside yard sale, we saw the proprietors packing up their unsold items – minus one notable exception. Somewhere, a pleased Virginian has one more game of Ass Toss than he did on Saturday.

I’ll raise a glass of Gatto Blanco to that!

-A natured and nurtured Natalie

About Natalie Shure

literature, life and latte lady

2 Responses to “Road Trip: Apples and Vines in Virginia”

  1. Got a chuckle reading your perspective of the natural world as it is antithetical to mine, as you must realize if you’ve spent any time on my blog. Yes, Virgina is beautiful this time of year; went to grad school at UVA.

  2. That is hilarious I agree that Virgina wine is not that great but over all it seemed like a great road trip.

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