Monday, December 30, 2019
North Fork Wine Weekend
And it's Monday morning and almost New Year already. Time is definitely flying. Had a nice Christmas. Christmas Eve we saw "Bombshell" and went to Outback for dinner. And on Christmas Day we opened our gifts with family in the morning (didn't go crazy with gifts this year but did receive some nice things, tea, scented candle, a coloring book, wine glasses and a bottle of wine etc) and then went to see "Little Women". After that we hung out at home and watched a Christmas movie (Noelle) and then some more recorded stuff we had on our DVR.
And this past weekend we were away on the North Fork on Long Island visiting our favorite wineries. As always it was a great weekend and we mostly lucked out with the weather too. It was relatively mild and sunny for most of the trip. It did start raining as we were getting ready to leave on Sunday so that made the drive home not that much fun but all in all it was good.
We left home Saturday morning, stopped at Starbucks and got to our first winery, Macari, around 11.10am. Macari is always a lot of fun even though it is one of the bigger wineries. Had a glass there and then continued on to Osprey's Dominion. Been there plenty of times as well. Usually when we go in the off-season, like this weekend, it's quiet and relaxing. When we went in July it was crazy how big of a change it was. But anyway this time it was quiet and we ended up getting a bottle of wine and sat outside where they had a fire going. It was cold but in the sun and near the fire it was actually pretty nice. Then from there we continued on to lunch at a place in Greenport called "First and South". We had never been there before but it was a really good find. I had a bowl of chowder which was absolutely delicious and we also had some bread and shared a burger. All really yummy. From there we continued on to Sparkling Pointe as we wanted to pick up a bottle of sparkling wine for New Year's. Actually ended up with 2 bottles since they had an offer to receive the tasting for free when you buy two bottles. :) And from there we went to Sannino to check out their new building/tasting room. When we went there the last time, probably a year ago, they were still in a really small space but had shown us their blue prints for the new tasting room they were going to open so that was neat to check out. And well from there we continued on to our last stop at One Woman WInery. We had never been there before and it really was a fun find. Very small tasting room but they do have some outdoor space for the nicer months as well. They had a Gruener Veltliner (the only winery on the North Fork to offer one apparently) and the people there were fun to talk to. So yeah, definitely a good find.
After all the wineries we headed to our hotel (Indigo) in Riverhead. This time I had booked through Snaptravel which proved a little challenging with them finding our reservation but they did locate it and all was well in the end. The rate we received was great ($109 incl. breakfast) so it was worth the little hassle. :) Anyway freshened up in our room and then went downstairs and hung out at the bar for a bit. They also had live music which was pretty fun. A nice way to end the night.
Then yesterday, Sunday, we had breakfast. Their breakfast buffet really isn't anything great and I wouldn't pay for it but with it being included it worked out to get a little something in our stomachs before heading out to more wineries. Our first stop of the day was Paumanok. They have a really pretty rustic wooden deck area outside overlooking the vines and even though it was a bit chilly we decided to sit outside in the sun for a bit anyway. From there we continued on to Clovis Point. They also have an outdoor area but they must heat it during the winter (it's semi enclosed) so it was nice and cozy. After that we headed to Lenz. When we pulled in I knew we had been there before but sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the different wineries and which one is which. The last time we had been there it was during the winter when it had just snowed and the whole place looked like a winter wonderland with a covered bridge type entrance and a cute courtyard. Anyway the plan originally was to get come cheese as a snack for lunch but they actually had sold out of their cheese. So we just had some wine and then ended up going to lunch at a place nearby called Red Rooster. What a great accidental find. Mike had shrimp dumplings and I ordered a ham, brie and tomato sandwich and both were absolutely delicious. It being off season it was very quiet as well. From there we headed to our last and final stop - Coffeepot Cellars. Definitely our favorite winery - partly because of the cute pug Beasly and also the sweet people running the place. It's a small winery but always fun to hang out. So many stories and always fun to catch up.
Like I said the ride home wasn't too great due to the rain but we made it back a little before 7pm so really not so bad. Stopped at Two Steps and met our friend John there for a bit before heading home. And well here we are, it's Monday again. Really not looking forward to work but hey what can you do right? Tomorrow for New Year's Eve we just half a day and then off for New Year's Day so that will break up the week again. While I am looking forward to some more time off I do have to say that the holidays in the middle of the week are totally messing with my inner system and schedule. It's hard to keep track what day it actually is. Well anyway, I guess better get on with it and face the week. Right?
Letter/Mail Update: I received a letter from/owe a reply to: Nina/WA.
Monday, September 23, 2019
Last Summer Weekend
Yes it's Monday again. My start to every blog post it seems. It's officially the first day of fall today. But the weather is not feeling fall-like at all. It's going to be almost 90F today (31C) Not complaining, I guess it's summer's last hurrah so to speak. The weekend was really warm and nice as well. I guess it fit since it technically was our last summer weekend. After today the temps are supposed to go down into the 70ies (20C) which is more seasonable. Just one more week of September and then we'll be in October already. Time is definitely flying, that's for sure.
Last week was relatively uneventful, same old stuff at work more or less. It's still busy even though we are winding down from the summer season. And like I said the weekend was pretty nice. Saturday we went to the movies and saw "Ad Astra" (the new space movie with Brad Pitt) It wasn't quite what I expected but I did enjoy it. Then afterwards we had lunch in Oxford at 121 and then came home to catch up on some more Netflix ("Mindhunter") We also watched the Comedy Central roast of Alec Baldwin which was quite funny.
Then yesterday, Sunday, we did another wine tasting tour and explored a few different vineyards in NY state. We started at Whitecliff which had really great wine and also a beautiful outside area so we had a glass while sitting outside. Very pretty views. The next stop was supposed to be Robibero but we ended up abandoning that idea as they had some kind of fall/grape stomping festival/event. Instead headed to lunch at the Gilded Otter in New Paltz which was tasty as always. Since the weather was really nice we sat outside -- something I usually enjoy but this time we were being chased by yellow-jackets and I really was not feeling it. Three of them ended up drowning in my drink. I felt bad but they were just relentless. After lunch we headed to Brimstone Hill Winery. What a funky little place. Don't get me wrong, the wine was good but the place itself was just a little weird. Lineulom floors in the tasting room, old tractors outside, a crusty old man giving the wine tasting. Definitely an interesting experience. After that we had one more stop, Baldwin Vineyards. Another interesting place with goats, an alpaca and chickens. And the tasting room was also very old-school looking with an event room in the back where somebody was playing live music but we were the only people in there the whole time we did the tasting. Nonetheless the wine was good and we did buy a couple of bottles.
When we were done with our wine tour we headed back to CT and met up with our friends John and Jana for a light dinner at Rosy's. Going to see them again today as it's John's birthday today. But first need to get through my Monday at work. Ugh.
Letter/Mail Update: Received a letter from/owe a reply to: Lotte/Denmark.
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Hopkins Inn, Hawk Ridge Winery and more
Alright Tuesday morning. A little behind this week it seems. I have been pretty good about writing my weekly posts on either Sunday or lately Monday but somehow didn't happen this week so here I am, Tuesday morning, instead. Alright, let's see. Well, it's August. I know that's very cliche but it's always a turning point of sorts to me when one month changes to the next. I really don't want to be wishing summer away because there are things I truly do enjoy about the summer. I like being able to sit outside for lunch/dinner, linger outside at wineries or other places, people watch, all relaxed. Being able to go for walks, the pretty scenery, blooming flowers, etc.
What I don't like about summer is the crazy business at work. Plus the crazy heat and humidity. It hasn't been all that bad with the heat and humidity this summer. I mean we have definitely had it but I think it was worse last summer. But we still have most of August to go so who knows. Work has definitely been crazy. I do feel like this summer has been worse than the last 2 I experienced. But who knows. It could just be a combination of different factors as well.
Anyway, last weekend was nice. Saturday we went to Hawk Ridge Winery in Watertown, CT. Completely accidental Google find. They have only been open for about 2 years but seemed really busy when we were there. Beautiful deck and grounds, a full food menu (we didn't eat this time but definitely worth coming back for) and good wine. Hung out for about an hour before moving on to 121 in Oxford for lunch.
Sunday we went to the Hopkins Inn. Pretty much a yearly ritual to go there once every summer. It's always great to have a delicious leisurely lunch sitting outside overlooking the lake. They have an Austrian chef so I always end up getting Schnitzel or something along those lines. We shared escargot for the appetizer and I had the Toblerone Sundae for dessert while Mike got the mint parfait. Plus some Earl Grey tea and we shared a bottle of Gruener Veltliner. All super delicious. It's also pricey so it's a special once a year spot for us. Really amazing though.
Well, now we are back in the work week and just trying to make it through the week. This upcoming weekend we are heading to Boston (for 1 night, Saturday-Sunday) so I am looking forward to that. The one thing I can't really complain about this summer is that even though we haven't taken any real vacations we have been able to sprinkle mini getaways and fun outings in throughout the summer to keep things interesting.
Oh, I probably didn't even mention it yet. But I'll also be going back to Austria at the very end of Sept into early Oct. Just for a week to visit with my parents.
Letter/Mail Update: Owe a reply/received a letter from Lotte/Denmark.
Monday, July 15, 2019
North Fork Anniversary Weekend
And Monday morning again. :( I am especially sluggish this morning. It was a great weekend but definitely busy. A lot of sun (and some sunburn) & a lot of wine. :) We had a great weekend though, really no complaints. Just wish I had an extra day to just relax now. Wouldn't that be nice?
Anyway, last week was busy at work. Basically no different than it has been. Then Saturday morning we left Danbury in the morning with the goal to get to Paumanok Vineyards right around 11. Traffic was a real nightmare though and instead of the 2 hours it should have taken it took us almost 3 to get there. So we didn't get to the vineyard till close to 12. Still made a stop and had a glass of wine on the deck. They have a really nice rustic deck where you can sit outside and look out at the vines. When we were done there we headed to lunch at A Lure in Southold. Such a pretty place right next to the marina. And the food is absolutely delicious. We had been there one time before and it was fun to be back. They are only open seasonally so it's not a place we can generally go if we come in the total off season. Anyway, was fun to have lunch by the water even though I am pretty sure that's where Mike and I got our sunburn. We didn't think it through and didn't put on sunscreen. And of course spending that much time outside, even though we were in the shade most of the time, took its toll.
After lunch we continued on and went to Kontakoska Winery. Another beautiful spot. The vineyard has a huge backyard/lawn that reaches the ocean so you can take your wine and sit near the ocean. Very pretty. From there we headed to Osprey's Dominion. We have been there quite a few times but often we come in the off-season and early in the day so it's usually very quiet. This time it was super busy. So many people. They had live music, a food truck, corn hole and big Jenga games and people everywhere, hanging out, playing games, drinking wine. We got a bottle of wine and a cheese/salami/cracker platter and people watched for a while. It's always interesting doing that. Especially during the busy season. You see all sorts of interesting people. From there we headed to Macari. They were getting ready for an event so we only got a glass of wine as they were getting ready to shut down for the general public.
From there we headed to our hotel. It being the high season we had to stay a bit farther out than we usually do. The past few times we stayed at the Indigo but that was going for $400/night and no way am I paying that. So instead we stayed at the Clarion near McArthur airport. Definitely not a great place but it was fine for what we needed. The room was fine, the general public areas where pretty awful. But again, we really just needed a place to sleep. It was about a 40 min. ride from there to the wineries so not so terrible. We ended up hanging out at a place called Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. It was fine and probably better than the hotel bar.
Sunday morning we went to breakfast at the airport diner which was just down the road. Had some breakfast there and then headed back out for some more wine. First stop was Clovis Point. We got there just a little after 11 and it was still very quiet. We got a glass and sat outside under the covered porch. Nobody else around so it was really peaceful. From there we headed back over to Macari since we wanted to spend some more time there after our visit having been cut short the previous day. Got a bottle of rose and sat outside on the lawn under the umbrellas. There was a breeze which made it actually very nice and not too oppressive with the heat. We had a lot of fun just hanging out so in the end we decided to get a second bottle and also took advantage of the pizza truck that was parked there. OMG -- they had the most delicious Neapolitan style pizza. So good!! I am seriously upset that we can't have more of this pizza any time soon. So good.
Anyway when we were done at Macari we headed to our final stop at Coffeepot Cellars. We discovered that place a few years ago and always come back when we are on the North Fork now. It's run by the sweetest people and they also have an adorable pug called Beasley. They are also very invested in issues like the monarch butterflies and bees. Just an all around neat and feel good type of place. We hung out with Beasley for a while before eventually making our way back to CT. Traffic unfortunately was just as annoying on the way back so we didn't get back to CT till after 8pm. Oh well.
And here we are. It's Monday again. And I need to get ready for work. Not sure I am ready for another work week ahead but what can you do? Work hard, play hard. :)
Letter/Mail Update: Wrote a letter -- just need to put it together and get it in the mail: Celia/MA.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Vermont Easter Weekend
Went into work at 7am on Good Friday so I was able to leave at 11am (only 1/2 day for us) Once I was out of work we drove up to Vermont. About a 4 1/2 hour drive. We were slowed down by some construction work so I think it took us about 5 hours but still not too terrible.
Once we made it to Burlington we checked in at our hotel. We had booked a neat boutique hotel in South Burlington (Green Mountain Suites Hotel) Our room had a cozy fireplace and a nice layout overall. After freshening up a bit we went to check out a store called 'Wine and Cheese Traders". Really neat store. Vermont definitely seems to be all about the cheese. Not a bad thing in my eyes. :)
Afterwards we headed into downtown Burlington. Walked around for a bit and ended up having dinner at the Vermont Pub & Brewery. Pretty neat place. Then on Saturday we headed out of the city to go wine tasting. It turned out to be a really nice day even if it didn't start off that way initially. On our way up from CT the day before we had gotten a tire pressure warning in the car. We checked on the tires but they didn't seem to have any real issues. The next day we put some air into the front tire and that made the warning go away (well for a bit anyway) Once we got to the first winery we checked the tire again and by that point it had really gotten low so clearly something was off. At that point it was Saturday mid morning on Easter weekend. We called around and luckily found a tire repair shop some miles away. And by some miracle we managed to limp to that place without getting stranded on the side of the road. They couldn't fix the tire (there was a screw in it) but they had a compatible tire at least. Fixed us up and we were on our way to continue the wine tasting for real this time. Stopped at two wineries and were able to sit outside, enjoy a cheese platter & drink some wine. Very enjoyable way to spend the day.
Once we got back into Burlington we had dinner at Citizen Cider. Neat to be able to taste various ciders while also having yummy food. And well Sunday it was already time to head back. We had breakfast and stopped at the Ben & Jerry's Factory on the way home which was fun. Got to taste some ice cream and break up the drive home a bit. Yesterday, Monday, it was back to work. Lots of Europe had Monday off for Easter Monday so my communication with any European offices was slowed down quite a bit. We will see what today and the rest of the week brings. The weather is very up and down in typical April fashion. Can't complain too much I guess.
Letter/Mail Update:Letters went out yesterday to: Bianca/Germany, Eloine/NY, Nina/WA and Eunice/Malta.
Monday, October 31, 2016
Happy Halloween from Montreal
Happy Halloween :) We really aren't doing anything Halloween related but that's ok. We decided to go to Canada for a 3-night getaway to have a few more days of vacation before I start my new job. One week from today, Nov. 7th.
Drove up to Montreal on Saturday. It's about a 5 hr drive so not too bad. We timed it so we would get here around 3pm for check in time. Settled in for a bit and then headed to the old town of Montreal which is just a few blocks from our hotel, very convenient. Had dinner at Les 3 Brasseurs - one of our favorite restaurants. Delicious poutine, popcorn shrimp and spicy pepperoni flatbread.
Sunday we checked out Exporail, a railway museum about 30 min from Montreal. They had the whole place decorated for Halloween which was pretty cool. Always fun to see the different old rail cars and locomotives. After the museum we headed back downtown and had a late lunch. Delicious Swiss cheese fondue followed by Nutella banana crepes for dessert. Yum! Checked out another neat bar (Pub BreWsky) afterwards as well.
Today we had a yummy breakfast at Eggspectation. So good. And then headed east into rural Quebec for some wine tasting. Checked out four vineyards and had a lot of fun tasting and talking to the staff. It being a weekday and off season we were the only people at each place we went to.
Tomorrow it's already time to drive back across the border. Going to have lunch and then make our way back. Not ready to leave. Till we meet again Quebec!! A plus tard Quebec!!
Letter/Mail Update: A letter went out on Friday to; Eloine/NY. Received letters/owe replies to: Carmen/Malta, Celia/MA and Nina/WA.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Sunday we started off the day by having breakfast. I had yummy French Toast and bacon, one of my favorites. Then took the train down to NYC and headed over to the theater district from Grand Central. We hung out The Perfect Pint for a bit. Pretty neat bar for midtown where it's usually hard to find anything that's not a stereotypical touristy Irish pub.
From there we headed over to the Imperial Theater which is only a block from there. Was really excited to see "The Great Comet of 1812". We splurged and got stage tickets. The seating and layout was super unique and the whole experience was just amazing. I have seen my share of Broadway musicals, plays and productions but I honestly have never seen one where minutes after it ended I said "I wanna see it again. Now!!" It was just so cool. The stage tickets were amazing. The ensemble and cast was all around us at all times, people everywhere, singing, dancing, playing instruments. It was so immersive. Denee Benton absolutely blew me away. Josh Groban has more of an understated role but does very well with it and gets to show off his impressive singing skills quite a few times. I could go on for ages but I won't. But truly .. if you get a chance to see it .. go see it. Splurge on stage tickets if you can. But even orchestra or mezzanine would be ok. The ensemble and cast is all over the theater at all times so even if you're farther away from the stage you still get to be close to performers. I really do want to see it again. I don't think I can justify paying for stage tickets a second time but I'll be happy to see it from a different viewpoint as well. I honestly think you could watch it ten times and still see something new as there is so much going on all around you at all times.
After the show we went for dinner at Osteria al Doge which was delicious as always. After a yummy dinner we headed back towards Grand Central but stopped at a wine bar about a block from there (Madison & Vine) and had some wine to wind down. Ended up hanging out there for a while, not paying attention to the time and train schedule. Didn't realize that Sunday and Saturday schedules are different and that there is an hour and a half gap between trains. So we missed the train and didn't get home till about 2.30am. But not the end of the world since we didn't have any early morning plans on Monday.
Monday I filled out my employment paperwork. Oh wait .. I don't think I even updated about that properly on here. On Friday I received a call from the company extending a job offer. They sent the papers via FedEx so I received them Saturday. Filled out everything Monday and sent them back via FedEx (their headquarter is in Pittsburgh) My start date is November 7th.
Anyway, after we did that Monday morning we headed to the Hopkins Vineyard for some wine and cheese. Nice autumn day with great views at Lake Waramaug. Had a great time relaxing, drinking wine and eating cheese. Perfect birthday afternoon. :) In the evening we went to Rizzuto's for dinner and met up with some friends which was also fun.
Today I am just catching up on some things at home, drinking tea and relaxing. We decided to book a 3-night stay in Montreal for the weekend (Sat-Tue) to have one more vacation before I start my new job. Once I start I won't be able to take any significant time off for a while so it will be nice to go away one more time beforehand.
Letter/Mail Update: Received letters/owe replies to: Carmen/Malta, Celia/MA, Nina/WA and Eloine/NY.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Oregon Coast .. goodbye West Coast :(
We left Portland on Sunday morning and headed to the coast. When we made it to the ocean it was still a bit cloudy but the weather improved quickly and the clouds gave way to sun. Such pretty scenery.
We did some wine tasting and after headed to Yaquina Head Lighthouse where we checked out a couple of trails and took loads of pictures. Such a pretty area.
Later we had lunch at the brewpub at Rogue Brewery before checking in at our hotel (just a Days Inn.. had gotten used to the Air B&Bs we had in Seattle and Portland which were much nicer of course) Walked down to the main street to check out the various shops and restaurants. What a funky town.
Monday we left Newport and continued up to Cannon Beach. On the way we checked out the Three Cape Scenic Route which was very pretty. Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout and Cape Meares. Saw the Lighthouse at Cape Meares and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Also stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (yummy samples!!)
Once we got to Cannon Beach we had lunch at the Pelican Brewery. And walked up and down the main street to look at all the shops. Very cute and quaint town. Did some more wine tasting and eventually had a nice relaxed dinner.
This morning we walked along the beach for a bit, out to Haystack Rock. Cool and breezy but really pretty. Now at lunch at the Wayfarer Inn. Had the most delicious double cheese (asiago on the outside, cheddar on the inside] melt with avocado, tomato and bacon & garlic fries. So yum. Now just sitting, sipping on my glass of Pinot Gris, looking out at the ocean.
I so do not want to leave. Of course we will have to make our way back to Seattle airport regardless after lunch. Well Oh well .. until next time West Coast :)
Letter/Mail Update: Received letters/owe replies to Jessica/DE and Carmen/Malta.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Thursday we went to the Museum of Flight in the morning. Neat museum with lots of exhibits. Afterwards we headed back into the city to take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island.
Managed to get the 12.20 ferry (35 min ride) so we were on the island by 1. Found a place on the water to have lunch (Doc's Marina Grill) and later did some wine tasting, checking out the different tasting rooms along the main street. What a neat island. Had some tasty gelato and eventually walked back to the ferry.
Friday we left Seattle and made our way to Portland. Got here a bit after noon and took the Max Light Rail into downtown. Had a late lunch at a brewpub (Deschutes) followed by a visit to Powell's book store. What a neat store.
Today we checked out the Japanese and Rose Gardens in Washington Park. Both very pretty. Then made our way to the waterfront where we had lunch outside. In the shade by the water the heat was tolerable. It's been a 100F (38C) but at least there is no humidity so much more tolerable than the heat on the East Coast.
Tomorrow we are off to the Oregon coast for 2 more nights. This trip is definitely flying by way too fast.
Letter/Mail Update: Received letters/owe replies to Jessica/DE and Carmen/Malta.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Hello from Seattle
Already Thursday again. Time's flying by. Our alarm went off at 2.45 am on Tuesday so we could catch our morning flight to Seattle from Newark. The flight seemed to be never ending but we eventually made it to Seattle. Picked up our rental car and drove to the area where we were staying. We couldn't check in yet so we just parked the car and took the Light Rail to downtown to explore.
Spent some time walking around Pike Place Market and had lunch at a really neat brewpub (Old Stove). After lunch we made our way over to Seattle Center via the monorail. Took some pictures of the Space Needle and went to the Experience Music Project museum. Such a cool place. Afterwards we headed back to Pike Place Market and hung out for a bit before meeting up with my friend Nina for dinner at Pike Place Brewing Company. Was great to meet up with Nina after writing letters for 10 years. Always neat to get to meet people in person.
Yesterday, Wednesday, we drove north to the Boeing Factory for a tour. They bring you through the factory so you can see the planes being assembled and whatnot. It's really pretty neat. Such a huge complex too. They employ 40,000 people in that location alone. Pretty fascinating when you think about it. It's like a small city with their own fire department, police, coffee shops, cafes, daycares etc.
After we were done at Boeing we headed back south again to Woodinville for lunch and some wine tasting. Had lunch at the Red Hook Brewpub and then went for wine tasting at Columbia Winery and Chateau Ste Michelle. Was happy to get to visit Chateau Ste Michelle as it is definitely one of my favorite wines. Neat to go to their tasting room after all these years.
After we were done we fought our way back south through rush hour traffic. Had dinner at the Columbia City Ale House near where we are staying and later some wine, sitting outside. Nice end to the day.
Today we are going to the Museum of Flight and later are going to head back into the city to take the ferry over to Bainbridge Island. Should be a good day. :)
Letter/Mail Update: Received letters/owe replies to Jessica/DE and Carmen/Malta.