Tag Archives: Wine

Vermont, Lake Carmi, Scenery

Welcome to Vermont – Part II

If you’ve had a chance to view Part I of our trip to Vermont, it’s pretty obvious we were having a lot of fun with plenty of activities. With this being Spencer’s first trip to the Green Mountain State, there was ample opportunity to play the part of a tourist. Even if it’s your home state, there’s always ample opportunity to be a tourist – whether it’s something that you may have never experienced or visited, ask “why not?”!

Here are a few adventures we went on in Northern Vermont. If you’re planning a visit (or being a tourist for a day yourself), we highly recommend them all!

Wine Tasting at Borden Valley Winery, Cambridge.

Boyden Valley Winery, Cambridge, Vermont
Wine, cider, dessert wine and liqueur. Oh yes – for $10, the tasting included 7 tastings from a masterful list (of all of the above) and a very nice wine glass to keep. Afterwards, we took our glass, picked a favorite bottle to enjoy outside on the terrace and enjoyed incredible views of the Green Mountains and the vineyard grounds. Tours are available twice a day and in the fall there is a pretty great corn maze. I stuck to pretty much anything with the word “maple” – if you know me this is no surprise. That sweet stuff runs through my veins.

My personal favorite – Glogg. Holy moly! If you haven’t tried Glogg, you’re missing out. This is a  wine which you serve warm that tastes like a spice cake / loaf right out of the oven. Do yourself a favor and go to their website and just order yourself a bottle. I look forward to hearing how you’ll be ordering another!

The Old College Grounds! 

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My almamatra is Champlain College. I couldn’t have picked a better college to attend anywhere. Good ole Camp Champ as we like to call it. A lot has changed on campus since I attended and it is definitely a lot different than the University of Texas where Spencer went. We met up with an old college friend / prior employer / school mom while we were there and she took us on a tour including taking a peak into one of the dorms on campus. A lot has changed since I graduated. I can’t begin to talk about the flashbacks of this wonderful place (including being super excited to see the booths in the cafeteria for some reason). Sending photos to college friends while on tour definitely took place! It’s safe to say that some things haven’t changed. We still have the best view in town!

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Burlington – Oh Burlington.

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It’s funny how you don’t realize how much you miss somewhere until you hit up the old stomping grounds. If you’re ever in Burlington and can only do three things they need to include visiting the waterfront, experiencing a brewery (there are a ton of Pine Street now) and eating downtown.

The waterfront is one of a kind. This is where you can breathe and take in the amazing scenery. It doesn’t get much better. Find yourself a swing by the lake and sit a while.

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Breweries. The brew scene has blown up and they’re all great. Visit one or visit them all. We stopped by Switchback. I remember visiting this place when they had just opened. Tours were by phone call only. The owner received his degree in beer brewing from UCLA (who gave us the tour) and you could only find it in the bars downtown. Times have changed. Love their success.

Remember: Vermont has the best breweries in the country.

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Eat downtown. If a chain is on your agenda, it won’t be found here. Burlington has some of the best eateries around. This trip included a trip to Kountry Kart Deli on Main Street for a Rise and Shiner – the best sandwich you will have in your life. I’m fairly certain that I haven’t had one since college and maybe never one sober and it was still as good as I remember. Sausage, egg, hash brown and cheese on a bun fresh off the grill. Dinner was at American Flatbread. Yes, these are the same pizza’s that can be found in the frozen section at the grocery store but you really need to have one in Vermont. Fresh, local ingredients paired with a local craft beer and a dinner really can’t get much better than that!

The One and Only – Vermont Sugarhouse Experience

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Visit a sugarhouse and experience maple. The prime maple season is in the spring when everything begins to thaw. This is where liquid gold is made and the process is amazing (and so are the locations).

Get Outside – Hike

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The Green Mountains are my favorite mountains in the world. It wouldn’t be right to go to Vermont and not enjoy nature and be active outside. Spencer and I hiked Mt Mansfield, the highest peak in the state of Vermont. This trip, we took the Toll Road (read about my first hike to the summit here) and hiked two miles to the top. Lucky for us, we were the only ones on the summit. We had the whole top of Vermont to ourselves!! How incredible is that?

Mt Mansfield, Summit, Vermont, Stowe, Hike, Long Trail, Green Mountains

Spencer Takes a Ride

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My dad is an antique car enthusiast. That’s probably putting it lightly. The man loves his old cars. I think Spencer really enjoyed checking out the vehicles and going for a ride with him.

I think it’s safe to say Vermont was a success. It goes by entirely too fast. Way too fast.

What are some things that you enjoy most about going home?

Becker Vineyards, Fredericksburg, Texas, Stonewall, Wine, Texas Hill Country, Wine Trail

Becker Vineyards

When Spencer and I first met, we had a little debate on the best wine in Texas. I was on a white wine kick and he swore up and down that it was Becker Vineyard’s Malbec. Between you and me, he may have been right as it’s been one of my favorites ever since. It was only appropriate that when we took our trip to Fredericksburg, Texas, Becker Vineyards was a must on our list.

Fredericksburg has many options for wine tastings, either at a property outside of town or in town on the Urban Wine Walk. For us, we traversed a little of both worlds but started out the day visiting a couple vineyards outside of town. About a 15 minute drive outside of town, we arrived on a rainy, rainy mid-week morning. Luckily of us – we were the first customers of the day and had the entire place to ourselves for a little bit. (Tip: To avoid the majority of tourists, visit Fredericksburg mid-week.) Although, we didn’t get to explore the grounds nearly as much as we wished due to the rain, we savored and tasted the wines like the King and Queen of Texas!

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For $15, we sampled six different wines and received a crystal wine glass as a souvenir. With over 15 different wines to choose from, picking was not the easiest thing to do. We made it a point to try as many new wines as possible. I ended up walking away with a 2014 Reserve Roussanne. Now we’re saving it for a special occasion.

Fredericksburg, Texas, VisitFredTX, Wine Trail, Hill Country, Fredericksburg To Do, Becker Vineyards, Wine Trail

It’s a completely different experience to go to a tasting when you’re the only ones there. It’s really special. You have a chance to speak with the staff and get personal and learn a little more about them and the area. The locals give the best travel advice. One thing that I consistently ran into on this trip and meeting new people was that they’re now doing what they love. For instance, the gentleman that helped us, use to be an engineer. He moved back home to Fredericksburg, now lives on the family ranch. In the morning he tends to his cattle and property and then comes in and pours (and gets to meet incredible people passing through). More so – you could tell that he really enjoyed what he did! That, to me, is hitting the sweet spot in life. On a more “visitor level”, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the vineyard itself. We learned a little more about Dr. and Mrs. Becker, the start of the vineyard and the meaning behind some of the art on the labels. To learn more about the mission of a business is fascinating and a look into the heart of the company.

Becker has everything a wine lover on the wine trail could love. Driving up, we were greeted by rows and rows of grapevines.

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Upon arrival, we noticed the elegant property.

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Walking in, we were first welcomed by a small shop filled with wine items and lavender. Come to know, lavender can be made into any kind of product and Becker Vineyards has it.

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The tasting room is grand. Obviously, there’s a magnitude of wine available and information on their wine club as well as wine accessories. There’s a small deli area where anyone can purchase meats and cheese to accompany their tasting. There’s also mementos from prestigious events where Becker Vineyards has been served. See for yourself…
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Before we left, we went and ventured outside a little. A cabin so cute and quaint immediately grabs the attention. If it wasn’t raining, we definitely would’ve stayed longer.

Becker-Vineyards_0268 Becker-Vineyards_0262 Wine tasting at the actual property is a completely different experience and unique. It provides a chance for the vineyard to show a little more of their personality and vibrancy. It’s an experience that you share with others and an opportunity to meet other people in an environment that you both enjoy.

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For us, Becker Vineyards played a part in how we met and got to know each other (and still joke about it today). It’s also one of absolute favorites which we will now add to our memory collection and cannot wait to visit again.

What is your favorite type of wine? Have you ever visited Becker Vineyards?

For more options on how to best spend your time in Fredericksburg, see
48 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas!
Fredericksburg, Texas, VisitFredTX, Wine Trail, Hill Country, Fredericksburg To Do, Becker Vineyards

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Lost Draw Cellars – Where You Want Everyone to Know Your Name

There’s something that I love about visiting any brewery, winery/vineyard/cellar or distillery – it’s the people. For me, getting to know the people behind a name provides a deeper meaning into the heart of their product. I’ve noticed that some of my favorite conversations come from people I’ve met in locations such as these. Lost Draw Cellars is in this list.

The morning we visited Lost Draw Cellars, I left blown away and I’m not referring to a buzz from the wine. This wasn’t the typical tasting. Yes, the wine was phenomenal but the conversation and inspiration really kicked it up a notch. I met a man named Troy, who soon became my favorite person in Fredericksburg. Troy is one of three partners in Lost Draw Cellars and more importantly a man of the community which shines through in Lost Draw Cellars. A sixth generation Fredericksburg community member, his family helped found Fredericksburg and he believes in creating and keeping the community close. This isn’t just a business, he cares about each and every person that walks through the doors and brings a new level of honesty and integrity.

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Lost Draw Cellars opened in 2014 – not that long ago. In that short time, they’ve won numerous awards including those from the San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Rodeo, Lone Star International and the Battle of the Texas Tempranillos (1st place in 2014) and had two wines featured in Texas Monthly’s Best Wines of 2015. That’s pretty impressive for being open for less than two years. Needless to say, their wines are spectacular. There has got to be something great going on when you’re coming out of the gates that strong.

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Located a short distance from Main Street, Lost Draw is part of the Urban Wine Trail. Why leave the comfort of town when tastings are within walking distance?! Upon entering Lost Draw, one notices the details. First, it may the old fuel pump by the back wall or the windmill on the ceiling, the photos of family, friends and the operation on the walls. Inside, there is a sitting room and outside there is a large patio area for events and sunny days.

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During our visit, we tasted six different wine and had an incredible conversation with Troy and Matt about how Lost Draw came to be. (Read more about their history here.) The grapes are grown in Brownfield, Texas, southwest of Lubbock on a 250-acre vineyard (one of the largest producers in the state). 75% of the states grapes are grown in this county. In 2012, Troy and his two partners Andy Timmons and Andrew Sides joined forces and started the vineyard. In 2014, Lost Draw Cellars opened and the rest is history.

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Tastings:
2013 Gemütlichkeit  “People gathered will have good fellowship / a good time.” Welcome to Lost Draw Cellars. This is the basis of their community and the goal when visiting the location, bringing together history, tradition and community.
2014 Viognier
2014 Arroyo Rosé – a dry rosé, not as sweet as a typical rosé but perfect for those warm Texas summer evenings. Featured on Texas Monthly’s Best Wines of 2015 list.
2013 Arroyo Rojo
2012 Tempranillo
2013 Sangiovese – 2nd wine featured on Texas Monthly’s Best Wines of 2015 list.

My personal favorites were the Voignier and the Arroyo Rojo, followed by the Arroyo Rosé and the Tempranillo. Well, let’s just say I loved every single wine we tried. Each brought a new aroma and body fit for the perfect day.

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When visiting you’ll notice the details. The cabinets are made from wooden barrels, the mason jar with a blue ribbon from the Gillespie County Fair (ask Troy about this one for sure), the gas pump and the chalkboard on the wall. LostDraw_0380

The Pour it Forward chalkboard is one of my favorite aspects about Lost Draw Cellars – it’s holding onto the theme of bringing in the community. Buy a glass and pour it forward. Leave a name or description of who you’d like to leave a glass for – perhaps someone specific such as Diana from Down Home Traveler (hint, hint) or the next teacher, veteran or firefighter that comes in.

Come claim your glass!! I left a glass for the next Vermonter and I’m really curious to see how long that stays on the board so someone please let me know!

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When in Fredericksburg, head to Lost Draw Cellars first.
The hardest decision that you’ll make is picking which one to bring home.

Lost Draw Cellars
113 E. Park St.
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
www.lostdrawcellars.com

For more information on our trip to Fredericksburg and what there is to do, see my previous post: 48 Hours in Fredericksburg, Texas