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Other Things We’ve Done (Shopping Pretty Much)

So you know on Tuesday we did that 40+ mile bike ride (we’re supposed to do another one today but it looks gross outside, and I personally, could get into a day of movie watching and/or book reading). Anyway, here’s some things we did the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday.

After we wolfed down our lunch at Pie in the Sky, it was time to do some provision shopping. We had decided before we arrived that we would do one meal out a day, so lunch out dinner in, dinner out lunch in, so we needed to get some provisions. I had read about Harvest Market and it sounded interesting, so first stop, we headed up Mountain Road (aka 108) for a visit.

It’s smaller than I expected but has a nice bakery and makes a decent espresso. They also have the standard “gourmet” food stuff items (e.g., Stonewall Kitchen jams and stuff) but Chris wasn’t too impressed with their cheese selection. So we ended up buying some pappardelle, a couple of jars of Chris’s favorite hot pepper jelly, some rosemary foccacia, a couple of Cabot yogurts (when in Rome and all), good olive oil, a frozen potato bacon soup (dinner tonight or lunch tomorrow perhaps), and a couple of cookies for munching. We didn’t bother looking at the wine they sold; it seemed more an afterthought.

Next, we headed up to Mountain Wine and Cheese. They had a decent wine selection but I think the mark-ups were a bit extreme. I like to find a bottle of something I know, to see the price differential in different stores. They had Palazzo della Torre for $22. We pay about $13 for it at home. There cheese selection looked good though, and we left there with some fresh Vermont cheddar, a duck liver pate and some chevre for Chris (not to mention some kinder eggs for Sammi – who knew)?

We still needed wine though and our options weren’t looking great. Last chance, we went in search of Fine Wine Cellars. They had a tag line, something like “you should be able to get good wine at both $10 and $100” our kind of place.

We found them, closer to the village, also on Mountain Road. This place is actually more of an Internet operation, that I think the owner runs out of the basement of his home. There’s a sign on the door that says, “Open, ring bell and we’ll let you in.” And sure enough he does. And basically, you walk down into his crate-packed basement with some wines on display but way too overwhelming to browse. We described for him what we like, and our price point (the $10 to $20 range), and he came up with some suggestions – it was actually great fun, he was so enthusiastic about wines and had some real unknown things.

First, we walked away with two bottles of the Monkey Barrel Shiraz that Chris tried on Monday night at Mr. Pickwick’s. Then he recommended a merlot to us. A merlot? We had just been saying earlier how we’re not merlot drinkers but okay – this guy swears buy it. He promises it’s not the generic fruity, smooth stuff that’s been mass manufactured but something akin to how the French produce/use their merlot grapes, so powerful that it’s been in the bottle for eight years and he’s just selling/drinking it now. It’s from Kiona Vineyards in Washington and we decide to buy a bottle. He also recommends a Pinot called O’Reillys and a Prosecco. We spent a bit more time talking wines with him, got our purchases and headed out, telling him we’ll be back before we return to Jersey on Monday.

Now we’re heading back to the house, where Chris has to take a conference call, and I do some writing but it doesn’t take long and we’re back out shopping. We park the car behind the Swiss Pot, check out it’s menu (fondues are their thing), the menu of the Blue Moon Café across the street (I can definitely eat there), and pop into Col D’Lizard so I can buy my Stowe Bike shirt. Talking to the woman who owns the shop, makes me feel better because she tells me how she learned to ride the hills around here and that there’s no shame in stopping for a rest going up them. Good, I feel better about my accomplishment as we head out the door to check out more of the town.

We pop into some other stores, a sundry place, the mercantile (where we buy a martini glass, and some mustards – a chipotle maple mustard kicks butt and I’m going to have to get some more). Finally, about five or so, after hitting Shaws for the basics (e.g., eggs, milk, oatmeal) we return to the cabin to hang.

We make up a little cheese and cracker plate, pop open that Merlot (which also kicks butt by the way, we’re so going back there today to buy 1/2 a case and get some of his restaurant reccomendations), and just enjoy the peace and quiet. I watch all the bikers riding down our road and insist to Chris, I’m not going inside until I see if these bikers return up the road. I want to make sure there’s no secret passage that avoids this hill. Eventually some do and that and the cold night air forces us indoors where we start to look at elevations of the ride scheduled for today (Thursday) to make sure it’s not too strenuous (it is but that’s another story).

Anyway, while we’re sitting there – the lights go out! Ah heck, I’m going to make that a separate entry.

Okay – so that wraps up Tuesday.

On Wednesday, after our hike, we hop into the car and head down to Cold Hollow Cider Mill to get some donuts, do some more shopping and to taste some wines – Grand View Winery has a tasting room across the parking lot from the cider mill.

The donuts rock – still warm when we buy them, we scarf down to many – that and a glass of milk and I’m in hog heaven. I don’t think Delicious Orchards or Emory’s has a thing on these guys. We also buy some hug tins of maple syrup before we head across the lot to taste some wines.

They charge you a buck to do the tasting but so what. It’s funny they have some wines made with grapes (e.g., seyval) but many of their products are made from other fruits (e.g., pear). So instead of having a grape wine that has the essence of pear, you could just buy pear wine and save the trouble. And honestly it wasn’t that bad.

We tried:

  • Hard Cider
  • Pear Wine
  • Seyval
  • Some red wine with a name that escapes me (I’ll go look), but they described it as the red wine for people who don’t like red wines. It wasn’t my favorite.
  • Cranberry wine – made mistakenly from juice that they thought was cherry juice but ended up being from Cranberries.
  • Raspberry Apple wine, which smelled and tasted like cough syrup to me until he spooned some ground bittersweet chocolate into it and then it wasn’t bad.

We ended up buying some Hard Cider, some funny cocktail napkins, and the Cranberry wine. Call me crazy, but besides the fact that it would actually go well with Thanksgiving dinner (well, except with sweet potatoes, I don’t think it would go well with them), I have visions of making a pork loin, stuffed with dried cranberries and goat cheese; I think it will work.

Into the gift shop where we bought a couple of funny cow t-shirts for the girls and then back home. Chris fidgeted with my bike, trying to get the granny gears to work, and I vegged on the computer. Then he went for a run, and I vegged some more, until finally, he returned and it was time to get ready to go to dinner.

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Kim, I simply love hard cider. It is by far one of my favorite libations!

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