This weekend, Stacey and I made our annual fall pilgrimage to the NC/VA Mountains. The time away was especially valuable this year since it came between Terms 2 and 3 of my MBA program at Duke!

Friday

On Friday, we both took the day off from work and drove to Ararat, NC (near Mount Airy – aka Mayberry…about 2 hours west of Raleigh). Before heading to the Vineyard Cabin, we stopped for lunch at Steak n Shake off I-40 in Greensboro for our favorite Frisco Melts and shakes. SNS never disappoints!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the cabin, but hoped it would be a nice place to start our trip. Little did I know that we were about to be pleasantly surprised!

Upon turning into the private driveway of the cabin, our first reaction was being frightened it was so secluded. This fear was soon erased, however, as we approached the cabin to the sound of jazz music playing via satellite radio (Watercolors – XM 71). Yes, the music was playing *outside*! The cabin was wired with a complete indoor/outdoor speaker system.

After entering the cabin, we quickly realized that the music was only the beginning. A bottle of Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon and a cheese Danish (for breakfast) were waiting awaiting us on the kitchen counter. A remote-controlled gas log stone fireplace was ready to warm us up in the living room. White terry cloth robes were arranged in the bedroom. A Jacuzzi tub was ready for use in the bathroom. And on, and on, and on…! I will save some of the details from this post, but let’s just say we can’t wait to go back!

Friday night, we searched for dinner in Dobson (about 10 miles from the cabin). We couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for, so we drove to Mount Airy instead, figuring it would offer more choices. We stumbled upon the Autumn Leaves Festival (a small annual street fair). We ate some BBQ from a vendor and then walked around a bit before sampling a funnel cake for dessert.

Saturday

We woke up, had a nice breakfast, and (sadly) checked out of the cabin before heading to Pilot Mountain. We spent about an hour at the overlook while enjoying the crisp, sunny fall day.

After leaving Pilot Mountain, we headed to Rag Apple Lassie Winery, where we planned on eating lunch. The food options were limited, so we decided to only stay for a tasting (reds only). We left the winery and ate a quick lunch at Arby’s in Jonesville. After that, we decided to jump on the Blue Ridge Parkway ASAP to take advantage of as much daylight as possible before heading to the bed and breakfast where we would stay.

On the parkway (for a total of about 60 miles), we stopped at several overlooks where we (hopefully) got some great pictures before pulling over at Mabry Mill just before sunset. We walked around a bit there before heading to the Mountain Song Inn to check in for the night.

Upon arriving at the Inn (following poor GPS guidance along a two dirt roads), we checked in to our room and drove to Floyd, VA to have dinner at Oddfella’s (recommended by the owner of the B&B – Audrey). It was a great restaurant featuring live music and innovative cuisine.

Sunday

We woke up and had a great breakfast (blueberry French toast stuffed with cream cheese, fresh fruit, bacon, and coffee). After checking out of the Inn, we drove back to the parkway (about 15 miles) to the Chateau Morrisette winery near Meadows of Dan. We spent the rest of the day here before heading back to Raleigh. We started off with a great tour of the facility (about 30 minutes) followed by a 14-wine tasting (the largest of any winery thus far). Chateau Morrisette had the most impressive facility of the three wineries we have visited during the past two months in NC/VA. They also have a great restaurant on-site. Definitely make a reservation, though! We had a great lunch there but found out the hard way (90 minute wait) that we should have called ahead!

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