Saturday February 13th

Gretchen's birthday and Valentine's Day call for celebration so we outlined a plan for the weekend; check out that new winery in Amherst, Tom cook a birthday dinner and go to Delfosse Winery for the French Crepes event.

Recently, we asked Norman and Jinx if they had been at Ankida Ridge Vineyards and since they had not, we called to see if they wanted to go and check it out.  Yes, was their answer so we picked them up and headed west on Route 60 toward the mountains.  Turning right at Ogden's Store, we soon were on a winding dirt road climbing, climbing up the mountain as the road narrowed, climbing to the gate of the vineyard's "hundred acre wood" (our guess), and finally climbing to the tasting room.  I will not go into detail of the Prius struggling to climb again to view the vines located at 1800' in "Virginia's Little Burgundy!"

The view from the tasting room is spectacular, looking east toward Tobacco Row Mountain.  The wines were decent and probably will become better as the vineyard matures and winemaker hones his craft.  We all decided the vineyard would be a great place to come in the spring with friends and a picnic lunch to enjoy the view and a bottle on the deck! What does Ankida mean?  It is a Sumerian word meaning where heaven and earth join. Thanks Norman and Jinx for supplying the wine today.  That was a kind gesture to celebrate Gretchen's birthday and we appreciate your generosity!

What's on the menu for Gretchen's birthday dinner; filet mignon with cabernet sauce, roasted brussels sprouts and potato puree.  The cabernet sauce was divine!

Happy birthday Gretchen!


A new Valentine's tradition began today.  The French Crepes event at Delfosse Winery was wonderful.  As the photo below shows, the place was packed.  The crepes were wonderful, the reserve chardonnay was delightful and we will be back next year.  Anyone want to come with us?

Happy Valentine's Day!



Friday February 5th

Since Katie has to work on weekends she has the kids every six weeks, Gretchen and I volunteered to babysit.  So we headed from the beach to NC for stint number one, arriving in time to pick up Henry and Audrey from school.


In the morning we took the kids to the Kidzu, a small children's museum located in the same shopping mall as Southern Seasons. The kids had a good time.  Henry is at the upper age limit for the activities provided but it is  perfect place for Audrey.

Look Mom, red messy hands!

Henry easily scaled the climbing wall and rang the bell!  Tonight Katie told us she was meeting with her realtor in the morning to put an offer on a town house in the new development next to Audrey's school.

Climbing high!


Today Henry and I went to the Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro.  We left early and it was a good thing since Grandpa got lost! But we made it in plenty of time for the 11:00 a.m. tour. The facility is a neat place with tigers, lions and many smaller cats.  You get really close to the animals, closer than I have been in my life!  The only downside to the tour was the enthusiastic guide was oblivious to the fact that the group was freezing as she extended a one hour tour to two hours!  Henry and I were still chilled an hour later as we finished lunch at a local Waffle House!

Katie told Gretchen the meeting with the realtor and the developer went well and she got the house. She made arrangements for us to take the kids on a tour which we did after Audrey's nap.  The house is gorgeous!  Henry and Audrey loved exploring all of the rooms, nooks and crannies!  They move in April just in time to enjoy the pool; which Katie will have time to do since she has no outside chores!

It is Super Bowl Sunday so we finished the day watching the game and eating Hillsborough Barbecue!  Our team, however, got crushed.

Winter at the beach!

Sunday, January 31st

We're off to spend a few days with Sam and Sharon who have rented a condo this winter in Sandbridge.  An easy drive landed us at the beach late afternoon followed shortly by Bill and Laurie. Let me just say, "The penthouse condo is absolutely stunning!"


After a slow start amicable to the Morgan's lifestyle, we took a walk south on the beach at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  It was a lovely February day with temperatures in the high sixties! Our five mile stroll peaked our interest in food so we headed to a local restaurant (Margie and Rays) for lunch.  The food was delightful.  Hanging out at the condo the rest of the day, we found that certain members of our group had a sincere interest in completing puzzles.

Do we get maintenance hours for this?


Sam had physical therapy this morning, an ongoing process this winter/spring following his arm surgery.  The hope is that the nerves will slowly regenerate and give him full function in his right hand.  We hope and pray it will!  We met Sam and Sharon following his session at Trader Joe's, picked up lunch items and headed for a hike in First Landing State Park. The scene below is typical of the Bald Cypress Trail and....

the spot provided a great place for lunch and for turtles to warm in the sun! 

Next stop was the Brock Environmental Center, the southern Bay office for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The building is on Pleasure House Point just inside the Lynnhaven River Inlet. It is "one of the most environmentally conscious buildings in the world and a model of sustainability"; built to Living Building standards.  The building generates it own power, collects and recycles its own water and sewage....and functions completely off of the grid.  We were lucky to have the Director as our tour guide and it was a wonderful learning experience.  Do sign up for a tour if you are in the area....and join the Foundation to help Save the Bay! Following the tour we headed to Chicks Oyster Bar for a seafood dinner (excellent)! 

And the puzzlers worked diligently!

Brock Environmental Center


The Morgan's love the pacing of this group.  Our first stop today was a glass blowing demonstration at the Chrysler Museum Glass TWELVE noon!  Today was the first time for a new concept.  A local artist (in this case one who is known for sidewalk drawings) is invited to attend a demonstration and practice his craft while the glass blower creates something related to his art.  A glass "Walking House" was created during the demo based on the artist's drawings which highlight the link between climate change and rising sea levels.

We strolled across the street to the Museum proper following the demonstration, had a wonderful gourmet lunch in the Wisteria CafĂ© and spent several hours touring the exhibits.  Do visit the Chrsyler if you're are in the area, it is FREE and has a wonderful collection of all types of art, including an extensive array of glass pieces!

Reflecting @Chrysler Museum

And the puzzlers became fervently focused!!


Sam and Sharon headed to PT this morning and the Bishops and Morgans headed to Nauticus, the maritime museum in Norfolk.  Gretchen and I joined the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels this summer and one of its membership benefits was reciprocal admission at Nauticus.  Well, the admissions clerk did not know about this, and it took standing staunchly for 15 minutes while chatting with several museum officials before we gained free access!  The highlight for us was the tour of the Battleship Wisconsin.  Gretchen, Laurie and I had never been on a big ship before and it was fun to explore the cramped quarters below deck.  Did you know that the shells fired from the big guns weigh the same as an old VW Beetle!

Rather than driving on a wet cold evening, we decided to try the Baja Restaurant across the street from the condo.  The food is good and you can't beat the location.

And the puzzlers were smashingly successful!!!

We had a splendid week at the beach and truly thank Sam and Sharon for their generosity.  It is a grand gesture inviting all of your friends to spend time with you at the beach this winter!