23 Dec 07

Dec 23 2007

Yesterday I filled up my black truck Roger with gas, got out on the open road, and headed south. No destination in mind; I wanted to see what was there.

Ten minutes outside of town, I saw red-and-yellow streamers fluttering in the wind on the side of the road, near an antique shop. I pulled in at the long, low building, and stepped inside.

There’s a mustiness peculiar to antique stores. There’s always a whiff of antiseptic cleaner somewhere, but still everything feels half-buried in the dust of the centuries. Nothing caught my eye; the place was full of old coins, faded music scores, bent iron tools (half of which would’ve looked comfortable in a horror movie), and well-worn furniture.

So, back on the road. A few minutes later, I passed a beautiful old ruin of a brick building, pulled off the side of the road, and took a few pictures. It doesn’t look burned out, but somebody abandonded this place long ago. What happened?

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I returned to my truck and kept driving. I passed through the tiny town of Aldey, parked, and walked around the Old Mill, but little interested me there. There wasn’t even a restaurant. I continued on.

Just as I neared the time when I needed to head back, a red, white, and blue flag proclaiming “OPEN” neared. Below it stood two signs, one naming the place a winery, the other inviting me in for hot mulled wine. Well, I thought, if they’re going to be that polite about it, I’ll accept.

I pulled in past acres of winter-bare vineyards, up to a house on a hill. According to a large sign, I was at Swedenburg Winery. As I stepped out of my truck, a collie mix barked “Hello” and wagged its tail. I smiled and made my way up to the house, accepting a few friendly sniffs as I went inside.

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A beautiful foyer awaited me, and two lovely young women. For three George Washingtons I sampled twice that many varieties of wine, as well as the aforementioned mulled wine. The warmth spread to my bones. I ordered a bottle of it, and one of their rosé (marvellous, delicate flavor).

I returned home, content with my adventure, richer two bottles of wine and an hour’s worth of memories.

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