Monday, January 20, 2014

Rambling About

In spite of weekly frigid temps, we took our annual trip to the beach for our anniversary. Sunny, windy (of course) and pretty cold. Cameron tried out a new (old) film camera he picked up cheap. Beth squeezed sand between her toes, and I watched the birds and waves.

Beach photographer

Looking across rough water of Beaufort Inlet to Cape Lookout Lighthouse
(channel buoy right of center; lighthouse farther right)

Several guys had set a table on the foreshore to practice celestial navigation, sextants pointed to the horizon. Given how rough it was, I could not help but think how much harder it would have been for them to shoot an actual sight at sea that day, the boat leaping and lurching beneath them.

When the cold is not whipping the rigging, the mild weather hurries through, recently painting a double winter rainbow.

Note double faintly to left of main rainbow.
Before Christmas, some of the adjunct faculty and staff from the community college visited a small winery near Aurora, just northwest of Oriental. Bennett Vineyards is an organic vineyard that grows muscadine (note that Google spellcheck does not recognize this word, but suggests "mescaline" as an alternative) and scuppernong grapes, the native North Carolina grapes used for hundreds of years to make wine that tends to be very sweet. Surrounded by woods on a back road south of Pamlico River, the vineyard is truly an estate vineyard with everything from growing the grapes to making and bottling the wine being done on site. It is a small operation where all processes are manual, including the labeling and corking.

Buddy, primary owner of the vineyard and winemaker extraordinaire, has learned to tease some interesting flavors from our native grapes. A dry, Merlot-style red, a white that tastes like a sweetish chardonnay and a special Christmas wine that he seasons lightly with cinnamon and mint for a festive holiday drink, warm or cold. No, this is not a big bold explosive cabernet. It is a relaxed and casual wine, light on alcohol and heavy on healthy antioxidants.

Buddy has built the vineyard on a grand tradition. Wine from scuppernong and muscadine was the first wine made in America. And North Carolina was the largest wine-producing state in the country until the Civil War interfered. He is a character, especially when encouraged by his wife Helen to "tell another story." Drop by. It is worth the trip.

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