Common Grounds Coffee Has DIY Grilled Cheese Bar in Wendell, N.C.

Well, we have twenty-six days until school starts. I am going to miss sleeping in, but I am not going to miss having kids with me to keep busy 24/7. I have had no time for writing at all this summer, and I have a huge backlog.  I have tried to keep us busy by traveling. You'll soon see some hotel features and an #OutaboutNC kid guide to Winston-Salem, N.C. on the blog. You can keep up with some of those photos on my Instagram feed now.

I decided to have a night out without kids this month  and went with several of my local food/local event blogging friends to a new coffee shop in Wendell, N.C.  Historic Wendell is about 20 minutes from downtown Raleigh, and a place I've not really discovered in the Triangle.  Not sure why. There are a lot of places I've not discovered in Greater Raleigh yet. My new goal is to discover at least one place a month. We will count this as my first new discovery.

The town is doing great things to revitalize the downtown area, and new neighborhoods are popping up close to downtown.  In a few years, I imagine the growth on this side of Wake County to be very much like Apex, Holly Springs, and Fuquay-Varina.

I always joke that a town could be lived in by me once it gets a cool coffee shop and has a place to enjoy craft beer and wine. Guess what? Wendell has arrived now.

A new neighborhood community, Wendell Falls by Newland Communities, with new homes ranging from the upper $100,000s to $400,000s is now open, and they are mixing big-town sophistication with small-town charm.

The neighborhood is hosting concerts, farmer's markets, and they have opened the town's first coffee shop, Grounds Cafe. It not only serves coffee but has a terrific craft beer and wine selection.

Honestly, with an outdoor patio, the space could rival some luxury hotels I've visited. Grounds Cafe is sophisticated and modern, and the menu is urban innovative with a DIY grilled cheese bar.

Seriously, it's worth a drive from Raleigh to just visit. We were there late one night and got to witness this sunset.

Everyone had fun making their own grilled cheese creations.

Here's mine.

Whole Wheat Bread
2 slices of provolone cheese
2 slices of Southern Heirloom Tomatoes
One scoop of black beans
A little salsa
A couple of jalapeno peppers.


Grounds Cafe, located at 320 Vintage Point Lane,  is open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m-6 p.m, Friday 7 a.m-10 p.m with live music from 6-9 p.m, and weekends 10 a.m-6 p.m. Special Note: Grilled Cheese items were put out for our private event for us to choose. During regular operating hours, customers will have the same choices we had, but will just mark it on a DIY menu pad for staff to assemble. 

Discovering Yadkin Valley: A NC Weekend Wine Adventure (Part 3)

A girlfriend’s weekend getaway to the Yadkin Valley wine region in North Carolina was quite an enjoyable and educational experience for me. I learned three significant things in my two-day journey.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.

  •  North Carolina is the only place in the world that grows every type of grape, and the Yadkin Valley wine region is a federally recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA). The establishment of viticultural areas allows vintners to describe more accurately the origin of their wines to consumers and helps consumers to identify wines they may purchase. In this region of N.C., you are going to find the European-style vinifera grapes, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Viognier.

  •  I discovered that Yadkin Valley wines are really good. I mean really good, and can easily compete with some of the best wines in California, Oregon, and Washington.

  • This area of North Carolina makes a fabulous getaway for friends, couples, and even families. I concentrated totally on visiting wineries in this region, but there are a lot of outdoor adventures that you can tie in with winery visits, too.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.
In less than 48 hours, we visited six wineries in Yadkin Valley. 

If you are just joining us in this series, you may want to start with part one of our NC wine series where we checked into our hotel and later explored Brushy Mountain Winery, a charming urban winery in downtown Elkin. On day two of our new wine journey, we were treated like queens and were picked up by Parkway Tours to begin our wine adventure in Surry County.  We explored Shelton Vineyards and Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery.

Wine Tasting at McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries. This is McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks.

As Billy drove us approximately 9 miles from Grassy Creek Vineyard to McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks in Thurmond, N.C., we could see a landscape change. It became hilly. McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks sit on 30 acres in the Blue Ridge mountain foothills. The tasting room, which I would describe as very Sonoma chic with large, picture windows and a front porch with a few rocking chairs, overlooks the vineyards. Immediately, you feel as if this is a place where you would like to hang out for a while and forget that you had any care in the world. It’s tranquil, casual, but yet, you get the impression that the wine here exudes sophistication and class.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.  Pictured are owners of McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks, Sean and Patricia McRitchie.

Owners, Sean, and Patricia McRitchie, are living their dream of establishing their own winery after many years of working in the wine industry. They held top management positions at other prestigious wineries prior to Sean harvesting his own grapes in 2004 and establishing the winery in 2006. They also have the honor of producing North Carolina’s first hard cider.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.  McRitchie was the first winery in N.C. to produce hard ciders.

Their ciders are a blend of hand-selected heirloom cider apples from orchards in the Blue Ridge mountains. McRitchie produces both dry and off-dry ciders. None of the wines produced at McRitchie are sweet wines. Winemaker Sean McRitchie is fond of using techniques found more often in France than in America.

Named after the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, this is McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks tribute. NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.

You are likely to find the vineyard’s Ring of Fire Red in specialty wine shops throughout North Carolina. This signature wine is a blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Petit Verdot. The wine’s name is in tribute to the man in black, Johnny Cash.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.

The 2012 Pale Rider Dry Rose, made with Sangiovese grapes became the absolute favorite wine of the entire trip for my friend, Michelle. McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks are located at 315 Thurmond PO Road in Thurmond, N.C.

Wine Tasting at Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery

View from Jones von Drehle. NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.

Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery is a family affair owned by two sisters and their husbands. It’s one of the newer wineries in the area, and already, it has impressed some of North Carolina’s best Sommeliers. Jones von Drehle wines can be found on the wine list at some of the best luxury hotels and restaurants in North Carolina. Chuck and Diana Jones and Raymond and Ronnie von Drehle bought 65 acres of former pastures and woodlands in the Blue Ridge foothills in 2007, and that’s where the dream came to fruition.  The winery opened in 2012.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.

Jones von Drehle, located in the area of Thurmond in Surry County, is only a few miles away from McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks. Jones von Drehle was our last stop of the day after a wine tour day that started at 10 a.m. I really want to go back again and make this winery my first stop because after tasting about 20 other wines during the day, everything starts to be a blur for a non-wine expert, like me.

Rock and Rail wine from Jones von drehle in Surry County.

We met with winemaker Dan Tallman for a quick tour. We visited on Saturday at the end of May,  and on Tuesday, the Jones von  Drehle team were going to start bottling more wines that were ready for consumption. Dan led us to a room where wine glasses, half-full with wine prepared for bottling, were being studied. It made me realize that winemaking is both a science and an art, which Jones von Drehle has mastered beautifully.

NC Wine Adventures in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Great for a getaway for girlfriends, families, and couples. In this post, we explore the wines of six different wineries.

Favorite wines of mine were the 2012 Chardonnay Steel, the Rock, and Rail Estate Red, the 2012 Tempranillo, and the 2013 Viognier. Jones von Drehle is located at 964 Old Railroad Grade Road.

Dinner at 222 Public House in Elkin

Great meal at 222 Public House in Downtown Elkin.

222 Public House in downtown Elkin is a fabulous casual eatery in a sports bar atmosphere. The Philly cheesesteak sandwich and the hand-cut fries were excellent. Despite being in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region, the wine takes a backseat to craft beer here, and very few local wines are even on the menu, if at all.  The craft beer menu is robust, though. 

Wine Tasting and Brick-Oven Pizza at Elkin Creek Vineyard

Elkin Creek Vineyard in Surry County. On Sunday, the vineyard serves pizza.

On Sunday, Michelle and I visited our final winery for the weekend after we checked out of the Fairfield Inn and Suites.  Elkin Creek Vineyard was only a few miles away from the hotel and is the perfect place to relax. The vineyard is built around a historic grist mill built-in 1896.

Elkin Creek Vineyard is built around an historic grist mill built in 1896

One of the vineyard owners calls the mill home now, but they do share their tranquil creek with guests. Elkin Creek Vineyard has four luxury cabins on property with full kitchens available for rent.  Sunday is a special day at the winery because the Elkin Creek kitchen is open for brick-oven pizzas and its famous artisan sourdough bread.

Every Sunday, Elkin Creek Vineyard lights the brick oven for gourmet pizzas.

Because of N.C. laws, the wine can’t flow before noon on Sunday, but the fire is hot in the brick oven for serving pizza as early as 11 a.m.

Gourmet pizza at Elkin Creek Vineyard in Surry County.

The story behind this vineyard is interesting. Two couples, who experienced the glitz and glam of Las Vegas, decided to leave their professional jobs working for the show “Blue Man Group” and live a more quiet life in rural North Carolina. They bought the vineyard in 2011 from its original owner. The focus at Elkin Creek Vineyard is on small-batches of hand-crafted wines.

Elkin Creek Vineyard focuses on small batches of hand-crafted wine.

I had a fresh palate here since it was my only winery for the day, and I loved every single wine I tasted. The 2014 Chardonnay really grabbed my attention, and I bought two bottles to take home. Those bottles are long-gone in my house now, and all I can think about is when I can go back to the winery and get more.

The view at Elkin Creek Vineyard.

With a background in entertainment and the arts, the owners at Elkin Creek Vineyard are definitely taking on the role as an advocate for the arts, especially for children. There are many fun family-friendly events scheduled throughout the year. Elkin Creek Vineyard is located at 318 Elkin Creek Mill Road.

Travel Notes on this area:

Travel writer, Leigh Powell Hines, takes you to some of the best places in North Carolina and beyond. Follow @HinesSightBlog on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Michelle and I had a fantastic time on this getaway. 

My advice on a trip for this area is to plan to stay several days and visit one or two wineries a day. It makes a great girlfriend's getaway, a couple's getaway, or even an enjoyable vacation with families. You can easily combine the trip with outdoor adventure, too. Pilot Mountain and Stone Mountain State Park are nearby to explore. The Yadkin River runs through Surry County and is great for outdoor adventures that you can book with Yadkin River Adventures. The area is also home to Mt. Airy, which is also known as “Mayberry.”  Mt. Airy is such a nostalgic and charming place to explore, especially if you grew up watching the “Andy Griffith Show.”  Surry County is also located near the Primland Resort in Virginia, which is an outdoor adventure destination all of its own.

For your trip planning:
Surry County Tourism

My thanks to Surry County Tourism for partnering with me on curating this exclusive Yadkin Valley Wine Trip. Some expenses were my own and as always, so are my opinions

Be sure to read our other Yadkin Valley Posts
Part 1 (Fairfield Inn and Brushy Mountain Vineyard)
Part 2 (Shelton Vineyards and Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery) 

Explore D.C. and Taste the Grand Hyatt Washington Watermelon Martini

Summers can be balmy in Washington, D.C. The Grand Hyatt Washington D.C knows how to cool down its guests and I can't wait to find out when I check-in soon. The Cure Bar and Bistro, located in Penn Quarter near Chinatown, serves up a refreshing watermelon martini. It is refreshing and the perfect summer cocktail. This will be the first hotel you see on Instagram for our trip.

Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. shares watermelon martini recipe and they have a great family travel package that includes museum admission.

Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. Watermelon Martini


2 ½ oz Tito’s vodka
½ cup fresh watermelon cubes
½ oz simple syrup
Decorative green sugar (for glass rim)


Muddle watermelon
Add to shaker with vodka and simple syrup
Shake and strain into martini glass with green sugared rim

The Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. is currently offering the Explore DC package which includes admission to a popular D.C musuem and breakfast for two. Rates begin at $388 per night. Your museum choice includes:

Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C. is a unique wax attraction that brings history and pop culture to life. See, touch and take photos with some of your favorite celebrities and historical figures under one roof. Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C. is the only place in the world where people can see and interact with all 44 Presidents of the United States in 3D! 

Or visit the Crime Museum where you explore American History from a different perspective. Guests have the opportunity to dive into our Nation's history of crime and its consequences, law enforcement, forensic science, crime scene investigation (CSI) through a captivating interactive, entertaining and educational experience. 

With this Explore Package, you'll enjoy:

  • Full Breakfast Buffet in Cabinet for 2
  • Two Tickets to the Crime Museum or Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C.
  • 2:00pm Late Checkout

Neither one of those museums in this particular package worked for our family so we're visiting the International Spy Museum and Newseum instead. After talking with fellow writer, Karen Dawkins of Family Travels on a Budget, who just did a press trip to D.C., I felt the Crime Museum would be too much for my 5-year-old and she would be scared. She is also scared of mannequins so I knew a wax museum would upset her as well. 

At the time, I was curating this hotel trip, the hotel suggested these other attractions and I am so glad. I think we have found the perfect fit. When booking hotels, always talk to the hotels about the choices available, or if you have any questions at all about a certain package. Hotels are certainly there to help you have a great vacation. 

I'm excited about Washington D.C. We'll be staying five days and in three different luxury properties. 

Refreshing Sparkling Lavender Lemonade Recipe

Sparking Lavender Lemonade from Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. Made with Lavender simple syrup. Perfect for summertime.

One of the hotels I will be staying in when I revive my "Pack Your Bags" hotel feature this summer is the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. When I began planning this trip during the spring, I asked my Facebook community the location they preferred to stay in when visiting Washington, D.C. Some people said Alexandria or Arlington were top choices because rates were typically lower than in the heart of D.C.

For this trip, I wanted to get a feel of what it would be like to stay in Virginia  in addition to D.C. I chose the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, with easy access to the metro. They serve afternoon tea, which I will be enjoying and they have an indoor pool, which the Hines kids adore on travels. And yes, rates are lower in Virginia. With the Family Getaway Package, rates start at $294 at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City property and it includes:

  • Overnight accommodations
  • Breakfast Buffet for two adults and two children, 12 and under, in Fyve Restaurant, daily
  • Metrorail travel passes for four guests, daily
  • Premium (multiple connections) high-speed internet access in guest room
  • In-room movie
  • Late check-out based on availability
  • Complimentary use of Fitness Center, Indoor Pool and Sauna Facilities

This Sparkling Lavender Lemonade cocktail or mocktail is served in the Fyve Restaurant. I'm excited to share it with you as I prepare for my trip. You can fix this at home and have one with me when I'm on the road. 

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade 


1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup lavender simple syrup (recipe below)
1 cup sparkling water or champagne


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. fresh lavender buds



Stir all ingredients together until combined. Serve over ice.


Stir all ingredients together in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and refrigerate.

Alternate Option for Lavender in this recipe. Vitality Lavender Essential Oil with Young Living. (Only this brand can be used because Young Living stands behind its seed to seal quality ingredients and the vitality line is safe for ingestion and is clearly labeled and marketed as a dietary oil.) 

Sparking Lavender Lemonade from Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. Made with Lavender simple syrup. Perfect for summertime.

Be sure to follow HinesSightBlog on Instagram for my 3 hotels in 5 days Washington, D.C adventure.

I can't wait to get in this tub.

Gorgeous bathroom at Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City

Disclosure: Affiliate and retail links that are in this post support the editorial side of my blog.  Be sure to read my post after I stayed at this link.

NC Yadkin Valley Getaway: Shelton Vineyards and Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery (Part 2)

NC Wine Getaway on HinesSightBlog; perfect for a girl's getaway. Yadkin Valley Wine Region.

Surry County, which consists of the towns, Mt. Airy, Elkin, Dobson, and Pilot Mountain, is located in the Yadkin Valley Wine region, a federally recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the Northwestern part of North Carolina. My friend, Michelle, and I spent two nights in the town of Elkin exploring a few wineries without our kids. It is what I would describe as a perfect girlfriend’s getaway that wasn’t too far from home.

Neither one of us had been to this region of North Carolina nor did we know one thing about wines produced in this area. It was certainly an outstanding education for our taste buds and turned us into Yadkin Valley region wine fans. For this post, I am continuing our story with Day 2 of our Yadkin Valley Wine adventure. If you are just joining us, you need to catch up here.

NC Wine Girlfriend's Getaway in the Yadkin Valley Region, Brushy Mountain Vineyard and Fairfield Inn and Suites in Elkin, N.C.

NC Yadkin Valley Wine Region (Part One) contains the history of the grape in North Carolina, and how this area grows grapes comparable to vineyards in California, Oregon, Washington, and France. On our first night in town, we visited Brushy Mountain Winery, a sophisticated, urban winery in downtown Elkin, N.C.

10:30 am Parkway Wine Tours Meets Us for Wine Tours

NC Yadkin Valley Getaway to tour wine region. Get a driver. We used Parkway Wine Tours

After breakfast at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, our wonderfully-located base in Elkin for the weekend, we were greeted by Billy, our driver with Parkway Wine Tours. By using a service like Parkway, you can visit several wineries in one day safely. With an entire fleet of vehicles, Parkway's cost depends on how many hours you will need a driver, and how many people are in your party. Typical rates are $60 to $100 per hour. It, of course, is a more costly option for just two people, but unless you have a designated driver, I recommend using Parkway or arranging some type of wine tour where transportation is included. Surry County has all of this information available on its website. At each winery, you are tasting four to five wines for each tasting. It can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful. There are some curvy country roads in this area. We were glad to have Billy with us for the day, and he treated us like queens. 

Yadkin Valley Wine Girlfriend's Getaway

Wine Tasting at Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C.

For our first winery, Billy took us about 15 minutes away from the hotel in Elkin to the town of Dobson in Surry County, which is home to Shelton Vineyards, North Carolina's largest-family owned estate. As you drive up to the estate which was established 15 years ago, the gates are impressive.

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region

This is when you think to yourself, “Am I still in North Carolina or did I somehow transport myself to  California’s wine country?”

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region

Michelle and I both agreed that if you only have time to visit a few wineries in the area, you definitely need to add Shelton Vineyards on your agenda because it’s so grand and the landscape is so beautiful.

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region; Very large tasting room.

The tasting room is large, opulent, and more commercial than any of the other vineyards we visited.

Shelton Vineyards sells its wine in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia so if you fall in love with a particular wine, there is a good chance you can buy it at Harris Teeter or another grocery store when you buy your chicken for the week. That's one of the nice things about discovering a wine that you like at one of the state's larger wineries. You know you can get it again easily. 

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region. Perfect winery for families to visit because there is so much land.

With its award-winning restaurant, Harvest Grill on site, and a Hampton Inn and Suites, also owned by the winery less than a mile away, Shelton Vineyards, has certainly positioned itself as a tourist destination in the heart of Yadkin Valley’s wine region. It’s a great place for concerts, picnics, and just relaxing with your family. This is a great kid-friendly winery because there is so much space for your kids to roam.

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region

Shelton Vineyards produces wines that are affordable enough to buy often and incorporate into your lifestyle. I drink wine while cooking dinner at times and Shelton’s 2014 Bin Chardonnay priced under $15 is perfect for that type of occasion.

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region

The Bin Chardonnay, a Gold winner in the NC Commercial Wine Competition, is an unoaked Chardonnay with focused citrus notes with honeydew melon and tropical fruit. It’s perfect for a hot, Southern day. It was probably my favorite there as well as the Sauvignon Blanc, a gold winner in the Pinehurst Wine Competition. My friend prefers to drink white wines in general, and I prefer reds, but she fell in love with the Estate Merlot at Shelton Vineyard, a Gold/Best of Show in the Wines of the South Wine Competition. I, of course, fell in love with the white wines at this winery.

Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, N.C. Yadkin Valley Wine Region;  Bin 17 Chardonnay was a favorite.

Our guide, Angela Hooker, told us that you should drink what your palate wants, and I guess before noon, I like white wine. I think that may be the earliest I have ever had wine in the day. Shelton Vineyards is located at 286 Cabernet Lane, Dobson, NC.  This winery is open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Lunch at Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards

Lunch at Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards is a culinary experience.

Harvest Grill is a culinary treat, and a fabulous spot to have an upscale lunch or dinner. Under the
culinary leadership of Executive Chef Paul Lange, the restaurant specializes in a menu using fresh and local ingredients. I ordered the Harvest Grill Field Green Salad with a Crabcake. It came with cornbread croutons that were absolutely delicious. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. This restaurant is probably one of the more expensive ones in the area, but it is fabulous upscale dining. Treat yourself. You’ll love it.  I enjoyed  my lunch with a glass of Bin Chardonnay.

Wine Tasting at Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery in Surry County, N.C.

Grassy Creek Vineyards in Surry County

Billy was waiting for us when we got back in our town car, and he took us about 20 minutes away from Shelton Vineyards to Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery, which is just outside of Elkin in an unincorporated area of Surry County. This vineyard is located about six minutes from our hotel base, and the tasting room is an attractive old barn that used to be a horse stable. It’s quite a different experience from Shelton.  It’s smaller, but has a lot of sophisticated charm even though you are tasting wine in an old horse stable.

The Tasting Room for Grassy Creek Vineyards and Winery is an old horse stable on historic Klondike Farm.

The tasting room was busy with a bachelorette party for a bride and her friends from Winston-Salem, and later a 40th birthday party entourage of about three couples from the Charlotte area, joined us for our tasting.  They walked in, and immediately said, “This is our favorite so far.” Turns out, it was really their first stop, but we all felt at ease and our tasting guide guided us through either a red or white wine tasting.

Interior view of Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery in Surry County

There is a lot of history on this property, and most of it, from an upscale origin. The Hanes Family of the Hanes Hosiery Mill fame bought this property in the early 1920s. When one of the Hanes daughters later married into another prominent North Carolina family, they turned this area into a stylish hunting vacation retreat, known as the Klondike Cabins. The Klondike Farm eventually became a working dairy farm, and produced some of the best chocolate milk in the state. The Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery, established by two couples in 2003, sits on a property with a rich history. All wine is made and bottled in the old, white dairy barn, which is tucked away on property away from the tasting room. 

Grassy Creek Vineyard rents a few luxury cabins on property to vacationers who want to immerse themselves in the laid-back vineyard lifestyle for a few days. Grassy Creek produces white wines, red wines, and semi-sweet wines. The Klondike Farm Golden Guernsey and the Klondike Farm Guernsey Red, are the winery’s best sellers. Both of these are semi-sweet table wines made with a nod to the Klondike Dairy Farm past. Bottles are shaped like milk jugs.

Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery wines in a milk jug in an honor to its dairy farm past.

The 2013 Barbera, a medium body wine full of cherry, plum, and prune flavors was memorable at $30 a bottle. Grassy Creek has a cozy tasting room that makes you want to stay awhile and live a simpler yet chic life.

For me, the semi-sweet red wine at Grassy Creek won me over this time, and I took two milk jugs filled with wine home.  Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery is located on Tasting Room Drive off of Klondike Road, 235 Chatham Cottage Circle, State Road, NC 28676 (an unincorporated community in Surry County).

Grassy  Creek Vineyard and Winery in Surry County

Well, we’re just getting started on this wine tour and we still have three more wineries to visit on this girlfriend’s getaway. We’ll be heading to nearby McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks, Jones vonDrehl, and Elkin Creek Vineyard in our future posts. 

Be sure not to miss a post and subscribe by email on our right sidebar.

For your trip planning:
Surry County Tourism

My thanks to Surry County Tourism for partnering with me on curating this special Yadkin Valley Wine Trip. Some expenses were my own and as always, so are my opinions

Be sure to read our other Yadkin Valley Posts
Part 1 (Fairfield Inn and Brushy Mountain Vineyard)
You are now reading Part 2 (Shelton Vineyards and Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery) 
Part 3 (McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks, Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery, Elkin Creek Vineyard)

How to Grill the Perfect Spiral-Cut Hot Dog!

Hot dog! We're in the dog days of a Carolina summer. That means that one of my favorite North Carolina founded restaurants, Firewürst, is selling hot dogs this July to help The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina's Stop Summer Hunger program. This program helps bridge the gap in services for children when school is not in session.  Unfortunately, many youth rely on the school system for hot meals and when school is out for the summer, kids suffer. For the entire month of July, Firewürst, will donate $1 for every Certified Angus Beef® Hot Dog and Veggie Dog sold throughout July (National Hot Dog Month) to this worthwhile program. The restaurant has committed a $10,000 donation, You can participate in the campaign socially by using the hashtag #DogsForDollars. 

Firewürst is consistently rated a top Triangle restaurant, and you will find me in the Harrison Road location every so often.  I asked them how to grill the perfect spiral-cut hot dog at home. I've got their tips for you. 

Hot Dog Grilling TipTry spiral cutting your hot dogs
o   How?
  Put a skewer directly from one end of the dog, right down the middle and out the other end
  Using a serrated knife, cut the dog at an angle starting at one end and rotating the dog as you cut
  Remove the skewer, and you should have an accordion-like spiral-cut hot dog
o   Why?
 First, it looks cool and adds a little style to your dog!
  Second, it allows the dog to caramelize more, really bringing out the delicious flavor of a great hot dog
  Finally, the spiral catches toppings in every crevice, making for a more complete taste in every bite!

Firewürst has two locations in the Raleigh area. Join the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC's efforts to to stop Summer Hunger. I think the kids and I will eat lunch there today. 

Have a great 4th of July weekend, everyone!


Disclosure: This #OutaboutNC post supports charity and had no sponsorship fees. 

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