Remember way back when I first started dating Chris, and I wrote that blog post about my first attempt at planning a date night, and I took us to the wrong theater?
Well my date planning skills haven’t gotten much better since then.
Back in April, barely 3 months after we started dating, a Living Social deal came up for a wine tasting and food pairing course at a vineyard I hadn’t heard of yet.
Which basically means it wasn’t called Boons Farm.
It was a really good deal, and I jumped on it, thinking it would make a nice date for me and Chris at some point.
Which sounds like a simple thing, but for me, at that time, was kind of a big thing. It meant that, at barely three months into this
relationship, I was willing to put down my hard earned money on a “future activity”. And not just any activity, but an activity that a majority of men would begrudgingly endure at best.
I was betting that Chris, despite not being a big wine enthusiast, was the kind of guy who was up to try new things, to learn new things, and at a minimum, graciously choose to enjoy something that I wanted to do.
But I’d been wrong before, which is what made it a leap of faith for me.
As I clicked the big “Buy Now” button I had images of us walking hand in hand through rolling hills of grape vines, sitting at a quaint
table for two on either a sun drenched patio, or rustically decorated tasting room, sipping wine the color of spun gold, while we mmmed, and ooohhed, and uh huh’d our way through a lesson about food and wine pairings, learning things we’d probably never remember from a gentile and mannered vintner.
So you know, a pretty low stakes venture.
About two weeks ago, I realized that the Living Social deal was about to expire so we decided we’d go this past Sunday, the last day the deal was valid.
I looked up the website of the vineyard several times, and sent Chris the link at least once, and by all accounts it looked and sounded lovely. It had the normal pictures of rolling hills and climbing grape vines, it was barely an hour away, and generally seemed not all that different from the handful of other vineyards I’d visited on various outings with girlfriends over the years.
So, Sunday morning, thinking it might be busy on the last day of the deal, we got up kinda early (before 10am) ate a light breakfast and headed out west toward wine country. It was a beautiful day for a drive and in about 40 minutes we were at the exit. We saw signs for three vineyards, none of them being the vineyard we were going to.I was ignoring this fact, until Chris pointed that that seemed odd.
“They’ve only been open about six months,” I said, still confident in Living Social and in the vineyard’s website. However, as we veered
off the main road and turned in the opposite direction of all the other vineyard signs I started to get a little nervous.
The GPS kept guiding us further and further into the backwoods of Virginia, and I tried to distract us by saying things like “Well it sure
is beautiful!” and “Its a real adventure!” in a super cheerful voice.
When Chris announced “We’ve run out of paved road and we’re now on gravel,” I faltered a little, and finally voiced the thought that
had been plaguing me for the last 3 or 4 miles: “I hope they haven’t closed down already.” Chris didn’t really comment, I think because he was so focused on navigating this bumpy, gravely road that twisted and turned through the woods.
Then suddenly we were back on paved road, and we came around a corner and saw a huge red, white and blue OPEN flag.
“Well that’s a good sign,” I said, my eyes scanning the landscape for a vineyard as we came out of the woods into a clearing.
“3600. This is it.” Chris said as he slowed in front of a small house near the road side.
“No, it can’t…” I started to say, and then I saw the canvas sign hanging over the dark sloping porch. It looked like the type of
house we’d drive by and say “that would be cute with a lot of work.”
I swear to god, I suddenly heard dueling banjos playing and saw toothless yokels offering “wine” out of mason jars.
“I’M NOT GOING IN THERE!” I cried out before I could think about it, and Chris immediately pressed the accelerator as he started
Once the building was behind us, I wondered if I’d over reacted. “Well, maybe its not that bad on the inside, maybe we should still
“Honey, they have port-a-potties,” Chris pointed out as we did a U-turn and were again facing the ramshackle building and barren field
full of saplings that they had the nerve to call a vineyard.
“Oh my god, you’re right. Let’s go find one of those other vineyards we passed on our way out here.”
But first we stopped to take some pictures:
I made Chris stop when we were in front of it so I could try to get a picture of that totally uninviting front porch, but we didn’t want to stay too long for fear of some greasy haired, suspender wearing guy running out and saying “Come on in y’all!” So this was the best I could do:
As we made our way back down the gravel road and across the railroad tracks, I thought of what this Living Social coupon had meant when I’d bought it, and I had a sudden fear that this was a bad omen for the future of our relationship. But before I could get worked up about it (because I can get worked up about just about anything, no matter how ridiculous. Its like a special talent I have.) I turned my attention to salvaging the day.
Once we found our way back to the main road, we found our way to Three Fox Vineyard within a few minutes. It was one of the vineyard signs we’d turned away from on our way to the junkyard vineyard.
As we pulled into the driveway I immediately knew this was going to be much better.
We walked up the path to a beautiful patio with benches and small tables, overlooking sweeping lawns dotted with benches, picnic tables and hammocks.
We walked around back and saw an outdoor tasting tent set up, more tables and chairs in the sun, a shaded patio with more tables and entrance to the building.
We both had to pee though, so our first mission was to find the bathrooms. We followed sign around the side of the building and found this:
BUT, they were, without question the nicest port-a-potties I’ve ever used.
I totally give them points for their effort and intention. There were two oder control devices in there, and a sink that worked with a foot pedal. So I forgave them the lack of indoor plumbing and even used it twice, in violation of my general “only in an absolute fucking emergency and maybe not even then ” policy regarding port-a-potties.
Having availed ourselves of the facilities, we ventured inside and were immediately invited to a tasting, where we sampled several very good wines – I didn’t even hate all of the reds, and I pretty much always hate the reds.
And Chris and I hmmmed, and ahh ha’d a the tasting notes, even though we didn’t really understand or care about most of them.
After we’d sampled 6 or 7 wines Chris suggested we take a walk around the grounds to which I enthusiastically replied “I’m drunk!” as I stumbled into him and tried to sloppily kiss him in the middle of the tasting room.
“How are you drunk, that wasn’t even a full glass!”
Sometimes its like he doesn’t even know me at all…
After reminding him of my doctor confirmed missing liver enzyme that makes me a really cheap date, I suggested that buying some sausage and cheese and sitting the sun for a little while before our walk might be wise. Especially considering I could barely walk.
As we were waiting to pay for our snacks, my wine soaked brain remembered that this was supposed to be a day that I planned and that I paid for, for a change.
“Can I payeee for thish stufffff?” I asked
He looked at me like I’d grown a second head. I sighed heavily and tried to explain my request, but he rolled his eyes, kissed my forehead and turned his attention to looking for someone to ring us up.
I reminded myself again to never try to plan a date that’s any more complicated than suggesting our favorite restaurant for dinner.
Once outside in the sun, I started to really relax for the first time that day. There was hardly a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was perfect. We ate the sausage and cheese and people watched and entertained ourselves by inventing back stories for everyone as the vineyard steadily filled up.
After we’d eaten, and I’d sobered up, we strolled leisurely around the grounds hand in hand, pausing for the occasional picture.
So despite how the day started, it ended up being exactly what I’d envisioned. Mostly because Chris, above all else, is the type of guy who doesn’t hold me responsible for mistaking a bunch of stock photos on a website for reality.