Recipe: Christmas Breakfast Quiche

Cary, NC – In our house, we always like to have a hearty breakfast on Christmas morning – something that can cook untended while we tear open the presents and substantial enough to forestall the candy onslaught for at least a couple of hours. Read more

Recipe: Potato Pancakes for Hanukkah

Story by Leslie Huffman

Cary, NC – Happy Hanukkah to all our friends in Cary! Here’s a recipe for potato pancakes the Hanukkah way (also called latkes). They’re both symbolic and delicious. And you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them. Read more

A Short Drive From Cary: The New Napa?

Story by Matt Young

Cary, NC – I grew up around grapes. Many of my relatives in Northeast, PA (yes, that’s the name of the town) had vineyards. When my family moved when I was a boy, I was surprised to learn that there were people that had never seen a vineyard or tasted home made wine. Standing in a vineyard is something very personal to me. I still make wine in my garage.

“We’re a short trip from the hottest wine-making region in the country and I’m going to write a story,” I told the publisher.

“You can’t expense a trip to California, Matt” he said.

“No, it’s right here in North Carolina,” I said. “An hour and a half away in the Yadkin Valley.”

North Carolina Has A Long History as Wine Country

The wine history here  in North Carolina is long.  In 1840, North Carolina was the number one wine producing state in the Union according to the U.S. Census. Over the course of a couple hundred years it was shut down and started back up for a number of reasons – some examples include The Civil War and prohibition. In the late 1990’s, land turned from tobacco to grapes. The Yadkin Valley was named as the state’s first American Viticultural Area shortly after that.

“(North Carolina) wine would be distinguished on the best tables in Europe, for its fine aroma, and chrystalline transparence.” – Thomas Jefferson

The State of North Carolina now ranks 7th in the nation in wine production. A nice history can be found at VisitNCWine.com. But the North Carolina wine and grape industry is not just muscadines, scuppernongs and sweet wines anymore. Our friends just to the west are growing the grapes and making and selling cabs, merlots, zins and chardonnays.

Making up stuff about wine. Photo by Trish Prestia.

Taking One for the Team

I planned a day-trip to Yadkin Valley – gathered up 3 other couples and my bride, we hired out a limo (about $100 a head, but it can surely be done for less). Sounds like a lot of money, but its something you may do once only every 5 years, and its what you might pay for a two-hour concert or a day at the State Fair.

Truth be told, I would have done this whether I worked with CaryCitizen or not. I chose Weathervane, Childress, Junius Lindsay, Native Vines and RayLen to visit.

Here’s the down-low in a nutshell:

Weathervane: Quaint, nice little gift shop, knowledgeable staff, informal. Tastings are $5 (you get a glass to keep).

Childress: Touristy, but great wines, huge selection and a great bistro for lunch. There was live music when we were there and a big crowd. Huge gift shop. Very knowledgable staff. Tasting are expensive at $10 and up, but you get a glass to keep. Great views.

Junius Lindsay – Small, outdoor tasting bar. Beautiful surroundings. Friendly staff. Wines feature Syrah and Viognier. Tastings are $5 (you get a glass to keep).

Native Wines – Very rustic. Down-home surroundings. Friendly, very informal staff.   They claim to be the first “American Indian Owned and Operated Winery in the US”. Tastings are $5 (no glass).

Ray-Len – This was my favorite, although all of the wineries had their own “personality.” Amazing, sensibly priced wines, huge vineyard and the staff was great. Highly recommended.

Of course, it wasn’t just about the wine. The scenery was beautiful. We had a lot of laughs as you can imagine. We were with good friends. We drank a lot of wine – a lot. But in small amounts over the course of 6 hours – we all had our wits about us on the ride home.

Yadkin Valley Wine Region Map

Here’s  Google Map of the Yadkin Valley Wine District. Rollover the dots to see the wineries.

View Larger Map

Feel free to email me at matt.young@carycitizen.com if you want some advice on planning a trip of your own or have a favorite NC winery to recommend. We are also interested in covering other “Short Drives From Cary.” Shoot me a line with your ideas!

“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one’s present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.” – Latin Proverb


Confessions of a Home Brewer

Story by Matt Young. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, N.C. – I made my first home brew from a “Mr. Beer Kit” my wife bought me for Christmas 5 or 6 years ago. I looked at the box and said,”What? YOU CAN DO THAT?” Admittedly, I made and bottled about 6 different beers all in the span of 6 weeks and began to read everything I could get my hands on. Read more

Shop Cary: Lochmere Pavilion

Story & pictures by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – There are so many interesting places to shop, eat and do things in Cary. As far as small shopping centers, Lochmere Pavilion is one of the most charming. Read more

Eat Local: Brigs

brigs_salad

Cary, NC – When it comes to comfort food, Brigs can’t be beat. It’s a neighborhood classic at the corner of High House and Maynard in the Kroger (Maynard Crossing) shopping plaza.

Think of Brigs as a gourmet/diner, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. At Brigs, it’s not. Read more

Go Local: Circus Family Restaurant

circus

Cary, NC – Readers of Go Local have asked us to mention Circus and now is as good a time as any. Circus has an old time, down-home charm you just won’t find in out-parcel chain restaurants. Read more