The Market itself is interesting. There are tons of vendors selling all kinds of things but primarily food, organic produce and handmade goods like organic soap. To be honest though, I wasn’t that interested in the Market.
What interested me was being able to walk around the whole complex and look inside the abandoned buildings. Visitors are not allowed to go inside the buildings but you can stand at the door or at a open window and take all the photos you like. So I did.
The buildings of the Railyards were mostly constructed between 1914 and 1924 and were in use until the mid 1990’s. In 2007 the City Of Albuquerque purchased the site with an aim towards preservation and restoration. Today, it’s primary function is hosting the Market and being used as an awesome location for filming movies and TV shows. The Railyards have appeared in several episodes of Breaking Bad and in The Avengers movies.
One of things about abandoned houses that makes them so interesting are the abandoned yards. Unnatural plants fighting for survival while mother nature encroaches. No one comes from the house to save them. Order is restored.
On February 19th, Xavier and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary by visitingOrchid Cellar Meadery & Winery for a tasting followed by a drive around Harper’s Ferry to look for cool abandoned houses and later in the evening we had an outstanding dinner at Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge in Germantown.
Mead is a peculiar substance that lays somewhere on the spectrum between wine and bourbon. It is made from honey and generally weighs in at around 17% alcohol. A little bit of Meade goes a long way.
Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery charges only $7 for a general tasting and they let you keep the glass!
On the menu is an impressive selection of handcrafted Mead, wine, and honey wine. I can guarantee that you won’t be tasting anything like this anywhere else.
The honey brings a unique flavor that may seem foreign at first but it doesn’t take long to go from, “Oh, this is different.” to “Why is my glass empty?!?!”
For more information on the finer points of Mead and how it differs from wine, I highly recommend reading their FAQ page.
This wonderfully decrepit barn is just down the road from Orchid Cellar.
Venturing across the river into Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, we found several terrific specimens of abandoned house.
When I lived in New Mexico, I would never be satisfied with photographing abandoned houses from the side of the road. I would be all up in there, risking my life climbing stairs that would were barely standing and tromping over dead animals and piles of rat poo to take a good look around and to get the best photos.
In this part of the country, many of these houses are inhabited by vagrants and/or surrounded by No Trespassing signs and, more often than not, there is an overly protective neighbor within eye shot who has already written down your license plate number. Ergo, it is necessary to exhibit a bit more restraint when photographing abandoned houses in the east.
This house is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I stayed at the fence but I could totally see some awesome stuff through that broken window. Sadly, no way to get the shot from so far away.
This house, on the other hand, had no fence and was conveniently missing the front door. There was a No Trespassing sign nailed to a tree but I didn’t actually go inside and was speedy like The Flash so no photographers were shot during the creation of these images.
Everyone knows it’s bad feng shui for the front door to open onto a staircase and the maleficence oozing from the walls of this house will condensate on your face if you stand there too long. Whatever is in the room at the top of the stairs is just barely contained behind that sorry excuse for a door. Trust me, I know about these things.
Elk Run is much smaller than the previous two wineries Xavier and I have visited. It is privately owned and operated and the owners live in a normal house at the other end of the driveway. The tasting room is unpretentious in every way; small and cozy and inhabited by an elderly gray cat.
On the surface nothing is fancy.
Until they pour the wine.
Thriving on a diet of magic dirt and unicorn tears, these are some exuberantly happy grapes. “That is fer-damn delicious.”, I said to Xavier while tasting the Cabernet Franc and the bartender let out a little involuntary snort.
We did the general tasting, which is six pre-selected wines for $6 per person.
The thing about a wine tasting is that it seems like just a few harmless sips but by the 6th taste the grapes have started talking and I ordered a glass of Cabernet Franc while engaging our friendly bartender in what she must have thought was a ridiculous conversation comparing the economic efficiency of a custom built tiny house VS. buying a less tiny manufactured home and tested her vast knowledge of viniculture with thoughtful and intelligent questions such as “How long does a grape vine live?”
Of the six wines that were served, there were three that I was particularly taken with: Pinot Gris, Cabernet Franc and Sweet Katherine. I could be perfectly happy drinking those three wines for the rest of forever but, if I had to pick just one, it would be the Cabernet Franc.
Made with grapes grown in their Cold Friday Vineyard, the Cabernet Franc is a tall glass of deep red silk. Identifying all the subtle flavors could take time, lasting well into the dark hours of the night, so I recommend saving this bottle for an evening when you’ve got nowhere to be and can sleep-in the next morning.
They say the Cabernet Franc tastes of German Chocolate cake, ripe olives and black pepper, which I absolutely don’t recommend eating on the same plate, but when the subtleties of the flavors come together in the alchemy of a wine barrel the end result is impressive to say the least.
My recommendation: Have another glass. 🙂
On the way to Elk Run, we drove through Libertytown; home of many photo-worthy abandoned houses. A word to wise, be mindful of barriers like fences and No Trespassing signs. Gun-happy residents are often living nearby.
When customers think that the fax machine sends actual pieces of paper through the phone lines.
Sunday is indeed the Sabbath and a day for seeking refuge from the general public. During the winter months, Tarara Winery is the perfect gateway for disappearing into the world at large.
Located either on the set of The Walking Dead or on the way to grandmother’s house,
Tarara Winery is a sprawling estate nestled deep in the woods of Leesburg, VA. It’s got a bad case of the creepy trees, sparking a discussion in the car regarding the high probably of the woods being inhabited by witches. Xavier says no but I say he just can’t see them.
In the summer, this place would no doubt have the vibe of a lavish country club, complete with lots of high-roller wine-drinkers, but in the winter we felt compelled to ask the receptionist if they were open as it seemed like we were the only ones there.
In other words, it was perfect!
At the bar, we sampled six different wines. As usual, my imagination got the best of me and I insisted on trying the one called Magic Dragons from the Boneyard Collection. Unfortunately, I found the name preferable to the wine.
To be clear, I’m not saying the Magic Dragons was bad, it just wasn’t as good as the #SocialSecret White 2012. Now, that – my friends, was the bomb diggity ding dang. If you’re going to spend $30 on a bottle of white wine, get this one!
Fruity, but still smooth and definitely dry, this is a Chardonnay-esque white wine that I highly recommend drinking while sitting in a big chair by the fire because, at 12.5% alcohol, you won’t feel like getting up anytime soon.
With regard to socializing, the secret is, that after the first glass, your guests will feel like Alice In Wonderland. While they may hear voices, walk funny, and smile at imaginary cats, they will most certainly tell their friends that you have thrown the best.party.ever.
Who doesn’t want to throw the best party ever?
I wanted to talk about the #SocialSecret because I have already reviewed a red wine from Tarara in a previous post. That being said, it is absolutely worth mentioning that the Tranquility 2014 is outstanding and will probably make your clothes fall off. No joke, if there is a such a thing as a wine erection this wine would cause it and, at $45 a bottle, it is money well spent.
The Tranquility is very, very good.
Let’s walk around the grounds and sober up a bit before getting back in the car.
I was looking for grape vines but found these fruit tree orchards instead.
The shot of the day is this abandoned house that we passed on the way back to civilization.
I got snagged in a barbed wire fence to get the photo below. I have no idea what this structure used to be. Let’s call it Mystery Of The Day.