Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery in Middletown, MD

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Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery. Middletown, MD

On February 19th, Xavier and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary by visiting Orchid 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!

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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.

 

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Orchid Cellar Meadery & Winery. Middletown, MD

This wonderfully decrepit barn is just down the road from Orchid Cellar.

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Old Barn. Middletown, MD. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent

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.

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Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent

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.

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Abandoned house. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent
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Abandoned house. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent

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.

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Abandoned house. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent.

Wine Review: 2014 Cabernet Franc, Elk Run Vineyard and Winery

 

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Cabernet Franc, Elk Run Vineyards

This Sunday’s field trip was to Elk Run Vineyards and Winery in Mt. Airy, MD.

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. 🙂

 

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Elk Run Vineyard and Winery
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Elk Run Vineyard and Winery

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.

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Abandoned house in Libertytown, MD. Photo by d.Nelle Vincent.
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Photo by d.Nelle Vincent. Libertytown, MD
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Photo by d.Nelle Vincent. Libertytown, MD