Sunday, November 14, 2010

Go Off the Beaten Path

When you're a city-dweller (OK, a suburb-dweller) it's amazing how much is nearby that you have no idea even exists. So, I recommend taking out a map of your area and looking around.

For instance, I had absolutely no idea there was a city nearby called Princeton, TX. No clue whatsoever. So when my husband suggested we go to a winery in Princeton, I asked, how far away is that? And the answer - 40 minutes. 40 minutes? That's practically just across town. And so it is. Just south of McKinney, very close to the McKinney Municipal Airport is Princeton. A little further east than I expected.

People laugh at me because I'm afraid of wide-open spaces. I prefer the safety offered by the big city. Lots of raised eyebrows when I say that. Lots of people move *out* of the city because of a perception of danger. Not me. If I had to live on a daily basis where there was a possibility I'd not see another person, and that it would take 3 times as long for the police or an ambulance to arrive, or, worse, that I wouldn't have cell phone reception and I'd fall in a ditch and not be able to get up and so I'd starve to death...well, that's far more frightening to me than the options the city gives me.

Which makes Princeton so perfect for an Everyday Vacation! Away from the city far enough that you can hear the birds chirp and the rooster down the road crow (although, why it was crowing at 3:00pm, I don't know), and just enjoy the scenery on a cool, crisp day. Yet, be able to get home before sundown.

Our winery visity was to Collin Oaks Winery in Princeton. They are practically famous for their sweet fruit wines. Steve told us that many people come by looking for dry wines, and leave with a case of my personal favorite sweet wine, Blueberry! Absolutely delicious. Grab a bottle and head out to the deck, and just...relax. You need it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time Flies!!

It's been over a year since I've posted! Wow! How'd that happen? Kinda sad, too, because I've had all kinds of nice Everyday Vacations lately. So, let's start over; starting with last weekend.

We've discovered that there are a lot of wineries near our home! Before, we would just take a weekend, or a week, and head down to the Texas Hill Country to experience wonderful wines. Lately, though, it seems that several local wineries are gaining a lot of ground. This weekend, we went to two of them.

First, we headed out to Parker. This is a nice trip for an Everyday Vacation anyway, because of a very famous landmark out Parker-way, called Southfork Ranch. Yes, the famous ranch where exteriors of the 70's prime-time drama, Dallas, were filmed.

But, who knew that there was a winery tucked away there? And not just a winery, but a vineyard. Khatter Vineyards, specifically. Grapes are grown locally, and wine is produced locally. Our favorite was the Texas Ruby Red, which, sadly, is now out of production. Another couple in attendance had bought the last case of it.

The setting is just a little piece of heaven, which is what an Everyday Vacation is all about! You walk up a gravel driveway and enter under an arbor to a vision of lovely grapevines. Mature trees all around, and a stone patio with a wood deck. The tasting room is a rustic little cabin with low ceilings and all kinds of charm. It was literally like stepping out of the city and into the country. Although, to my mind, even better, because, even though it was incredibly peaceful, I could still hear traffic from the road. (I like to feel connected to society) We got a bottle of wine and sat out on the patio and enjoyed the view and the wine, and one of the friendly dogs that live there. What a great way to get a little slice of vacation right at the end of a hectic week?

Listen up, readers - you could have the chance to own a this little suburban paradise. Our proprietress mentioned that the property may be up for sale soon.

Our second winery of the weekend was located on the opposite side of the Dallas metro area in Grapevine. Cross Timbers Winery. And it's a charmer, too! On a large lot with mature trees and shrubbery, the winery is a converted old home. There's a long bar and tables inside for tasting, a furnished porch with a swing out front, and a large backyard out back for enjoying the day. It was absolutely perfect weather - low 70's, sunny, clear, and a great day to take an Everyday Vacation. A bottle of their Sangiovese, cushion-y chairs on the front porch, and some old-fashioned Texas humor from our proprietor, and it was altogether perfect.

So - don't go far, go local! I'm sure you can find the perfect spots near you to take your own Everyday Vacation!