Over Labor Day weekend, my friend Courtney and I wanted to have an adventure. Courtney and I met when I lived in Winston-Salem (we actually met on Craigslist; its’ not as sketchy as it sounds, promise), and one thing we have in common is we both seem to be magnets for unusual situations … like our trip to wine country. We discovered Benjamin Vineyards and Winery was offering a special package: a canoe trip on the Haw River and a glass of wine and dessert, all for $40. I knew it was going to be fun when Courtney responded, “Get excited: I’m really fun on boats.”
Our adventure began at the canoe rental company in Saxapahaw. That’s right, Saxapahaw. Every native North Carolinian I’ve told this story to have never heard of the place! Courtney and I made plans to meet on a Saturday morning and as she was running late, I was able to chat with Joe, the owner, about a variety of topics, including how I ended up in NC, the guided tours he leads in Alaska and traveling. Guess who e-mailed me a few days later to see if I want to help plan a weekend festival the canoe company and winery want to hold in the spring. Of course I do! I love festivals, especially ones that involve art, music, canoes and wine 🙂
Courtney arrived fashionably late and met my new best friend Joe, but before we embarked on our canoe trip he insisted we go upstairs to see the puppets. Oh yes, puppets. Think The Lion King on Broadway, not some kindergarten craft project. The puppets were HUGE and resembled Cinco de Mayo figures – sort of creepy and intimidating yet interesting.
When we finally made it to the river, we discovered we had the whole place to ourselves! It was a hot afternoon (excellent for sun tanning), so we spent a long time catching up on girl talk – and making sure floating logs weren’t deadly alligators. It reminded me of family camping trips when I was younger, when my dad would paddle in the back, I’d paddle in the front and my younger sister Allie would sit in the middle and try to tip the canoe. Luckily Courtney and I didn’t tip over 🙂
Our final stop was back to the winery for wine and dessert. I chose a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, which I don’t normally like but was fantastic; Courtney had a fruit wine that tasted like raspberry vodka – it was so strong and sweet. And then there was cheesecake! We each had a big slice that were quickly devoured – hey, canoeing gave us big appetites – while sitting on the winery’s porch, under a large fan, overlooking the growing grape vines. To us, it was a perfect southern summer afternoon.
Traveling to the middle of nowhere, spending hours on a river, drinking wine and eating dessert, all with excellent company – definitely a great adventure to add to the collection.
Links to recreate this adventure: