Ever had trouble getting away? Lately life has come at my family hard and fast. The main thing consuming our time, energy and finances has been the wedding of our youngest daughter, Adrianna. That created a travel hiatus for me for 6 months, which has felt like an eternity!
While dreaming about our 30-year anniversary 10 years ago, my husband, some good friends and I decided we’d go to Australia to hike and visit the wineries. Sometimes plans 10 years down the line don’t work out! Our 30-year anniversary approached and we couldn’t figure out how to get away together for a weekend, much less a trip to Australia.
As our anniversary date approached, I found myself getting depressed that it was going to pass by without any kind of celebration. Admittedly, I’m also hard to please. Going out to dinner at a nice restaurant in town was not going to suffice. I felt like we needed a little more of a get-away than that. So we talked again about what we both love to do, which is hiking and wine tasting and really good food. The more we thought about it, we realized we had all of that within 1.5 hours of our house, so why not take advantage of it?
Since we only had part of one afternoon into the next morning, we couldn’t do much touring around. We decided to hike up Pilot Mountain just north of Winston-Salem, then head to the Hampton Inn & Suites in Dobson, NC, and have dinner at the Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards. Although there are numerous notable and up-and-coming wineries in the Yadkin Valley, we had heard great things about the Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards and wanted to experience a dinner there with our hotel only a few miles down the road.
Hiking up Pilot Mountain on a sunny day is stunning. It’s a 6-mile roundtrip, which makes it convenient for an afternoon hike with rewarding views. There are other great options in the area, like Hanging Rock State Park, which we hope to explore more in future outings.
Dining at Harvest Grill was just what we hoped it would be. Rather than a flight or pairing, we decided to just have a bottle of the Reserve Claret with our meal. My meal of roasted lamb and grilled asparagus was fabulous. And they were very accommodating with my annoying Gluten- and Dairy-free needs. David had the grilled salmon special in a jalapeño butter sauce, which he deemed very good, but not quite great. We both loved the enclosed patio room overlooking part of the vineyards and the herb/vegetable garden. The service, food, ambience and wine combined for an excellent experience.
The Hampton Inn is actually owned by Shelton Vineyards and is very nicely appointed. It’s a little nicer than most stock Hampton Inns and includes an appealing lobby, a welcoming wine tasting room (Shelton wines only!) as well as a patio to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, some conversation or just a good book! Our room was spotless, spacious and very comfortable. We had originally planned to stay in one of the enticing B&B’s in the area, but this was a very pleasant alternative in order to stay near the restaurant and to get back on the road toward home quickly.
Although Hampton Inns provide complimentary breakfast, we wanted omelettes and atmosphere. So we took a chance and pulled off exit 82 at Elkin, NC, to see what we could find. We were immediately drawn to the old-fashioned-looking Breakfast Time restaurant. It was just what we wanted with an extensive breakfast menu, healthy options and that quaint retro look. The service was friendly and prompt and it is clearly popular with the locals. Breakfast Time is actually a new restaurant that began in Winston-Salem in 2009 and has expanded to a few towns. The one in Elkin just opened in 2016 and is a worthy stopping point for breakfast-all-day along the I-77 corridor.
We’re looking forward to exploring our region on quick little get-aways more often! Never underestimate the value of 24-hour or less explorations. Western North Carolina is not only a great place to live, but a great place to vacation as well!