Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Maple Fest 2013

A few weeks ago, my book club a group of friends and jumped in a 12 passenger van for Maple Fest. One of my BFFs, Beth, grew up in the Shenandoah valley. Maple Fest was a part of her childhood and she has now made it a part of our DC lives. This was our 4th Annual Trip, and they just keep getting better!

Like I mentioned above, this year we decided to rent a 12 passenger van for the trip so that we could all be together at ALL TIMES! Lots of bonding! We left DC promptly at 7pm and started our trek across Virginia  After a mandatory stop at Cracker Barrel for all things fried and lots of biscuits, we finally made it to our weekend estate!

Beth's parents have recently started managing a rental property near their home. The estate is GORGEOUS and we lucky enough to be their "guinea pigs" for the weekend. I felt like I was on the Real World when we first arrived, running from room to room and shouting who claimed dibs on which bedroom. 

After a quick visit with Beth's parents, we hit the hay. Maple Fest requires an early wake up call, and by 7am we were all dressed with goody bags in hand ready for the day ahead!

We arrived at our first stop, the Pancake Breakfast, at about 9am. In past years we have waiting in line for over 2 1/2 hours for these delicious pancakes, but this year things moved quickly and we inside in record time!
Our weekend home, ready to start the day in front of the van, annual picture waiting in the Pancake line, and the inside of the School where the feast is held.

The pancake breakfast is a steal-unlimited pancakes, sausage, ham and your choice of coffee or milk for 8 bucks! I was so full after the breakfast and was ready for a nap, but at Maple Fest you just have to keep on going. So from there we drove along some winding roads to the Trout Farm. This was a new event for me although not for others. We walked around, fed the fish and took in the beautiful views!
Excited for my pancakes, my yummy meal, view of the Trout Farm, Quintessential Group Shot
JBT and Me point to the fish, fish attacking the feed, No Fishing This Weekend

By the time we finished at the fishy farm, we were hungry again. Can you believe it? The only thing that could cure us was maple barbeque and hot dogs from the Sugaring Farm! At the farm, they tap the maple trees. The sap from the trees comes out as a clear liquid and then is boiled into the thicker and more sugary syrup. Yum!

After our yummy lunch, a quick tour of the sugaring process, and some maple syrup shopping, we decided it was WINE time!
Girls at Lunch, Quintessential Group Shot, Alycyn 

We stopped at two wineries that afternoon, Bluestone Winery and CrossKeys Winery. They were both great, but I absolutely LOVED the wines at CrossKeys. Plus the view there was indescribable. I proved my love to CrossKeys by spending a lot of money there...my enthusiasm was a mix of tipsiness and happiness but it was all worth it! I came home with some great wines!
Top two pics are from Bluestone and the bottom two are from our tasting at CrossKeys
Gorgeous view at CrossKeys, Wine Display, Quintessential Group Shot, Sunset

At about 6 we went back to the house so people could freshen up or, like me, drink more wine and visit around the kitchen table. By dinner time, I was ravenous yet again. We went to dinner at a cute place in downtown Stanton where I devoured a steak.
My only picture from dinner...Flower Pot Bread

The rest of the night was spent back at the house. We had a ping pong tournament and then watched Justin Timberlake on SNL. I thought he did a great job, and I absolutely love his moves. That boy can dance!

The next morning, Beth's parents made us a gigantic breakfast of biscuits with homemade jams, bacon, fruit and coffee cake. This is one of my favorite traditions of Maple Fest weekend. Not because of the abundance of food, but because we all sit around the dining room table as one big family. I love my group of friends and am so thankful to have them all in my life!

Sadly when breakfast was finished, it was time to back up and start heading back to DC. I took a few more pictures, we said our good-byes, and then we loaded back up in the big silver van. 
The front of the gorgeous house, the view from the house, group shot, and saying good-bye to Beth's momma

We stopped at one more winery on the way home (where I broke a children's slide), but I think we were all ready to get back to DC. As much as we love Maple Fest and the big silver van, there is something to be said about your own home and routine. However, I am already looking forward to our next big adventure!

Do you have regular trip you do with your friends?
MapleFest

Do you like Maple Syrup?
Duh...yes!

Have you ever broken a children's slide?
It was a beautiful day on the Sunday we were heading home. We sat outside at the winery and had a picnic. Our table happened to be right by a small slide...which of course I couldn't resist trying out. The second I started sliding it flattened to the ground. It ended up not being latched correctly. This sweet lil boy tried to help me fix it but I ran away in embarrassment. Oopsie!

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