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Old 07-07-2020, 07:42 PM   #41
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Western North Carolina is a great area to spend some time..especially now....We are Floridians and hang out in the mountains during the summer.

Along with touring the Biltmore (yes, face masks inside the home) and drinking Mr. Vanderbilt's wine....the small towns around Asheville are great for social distance exploring....Look at Black Mountain, Weaverville, Marion, Waynesville...and many others for downtown browsing and good restaurants/BBQ! and craft beer.

Also, many great hiking/walking trails where social distancing is the norm.....Mount Mitchell (highest peak east of Miss), Catawba Falls trail, Biltmore trails and gardens...and a zillion more. And of course, the ultimate in social distance traveling....the Blue Ridge Parkway. All open.

I'd stay clear of downtown Asheville. The crazies have trashed the downtown area. We were there two weeks ago and it's sad what's happening...Not going back but used to enjoy dining out and walking around. As is the case with other great cities. Graffiti, trash, trashing of art, destroying history. Sad.

There is a reason our forefathers had the expression during times of trouble: "head for the hills, boys".

Enjoy.
I am in western NC right now--in the small town of Banner Elk near Grandfather Mountain, a beautiful place and lovely summer weather, I spend every summer here and normally love it. BUT right now I am feeling uncomfortable because only about half of the people in public places are wearing masks even though the NC Governor has required masks all over the state. The mask requirement does not seem be be enforced here. This county has less than 30 cases of Covid right now but it is only a matter of time.... I am staying in my cabin and hardly going anywhere.
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Old 07-08-2020, 10:05 PM   #42
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Update: A friend tried to get virus tested (Bay Area) recently and found it very difficult. Apparently many testing sites were making appointments 2 weeks out and even then with a doctor referral. This has made me now question how accurate the current infection stats being reported in the news really are. People with mild cases could be recovered at the end of two weeks and not show as infected or simply not get tested at all.

With rising cases, even with a possible under-reporting due to a lack of testing, I guess we will be putting our wine tasting plans on hold for now until the infection rates start dropping again.
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:24 AM   #43
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Update: A friend tried to get virus tested (Bay Area) recently and found it very difficult. Apparently many testing sites were making appointments 2 weeks out and even then with a doctor referral. This has made me now question how accurate the current infection stats being reported in the news really are. People with mild cases could be recovered at the end of two weeks and not show as infected or simply not get tested at all.

With rising cases, even with a possible under-reporting due to a lack of testing, I guess we will be putting our wine tasting plans on hold for now until the infection rates start dropping again.
Yes, I think you are right to be concerned that testing is way behind. Is the positivity rate rising in spite of delays?
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Old 07-09-2020, 04:04 PM   #44
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Yes, I think you are right to be concerned that testing is way behind. Is the positivity rate rising in spite of delays?

Yes, rates are surging in California as businesses have started opening up. I don't know if the testing shortage is all over or just the Bay Area. But if rates are surging with many unable to get tested, that can't be good.
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Old 07-09-2020, 05:19 PM   #45
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Would definitely go.

I'm fact DW is beginning a book club this week at a winery.

Maintain distance and your risk will be low from everything I can determine. It is all outside.
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Old 07-09-2020, 06:36 PM   #46
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BF and I are headed to Hermann. MO in a couple of weeks and we're playing it by ear. We're staying at the B&B I've used for years and I plan to ask the owners what the various wineries are doing. Fortunately, BF and I have similar risk tolerances- we're likely to agree on a go/no go decision. One alternative is the Tin Mill Brewery where you can order a "flight" of small glasses, each with a different one of their beers. Still a nice way to sample but with less interaction with others.
DW went for Girls Outing a few weeks ago, and spent one day in Hermann, as they always do. I think Hermannhof is their favorite. Plenty of out side seating, and usually music on the weekends. Tin Mill is good for the flights, food is OK, but I think it is all inside seating? Or maybe that was just because it was a cold rainy day in October the last time we were there.

If you don't mind driving up the road a bit to Defiance, I will put in a plug for some friends that own Sugar Creek Winery. Very good wine, and they have a vodka made from grapes (Judgement Tree).
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Old 07-09-2020, 07:59 PM   #47
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I'm working on the theory that enough bourbon will keep the virus at bay. But just to be safe I'm staying home while I do the experiment.

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Old 07-10-2020, 05:46 PM   #48
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My daughter works at a "nicer" Napa Valley Winery. Her's reopened a couple of weeks ago to outdoor tasting only and with reservations required. Luckily for them they have a beautiful large covered patio area so it's easy to follow the guidelines.

With us having great summer weather now, things at her place are almost back to normal minus fewer customers not allowed in because of limits. I drove down Hwy. 29 through Napa Valley last weekend and you'd never know we had a pandemic going on. Busy as always.
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Old 07-10-2020, 06:20 PM   #49
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If you don't mind driving up the road a bit to Defiance, I will put in a plug for some friends that own Sugar Creek Winery. Very good wine, and they have a vodka made from grapes (Judgement Tree).
Thanks for the suggestion- haven't been there so we might try it!
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Old 07-17-2020, 03:46 PM   #50
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Seriously? Itís moldy grapes! You can get moldy grapes at home.
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Old 07-17-2020, 04:59 PM   #51
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Iíll go to anything that is opened if itís something I like doing. I donít live in fear.
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Old 07-17-2020, 05:35 PM   #52
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Iíll go to anything that is opened if itís something I like doing. I donít live in fear.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:34 PM   #53
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I am in western NC right now--in the small town of Banner Elk near Grandfather Mountain, a beautiful place and lovely summer weather, I spend every summer here and normally love it. BUT right now I am feeling uncomfortable because only about half of the people in public places are wearing masks even though the NC Governor has required masks all over the state. The mask requirement does not seem be be enforced here. This county has less than 30 cases of Covid right now but it is only a matter of time.... I am staying in my cabin and hardly going anywhere.


Iíd go. You should try Shelton Vineyards in Dobson NC. Go with the Bin 17 Chardonnay. I am not a fan of NC wine but this wine is the closest thing to France Chablis that i ever tasted.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:03 PM   #54
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Iíd go. You should try Shelton Vineyards in Dobson NC. Go with the Bin 17 Chardonnay. I am not a fan of NC wine but this wine is the closest thing to France Chablis that i ever tasted.
No way I am going to a winery right now, to me it is just not safe. These days you have to choose where you are going to take Covid risks and going to a winery or a bar or a distillery is not something I want to take the risk on.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:31 PM   #55
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No way I am going to a winery right now, to me it is just not safe. These days you have to choose where you are going to take Covid risks and going to a winery or a bar or a distillery is not something I want to take the risk on.
At least here on the West Coast, outdoor wineries have the same if not lower risk than outdoor restaurants simply because wineries have fewer employees. I guess "needing" to go to an outdoor restaurant is about the same as a winery, we can all do without and stay at home instead. Personal choice as always.
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Old 07-18-2020, 01:06 PM   #56
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For sure! Keep your space and wear a mask. Those of us who are healthy should live our lives as that helps a lot of other people live theirs!
+1!

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Old 08-14-2020, 12:12 PM   #57
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Just got back last night from our annual California wine tasting/grape examination trip, we were gone 10 days. We visited 18 wineries, had 18 tastings, in Suisun Valley, Napa Valley, Anderson Valley in Mendicino, Lodi, and Amador County.

First of all, we traveled by Southwest on two flights to Sacramento Int'l, m*sks were worn continuously from the moment we stepped into the local airport, until we arrived in SAC, removing them only to eat or drink. Southwest was pretty adamant about that and reminded everyone about that over the intercom during the flight.

I am a wine nerd, so we no longer go to "corporate behemoth" wineries, we go to family wineries where tastings are made by appointment. Wine is usually served outside in an open sitting environment any way, so no big deal. M*sks were worn until seated, and tastings begin, there was no one else at our tasting in all but 4 wineries, and we were 25' or more from them. The owner, winemaker or tasting room attendant wore a m*sk throughout the tasting, serving us copious varieties, with pitchers of ice cold water, and sometimes plates of various munchies to compliment the wine. We never felt our safety was threatened in any way, shape or form. Bottles were purchased to drink at dinner, and a few were kept to bring home because we like the style/variety and would like to do the same.

We only ate out at restaurants twice, and they were outdoors in open areas, and virtually had the areas to ourselves. We did have dinner with a winemaker and his wife outside at their home/winery, we have been friends for years. We normally stay at VRBOs and this time was no exception except we stayed at 2 hotels/inns while there. We were 2 guests out of 20 at a huge Staybridge Suites, and 2 guest at a B&B Inn. The Staybridge is huge, and was practically empty, their usual breakfast was replaced by fruit, and commercially made/baked pastries. Not their usual quality but it was something. The Inn usually has twenty rooms, but we were the only guests for one night we stayed there, and were upgraded to the best suite they had. Their usual breakfast was replaced by a $20 credit to a local pastry/bakery/coffee shop. The breakfast choices were amazing, delicious, and I know they gave us more than $20 worth of goods. Whether it was a good faith gesture, great marketing, or an attempt to clear inventory, we enjoyed everything outside at their sidewalk tables. There was a steady stream of m*sk wearing patrons while we were there. At the two VRBOs, we purchased produce at 2 local farmers markets, and protein from 2 local butcher shops. We cooked them on grills at the VRBO, but I also brought a small grill in my luggage in case I didn't like the condition/cleanliness. It was a safety award from my w*rking days.
We enjoyed steaks, chops, and some salmon grilled overlooking the cliffs above the crashing Pacific below, while sipping the day's favorite wines. We had a resident seal, and a heron to amuse us while they fished, and enjoyed glorious sunsets.

This was the first time we visited Amador County, the wineries were fabulous. All of them are family wineries for the most part, and all required appointments, although that isn't their usual MO. We made new friends, became more "nerdier". We cannot to return when this pandemonium is over.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:34 PM   #58
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Just got back last night from our annual California wine tasting/grape examination trip, we were gone 10 days. We visited 18 wineries, had 18 tastings, in Suisun Valley, Napa Valley, Anderson Valley in Mendicino, Lodi, and Amador County.

First of all, we traveled by Southwest on two flights to Sacramento Int'l, m*sks were worn continuously from the moment we stepped into the local airport, until we arrived in SAC, removing them only to eat or drink. Southwest was pretty adamant about that and reminded everyone about that over the intercom during the flight.

I am a wine nerd, so we no longer go to "corporate behemoth" wineries, we go to family wineries where tastings are made by appointment. Wine is usually served outside in an open sitting environment any way, so no big deal. M*sks were worn until seated, and tastings begin, there was no one else at our tasting in all but 4 wineries, and we were 25' or more from them. The owner, winemaker or tasting room attendant wore a m*sk throughout the tasting, serving us copious varieties, with pitchers of ice cold water, and sometimes plates of various munchies to compliment the wine. We never felt our safety was threatened in any way, shape or form. Bottles were purchased to drink at dinner, and a few were kept to bring home because we like the style/variety and would like to do the same.

We only ate out at restaurants twice, and they were outdoors in open areas, and virtually had the areas to ourselves. We did have dinner with a winemaker and his wife outside at their home/winery, we have been friends for years. We normally stay at VRBOs and this time was no exception except we stayed at 2 hotels/inns while there. We were 2 guests out of 20 at a huge Staybridge Suites, and 2 guest at a B&B Inn. The Staybridge is huge, and was practically empty, their usual breakfast was replaced by fruit, and commercially made/baked pastries. Not their usual quality but it was something. The Inn usually has twenty rooms, but we were the only guests for one night we stayed there, and were upgraded to the best suite they had. Their usual breakfast was replaced by a $20 credit to a local pastry/bakery/coffee shop. The breakfast choices were amazing, delicious, and I know they gave us more than $20 worth of goods. Whether it was a good faith gesture, great marketing, or an attempt to clear inventory, we enjoyed everything outside at their sidewalk tables. There was a steady stream of m*sk wearing patrons while we were there. At the two VRBOs, we purchased produce at 2 local farmers markets, and protein from 2 local butcher shops. We cooked them on grills at the VRBO, but I also brought a small grill in my luggage in case I didn't like the condition/cleanliness. It was a safety award from my w*rking days.
We enjoyed steaks, chops, and some salmon grilled overlooking the cliffs above the crashing Pacific below, while sipping the day's favorite wines. We had a resident seal, and a heron to amuse us while they fished, and enjoyed glorious sunsets.

This was the first time we visited Amador County, the wineries were fabulous. All of them are family wineries for the most part, and all required appointments, although that isn't their usual MO. We made new friends, became more "nerdier". We cannot to return when this pandemonium is over.

It sounds like a great trip. Thanks for the update. We still haven't been out wine tasting since the pandemic cautions started ourselves, but in the past the wine tasting in Napa and Suisun Valley were some of our favorite day trips.
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Old 08-15-2020, 06:22 AM   #59
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I signed up for a fall semester French Wine Scholar class with a group of my friends with whom I do such wine education courses. The instructor is trying to figure out how to handle the required tasting sessions, which will apparently either be in a big room at the community college or remote. Normally, I donít spit out the more expensive pours but I might this time so that I donít relax precautions during the pandemic.
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Old 08-23-2020, 10:26 AM   #60
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Went to two wineries last week.
The first had 5 stations with a pour and a little lesson at each.
The second had 10 separate tables and a pourer bringing a choice of two wines five different times.
A bit of a different experience. Enjoyable and very safe.
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