Diverted by Chance… Will return as the Destination

On our drive home after leaving the not so exciting Route 6 and finding no place to get more than just a snack,  I turned to Untapped to see what local places I could find.   It led me to a gem – North Slope Brewing Company.  The owner has hired a talented crew and we got to meet one of the brewers.  His passion AND knowledge of beer making combines to brew well crafted beer. We have visited a lot of different small breweries and all were good but this one tops the list.   Beer was on par with our favorite places like Ommegang and Weyerbacher.  This is amazing well crafted beer that you can tell a lot of thought is going into.   He is following old school recipes Mountaineer Beer (German Alt) and his brewer partner is creating the most unusual beer – Booyakasha made with cucumber essence that really tastes like cucumbers unlike other cucumber beers I have tried.  We even tasted a Cider and by far was the best I have ever had – perfectly tart.  And paired with this is amazing fresh food (best bread) coming from the local area.  Delicious!

Although it is a drive from my home, we will return without question! I highly recommend if passing through, or within a sixty mile radius, that you divert your route past North Slope.


Rolling forward on Route 6

After leaving the Canyon it was time to check out the towns on Route 6… starting with Wellsboro and heading to Mansfield.  Unfortunately for a Sunday evening most things were closed. ..

We checked  into our very petite and very cheap room at the Microtel Inn in Mansfield… my error in not taking a picture of just how small this one bed hotel room is for there is none on the site.   Think room in NYC!   However, at that price I wish more hotels would choose this option.  Clean, comfortable and good service.  For the budget traveler I highly recommend checking it out.

We ended our day at Yorkholo Brewery –  ok local brewery serving delicious food

We usually do not end a night when travelling at 8 but without much else to do we headed back to our micro room for the night.

Hiking ON the Blue Ridge Parkway

We awoke and our hope was to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop for a nice hike.  A short drive from our inn is where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets Skyline Drive.  Who would have thought to call ahead?  By now the roads are surely opened?….

…We arrived to find the Parkway shutdown and the Skyline drive still closed due to the snow.   Well what to do?  Hike ON the parkway.   We arrived before most others and enjoyed a solitary walk along the rode heading upward – There was something so serene but almost eerie of being the only ones on a road usually filled with drivers.   The views were just amazing down to the valley below.  There were indeed some patches were the ice formed on the roadway which I am sure would make it a treacherous drive.

After our nice hike we stopped for some lunch and beer tasting at Devils Backbone. We had enjoyed the Vienna Lager and wanted to taste what else they offered.   We had no idea what to expect.  As we drove up we were surprised by a beautiful huge lodge-like building that looked straight out of Colorado and that was jam packed!   We also visited Wild Wolf Brewing where we had expected nicer surrounding but found the shops all empty – however we ended up enjoying this beer far more and left with some very well priced bottles.  So Devils offered the better atmosphere and Wild Wolf offered the better beer.

We enjoyed another hike in the valley below and returned to Iris Inn for an evening wine tasting followed by a relaxing soak in the hot tub.  This ended abruptly when our power went out.  After regaining power,  I unfortunately fell into a deep sleep in our treehouse above the woods and would sadly not awake again until it was time to say goodbye.

All alone on the Parkway
All alone on the Parkway

Over the mountain we go..

… to Charlottesville!

What a change in weather.  As we descend the mountain there is no snow to be found and the temperature is 5 degrees warmer! This makes it a perfect day to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.    Taking the walking up the hill provides a good opportunity for exercise, fresh air, and knowing just how high up on a hill Jefferson built his home.   If you choose this route, your tour begins with  the end of his life; the cemetery (interesting to note – Privately owned by the family and still in use).   After leaving the cemetery, you enter through Mulberry Row.  Even on a cold winter day, the gardens still have a few plants growing, primarily herbs which still smell wonderful.   I was amazed by the size of his gardens, vineyards, and nursery.  The grounds of Monticello are a work in progress.  Just this past year the Mountain Project  was launched to restore and recreate what was originally found on the property.  I always find projects like this very interesting – figuring out what was really there and peeling back the layers to represent how it really was.

We were hungry after our visit and decided to visit Charlottesville for lunch. Our trip into Charlottesville took us right into the middle of town where an open Market filled with Christmas music played by old and young musicians. Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall – Charlottesville, VA Listings. After eating a great burger and too many fries at Relish – we decided to explore a few breweries.  We had enjoyed a Star Hill beer with Thanksgiving Dinner and decided it was the perfect place to go -in Crozen.  They only sell beer – no food so be sure to eat before you go (or hope a food truck is outside) and offer a few beers on tap we had never seen in bottles.Our favorite however was there beer called Snow Blind.  We decided to make one more stop as we drove up the mountain at Blue Mountain Brewery.  Wow was this place packed!  They offer a great flight of all their beers which was a lot of fun for most of them (majority) were new to us.

After a great day out sightseeing there was nothing better then returning to our cozy cabin and enjoying the fire.

BobCate Cafe: The Perfect Ending to our Brew Adventure

We drove up to Bristol Vt for one last place to check out for we had read on Beer Advocate that it had great beer. We had no idea just how good the food was and that to get a table was reservation only! What a great little mountain town! I felt like I was back out West. This would be a great base camp for a future trip to explore North Vermont Breweries. I even had the chance to meet a nice couple who were originally from my hometown state who owned a campground in the area.

I started with Saison De Cassis – mixed into this great beer is Vermont Blackcurrants! It was delicious! And then finished my evening with a Unrepentant Stout. The chocolate and dark coffee definitely come out in this beer and it was perfect ending to a great day!

Continue North on Route 7 to Drop-In Brewery

Deliciousness!!  Award for our most favorite beer on today’s brewery tour. And most unobtainable… they do not bottle and so the only option to take with you is to get a growler to go.  The Head Brewer’s main focus is teaching the craft of making beer. This would be a wonderful place to go if interested in learning to make your own beer – both beginner and advanced classes.  You would certainly be learning from someone who really knows how to make good beer!

What we tasted: Sunshine and Hoppiness / Red Dwarf/ Heart of Lothian / Hazard Belgian  / Honey Carry My Bag  (love the names)

What we brought to enjoy by the campfire later that evening: Hazard Belgian

Great Vase!

First Brewery… Madison

Good local brewery serving decent beer and ok food. Buck’s Honey Wheat beer could have had a little more honey taste for my liking. My husband enjoyed the Witte. However favorite was another Vermont Brewer named Trapp. They had the Dunkel… Deliciousness. Wish I was visiting that brewery this trip…but not this journey…oh so many miles still to go..1406132633313