My love of living in Brooklyn has gone through a few phases. The honeymoon phase, of course, when I was fresh out of college and excited to start a new job in the city. I loved the subways, I loved walking around Manhattan after work, I loved everything. After a couple of years, though, the infatuation vanished. All of a sudden I couldn’t stand forcing my way off of a train car, or dodging the dozens of strollers on the sidewalk every weekend. My room felt like a dungeon, my job was monotonous, I wanted to get out. I applied for a few jobs but ultimately ended up staying at the same college, albeit in a position much more suited to my tastes (and I haven’t regretted making that decision once!). New room in my apt, new office to report to daily, these things have given me a new outlook on my life in the borough.
Regardless, I take almost every opportunity to get the hell out and do things on weekends, especially if they’re in the Hudson Valley. My four years at school on the Hudson left a lasting impression, and to this day I don’t really mind the 100 minute train ride to get to Poughkeepsie, because the scenery, the river, and the towns I pass on the way make it downright pleasant.
I was able to visit two wineries on the Shawangunk Wine Trail this year: in late summer with the beau’s family, and this past weekend with friends from college. They’re so close to where I went to school, I was kicking myself for not checking them out sooner: they would have made a really wonderful day trip with friends or visiting family members.
I wanted to share my experiences, because I thoroughly enjoyed both trips. I’m not one of those Portlandia types where everything must be local and organic, but I do enjoy the opportunity to support small local businesses. New York State has so many wonderful wineries, I couldn’t help but pick up a few bottles at both places. As much as I loved my day trip to some Napa wineries when I was in San Francisco a few years back, I preferred these smaller wineries; they had a nice family-owned vibe to them. No fancy lodges with expansive shops and mahogany-laden tasting rooms, but rather a few dedicated employees eagerly showing off the wine they’ve worked hard to create. I mean, you can just compare websites to get an idea of the difference: a winery I visited in Napa has fancy Flash and navigation, while the two below are no-frills to the extreme.
My first trip on the trail was to Applewood Winery in Warwick. Their tasting room was small, but they were efficient and friendly. I’m much more of a dry-red wine fan than of any other kind so I only tried one of their whites, but it was quite tasty and I ended up with a bottle to take home. Their red wines were great, of the four I had there wasn’t a “miss” in the bunch. One red in particular reminded me of sangria (okay, I’m not strictly dry-red, I suppose), and that came home with me too.
What I loved about Applewood was their outdoor area. They had tables, chairs, a live band and a small selection of food if you wanted to sit and enjoy the scenery. In addition, they had wine slushies, which are usually not my thing, but the weather was perfect for a chilled glass of wine and so I just went with it, and I’m glad I did.
This weekend I ventured to Glorie Farm Winery in Marlboro, a bit further Northeast than Applewood. Nestled further away from the Hudson River than I realized, it’s a bit of a climb in altitude (my ears didn’t clear from the pressure until the return trip on the train), but well worth it. We happened to arrive at a busy time: two tours buses were finishing up their tastings and the room was a bit tight, but we were able to stand outside and chat (it was gorgeous out, considering the date on the calendar!), or stand near the small old-fashioned oven which kept the room toasty.
Their wines were a bit more inconsistent, but the wines that I did enjoy were really delicious. They were nice enough to give us a bonus taste of their pumpkin wine. I was skeptical at first, but it had a nice flavor and seemed perfect for Thanksgiving. I bought a seyval and a semi-dry red to enjoy later, and was tempted to have a taste of the Tuthilltown Spirits whiskey that they had on hand, but figured I would save that for next time.
Their outdoor area was super simple: just a few groupings of chairs on the grass. But the views? Spectacular.