Ranked in no particular order, this is the second blog posting in the series of Best Dates in the DC area. Once again, I literally had to pinch myself and say, "Is this really part of the DMV?"
Black Ankle Vineyard
I first learned about this place when I asked my friend Jennifer if she had been to any of the local vineyards. She immediately said, “Go to Black Ankle. You’ll love it.” “Are you sure?” I said. She responded with, “I’m from California so when I tell you that Black Ankle is one of my favorite vineyards, that should tell you something.” And with that, I stopped asking questions and my boyfriend and I set off for Black Ankle.
The vineyard is located in Mt. Airy, Maryland. When you drive the hour and twenty minutes from DC, you almost feel like you are in a completely different part of the country. The curves of the road take you past farm land, meadows, sheep, tall trees, and eventually to a clearing that looks like something out of a movie.
The wine tasting cottage is beautiful and quaint. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the moss-covered roof which is home to a collage of flowers and color that resemble Van Gogh’s palette. Outside the cottage doors, huge rocking chairs are nestled in between wrought iron patio chairs and tables.
When you walk through the entrance of the tasting room, it looks like a Southwestern photograph. I found myself in awe of the earthy plaster walls, wood-burning fireplace, oak doors, and maple table tops.
We arrived just after noon and were greeted by Melissa, a warm and bubbly spirit, who led us through our wine tasting. As I picked up my glass, I glanced down. Encased in the shine of organic resin were grape vines, stems, seeds, and skins. My words cannot begin to do any justice to the magnificence and beauty of the bar top. It’s definitely something you have to see in person.
At about 1 pm, we headed out for a tour of the property with Melissa as our tour guide. I asked her about her connection to Black Ankle and how she ended up working there. Melissa tasted Black Ankle’s wine at a local store and fell in love. So she called one of the owners, Sarah, to inquire about volunteering at the vineyard. Sarah explained that they didn’t take volunteers but offered her a job at Black Ankle, working part-time in their tasting room. She now serves as their General Manager.
tour allowed us to explore Black Ankle in a way that made us feel more like we were visiting family rather than as guests. You get a chance to see and hear how the process works from start to finish, from the grape, to the barrel, to the bottle. And between the vines, the wine barrels, the bovines, and the old silo, the vineyard sets the scene for a perfect getaway and an even more perfect outdoor wedding.
After the tour, we sat on the patio and ingested the view. We sampled some fabulous local cheese along with a bottle of wine. The breeze was amazing, the view was exquisite, and the wine was fantastic.
When it was time to leave, I almost didn’t want to go. My thoughts were trapped in between the wine, the scenery, and the company I was in that day. It’s an afternoon I won’t ever forget. In fact, Black Ankle may be seeing me again this weekend.
Things to Know:
1) The name of the vineyard is definitely unique. Click HERE to learn the history of the name.
2) The Vineyard opens at 12 pm. Tours are conducted on Saturday and Sunday and begin at 1:00 pm. The tour lasts about an hour. I suggest that you wear some comfortable shoes. The website suggests calling ahead about a tour.
3) They have live music on Friday nights from 6-9 pm. Depending on the weather, they have indoor and outdoor fires. No reservations needed for Fireside Fridays but the seating space can sometimes fill up.
4) Black Ankle is a great day trip but if you are interested in spending the night, Turf Valley has rooms available. They even offer a Black Ankle Getaway Package. Click HERE for more info.
5) Check out Black Ankle’s Facebook Page for a BEAUTIFUL aerial view of the vineyard.
©2012 Kristen Crockett