Tag Archives: wine

Raffaldini Vineyards: A Colorful NC Fall Getaway

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She was breathtakingly gorgeous. He was in awe over her. Together on their wedding day, they were two of the happiest individuals I’ve watched in a very long time. Their smiles and look in their eyes said more than their vows.

Last Saturday, Marc and I had the pleasure to be guests at an absolutely beautiful wedding at Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery. We knew little about this vineyard until we received our invitation to the wedding. After a quick Google search, we learned that it was located about 30 miles north of Statesville, NC in a small town called Ronda. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Charlotte. Not bad.

Saturday definitely felt like a fall affair. Raffaldini Vineyards is a bit in the foothills and the actual winery is up on the crest of a hill. We had a breathtaking panoramic view of golden and red autumn colors. The ceremony was at 6:30 PM, so we were also able to enjoy an incredible sunset that created a warm glow prior to the wedding.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It was sunny and crisp without a single cloud in the sky. I’m glad they were blessed with such beautiful weather at their wedding because they are  now on their honeymoon in Cancun and it has been raining most of their trip. I’m keeping them in my prayers as Cancun is in Hurricane Rina’s projected path. Luckily, the storm is weakening, but I still pray for their safety.

I loved that the wedding was at a vineyard and I was so happy to be a part of their beautiful day. However, I have to admit, it killed me that I couldn’t do the full-blown wine tasting. I love wine tasting. I had the Merlot at dinner and I thought it was pretty good. By the way, I’m a wine novice, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt. I drink a lot of it and admire all the flavors, but I fully acknowledge my lack of wine expertise. I’m getting better at tasting notes, but that’s not saying much.

We’ll definitely visit Raffaldini Vineyards again so I can experience all their wine! It’s a romantic getaway that’s nice and close to Charlotte, so there’s no reason for us not to visit again. Men, if you’re looking for a good date option … take your girlfriends to do some wine tasting. This place is ideal for dates!

I also recommend staying where we stayed. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites since we knew we wouldn’t be up for driving home after the wedding. This hotel sure knows how to decorate for the holidays! There were so many Halloween decorations up in the hotel that it was somewhat tacky; however, if I had kids, I would have absolutely loved the decor. Since I don’t, I can say it was a bit much for my taste. Oh, I almost forgot, there was a Christmas tree outside of our door! That kind of topped the tacky Halloween decorations. A bit much?

Anyway, Marc and I were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hotel. I was a huge fan of the cleanliness, room decor, and I was even a pretty big fan of the bathroom.  This hotel is a place two yuppies like ourselves can go and be completely satisfied, all for around $100 a night. It was actually really nice not to spend tons of money on a hotel room and still thoroughly enjoy our stay. Too bad you never know what you might get with a hotel like that. Luckily for us, this one was fantastic.

P.S. The complimentary breakfast was delicious! Marc and I were a bit surprised annoyed by the loudness of the dining area, but I guess we’re just not used to staying where families with little kids stay!

~ Lyndsi

Dear Niagara-on-the-Lake, Our Brief First Encounter Has Me Lusting After You…

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… I hope we will get to spend more time together soon.

Check out our travel bucket list and you’ll see that Napa Valley is on the list of places Marc and I want to visit before we turn 30. After my recent trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, I am seriously considering nixing Napa Valley and replacing it with Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is about a 20-minute scenic drive from Niagara Falls and is an absolute must visit for anyone traveling within a few hours of it. Unfortunately for me, I only spent a couple of hours admiring the small town since it was not a planned part of our trip. We made the trip to Ontario, Canada to visit Niagara Falls, but I insisted on visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake since I’m a bit of a wino and a Canadian woman told me I absolutely had to see the town (and sip the wine).

Upon entering the town, I began salivating. Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I did want to jump out of the car and tell my family to pick me up later in the day week. Dozens of wineries sprinkled the drive, vineyards crept into the horizon, flowers and trees added a hint of elegance to the streets, carriages were prepared to make ordinary women feel like princesses, quaint shops awaited classy visitors, and little gems waited for guests to fill their rooms. It took mere seconds for me to realize this town was another slice of heaven on earth.

Since I was rushed for time, I was only able to visit one randomly selected winery, Lailey Vineyard, and it left a lasting stellar first impression with me. I sampled three wines and immediately thought to myself ,”what kind of crappy wine have I been drinking the past few years?” I wanted to buy several bottles, but settled on the 2008 Vidal Ice Wine because of its rarity and the fact I wanted to bring a bottle home to Marc (even though I think he has given up on wine). Oh well, more for me!

For those of you who are not self-proclaimed winos, ice wine is a very sweet dessert wine produced from grapes that are left on the vine to freeze. Canada and Germany are the largest producers of ice wine and only select wineries in the United States produce it. Since I’m not certain you enjoy wine, I’ll stop my tangent there. However, if you are intrigued by ice wine, I love this post: Canadian Ice Wine. The bottle to the right is 375 ml and cost $45, so it is fairly expensive (very expensive on my budget). It is definitely worth every penny though and I can justify the expense since I’m saving it for a special occasion.

In case I haven’t already made my point, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a lovely, charming town. I would absolutely die to stay at the Prince of Wales Hotel (see below). I haven’t researched how costly it is but, quite frankly, I don’t care because I will stay there no matter what the cost. I have already started to set aside money for this dream vacation and it hasn’t even been a week since I visited. I’d love to visit for a few days and do nothing but relax and visit wineries. It would be a true getaway.

What do you guys think … should I keep Napa Valley on my travel bucket list or  should I replace it with Niagara-on-the-Lake? Niagara-on-the-Lake appeals to me more since it’s the less talked about of the two.

~ Lyndsi