Not too long ago the girls and I took a fabulous long weekend road trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On our return we wanted to tell the world about what a great time we had. Hannah chose to write about food. Steph thought it was natural that she talks about all the activities. And then there was me. Here is the story of a self-proclaimed wine idiot taking over the drinking world. Let us begin.
Buddy Boy Winery:
The day began on a high note as we drove 45 minutes out of Harrisburg to the lovely and quant Buddy Boy Winery. Like I mentioned before, I am not a wine sommelier by any means. In fact I have been known to ask if pinot noir was a white wine. This was a great place to start for a newbie like myself. The staff was extremely friendly and the entire atmosphere was laid back. Buddy Boy himself greeted us and charmed us with his coming about story. Then he made me taste the strawberry fruit wine. My life changed in that very moment.
Highlight of the visit: Unofficially naming one of his wines “floating on cloud wine” because that’s exactly what it tasted like.
A couple sips of wine in, we headed to our next stop called the Cullari Vineyard, located in the beautiful town of Hershey. Yes, THAT Hershey. We got to have a lovely chat with the owner as he gave us a taste test of his finest wines. Hannah and I chose to go down the white wine palette tour, while Stephanie stuck to red. It is here that I finally was able to use the word “node” in the appropriate context. I preferred the lighter tasting wines, and the owner listened and customized the next choices.
Highlight of the visit: Watching Stephanie get a little too competitive over the wine bottle painting competition.
A girl can never have too much wine, but we were happy to switch it up and check out a local brewery. Located in Hershey as well, we spent a couple hours learning about how beer is made and then stuffing our faces with delicious food. Safety glasses in hand (or well on face) we got a private tour of the facility and saw how complex the brewing process is. I especially loved the part where I finally learned what fermenting actually looks like. If you are in the area and like eating great food I highly recommend this place. We feasted on Oktoberfest Pretzels, Poutine, and Ahi Tuna. Those were just the appetizers.
Highlight of the visit: Fulfilling Hannah’s dream of doing a keg stand. She has seen way too many teen comedies.
The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey:
Our last stop on a very VERY good day was the Vineyard at Hershey. Here we combined both worlds and got to try a variety of amazing wines and local beers. Starting the fun early we competed in a grape stomping contest (I won by the way, no big deal) and gourd bowling. I have not been to many wineries in my life, and I have to say how happily surprised I was. I always imagined these snobby stiff atmospheres where people over exaggerate sniffing their wines. I never could have imagined the excitement and laughter that filled the air here. Next to us a bachelorette party was happening, and above us a tailgate party. They have a beer called “MILF Chocolate Brown Ale”, need I say more.
We got a lovely tour around the facility and the opportunity to sit in the testing room and you guessed it – taste some more wine. Mike, our wine guru led us through a tasting of some of the wineries finest. He was very patient and was happy to explain the differences between all the wines. Trust me, I had a lot of questions. I started to really understand what it was that I looked for in a wine. I tend to stay on the white side appreciating the softer fruitier tones. We had a fantastic session in a picturesque converted home.
Highlight of the visit: Leading a Penn State cheer in a room full of die hard fans.
I know I said that the last stop was the last stop. But I lied. We took a mini break to compose ourselves after a day of vigorous tasting, and headed back into downtown Harrisburg. We visited a place called Buddha Buddha. A hip and cool looking bar that reminds me of places I have been to in way bigger cities. A giant golden Buddha sits at the back of the long bar creating a dream like atmosphere. Music was great, people were friendly and we all had a great time.
Highlight of the visit: Mixing our own cocktails for each other. We probably shouldn’t quite our day jobs.
I am struggling to summarize a day like this one. I think surprised is probably the most accurate way to describe how I felt. I thought (like many other Canadians) that the only thing to do in Pennsylvania was shop for less tax. I could have never imagined the outstanding wine, beer and food we would have to opportunity to try. If you are in the area, passing through, or looking to make a girls weekend away I would highly recommend a day of winery hopping.