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"Wineries" Get your kicks on Route 66 & beyond!
Forget the trading posts-wheres the wine!
Way back in the 40s and 50s when my folks traveled along "Route 66" we kids riding in the back seats were watching out for Indian Trading Posts and of course, Burma Shave signs but times have changed. Now I am all grown up and occasionally want to look for some silver and turquoise jewelry along the way, but our most recent trip was somewhat different.
First of all, the maps seem to call it Highway 40, and just a few signs guide you off the road to the side road which was originally Route 66. Now this trip what I kept seeing were, Such and such winery, next off ramp!! We discovered that the Napa Valley in California is not the only wine region--seems they are in every state!
I suggested we stop in each state and buy a bottle (or two), then invite friends to sample the various wines from different states. Oh what fun that turned out to be!
The first sign we found was in Edmond, Oklahoma: Clauren Ridge Vineyard and Winery. However, we didn't begin our wine tasting there. That was just when I started thinking about it.
Our first stop was in Altos, Arkansas. Chateau Aux Arc was the first winery we pulled into and was greeted by a very friendly lady who served us a few samples and then suggested we stop at the next one down the road. Mount Bethel Winery was next specializing in sweet berry and fruit wines as did most of the wineries we visited. Elderberry, Blush Muscadine and White Muscadine were our choices! Yum!
Tennessee, next stops!
We continued on down the highway through Arkansas and on into Tennessee and guess what we found! More signs telling us to take the next exit into wine country, and of course our little Toyota just zipped right off the highway in Crossville. Each place we stopped, folks were just so friendly we hated to leave their southern hospitality. StoneHouse introduced us to Lantana white which jumped into our shopping bag, then we headed on down the road to Chestnut Hills Winery, still in Crossville.
Chestnut Hills folks were very proud of their Southern Muscadine wine, and we agreed-we like it too! If you have never heard of Muscadines, they are a type of grape that are native to the Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee states, growing wild along the roadsides (at least, that is what we heard). California folks are not familiar with them, however, being from Oklahoma originally I heard of them all my life from my parents, though I was raised in California.
Next stop, Missouri
"On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again". As we finished our visits with friends in Tennessee we headed north toward Independence, Missouri with just a little jog through the edge of Kentucky and, oh no! There is another sign, take next exit...that's right, even in Paducah, Kentucky we found wineries! We pulled into the Purple Toad parking lot and saw beautiful grounds with picnic tables and gorgeous flowers leading to the front door. Their samples were so good we walked out with a couple of bottles of Paducah Peach wine. My daughter-in-law, Bonnie says it is really yummy and she wants to come back over to try it again!
We pulled back out onto the highway and headed on toward Missouri, soon discovering the Stonehill winery in Hermann and guess what? They also make sweet wines: Vignoles -- a Semi-sweet white wine and Concord which is a sweet red wine.
That was the end of our Wine tasting tour but if you are ever in those areas, we highly recommend pulling in when you see the signs that say: Take next exit! You will taste some might fine wine and meet lots of wonderful people along the way!
The Purple frog winery
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