To taste authentic Spanish wines, you could travel to the Mediterranean-flanked European country. Or you could save yourself the hassle of pulling out your passport and head to Jacey Vineyards instead. That's because the wine haven grows seven different types of Galician grapes, which it then transforms into varietals, including the citrusy albari?o and the earthy malbec. And the wines aren't the only Spanish elements at Jacey Vineyards. The staff whips up tapas to complement the wines at its restaurant, Velas, and the grounds themselves boast multiple docks and a private cove that conjures images of the Galician coastline.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
Barrel Thief satisfies taste buds with a menu dominated by upscale salads and sandwiches that also includes a few heartier entree suggestions. In the arugula salad ($8), salty prosciutto and pickled strawberries lie on a bed of spicy greens, and nine bruschetta options ($5–$10)—including roasted garlic and white bean—are great for distracting most of the destructive hands of the goddess Kali. Fare from the briny deep includes the crab sandwich ($12)—shellfish drizzled in pimento aioli escorted by grilled green tomatoes—and grilled yellowfin tuna ($18). For dessert, tempt teeth with a sweet sonata composed of mixed berries and fresh cream ($6) whipped by Beethoven's ghost.
Tapas orbit groups, drawing conversation out into long afternoons measured in slowly drained bottles of wine. Chatter drifts toward the ornate paneled ceiling at C’est Le Vin, where the small-plate style of dining leans heavily on those Spanish traditions. Chefs sear spiced-steak kebabs, roast tilapia on planks, and broil artichokes with goat cheese and thyme, which can be eaten at tables or on comfy couches. Soft lighting illuminates a rotating display of artwork and glimmers off ranks of bottles brimming with the rich earthiness of garnacha and tempranillo grapes. Most nights of the week, entertainment may include writers reading their poetry, musicians strumming their guitars, and artists unveiling their work. Tango lessons introduce the dance’s lilting moves and provide a place where people with roses super glued to their mouths can fit in.
By the time Blue Bee Cider's signature drink is ready in the spring, it's been three seasons in the making. The process begins in the fall and winter pressing season, when baskets upon baskets of Virginia apples, their ripe red skins shocked with gold, are crushed to loose their sweet juice. The juice lies dormant for the winter, undisturbed by the needless addition of sugar or water, slowly fermenting. Finally, come the break of spring, it takes on the fizzy character of carbonation and is bottled, ready to take its place on the shelves behind the tasting bar. Each of the three varieties takes on a different characteristic from its different blend of apples and ingredients, from the Charred Ordinary's dryness lent by heirloom apples, to the Harvest Ration's surprising kick supplied by fortification with brandy.