The days of wine and leaves

virginiawine

“Wine … the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.”

Thomas Jefferson

October is Virginia Wine Month. It’s also a perfect time to get out to view the leaves in all of their fall splendor.

Thomas Jefferson first sought to grow grapes for Virginia wine, but while he cultivated European grapes for thirty years he never really had any success. Read more about Virginia Wine History.

And read more about Jefferson and his love for wine here.

Why not take a trip to some of Virginia’s wineries to get the best of both?

Here are some suggestions for where you can celebrate Virginia Wine Month.

And here’s the fall foliage report for the leaf viewing.

Get out and enjoy.

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Have an apple today..with some crust and ice cream.

apples

Today is National Apple Betty Day.

We don’t know who makes these things up but we’ll gladly join them for dessert.

Apples seem to be a part of fall, whether it’s bobbing for apples, or candy apples from the fair, or warm apple pie or apple crisp.

So let’s talk about Apple Betty.

An Apple Brown Betty is similar to a cobbler or apple crisp. The fruit is baked and crumbs are layered in between the fruit. The dish was a favorite of Ronald and Nancy Reagan when they lived in the White House.

Here are some recipes you can try.

From Betty Crocker

Ingredients

4 cups soft white bread crumbs (about 6 slices bread)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 large apples, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup apple cider

Directions

1 Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
2 In medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs and melted butter. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon.
3 Place half of the apple slices in casserole; sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture and half of the bread crumb mixture. Repeat layers. Pour cider over top.
4 Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is browned. Serve warm.

From Martha Stewart

Ingredients

4 to 5 slices white sandwich bread (about 4 ounces total), torn into large pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 pounds Gala apples (about 6), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup packed light- or dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse bread until coarse crumbs form (you should have about 2 cups). Spread breadcrumbs on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to a bowl, add butter, and toss until coated.
Meanwhile, place apples in a large bowl, and toss with lemon juice. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the breadcrumbs. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake until fruit mixture is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Then remove foil, and continue baking until breadcrumbs have browned and apples are easily pierced with a paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Top, if desired, with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon.

From Paula Deen

Ingredients

8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced Granny Smith apples (about 4 large)
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Butter pecan ice cream
Garnish: caramel ice cream topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, stir together apples, cider, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.
In same bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar and melted butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle onto apples.
Bake until apples are tender and topping is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with butter pecan ice cream. Garnish with caramel, if desired.

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Wild Fruits: Thoreau’s Rediscovered Last Manuscript

Boo!

haunted-house-1

It’s October. It’s the scary season.

Haunted houses, or trails, or park events are a lot scarier than they used to be. But many people love it and millions of dollars are spent each year on Halloween decorations, costumes, candy and tickets to scare events.

If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area, here are some great opportunities to be scared out of your socks.

The two biggest are associated with the nearby amusement parks.

Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion
Recommended for ages 13 and above
Weekends through October 31.

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Not appropriate for young children.
Weekends through October 31.

Blood Lake Haunted Trail
Blood Lake Haunted Trail in Midlothian has three haunted trails to experience. Opens October 7 and continues Fridays and Saturdays through October 31.

Creepy Hollow Scream Park
Experience Scream Forest in Glen Allen. Opens October 7. Dates vary.

Haunted Evenings at Ashland Berry Farm
What’s not to love about Booger Woods? October 1-31. Select nights, mostly weekends.

RVA Fright Nights at Chesterfield Berry Farm
Open for the season beginning September 30

Red Vein Haunted House at Hanover Vegetable Farm
Not for children under 13. Opens October 14.

If you’re not frightened yet it’s not because you don’t have the opportunity.

Welcome Back

pumpkins

Well, this is a little embarrassing since we realize that our last post was in January telling you what was coming in the year ahead.

Let’s not get into pesky details. We know that we’ve been noticeably absent, and we’re out to fix that. Never mind what kept us distracted or kept us involved in other projects, or simply kept us from meeting you here. We’re back, and we plan to stay.

The goal here is to talk about events, event planning, holidays, history, and all things Virginian. Not in any particular order.

It’s autumn and the pumpkins have returned with a vengeance.

Pumpkin spice everything is on the shelves. Pumpkins are showing up on our front porches.

Pumpkin patches. Lattes. Halloween costumes.

It’s all here and it’s a glorious time of the year.

Let’s get ready to talk about it.