Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hey friends! It's been too long!

Well hey everyone!  I know it has been way to long since we have posted anything.  The past few months have involved buying a house, a new car, postponing our wedding, starting a business, getting a dog, and SO many other wonderful things.   That hasn't left much time (or money) for adventuring.

So!!  Today we decided to take advantage of the BEAUTIFUL weather and go for a day trip.  We geocached on the way to two wonderful wineries here in Central Illinois:

Long Creek Vineyard in Decatur, IL

 Willow Ridge Winery in Shelbyville, IL

We had a fantastic experience with the wine and the people at both locations!  While we would love to talk more about them each now,  we will have to save that for the next couple days.   For now, check out their websites!

More to come soon!
Take Care,

Katey and Chad

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's Been A While...

   It feels like our grape escape to Indiana and Missouri was just last week when in all reality is was a couple months ago!  Life has been so busy! Between going to a couple weddings, a baby shower, moving my sister, having her come visit... oh and not to mention starting my own business, there hasn't been much time for exploring.  Hopefully, we will get a moment to get out and try some new places and meet some new faces SOON!

While on our way to MO for a wedding I was in, Chad and I did have the opportunity to stop at one winery here in IL.  It was  pleasant stop, but very short.  I want to say it was Clover Family Winery but I may be wrong.  I can't find anything online nor can I find my information about the winery.  I will have to update when I find more.

For those people near Springfield, IL, an event called Uncorked will be happening tonight from 6-10 pm.  6 wineries as well as 1 brewery and 2 caterers will be featured.  Admission is $10.  For more information please visit:

If our schedule is clear for tonight, picture from the event will be up tomorrow.

Have fun and wine well!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Madison, Indiana

Madison, Indiana

After drifting for several days, Chad and I were ready to stay in one place for a couple days.  Madison seemed to meet all of our needs.  This cozy little town on the Ohio river was just waiting to welcome us with open arms.  While we were at the Thomas Family Winery, we met several wonderful people who all made recommendations of where to stay, what to eat, and things to see and do.   Several people recommended we stay at the Hillside Inn, a historic hotel overlooking the Ohio river.  You can find a separate entry about that (Here).

One of the people we met in our first evening was the owner of Mumbles Restaurant.  He was so generous as to treat us to dinner at his restaurant on the riverfront.  They are best known for their BBQ and after tasting his new BBQ sauce I know why.  The food was great and the service was friendly.  Mumbles may look a little neglected on the outside, but don’t let that keep you from stopping. 

Madison, “the prettiest small town in the Midwest”, has a lot to offer.  Not only are there many historic sites to see, there is also a beautiful state park (Clifty Falls State Park)
 with several waterfalls, many different shops and art galleries, and many music and art festivals/events throughout the year.  The people are what make the town truly special.  Everyone we met went out of their way to make us feel welcome, inviting us in, telling us about parts of the town, and just spending time getting to know us.  The scenery was only enhanced by all of the smiling faces. 

If you are going to Madison, we would recommend going between Wednesday and Saturday.  Many shops and tourist sites are closed Sunday and Monday and some remain closed on Tuesday.   The parks are still open early in the week and many shops are open but to make the most of a few days, making it a long weekend trip may be your best bet. 

Some of the festivals and events coming up in the near future include:

Old Court Days - May (fourth weekend) & September (last full weekend)
Madison Regatta – July (first full weekend)

Many other events are also occurring in late summer and early fall.

For more information please visit the Madison, Indiana Website: 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Thomas Family Winery

After several days of being on the road and traveling from one place to another, Chad and I were ready to settle into somewhere for a couple days.  When we saw three wineries in historic Madison, IN, and saw that it was right on the water, Chad and I knew we had found the place we wanted to stay.

What we learned when we got there was that a large part of Madison shuts down on Mondays and part of the town stays shut down until Wednesday... well, since we were only going to be there Monday and Tuesday, that meant our options were a little more limited but also gave us a reason to return in the future. Of course this idea of being closed was quite popular and meant that two of the three wineries were also closed through our visit.

Lucky for us, The Thomas Family Winery was open and happy to have our business.  Steve, a third-generation wine maker and owner of this establishment greeted Chad and I with a smile.  He was wonderful, knowledgable, and willing to talk about his wines.  Though this might sound silly, it was rare to find someone on our trip who really knew about the wine they were serving.  You could tell that Steve and his wife Elizabeth really love the wine they make.  Walking into the winery I felt comfortable and at home.  The atmosphere was inviting.  It looked like they had maintained a lot of the woodwork from the stable and worked with it to creating a homey place to sit and have a great glass of wine while getting to know the people at the table across from you!  This also looks like a great venue to visit on the weekends to hear some traditional music playing!

The Wine

When we visited the winery they only had 4 wines and one cider available but were getting to release 4 more very soon!  All  wines were either dry or semi-dry.  Steve led us through every step of the way, crafting a story about each of the wines and setting up every tasting before a drop hit our lips.

Gale's Hard Cider - Old timer apples fermented like an ale-- tangy, strong and dry - drink it like an ale!!!!  Name for Gale Thomas!  Wonderful with curries, spicy foods.    I could see this pairing with so many different meals.  It is unique and wonderful.  I was so happy to find a dry cider that wasn't too fruity.  A lot of Cider's taste too carbonated or fruity.  This had a fantastic balance that I adored.

Sauvignon Blanc 2010 - Outstanding nose of peaches, olives, figs, and currants, bursting palate of tree fruits, sweet pepper, pineapple, melon -long finish f minerals, citrus peel, herbs, spice -try with southwestern foods, grilled poultry and seafood.

Rio Red 2010 - Lots of cheery, black raspberry fruit with pepper, mint and briar  in the nose; cedary berries, lots of briar, mint, pepper and a bit of smoke- young tannins will soften - loves pizza, pasta, and grilled chops.   This is a wine that pairs well with every day food.  You don't have to make anything fancy to create a great pairing.  This wine spent 5 months in oak barrels.  You can certainly taste the cherry and black raspberry.  We had to bring a bottle of this home!

We will most definitely go back to Thomas Family Winery whenever we visit Madison, IN.  We loved everything about it and cannot wait to try their new wines!

For more information please visit their website:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Alto Vineyards heartland port

Drinking:  Alto Vineyards Heartland Port 
American Sweet Fortified Wine
18% by vol.  

One of the Heartland series from Alto Vineyards and Winery.  We love all of the Heartland wines and have bought at least two bottles of each by now.   The wine is deep red, almost a little brown in color.  The nose is spicy, oaky, with a bit of cloves and an orange bitter smell, too.  There is a sweetness to its scent.  Starts off very heavy, sending a bit of heat on the tongue and down the throat.  Notes of chocolate and vanilla follow with a hint of chocolate covered cherry. Somewhat acidic as it hits the back of the tongue, making your mouth water.  Adding dark chocolate to the tasting of this wine brings out both the sweet and the tart tastes in this.  Forget the desert, it's all in the wine!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Canoe Kentucky - Frankfort, KY

Upon waking up, both Chad and I were yearning for an outdoor adventure, specifically water related.  We have been kayaking together a couple times now and love it!  It is a blast to get out on the water and just relax!  So Chad found us a place to rent kayaks and do a 6 mile river trail, Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort, KY.

The rates were fair, the water quick enough that you could minimally paddle and finish in a couple hours, and the small rapids were easy enough for beginners to combat.  We called ahead to make sure we could get on the water.  If you plan to kayak through a company such as this, there are usually scheduled times for people to be there so they can depart as groups.  It took about an hour after we got there for everyone to fill out paperwork, get processed, watch a safety video, and hop in a van.  Canoe KY was not expecting that many people to show up late in the afternoon on the first Sunday of May, so it took a little longer than normal.

It was a great adventure.  All of the gear was provided.  The staff was wonderfully friendly!

A couple suggestions:

Plan ahead!

Bring water shoes, a swim suit, a couple bottles of water (nothing in glass containers), a snack, and a waterproof bag for keys and such!  A water-proof camera for on the river is also a great addition to any trip!

Water shoes are also available seasonally at Walmart for under $9.

Schedule enough time so you can really enjoy your trip!

Wear sunscreen... no matter what!!!!

To learn more about Canoe Kentucky please visit their website! 

If you have time to explore Frankfort, there are a ton of historical sites and a cute downtown area to explore!  Lots of cute shops! Many places featuring local artists and musicians including: 
Many of the shops next to this are connected, including coffee and book shops!  
Unique downtown with a lot to explore! 

We explored the town at night and took some wonderful night pictures using longer exposures.  Sadly, I don't have most of those pictures ready yet because they are with Chad, but here are a couple I took! 

Travel Tips - On to Kentucky - Saturday, May 5th

From Cannelton, IN we decided to make our way into Kentucky.  While we had wanted to head to Louisville, we learned that we were heading there on absolutely the wrong day... Derby Day.  Being from IL and never having watched a horse race in my life, I had no idea that the Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday of May.  I was more focused on finding a Margarita in celebration of Cinco de Mayo and my cousins wedding! So... we rerouted our journey to Elizabethtown, KY, just outside Louisville, but far enough away that we could still find somewhere to stay.   I quickly started calling places and was happen to hear the Ramada had a couple cancelations!  So below are a couple things we learned that day.

1. If you are going to be traveling last minute, don't go somewhere that is having it's biggest celebration of the year unless you already have a room!

2.  Sometimes staying in towns that are just outside a major population center means better hotel rates.

3.  Even if a hotel says online that they are booked, try calling, cancelations happen all the time.

4. GPS is wonderful.  Not only do Chad and I both us navigation programs on our phones, I always have my Tom Tom on standby.

5. Sometimes, you lose GPS signal and cell service, always carry a map and have some sort of clue where you want to go

6. Be aware of major holidays and events wherever you are traveling... good deals and fun times are around every corner.

7.  There are some great apps out there... use them.  Find Me Gluten Free and a hotel finding app were our friends through our whole trip.

8. The internet is full of wonderful things.  websites like this give you some great ideas of unique places to stop along your way.

9.  With the necessary tools and a little common sense, a last minute vacation can be a blast!

That's all my tips for now... more to come with future adventures.