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Heading West Through The Foothills of The Applachians
Rolling vineyards unfold around you. The countryside blooms with tiny globes in muted shades of purple, red, and rose; their juices bursting at the skin. You’re in Mount Airy wine country. A little slice of Maryland heaven that only the ad-venturous winos have traversed.
You slowly roll up to your first vineyard, the gravel underneath crinkling with an excited melody of anticipation. The varietals in this wine country are brilliant, but you’re no wine snob… you just know a good one when you taste it. As you settle into your rustic picnic on the veranda, you gaze out over the bounding mountainous expanse while sipping a sultry Syrah. Ahhhh now THIS is a Maryland weekend wine getaway.
Although Sonoma is synonymous with wine, Maryland is not to be missed. Check out a snapshot of what you could be doing next weekend in Mount Airy:
Maryland is in the northeastern part of the country but it’s not part of New England, and it’s certainly not the south either. Housing Washington, D.C., the state is unique to itself.
The main airport in the Maryland is the centrally located Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Davis airport is located right in the middle of Mount Airy wine country, but it only services smaller planes. There is no public transportation in the Mount Airy wine trail region, so you will want to rent a car when you land.
DRIVING: When driving in, follow these routes based on your direction:
• West: I-70 from Baltimore, MD
• East: I-70 from Frederick, MD
• North: I-270 from Washington, D.C.
• South: Rte 15 from Gettysburg, PA
Black Ankle Vineyards
Less than an hour drive from the Baltimore airport lands you with a glass of wine in your hand at the Black Ankle Vineyards. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the rolling knolls of the vineyards serve as the home to a variety of delicious grapes that produce some of the area’s finest wines.
Black Ankle Vineyards is named after the rustic road and the winding trails that thread through the hills. Their tasting room is open by appointment and comes with a picnic selection of locally sourced meats and cheeses. Sample their Passeggiata IX a simple, – earthy Syrah, or the 2015 Albarino, a bold and fruity white.
Take a Break
While you are in the area, a cool place to check out that is right down the street is Twins Polish Pottery. Incredibly unique, the warehouse sits down a dusty country road and is run by a friendly set of twins and their families. All of the pottery is handmade, reasonably priced, and fills the 2-story complex form top to bottom. Even if you aren’t going to buy, no worries, people literally travels for hours just to browse their wares.
Elk Run Vineyards
Elk Run is named after a local river and was established in 1983. October-April they hold “wine downs” with cozy fire pits, intimate music, and wine trivia. Their tasting room hours vary by day and season, so it’s best to call first. When you get there, try their award winning 2001 Blanc de Blancs, a sparkling signature white, or the Gypsy Rose, a dry rosé with hints of fresh cherry and rose petals.
By now you must be famished, and a smear of cheese on a cracker won’t do. The Brick Ridge is a few minutes south of Elk Run and is the perfect place to nosh. It also has a little regional history. The brick building used to serve as a one-room school- house in which a single teacher taught 20-30 children ages 6 to 20 years in the 1800s. Try their Shrimp and Smoked Gouda Popovers and their Crab Pasta Carbonara. Don’t worry, your final destination for the day has a bed.
After you are done eating, head west on I-70 for half an hour into center of Frederick for a place to decompress.
Hollerston Hill Bed and Breakfast
The Hollerstown Hill Bed & Breakfast, established in 2002, is located in a quiet down- town Frederick neighborhood. The late Victorian is reasonably priced and features carved mantels, fireplaces, period antiques, reproductions, and collectibles. Every morning, a three-course elegant breakfast is served in their handsomely crafted foyer. Since you are in Frederick, you are also close to an assortment of commercial hotels and motels (if the intimacy of a bed and breakfast isn’t your thing).
If you are hungry in the a.m. it’s best to grab breakfast/lunch in Frederick. If you are itching to get on the road, Concetta’s Main Street Bistro is a good stop to grab lunch in the area of your next winery.
The Loew family has been making wine since the 1800’s across five generations and three centuries, in which time they have truly perfected the art. The vineyard was planted in the early 1980s and includes 6 different varieties of grapes: Marechal, Leon Millot, Foch, Seyval Blanc, Chancellor, Riesling, and Chardonnay.
The majestic sloping vineyards produce every type of wine from a harvest red to a sweet honey white. Try their award winning Serendipity with hints of mango and citrus. Their Honey & Grape is a complex sweet white that took home the 2015 Gold Medal at the Governer’s Cup. The tasting room is open on the weekends and other days by appointment.
Seasons At Magnolia Manor
Now is a good time to toss your bags on the bed of your room for the night. The Seasons at Magnolia is a historic bed and breakfast with rooms named after classic writers like the Hemingway and the Poe. Rates are reasonable, and the manor features elegant details like hand-carved murals and claw-foot bathtubs.
Once you’ve settled, get ready to head out to your next vineyard, which is only a hop, skip, and glass of wine away.
Before you hit your next vineyard, there are a few spots in town you can take a moment to relax.
Sulphur Springs Park sits in the middle of downtown New Windsor, and it a casual place to take a stroll. Try the Atlee Ridge Walking Path near the river.
The Serrv International Gift Shop down the street is truly one-of-a-kind and a unique place to shop. A non-profit for fair-trade and handmade crafts, you are sure to find something in there to take home as a souvenir.
Serpent Ridge Vineyard
One of the first wineries in the Westminster area of Mount Airy, Serpent Ridge is a quaint vineyard that pays close attention to every grape they pick and wine they craft. Opened in 2009, the intimate 2-acre winery features special events like “yoga in the vineyard” and “cheese and chocolate night.”
Each vintage wine is made in small lots and aged in oak or stainless steel. The bottles are then sealed with a Zork (a new innovative approach to bottle closures). The – winery’s tasting room is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but every other day they are serving up some of their special wines like the 2012 Vitner’s Cabernet, an aged red with hints of blackberry, or their signature Serpent Kiss, a Vidal wine infused with white chocolate.
If you are starting to get hunger pains, head over to the Mount Airy Inn to cap off your night with a hearty regional dinner. They serve up American classics like steak, burgers, and a variety of brick oven pizzas. Try the innovative Bay Harbor Pizza with scallops and local blue crab (you’ll want to order 4 more to-go).
A Sunday on any weekend wine tour should always help you wind down. Take your time with breakfast on this one. Luckily, the Olde Town Restaurant nearby serves breakfast all day, so fear not if you’re hitting the snooze on your checkout. When you get there, try their famous Chesapeake Benedict, a delicious take on the norm topped with (of course) meaty Maryland crab chunks.
When breakfast is done, head 15 minutes west to your last winery on your weekend whirlwind wine tour.
Planted in the fertile soils of an old dairy farm in the 1970s, Linganore Vineyards is rife with varietals that will have your palette dancing. The small vineyard is operated by the sons of the founder and continues to pride itself on relaxing tours, award-winning wines, and joyfully skilled winemakers.
Their tasting room is open 361 days a year with a $5 tasting charge and a free 30-minute tour of the grounds. Make sure you try their incredibly smooth Chardonnay with hints of Carmel and pear, or the Bacioni, a light red with fruit and oak flavor notes
Maryland is home
Home to an unsuspecting wine country, but ripe for the plucking (pun intended). Explor- ing different wines and tastes doesn’t require you to be a connoisseur, or even act like one. Wine is about simple enjoyment—it always had been. Maryland provides the perfect backdrop for a moment away complemented by vast mountainous views, rich local foods, and a fresh regional vintage always at hand.
Mount Airy, Maryland awaits you.
Black Ankle Vineyards:14463 Black Ankle Rd, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-3338
Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard: 1550 Old Westminster Rd, Westminster, MD 21157 | (410) 881-4656
Elk Run Vineyards: 15113 Liberty Rd, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (410) 775-2513
Serpent Ridge Vineyard: 2962 Nicodemus Rd, Westminster, MD 21157 | (410) 848-6511
Loew Vineyards: 14001 Liberty Rd, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 831-5464
New Market Plains Vineyard: 11111 W. Baldwin Rd New Market, MD 21774 | 240-674-2859
Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Road, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 831-5889
Places to Eat
Olde Town Restaurant: 206 S Main St, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-4257
Concetta’s Main Street Bistro: 231 S Main St, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-7571
Laurienzo Brick Oven Cafe: 114 S Main St, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-6900
Town Grill: 15943 Frederick Rd, Woodbine, MD 21797 | (410) 489-5016
Katana Sushi Bar: 1311 S Main St #302, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-9333
Memories Charcoal House: 403 E Ridgeville Blvd, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-2264
Brick Ridge: 6212 Ridge Rd, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-8191
Place to Stay
Hollerstown Hill: 4 Clarke Place, Frederick, MD 21701 | (301) 228-3630
Seasons At Magnolia Manor: 111 Springdale Ave, New Windsor, MD 21776 | (301) 466-6644
Inn at Norwood: 7514 Norwood Ave, Sykesville, MD 21784 | (410) 549-7868
The Columbia Inn at Peralynna: 10605 MD-108, Columbia, MD 21044 | (410) 715-4600
THE WAYSIDE INN: 4344 Columbia Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042 | (410) 461-4636
Antrim 1844 Country House Hotel: 30 Trevanion Rd, Taneytown, MD 21787 | (410) 756-6812
Atlee House Bed & Breakfast: 120 Water St, New Windsor, MD 21776 | (410) 871-9119
Gaver Farm: 5501 Detrick Rd, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 865-3515
La Bella Medispa: 1304 S Main St, Mt Airy, MD 21771 | (301) 829-1800
The Pony Place: 5206 Sidney Rd, Mount Airy, MD | (240) 372-3478
Servv International Gift Shop: 500 Main St, New Windsor, MD | (410) 635-8711