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May 11, 2012
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Funk and I wanted to do something big for our dad’s 60th birthday this year. We brainstormed ideas for the past two years, tossing around everything from a weekend trip to Chicago, to Green Monster seats at Fenway Park. Unfortunately, our ideas were grander than our bank accounts, and we quickly realized that, even if we shared the expenses, all of these options were way out of our price range.

Our first idea back at the drawing board was simple: a small, intimate, homemade dinner and the stack o’ memories that we gathered from Dad’s closest friends and family members. We probably could have stopped there: Dad loved it and hasn’t stopped talking about it, three months after the fact.

But Funk had another idea, and I was totally on board: we’d wait until the weather got warmer, and then we’d go on a small day tour of Virginia wine country, followed by a nice dinner at Aqua al 2 in DC (Italian–Dad’s favorite!)

This past weekend, we finally got out to Leesburg for the tour, and the 60th birthday fun continued!

We started at Willowcroft Vineyards, where we sat down to a picnic lunch before heading in for our tasting.

Not a bad view, eh?

The tasting at Willowcroft was great but brief, so we moved on and made our way just down the road to Zephaniah Vineyards.

Our tasting at Zephaniah was the most leisurely and relaxed of the day, which we all enjoyed.

We took our time in between tastings, just chatting and enjoying each other’s company.

The owners were our servers, and we had a great time talking with them about the history of their vineyard, their love for wine, and their passion for food. One of the owners told us of her plans to make fig and bacon jam. Obviously, she and I got along just fine.

After our tasting, we bought a few glasses of wine and headed out to the gliders on the front lawn. This was possibly my favorite part of the day. It was heavenly.

From Zephaniah, we headed on to our third and final winery of the day: Casanel.

The folks at Casanel were in full Cinco de Mayo regalia, which was fun, and the tasting was quick but delicious.

When we were done, we headed out to the patio to sit and relax before our drive back to DC. Their patio was beautiful, and the addition that they’re building looks like it’s going to be pretty fantastic: a massive tasting room and sky walk!

Dinner at Acqua al 2 was out of this world. We kept it simple with some antipasto and pasta dishes, but this is the only food photo I managed to get the entire night:

Yeah. This doesn’t do the meal justice. Trust me when I say it’s some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had (and I grew up in Rhode Island and have visited Florence—where the restaurant actually originated!) If you are in DC and are looking for a good meal, I cannot recommend Acqua al 2 enough.

All in all, Dad’s birthday celebration was a success. Good food, good wine, great company— all of the things birthdays should be made of.

Happy birthday, L-Dogs!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. L Dogs permalink
    May 12, 2012 7:24 am

    Good food, good wine, great company-all of the things birthdays should be made of. That sums it up perfectly. Thank you and funk again for a wonderful bday.

  2. May 12, 2012 7:46 am

    sounds like such a fun birthday celebration!

  3. May 12, 2012 9:32 am

    This looks awesome! I keep meaning to get to Virginia to check out some of the wineries… I’ll have to look at some of these ones.

    • May 12, 2012 10:23 am

      It was a great time—and all three of these wineries were within about five miles of each other. Once you get into Leesburg, it’s a breeze!

  4. May 15, 2012 12:08 am

    Such a gorgeous view! I love wineries, and this looks like an awesome place for a birthday party! When I’m living in Ohio, those Virginia wineries will totally be in driving distance again for a weekend getaway!

    • May 16, 2012 7:54 am

      I cannot recommend it enough! They were beautiful, the wine was great, and we all had an awesome time.

  5. The Teenage Taste permalink
    May 15, 2012 7:11 am

    Sounds like a fun time with family and friends! Glad you had a good time!

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