What a great weekend! Even though I was under the weather, I managed to attend two really fun events.
On Saturday, Adam and I went to the 2nd Saint John Beer Fest held at Market Square. It was a great setup. Small enough to be intimate, but enough vendors to get a real taste of the craft beer being produced nearby. I saw my friends from Picaroons (who won gold for their Oak Casked Winter Warmer) and from Big Tide (who won silver for their Sandpiper Pilsner). Along with many other beer, I tried the new Beach Chair Lager from Gahan in PEI. It's quite refreshing. I'll be doing a public tasting of Gahan beer at the Lansdowne liquor store this Friday from 4-8.
After so much fun Saturday night, it was hard to get reved up to work on Sunday. Thank goodness it was a breeze. The It's A Girl Thing show at the Saint John Art Centre was a pleasure to be a part of. Hundreds of women, and a few men, spent the afternoon browsing among the vendors. Thank you to everyone who entered my draw for a half-day winery tour and thank you to everyone who signed up for my mailing list. The next email will be coming out in the next few weeks.
I can't believe that April is already half over. Soon May will be upon us and summer isn't too long after that. Reservations are starting to come in for winery tours, which begin next week. May is a great time to visit the vineyard. The vines are just starting to grow again, and it's easy to imagine what they will look like in the fall, laden with fruit.
Yesterday, I drove out to Dunhams Run to spend a day working in the vineyard. I wanted to learn about grape growing and wine making from the source. After all, don't we all want a bottle of Uncorked Wine at some point in the future?
We spent the morning tying up 3-year old Marquette vines. These are just getting to the point where they will start to produce enough grapes to make wine. The training process takes a few years with grape vines. First you need to strengthen and straighten the trunk, which takes a couple years. Then you work to train the vines around wires that will hold the plant up when it's loaded with grapes.
After a hot cup of coffee, we went back to the vineyard to continue tying plants. This time it was still Marquette grapes, but they were a couple years older. I can wait to see my handiwork start to grow!
On the way back to the city, I got a little artsy with nature. There were a few beaver lodges and I just loved the look of the red dogwood against the brown grasses. Enjoy the pics.
Pottery, Ferries, & History
I love getting acquainted with my new part of the province. One of the neatest things, I think, about living in Southern New Brunswick, is all the ferries we have access to.
For those of you who aren't aware, here's how it works. You drive to the river's edge and wait. Within a few minutes, a small ferry arrives. It is being pulled on a cable to keep it in place in the river. You drive on, very slowly, and park where the ferry operator points. Then, enjoy a short 5-min crossing to end up on the other side of the river. Even with the wait, crossing by ferry is much faster, and more pleasant, than trying to find a bridge (there aren't that many). What's more, there are no tolls for crossing by ferry. Thank you Province of New Brunswick.
I crossed in Grand-Bay and drove up the Kingston Peninsula to Crimmins Pottery. This is one of Uncorked Tours' stops. It's a great little gallery. When I arrived, Elizabeth was throwing pots while her partner was literally up to her elbows in glaze.
I purchased these beautiful stemless wine goblets and can't wait to try them out with some NB wine. After leaving the studio, I crossed by ferry again to Quispamsis, and finished my drive the rest of the way to Saint John.
The book in the background is an old History textbook from 1946. I've been reading through it to brush up on my history of the province, and to try and find some interesting footnotes to include on my tours. So far I've learned how First Nations peoples used Woolastook (the Saint John River) as a major highway, and how Samuel de Champlain arrived in Saint John Harbour on June 24th, 1604, only to try and survive through one of the harshest Canadian winters we know about. He survived, half of his crew didn't.
I'm looking forward to finding out what other interesting tidbits this old text book holds. Join an Uncorked Tour to find out more for yourself!!
April is maple syrup season in New Brunswick, and this past weekend, my family and I took advantage of it. We decided to go to Dumfries Maples, 7520 Rte 102. It's located a half hour from Fredericton on the Saint John River. They have been making syrup since 1998 and serving maple breakfasts for a few years. They serve breakfast in the lodge during the months of March and April. You can tour the cookhouse and a small portion of tapped trees down by the river.
A typical maple tree will give two to five litres of sap on a warm spring day and can produce for a hundred years. It takes 40 litres of sap to produce just 1 litre of maple syrup,and the ratio is even higher for taffy and candy. All the sap collection for maple syrup takes place in a 4-6 week season in March and April.
Breakfast is serious business at this sugar shack. I chose 1 pancake with buffalo sausage. Good thing too, both the pancake and sausage were huge :) Be sure to get an order of biscuits with warm maple butter. They're absolutely delicious.
There was no snow this past weekend, so we couldn't have taffy on the snow. This photo is from 2011, the first year I went to Dumfries Maple. The taffy is made by boiling the sap from the maple trees. Once it's hot enough, it's poured over clean snow and begins to cool down and harden. So yummy!
At Uncorked Tours we're all about sharing the fabulous food, wine, beer & spirits being produced in the Province of New Brunswick.
It is our pleasure to share some of the awesome experiences you can have while living or visiting the province.