sugar and spice and everything nice: it’s all about you, ladies.

I felt pampered before I even got through the door, and it only got better from there.

The lovely Sherrie Gordon (owner of Shenandoah Concierge), who greeted us at the door, informed us that once inside this year’s second It’s All About You, Ladies! event, we’d be treated to such niceties as a massage, a hair and skin consultation, food, wine, a gift bag, and raffle prizes! I was glad I decided to be stressed out, tangled, blemished, hungry, thirsty, and lucky that day.

Hosted by Wine on Water and All Things Virginia (the two shops are adjacent to each other on Water Street, downtown), the event was also sponsored by women-owned or -operated businesses like Merle Norman, Scrumptious Suppers,  A-C Chiropractic, Vivian’s Designer Consignor, You’ve Got It Made, Polished, Inc., The Lady Jane, Miche Bags, Stella & Dot, and Shenandoah Concierge. The event allows local business women to get together about four times a year to mingle, socialize, network, and just keep in touch in general. It’s easy to lose touch with your peers when you’re managing the shop all day, after all. They keep the event intimate by only selling fifty tickets, so that all the women have a chance to talk to each other during the short three hours they’re together.

In we went. At the bar, I picked up a complimentary glass of Cave Ridge Traminette, recommended by Katrina. The next order of business was food. Brandy and I nibbled on Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce, olives, cheese, Sundried Tomato Pesto served on cute little toasts, Artichoke and Spinach Dip with chips, and these really yummy Turkey Pinwheels with Avocado and Cranberry Cream Cheese. I think I ate about twelve of those.

And look how cute dessert was!

Swedish Cream with Raspberry Sauce.

I signed up for a massage (there were two massage therapists from Dr. Cason’s office, set up in the front window of All Things Virginia), and while I waited my turn, Brandy and I perused the shop. They have a lot of nice items in there I never would have guessed–like walking sticks and hand made cards, and peanuts and condiments. They also sell Miche bags and local artwork, and they have an in-house framer if you need him. They also sell hand made jewelry, which I browsed for quite some time… and I somehow lost my plate of food, too. But that’s okay because they had more. Anyhow, between the selection at All Things Virginia and the wines at Wine on Water, it’s possible you could do all your Christmas shopping under one roof.

And then my turn came for a massage. My belly was full and the wine was speaking to me and now Betty was tenderizing my stone shoulders.

Stress was pouring out in all directions. It was coming out in laughter that echoed through the place, it was flowing in the wine, it was steaming off the food, it was evaporating through Betty’s hands, it was escaping through tiny refined pores and hair follicles. And when I emerged from the massage (with my “halo face” from having smushed my face into the cushion of the chair), everyone seemed relaxed and content.

And then I got it–this is exactly what ladies need at the end of their hectic weeks. Not a lot, not a two-week vacation in another country (although, that WOULD be nice…), but just a kind word, a soothing touch, some laughter, some time with friends, and don’t forget the wine. So, thanks to the lovely sponsors for making this evening possible, and thanks also to all the guys who stayed home with the kids and heated up frozen corn dogs. Yes, ketchup is a fruit. Oh, come on…. just kidding!

pictured here, the sponsors: Sara Christensen, Sherrie Gordon, Kristen Lucas, Katrina Hudy, Linda Denton, Shelley Boyers, Jennifer Matthai Cottrell, Vivian Myers, and Vicki Ruckman.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

have a nice flight: wine on water.

I love running into former students and finding out what’s happened to them since high school. In many cases, they’ve furthered their education and traveled around and worked here and there and had lots of enlightening experiences… things I can only dream of accomplishing. And I love hearing what they’ve learned along the way. This was a night I learned a lot.

Brandy, Denise, and I met at Wine on Water last Tuesday evening to sample some wine. Our wine host was the lovely Katrina Hudy, who manages the establishment and graduated from BHS years ago. While Wine on Water is owned and operated by the folks at Cave Ridge Vineyard, they serve more than just Cave Ridge wines (something I didn’t know). They also feature wines from Wisteria Vineyards, Shenandoah Vineyards, Cedar Creek Vineyard, Bluestone Vineyard, and Barren Ridge Vineyard. By doing so, Wine on Water can promote the Valley wine industry: it takes time for individuals to visit several vineyards and sample their wines. This way, customers can taste wines from all over the Valley without leaving their bar stools. Katrina does all the work for you: she travels to vineyards hither and yon and chooses what they’ll serve at Wine on Water. Helloooooo, dream job. I also learned from Katrina that Virginia’s hills and valleys create “microclimates” that allow several different varieties of grape to thrive. This variance in grapes yields a broad assortment of wines… versus a place where the landscape is flat and therefore only produces one or two kinds of grapes. See? Another reason I love my Burg and am grateful I live in this area. It’s the little things, you know.

Wine on Water’s beautiful tasting room/bar is adjacent to All Things Virginia and contains Cuban Burger, which serves food Wednesday through Saturday. Wine on Water is open Tuesday through Saturday noon to seven, and they have Happy Hour on Friday and Saturday from five to seven (ooo, the elusive Saturday happy hour!). You can also ask them to host your private event.

So here’s how it works: you can select three wines from their list and get a two-ounce tasting of each, for $7. This is called a “flight,” and it’s only $5 during happy hour. There are other options, too, including buying by the glass, the half-glass, and others. Not all the wines they carry are available every day that they’re open, but the selection is ample and you’re sure to have a different experience each time you visit. The wines that we chose happened to be all Cave Ridge wines. They were the Fandango Port, the Riesling, Sangria, the Chambourcin, and the Viognier. The Riesling was very good–crisp and refreshing, a good hot-weather wine. The Sangria was made from Rambling Rose, so it was not the dark red Sangria I expected. It also contains guava nectar, pineapple, and cinnamon stick. It was MAJOR yummy. Brandy and Denise both also like the Chambourcin, and Brandy also had the Viognier, which–another thing I learned–is the Virginia State Wine. I don’t know the state bird and flower and all that, but now I know the state grape.

don’t leave a drop, denise!

I have to say… although it was a hundred degrees out that day and Port is not your usual “summer wine,” we loved that Fandango Port. We ended up ordering a glass of it after the tasting. My roommate during my freshman year of college, Darlene, kept a bottle of amaretto in our dorm room, and I’ll never forget one night after a couple of swigs, she said, “I have warm ears.” Port is a “warm ears” wine. It reminded me of the time I was backpacking across Europe and got stuck all night in the train station in Basel, Switzerland. Thank heavens for Port that night. And it makes me think of Jack Kerouac (“life must be rich and full of loving—it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone…”), and it makes me think of Christmas.

As usual, our conversation meandered along several bizarre paths. Katrina mentioned that You Made It! had a craft day at Wine on Water, and I thought to myself, “See? That’s how it should be. The barter system all the way.” We don’t even need money. Then I had a great idea: all of Harrisonburg should live in a giant castle together and just use the barter system for everything. We have plenty of people to provide food and beverages and entertainment and education and health care. Then we started thinking of things we want in our castle. Brandy wants beverage spigots like the ones at Wine on Water. You could get any beverage you want on this biiiig wall of spigots.

And Denise would want some mode of transportation within the castle, like Segways (“with cupholders!”, inserted Brandy) or maybe those motorized grocery store carts so you can carry stuff around. Then there was some confusion about a matador versus a troubadour… but we want both. And instead of a moat filled with deadly alligators and shrieking eels, the castle could be surrounded by one of those lazy river things they have at nice hotels… you know, for the kids. Because no one would ever want to attack Castle Harrisonburg–we’re the Friendly City, for Pete’s sake!

Where were we?

So, back to reality… Wine on Water is hosting a cool event this Thursday, July 19, called “It’s All About You, Ladies!” It’s not exactly a castle, but it is a getaway of sorts. For $12, ladies (only!) can enjoy wine, appetizers, massages, skincare, and makeovers, plus be entered to win prizes, and receive a complimentary gift bag! This event is sponsored by Shenandoah Concierge, All Things Virginia, and Wine on Water, and only 50 tickets will be sold, so get moving!

And if you can’t make that, be sure to stop in on First Friday, August 3, to hear music by the Harmolodics and see art by Chie Tamaki. Cheers!

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.