have a grape summer: valley vineyards.

These days, as the sun sinks below the horizon earlier and earlier, and crisp nights foreshadow the coming of autumn in the Valley, we just want to say thank you to wine for making our summer so sweet, and making the rest of the year palatable, lol. Especially Barren Ridge and CrossKeys Vineyards. Thank you for being so close and accessible.

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CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

Thank you for dream-like vistas.
Thank you for fragrant blossoms.

Barren Ridge Vineyard, Fishersville

Barren Ridge Vineyard, Fishersville

Fragrance at Barren Ridge Vineyard, Fishersville

Fragrance at Barren Ridge Vineyard, Fishersville

Thank you, Barren Ridge Vineyard

Thank you, Barren Ridge Vineyard

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

Thank you for sweaty glasses in shady spots.
Thank you for long walks down neat rows of crooked vines.

Let me top you off, at Barren Ridge Vineyard

Let me top you off, at Barren Ridge Vineyard

Red Barren at Barren Ridge Vineyard

Red Barren at Barren Ridge Vineyard

CrossKeys Vineyard in Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard in Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

Thank you for showing us the value of patience… and age.
Thank you for corks that keep secrets protected.
Thank you for laughter-softened memories.
Thank you for the ripening of grapes and friendship.

Victory at CrossKeys

Victory at CrossKeys

what summer looks like at CrossKeys Vineyard

what summer looks like at CrossKeys Vineyard

lush summer.

lush summer.

thank you for this.

thank you for this.

Thank you for not requiring a reservation… or enforcing a dress code.
Thank you for hosting family reunions.
Thank you for teaching us to take time to breathe.

Katie's mom and dad at Barren Ridge Vineyard

Katie’s mom and dad at Barren Ridge Vineyard

Katie's folks, Barren Ridge Vineyard

Katie’s folks, Barren Ridge Vineyard

tasting room at Barren Ridge Vineyard

tasting room at Barren Ridge Vineyard

some folks we met at Barren Ridge Vineyard

some folks we met at Barren Ridge Vineyard

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

CrossKeys Vineyard, Cross Keys, Virginia

Upcoming Events at Barren Ridge
Firelight Fridays and Sunsets at the Vineyard
September 18
 – Scruffy Murphy
October 16 – Tara Mills
November 20 – Kathy Walton Lafon

Upcoming Events at CrossKeys Vineyards
Finally Friday’s Wine Down 
every Friday
Behind the Scenes Harvest Tour Sept 1 — Oct 15
CrossKeys Stomping Party Sept 11
Vineyard Vines CrossKeys Concert Series Sept 13

Copyright © 2012-15 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

brandy awesomers: larkin arts youth summer art program.

dry erase board in classroomMy friend is so talented. So talented!!

Brandy Somers works all year as a high school art teacher, photographs their creations, this beautiful city, and adventures with her loved ones and publishes it all on FOUR blogs (or five??), heads up a massive portrait show each year, participates in several art exhibits throughout the year, volunteers, raises children… I aspire to be like her in so many ways. She somehow seamlessly weaves all this into her life — a life full of color and texture, people and love, laughter and light. And last week I was able to see her talent in action as she taught a class at Larkin Arts… about something she does beautifully: weaving.

kids weaving basketsValerie Smith has been heading up this summer art program for years, only now she gets to host it at her own shop. She put out a call to local artists who’d like to teach a week-long class, assembled a fine group of those people, and sort of let them decide what it was they would teach. Then Valerie worked with the artist/teachers to determine appropriate age groups and ordered the necessary supplies. The twenty-six classes run through August 16 and serve kids age six to fourteen.

My kids and I arrived toward the end of her class entitled “Basket Full O’ Fun” — a week-long seminar dedicated to basket weaving, but which turned into much more.

To start each three-hour session, Brandy had students complete a quick sketch (in their self-made sketch books) centered around a particular topic, like “what was your worst injury?”, “draw your scariest moment” and “your biggest accomplishment”, and “what super power would you most like to have?” Answers, in the form of sketches, ranged from stubbed toes to falls from fences and split chins, from scary moms in masks to creepy cardboard cut-outs of Dale Earnhardt, and from super sniffing and shape-shifting to shooting something you want straight out of your hand (in Ella’s case, a bagel and drink). Pretty much everyone agreed that the pouch baskets were their most recent major accomplishment.

kids drawings on wallAfter the sketches, Brandy began the lesson. The week started with making a type of basket called a bean pot. The apt students caught on quickly in weaving these large, sturdy baskets, and in no time, had some gorgeous finished products.girl weaving basket

kids weaving baskets boy holding basket kids holding basketsThe pouch baskets (like a little purse) turned out equally beautiful but were harder to make and required patience and teamwork. Still, the determined students (and teacher) pressed on and completed the job on day three. !!!

group weaving pouch baskets hands making pouch baskets hands making pouch basketsNever fear. This isn’t Brandy’s first rodeo, and although the kids had completed her week-long class in a mere three days, she had more tricks up her sleeve. In fact, she needed sleeves… to make tee shirt rugs using hula hoops as looms. This is where Ella’s super power would have really come in handy. It takes A LOT of tee shirts to make enough strips for five kids to each weave a rug, so what super heroes came to the rescue? Denise and Sean Allen, that’s who. They showed up with a gigantic donation of old tee shirts. Let the shredding begin!

class weaving hula hoop rugskids hula hoopingA well-deserved and much-needed break.

And that awlsome project lasted clear through Friday’s class, when I was there visiting. One student was determined to finish her rug as a father’s day gift. Another’s strips kept getting tangled up. This student’s rug was finished and needed to be tied off, while that student still needed more strips of red fabric. Brandy moved with ease around the room, as she always does, helping everyone, as she always does… never losing patience, always speaking kindly, laughing and enjoying the moment, weaving color and texture and light into their lives, at least for one week.

girl weaving hula hoop rug girl weaving hula hoop rug boy weaving hula hoop ruggirl with hula hoop loom hula hoop rugsBrandy and I have taught at the same school for years, but it’s not often that we see each other during class. It was a real treat to see her in this element, and I mean that sincerely. Any person — young or old — would be lucky to receive her instruction, or her friendship.

There are still weeks and weeks of classes available to your kid this summer. Many of them still have space available, so now’s a good time to get signed up. They’ll be taught by professionals who love their craft and aren’t afraid to show it… just like Brandy.

kids holding final productsCopyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

brewed awakening: l&s diner.

L&S diner signOn March 18 it was freezing and snowy. I was in clunky boots and a sweater and my old gray coat AGAIN. This day, a Monday, was a snow day, and snow days are really nice for teachers, yes, but our children are SICK OF US. They are bored and antsy and we are becoming less cool by the second. I couldn’t imagine that four days from then it would be nice enough to do yard work, and two days after that it would snow again, turning the piles of leaves I had raked (but not hauled away) into frozen leaf cakes. Where they still sit, thawed now, and wet.

We had to get out. It just so happened that I needed a new (new to me anyway) piece of furniture for my dining room, and it happened that we were also hungry and in serious need of coffee. So we headed to L&S Diner, which is just a few snowy steps from Hess Furniture (post coming!!).

L&S is a Harrisonburg favorite. The boxcar diner has been downtown for decades serving up breakfast necessities like eggs, biscuits and gravy, grits, omelets, pancakes and French toast (and for all you early risers, they open at 5:30 am during the week). For lunch they’ve got choices like sandwiches, pan-fried chicken, salads, oysters, and salt fish.

L&S diner coffeeWe found six stools in a row and climbed up. Cal had a little trouble getting perched up there, and I realized that low-rise jeans have made diner stools awkward.

L&S diner stoolsOur waitress poured steaming coffee in our cups and we started talking about summer. Dresses. Sandals. How good it feels to get in a hot car after you’ve been in the air conditioning all day. Pools. The river. Sitting on the deck with friends til midnight. The beach. How good it feels to shower off all that beach grime and then stuff yourself with lobster and shrimp. Meanwhile, our food sizzled on the flat-top grill and the kids wrote little notes to each other. It’s become a tradition of sorts… today the notes said, “I love your hair.” “I love your pancakes.” And this one:

L&S diner noteAs usual, we all shut up when the food came. We had French toast, pancakes, rye toast, and an egg/ham/cheese sandwich on white. All fresh and delicious. They’re no strangers to breakfast in there.

L&S diner collageThere’s a train track RIGHT behind the restaurant. A train went by and Bree asked, “Are we moving?” No, honey. We’re in a restaurant. She also had the sensation we were moving one day in the car wash. When the sprayer arm thing moved around the car, she suddenly yelled, “Mom! We’re moving backwards! Do something!” Sorta like when you stand on the beach and a wave crashes on your feet and washes back out… it feels like you’re rushing backwards… and there we are talking about summer again. Oh summer. We are soooo ready for you!

You can thaw out at L&S Diner at 255 North Liberty Street, about a block north of Hess Furniture and a block south of the Local Chop and Grill House. They’re open seven days a week.

L&S diner spoonCopyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.