Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pilot Mountain Hike and Winery(s) Visit

My weekend consisted of my absolute favorite things to do.
Go hiking and a winery visit...or maybe two!
My partner in crime was Kelli since Brad isn't big on hiking like I am.
(He had a guy's night out.)
Our destination was Pilot Mountain State Park about an hour and 45-minutes from Charlotte.
I had been here once years ago but didn't hike.
Instead I only enjoyed a picnic with my Mom.
There are several trails in the park and while we originally planned on hiking this one particular route that I read about online, when we got there it was WINDY so our plans changed!
Even though it was 80-degrees here on Thursday the weather turned off cool this weekend and the high in that area was only about 40-degrees.
Combine that with being on top of a mountain and it was cold!
No worries though, right? You burn more calories exercising in the chilled air!
We chose to hike the Grindstone Trail.
4-miles round trip. We started at the top of the mountain and walk down and then back up.
At the very beginning Kelli spotted rock climbers.
It's one thing to hike on a windy day but to rock climb?
The wind was so bad we saw a tree snap and fall right in front of us on one trail.
Needless to say, we weren't the only ones on Pilot Mountain.
The trails were pretty crowded for February!
The trail was scenic.
You had views along the way but hiked into a campground then we turned around and made our way back up.
Pretty steep on the way back.
I was surprised.
My butt even hurts today!
There are a lot of steep steps.
Which explains why my backside is sore!
Good times!!
After our hike we drove over to our favorite, The Harvest Grill at Shelton Winery.
I'm such a creature of habit but I adore this place.
The food, the atmosphere, everything! We didn't even go inside the actual winery.
Just the restaurant!
If you recall, I had my bacherlorette party here and when we went for a day hike this summer Kelli and I stopped here.
As usual, the vines are bare this time of year.
Shelton is by far my favorite winery in the Carolinas.
Their wine is GREAT!
Kelli and I started out lunch with a cheese board and an assortment of fun condiments to taste with.
Then she ordered the shrimp and I had boring ole' soup.
It was all delish though!
I expected nothing less.
We were running short on time but I was determined for us to stop by Raffaldini Vineyards on our way home.
We had stopped here for my bachelorette party but the actual winery was closed for a wedding so we only go to go to a side tasting room.
So.. I really wanted to go back!
First off.. the grounds are breathtaking!
By far the best view for a winery in NC.
Very popular for weddings.
We're told you can rent the entire place out for 10K.
Of course, there are different wedding packages but the deluxe is 10K.
Since it had been 2 and half years since our last visit we did a quick tasting.
And, I hate to say it...
But, their wine is not good.
But their servers and staff is great!
And, again..
The views and grounds are awesome!
I would go back for that simple fact!
They don't have a restaurant but they do have cheeses and other items you can buy.
After that we made our way back to Charlotte.
I had big plans to make shamrock cookies but after dinner with LuLu I was BEAT.
I came home and went to bed by 10pm.
How lame am I? HA!
How was your weekend?


Annie said...

Sounds like a fun mini trip! We went to Ralfadinni (sp?) back in November and kinda felt the same way about it.

Allyson and Dave said...

It looks so pretty there. I can't wait to go hiking in the Smoky's in a couple of weeks. I miss the mountains sometimes.

Tricia said...

Ok, this looks like such a great day, and to have it with a good girlfriend is even better. Gorgeous views. I bet your butt was hurting after all those stairs and steep climbs. :) Thankfully you ended the day on a perfect note - big ol' glass of wine. Love it!

Leigh Powell Hines said...

What a great weekend (well, I don't hike, but I can be envious of the wine). Glad you had fun. Pilot mountain looks to be pretty. My son would love that. He and his dad hike. He's hiked the appalachian trail. I have no idea how he feel in love with the five star girl. :)

Beth Dunn said...

Looks stunning! And fun.

eas said...

Hiking, then wine? What a perfect day! Sign me up.

Nikki said...

Why do all your hikes have wineries near them? I live in the wrong state!