Enjoy the feeling of wine country a bit closer to home

Award-winning wines at Mount Airy vineyards

Trips

Road Trips Regional Events

April 14, 2005|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Some of the finest grapes in Maryland are grown in a small town off Route 70.

The three vintners who call Mount Airy home were drawn to the area by its terrain and soil. Now the wineries are drawing attention to Mount Airy, thanks to their award-winning wines and popular wine tastings.

With spring in full swing, Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Wine Cellars, Elk Run Vineyards and Loew Vineyards are open for tours, tastings and other events this weekend.

Among the highlights is Sunday's April Champagne Release at Elk Run. This once-a-year tasting includes gourmet treats and live music. Tickets, $40 per person, are required.

Other vineyard events don't require such advance planning. All three wineries welcome drop-in visitors during their regular business hours.

And for those who aren't wine aficionados, Mount Airy also offers some unique restaurants and interesting shops.

Great Grapes

Berrywine Plantations/Linganore Wine Cellars (13601 Glissans Mill Road, 410-795-6432): Stop almost any day at this family-friendly winery for a tour -- it's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 6 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays). This weekend, Linganore is offering tastes of its 2004 vintage white wines. Coming events include a Mother's Day tasting and tour featuring more than 30 wines under the vineyard's two labels May 7-8. A Caribbean Wine Festival set for May 21-22 will offer live music, artisans, food and winery tours. See www.linganore-wine.com.

Elk Run Vineyards (15113 Liberty Road, 410-775-2513): Elk Run wines have found their way to many of the region's restaurants, including Baltimore's Brass Elephant, Della Notte and the Peabody Court Hotel. The 2002 Merlot and the 2002 Liberty Tavern Cabernet Sauvignon won gold in the Maryland Governor's Cup Competition. Tomorrow night, the vineyard continues its popular "Wine Down Fridays." Through December, visitors are welcome to stop by and watch the sunset as they wash away the worries of the week with a glass of wine. Sunday is the aforementioned Champagne Release. Make reservations now for the Bastille Day Dinner in the vineyard July 16. The six-course meal with matching wines costs $75 per person. Visit www.elkrun.com.

Loew Vineyards (14001 Liberty Road (Route 26), 301-831-5464): Bill and Lois Loew raised their daughters and then returned to Bill's ancestral roots. His family made wines in Europe from the mid-19th century until World War II. Now the couple run the business they long dreamed about. Their 37-acre vineyard is small on purpose -- the Loews like having a hand in all aspects of the production of their wines, including greeting those who drop in for a sample. Loew Vineyards is open Saturdays and on Sunday afternoons for tastings and tours. Visit www.loewvineyards.net.

Don't miss

Deja Vu (8 S. Main St., 301-829-1707): Fashionable dresses in vintage fabrics, Murano glass lookalike earrings, stuffed animal cell phone covers -- Deja Vu is full of funky finds. The back room is board central with skateboards and accessories such as helmets, shorts and shoes.

When Pigs Fly (104 S. Main St., 301-829-6952): Follow the flying pigs up to this combination boutique/antique store/art gallery. The merchandise mix is eclectic, but it works.

Shops of Yesteryear (102-104 Center and Cross streets, 301-829-0334): From beer cans to magazine advertisements, kitchen utensils to sports equipment, if anyone ever collected it or used it, you'll probably find it here.

If you have time

Mount Airy Museum (Park Avenue and Main Street, 410-795-6012): Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons April to November.

St. James Episcopal Church Thrift Shop (234 S. Main St., 301-829-0314): Business was brisk on a recent Saturday, and it was easy to see why. Though there's the usual range of items past their prime, St. James offers some true bargains. We saw a vintage fur jacket for $10, a never-opened martini set for $5 and a range of wedding dresses for just $100 each.

Inspiration Point (204 S. Main St., 301-829-4984): This trendy home accent shop has a decidedly modern focus. The space is cozy, but it's obvious that someone here has a flair for design.

Ben Gue Crafts and Collectibles (4 S. Main St., 301-829-2112): Candles, crafts, country decor and so much more.

Off the beaten path

Mount Airy Meat Locker Co. (604 N. Main St., 301-831-7440): This family-owned butcher shop prides itself on quality. Take something home to grill for dinner or stock your freezer with a side of beef the way area farmers do.

Knill's Farm Market (4001 Watersville Road, 301-829-6799): Welcome spring with bedding plants for the garden or wait a while and purchase flowers and produce outright.

Stop for a bite

Rachel's Garden (200 S. Main St., 301-831-7080): The seating is limited and so is the menu, but diners remain eager to sample Rachel's gourmet fare. The Early Bird Specials offered Tuesdays through Thursdays are a steal at $10.95.

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