What a difference a month makes!
Last month, we tried our hands at target practice, with an introduction to handgun safety and an introductory shooting lesson.
This month? We raised a glass (several, actually) while exploring the difference between a merlot and a chardonnay. And that was just the appetizer. :)
From there, we headed off to the Genesis Italian Grill for an honest-to-goodness real-deal dinner of Northern Italian cuisine.
“Ooooh! That looks good! Can I have a bite? Or maybe half a plate?”
Then, it was a trip to the famous Cumberland County Playhouse for a top notch performance, up close, of the play “Steel Magnolias”.
What a great, great way to spend a Saturday night.
Adventure doesn’t have to be complicated. Adventure CAN be a dramatic rappel off a beautiful cliff face. It can be an exciting trip to a country that uses a completely different alphabet. It can be a sleepover in an underground cave.
But Adventure can also be something much simpler, like an evening out with a great group of girlfriends, to a local place you’ve never been before.
In fact, sometimes you’ll make the best discoveries if you’ll just allow yourself a little side trip, a stop in to see what’s IN that winery that you’ve passed on the road at least 100 times in the past.
And that’s what we did this month.
A group of Courageous Women joined me last weekend for a trip to the Cumberland Plateau of East Tennessee, where we visited the thriving metropolis of Crossville. Right off interstate I-40 at exit 320 you’ll find the Stonehaus Winery, a place I’ve driven past more times than I can count over the last 20 years.
Last fall, while on a scouting trip to the area, I stopped next door to get some gas, as I have many, many times in the past. My friend, Vandy Kemp, rode along with me that day, and she suggested we check out the winery. We had the time, and it was right there… Why not?
Well, I’ve never been to a winery in my life. Being more of a blues, beer and bbq kind of girl myself, places like that have always been a little intimidating to me. I’ve never understood wines; I couldn’t tell you the difference between a pinot gris and a hard cider. I had no idea what to expect or how to act. But with a good friend leading the way, it seemed like as good a time as any to check the place out.
And that was the day I decided to lead a Secret Adventure back to this great place. (Quick shout out here to the ever-so-helpful Kim Davenport who kind enough not to laugh when I showed up the first time, and who was a terrific host when I returned with 9 of my closest Courageous Friends!)
Every Adventure has a story, and every Adventure has a lesson. Or three.
Here’s a few from our evening of wine, women and pasta. :)
Sample life! No one says you have to buy. At Stonehaus, you’re given a chance to sample up to 10 different wines, all while some helpful, knowledgeable person explains what you’re tasting and guides you through all those choices. The differences were amazing, and so much easier to tell in this kind of setting. That whole sweet/dry thing began to make a little more sense. Who knew?
You can’t judge a winery by it’s cover (or any other roadside stop). How many times have you driven down the interstate and wondered what that sign was referring to, or what was in that building you could see over there at that exit? Years ago, while on one of my many trips to Nashville, I allowed myself the luxury of stopping every time I saw something that struck my curiosity. The trip took twice as long as normal – and I had twice as much fun. You can do this right in your own town. Wonder what’s in there? Go see!
Just because you’ve never done it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It didn’t matter a hill of beans that I’d never been in a place like that. I walked in, told the person behind the counter that this was completely new to me, and the lessons began. If you’ve always been curious about something and have NO IDEA what to do or where to even start – just ASK. There’s always someone who’s going to be glad to help.
On the other hand, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to. One of our Courageous Women said that wine doesn’t work well with her system, so she tried a little non-alcoholic cider, happily sampled the cheese and crackers, and laughed right along with the rest of us. Perfect!
Someone needs to pay attention to details. One of the things I hear often on these trips is how nice it is to come along on an Adventure that you don’t have to plan. For many of you, who are leaders in your own right, having someone else take care of you for a day is a REAL treat. But if you’re planning a trip on your own, SOMEONE in your group needs to monitor the details. I had this one planned out to the nth degree…. Except for that tiny little bit about the time zone change. We arrived at the play an hour early, and got home an hour late. Oops. :)
BONUS LESSON: Being Flexible is an absolute requirement for enjoying ANY Adventure. :))
Living within your limits is still living.
On this trip, one CW had a broken foot, but that didn’t stop her from coming. In the past we’ve had women with difficult allergies, serious medical conditions, and crazy obligations pulling them every which way. Life is hard for all of us. And yes, there are real limits we have to respect – whether those are physical, financial, professional, emotional. BUT, living within your limits is still living. And sometimes, if you’ll let yourself, you just might find that you can push those limits more than you thought. :)
So how about you?
How long has it been since you’ve had a great evening with 6 or 8 of your favorite friends? Too long?
Isn’t it time to do something about that?
Photo Credits: by Wendy Pitts Reeves