CAMPGROUND: 65 Winery – a Harvest Host site. In the lush St. Croix River valley. A small winery and vineyard. Fairly level gravel lot with lots of space to maneuver. Free. Porta-potty! 5 stars out of 5
LOCATION: About 50 miles east of Minneapolis. Nearest town is River Falls, Wisconsin
WEATHER: Very nice fall day. Unseasonably hot. High 90
We set off from Rochester all happy – full gas tank and fresh water tank; empty icky black and grey tanks; fully-charged battery; all clean laundry, and clean bodies! 🙂
We took curvy backroads to the Mississippi River, then followed it north. Our route took us through Wabasha, MN (home of the old Walter Mathau movie “Grumpy Old Men”), through Lake City, MN (where water-skiing was invented), through Red Wing, MN (home of the famous Red Wing Shoes), and even through Ellsworth, WI (cheese curd capital of the world). Quite a lot to take in one day!
The route was very pretty. The sumac and maple trees are beginning to turn. We even spotted whooping cranes getting ready to migrate south. And…..lots and lots of corn and soybeans!
Our host had sent us instructions on how to get here and where to park. He said he would leave a goodie box for us and see us later in the evening.
The winery is lovely. It used to be a horse barn.
It is called –
65 Vines Winery — 65vines.com
The chickens came out to greet us.
We are in the winery’s parking lot right next to the vineyards, which they will be harvesting soon.
We found the goodie box the host had left us – bottles of his wine, fresh produce, and snacks.
Needing to use up a bunch of cilantro from our daughter’s CSA, I added a bunch of it to some spicy salsa (previously purchased at a Harvest Host farm) and we had chips and salsa on our “patio”.
The owner lives next door, and joined us with his little son in the evening. The 2nd grader was very gregarious and told us all about his chickens, for which he is responsible. Just darling. The winery is closed during the week, so we were the only ones here. The owner opened up the winery just for us, let us taste some of his wines, told us about how he developed the winery and vineyards, and then sold us a nice red. Not only do we like the fact that camping at Harvest Host sites is free, but also love the opportunity to get to know people like this guy, and have heartwarming experiences like this evening’s. Check it out at harvesthosts.com
DINNER: Having never cooked fennel before, I found this recipe on the internet. Using my daughter’s CSA fennel, I sauteed half of the bulb and some of the fronds. I added the usual – garlic and onions. Then, some Italian sausage that George had grilled a long time ago and some sauteed potato rounds. As it was all cooking up, I added some white wine. It turned out pretty well. George had a huge helping so happily there are no leftovers! Side was a lettuce salad, again using up some lettuce from the Rochester CSA. It is a challenge to eat so many vegetables!!