(MACHIPONGO, Va.) - Today, many people find themselves working long hours, leaving little time for themselves. So, where do you go when you need to get away for a weekend? Well, if you ask the Wehners, they'll tell you Virginia's Eastern Shore.
"In this day and age with technology, and cell phones, and email, and people working long hours, it's very nice for people to get away and have a quiet escape," said Jon Wehner, owner and winemaker of Chatham Vineyards. "And [there's] nothing like being with the one you love. To sit here and share a bottle or a glass of wine and spend some real quality time, quietly here is very relaxing."
Jon is a second-generation winemaker. He and his wife, Mills Wehner, planted Chatham Vineyards on Church Creek 17 years ago, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. According to Mills, Virginia's Eastern Shore is one of America's best-kept secrets.
"Not many people know about Virginia's Eastern Shore," said Mills. "They think of Maryland. They think it ends there, and it doesn't."
Mills says it's the Eastern Shore's color, beauty, and fresh air that make it a perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Not to mention, the food and wine.
"Good food and good wine bring people together like nothing else. And in this case some of the best oysters in the world, which are known for their aphrodisiac qualities," said Mills. "People who love oysters don't just love oysters, they are fanatics about oysters. When [couples] share that food and wine pairing experience together, it's very unique, it's very different. It's not easy to be had elsewhere, so it's just a fun, exciting thing to share with somebody else."
Here at Chatham, oysters are grown and harvested just 300 yards away from the vineyards. Jon says it's this closeness that gives their oysters the distinct flavor you won't find anywhere else.
"Nothing tastes more like its place than an oyster," said Jon. "We have over one million oysters planted in front of Chatham. So, in terms of a real, authentic experience, you can taste both the sea and the land together."
For those craving an authentic experience, Chatham offers many events throughout the fall and winter seasons. For instance, this weekend the vineyards hosted their 6th annual "Merroir & Terroir" Oyster Extravaganza.
"It's a relatively unique food and wine pairing experience in the world. There are very few places where you can taste oysters and wine grown within the same watershed," said Mills.
Even better, Mills says there are two B&Bs that offer weekend packages to go with their oyster events: The Inn at Onancock and Cape Charles House Bed and Breakfast.
To get a taste of what Virginia's Eastern shore has to offer, visit www.chathamvineyards.net, www.esvatourism.org, or www.virginiawineandbrine.com.