I've been looking forward to writing this post for the past two weeks, so I am very excited to finally bring our Saline Creek adventure to our readers!
After leaving Sand Creek, we planned to travel the 25 minutes to our next stop of Charleville Vineyward Winery and Microbrewery. For this trip, we were equipped with our GPS, three cell phones that all have GPS capabilities, and printed Google map directions just in case we had trouble getting a signal. A 25 minute drive should be simple, right? No. As you are reading this, please keep in mind that the GPS, 3 cell phones, AND Google map directions all had exactly the same instructions.
For the most part, the roads throughout this part of Missouri wine country are pretty remote. As we started our drive towards Charleville, it wasn't a big surprise to not see other cars around. We did notice that we were really getting into the actual mountain area. For the most part, it's just hills in this area. Tony even stopped the car and hopped out to take a few pictures of the beautiful countryside.
Our next hint that something was amiss was when the road went to a one lane gravel road. We probably should have turned around at that point, but the maps all agreed that we were on the right path. We REALLY should have turned around when we got to the point where the road had grass growing in it, but I digress. I wish that we had thought to get a picture of that part of the road. For a few miles, we continued along this one lane dirt road filled with grass.
By this time, we are all starting to think that it's been quite a while since we've seen any sign of civilization. This is pretty much our view in all directions. Tony makes the mistake of commenting that all we need to do now is cross a creek...
Not two minutes later, we arrive at a small part of Saline Creek. There is no bridge over the creek, but the water is extremely shallow through here. I'm not even sure that the water would have reached my ankles if I were standing in it. Again, the actual maps on the various GPS devices were still showing that we were on the right road. At this point, you would have thought that common sense would have kicked in and turned our car around. Alas, that didn't happen until we were actually driving THROUGH the creek bed! Definitely not one of our finer moments. If you are familiar with the 'Bu, you know that she's not really equipped for driving in rocky terrain like this! It was definitely a very scary experience. By this time, we had all noticed that we had zero cell signal between the three of us. Had something happened to our tires, we would have had a long walk ahead of us to find help! Our supplies inside the car consisted of three bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne!
So, we cross the creek and all breathe a sign of relief only to find that the road that we've been following on the map just disappears. Seriously, our barely there dirt road that we've been following just turns into a field. We do see another dirt path, but it's not matching up with the map that we are seeing on the GPS. Common sense finally arrives, and Tony turns the car around in the field which brings about another problem. We have to cross the creek again. The trip back across was even more scary than the initial crossing. Luckily, the 'Bu made it with no damage! She was just a little dusty from her efforts.
Upon arriving back to civilization aka where we can get cell signal, I called the winery to get better directions since clearly the GPS and Google maps had failed us! Turns out that the winery is only a few miles up the road from our favorite winery Chaumette. There may have been a few curse words muttered after hearing that.
We quickly learned that we were only a few miles away, so we arrived at Chaumette less than ten minutes later. We should have just stopped there and called Charleville a bust. Instead, we kept driving the two miles past Chaumette to the turn off for Charleville. As soon as we make the turn off of the main road, we end up on a dirt road again. Another sign that we should have just forgotten about Charleville! By this time, it was a matter of principle. We simply were not going home without making it to Charleville! At first, it wasn't too bad. We were on a two lane dirt road winding up the hills with a much deeper part of the Saline Creek next to us. We even saw the construction of a bridge over part of the creek! Imagine that - using a bridge to cross water in a vehicle!
Our relief was short lived as the road quickly narrowed down to only one lane. This was much worse than before since we were now on a very steep, winding road through the forest. I can't tell you how happy we all were not to meet another vehicle! I really am not sure what you are supposed to do if another car is coming down at the same time, but apparently they make it work.
Charleville Vineyard Winery and Microbrewery!
We finally made it! This was a very welcomed sign after a particularly steep, curvy part of the road! Tony came close to kissing the gravel parking lot once after he got out of the car. He quickly ran inside in search of a drink. My nerves were shot just being a passenger in the car, so I can't imagine how he felt as the driver!
This place is remote. I mean - really remote. Much more remote than any of the other vineyards that we've visited. It was quickly decided that we would take lots of pictures since this would probably be our one and only trip here!
The winery and tasting house portion of the property is pictured above.
The family brews an assortment of beers including ales, lagers, and seasonal beers. Their IPA and Half-Wit Wheat recently placed first and third in a microbrew festival held in Forest Park. I'm not a beer fan, so I'll stop now before I embarrass myself!
In 2004, the family relocated this historic 1800's log cabin from its original location in St. Mary, MO to the property. It took 16 months to relocate and restore the cabin. Once it was complete, it was opened as a two room bed and breakfast in September of 2005.
View of the cabin from the front.
It was named Bruckerhoff Cabin after the two brothers Willie and Glen Bruckerhoff who gave the cabin where they were born to Charleville Vineyards.
A musician was just finishing up as we arrived on the property. By the time that we made it outside, he had already packed up. All of the outdoor pictures were taken from our table on the deck area.
There were several dogs and children running around the large field. It was a great open field, but it did have quite a steep slant to it that provided a little degree of difficult for the kids playing soccer!
Tony and Jean enjoyed a tasting here while I stuck to water. Most vineyards charge $5 for their tastings, but their tasting is free. Jean joked that they had to to get people to travel up that road! Tony sampled their Chambourcin, Angelique Guyon, and a sweet dessert wine. He rated the dessert wine the highest with a seven out of ten.
Beautiful view of the vineyards.
I will say that the view here rivals that of Chaumette. This rustic, country property sits high atop a hill, overlooking a panoramic view of the valley. There are also several hiking trails that you can enjoy while visiting, but it isn't enough to make me want to return!
In closing, if you ever decide to visit Charleville Vineyward, make sure you only do so in a four wheel drive vehicle!