When does a beach day that gets wasted for no reason turn into a blessing? When it ends with a couple of glasses of merlot — and locally produced merlot, at that.
I left beautiful Beach Haven on Long Beach Island today to play softball. The Garden State Parkway was a zoo, so I decided to take Route 539, a back-roads way that eventually puts you on Route 195, right near exit 7A of the New Jersey Turnpike.
About 15 minutes into my journey on 539, I got a text message that our doubleheader was canceled due to a flooded field. What to do? I was already too far into the drive home to even think about heading back to the beach.
Then, inspiration struck. I remembered that there was a winery on 539 that I hadn’t passed in a couple of years — there’s a new shortcut at the end of the trip to 195 that avoids a small town and gets you on the highway faster. So I took the “old way” and pulled into Cream Ridge Winery.
There was a violin recital going on (those kids were pretty damn good, too), and everyone I encountered was exceptionally friendly. As I type this, I’m enjoying a glass of Cream Ridge American Merlot, and I also picked up some Riesling and some Gewurztraminer. I haven’t tried the Riesling yet, but I sampled the Gewurztraminer at the winery and it was fruity and delicious.
So although I wasted a beach day and never got to play softball, I salvaged the day with a nice nap with the two cats and two glasses of tasty merlot made right here in sunny New Jersey.