The lighthouse! Nothing else speaks of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge quite the way a lighthouse does. I found that wonderful combination of words on the internet. It magically sums up everything good about these beacons of light. Which is why when I saw my first NC Winery Lighthouse I was thrilled beyond words. Here was a marker to guide to help travelers navigate their way to all the winery’s that dot I-77.
My discovery, much like Howard Carter’s finding of King Tut’s tomb, was quite by accident. During an adventure to Mabry Mill and Meadows of Dan in Virginia, we found ourselves lost without phone service struggling to get back home. Thankfully, we had a Virginia State map in the glove compartment to direct us back to the interstate.
As we traveled our recent turn-back-the-clock experience was on our minds, and we decided to stop at the North Carolina Welcome Center to pick up a new map. (A bathroom break was also needed.)
It was as we climbed the steps to the center, that I first saw the lighthouse. I stopped and rubbed my eyes in disbelief, it just could not be real. This was no Valley of the Kings, yet here stood a mount, a beacon, a guidepost to North Carolina’s Wine Industry.
I confess that details of the standing pharos emerged slowly as I approached and the mist lifted. It was three-sided, golden words and pictures proclaimed the NC grape and its products. My steps were heavy as I moved closer, reading the proclamations, and then beholding the map. How did Carter feel when the golden funerary mask of Tutankhamun glowed beneath the light of his torch? I do not know, but when I saw the map was of the whole, Yadkin Valley Corridor, my heart skipped beats.
Divided into three color-coded sections; the green center legend glowed before me with the names and pinpoint locations of the vineyards, breweries, and distilleries within the corridor. I looked quickly around me. Why weren’t other travelers gathered around this find? This lighthouse providing safe and secure navigation to these North Carolina gems. Maybe they had never looked here before.
In Egypt, other archeologists had scoured the rocky landscape of the valley to leave behind only abandon trenches before Carter made his discovery. Was it possible no one else had ever looked at this site before?
To all the travelers and wine lovers I tell you now the beacon is there on I-77 N near Dodson and Mount Airy – Mile Marker 105 – Latitude 36.56, Longitude -80.75. Do not keep this a secret. Share with friends, and those traveling to North Carolina. Encourage them to pick up a companion paper guide that links to this remarkable beacon of information.
My final request is that as you travel look for other such beacons. Share their locations, and the information they offer to uncover all the wineries that dot the state of North Carolina from end to end.