Lazy Southern Summer Sundays at Chateau Morrisette

lazysummerdaysThe spring and summer months are a great time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway’s overlooks and breath-taking views are experiences unto themselves. One of the most entertaining overlooks can be found at milepost 171.5. Just off the Parkway, Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant offers great wines, food, special events, festivals and a spectacular view of the valley below.

Imagine a beautiful summer day, sitting on the terrace at 3500 feet above sea level, while taking in the view and indulging in a glass of wine and some deliciously prepared southern cuisine. This could be your reality any Wednesday through Sunday throughout the summer! Now take that one step further and imagine it’s a Sunday. Now you can enjoy Chateau’s renowned Sunday Brunch Buffet. Sunday Brunch begins April 20th and is offered every Sunday through October. Guests choose from over twenty items for the main plate and then another twenty items for the dessert course. Dave, a reviewer on Open Table, attests to the Chateau Morrisette Restaurant as being an enjoyable meal in a truly beautiful setting Kay S. from Eden, NC writes on TripAdvisor, each entree presentation is a feast for both eyes and palate. Sunday brunch is a Blue Ridge Parkway experience to savor.

Also available on Sundays at Chateau Morrisette is Sunday Sounds. Each Sunday from June through October, there is an artist who plays on the courtyard outside the Chateau Morrisette Winery. It is completely free for everyone and snack food and wine are both available for purchase. Want to pack a picnic? Bring it to Chateau Morrisette and spend some time in one of our gazebos and listen to the music. First come, first served and please, no outside alcohol during your visit. Sunday Sounds presents a different artist each week and each artist brings a different genre to the courtyard; the music ranges from jazz to bluegrass so there is something for

The Sunday of August 10th not only offers music and wine, but beer and bratwursts as well. Weeping Radish Brewery which hails from the Outer Banks, North Carolina comes to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains and brings along their delicious bratwursts and craft beer. It;s the Sunday following our Black Dog Summer Music Festival, so it makes for the perfect action-packed weekend. Between the beer and the wine, the brats and the brunch, and the Black Dog Festival and Sunday Sounds, there is something for everyone, no matter the preference.

Sundays are not the only day for fun at Chateau Morrisette. Summertime brings The Black Dog Music Festivals. These festivals are held on a beautifully landscaped field adjacent to the winery. Guests enjoy expansive views of Buffalo Mountain and the surrounding countryside. The day is filled with notable bands performing lively music, wine tastings from a number of different Virginia wineries, craft beers, and a variety of festival foods. Festival goers do not have to stay on the festival field because there are shuttles to and from the winery running all day, so guests have the opportunity to visit the winery, tasting room and restaurant too.

There are four Black Dog Music Festivals: Rhythm and Vine on July 5th with headliner Paul Thorn Band and opening performance by Alternate Routes. Next comes The Black Dog Summer Music Festival on August 9th featuring newgrass band Railroad Earth. September 13th brings The Black Dog Music and BBQ Festival featuring not only a music festival, but also some of the best Kansas City style BBQ around. Competitors come from all over the region to compete for best barbecue. Mountain Heart headlines the festival and The Greencards are back to open the show. And finally, Beach Music fans come out in droves for The Black Dog Beach Music Festival on October 11th where The Catalinas and The Embers will keep fans dancing all day long. Every festival features wonderful artists and artisans who bring the most unique handmade works to show and sell, making it a rewarding shopping experience too. The festivals are laid back, relaxed, and just an all around perfect outing. So bring your lawn chairs, your sunscreen, and your dancing shoes and have a good time. Oh, and by the way, your well-behaved canine companions are admitted for free!

Everyone has a weekend available once in a while, so there is no need to miss out on any of the fun! Sundays at Chateau Morrisette are enjoyable, relaxing opportunities to share with your friends and family. Time spent in the mountains, especially along the Blue Ridge Parkway, is always time well spent. Enjoy the summer mountain breezes, the majestic beauty, the laid-back, unhurried pace, along with some good wine, food, and song. There’s no better way to rejuvenate the spirit. Welcome to Floyd.

Written By:
Ashley Adams

The Long Branch Ramblers Old Time Trio LIVE in Floyd

Thursday, September 6 at the Floyd Country Store.

Old-Time and early Country Music from some of the funnest and finest musicians out there, with Aaron Lewis on fiddle, banjo, vocals and Sabra on guitar, feet and vocals.

Aaron Jonah Lewis is a multi-instrumentalist, performer and educator. He has won awards at the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival, including First Place Neotraditional Band in 2008, and at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, including First Place Bluegrass Fiddle in 2007, and he has performed at major festivals from the US to the UK and from Italy to Finland. Lewis has appeared on dozens of recordings from bluegrass and old time to swing jazz, modern experimental and Turkish classical music projects. He has taught workshops at the the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow and at the English Folk Dance and Song Society in London. He also plays and teaches banjo, mandolin, guitar, and bass and is currently based in Berlin, Germany.

Simply put, he’s a fiddlin’ and banjoin’ genius. Aaron is well known for taking audiences at concerts and festivals by storm both in the USA, the UK and in Europe. He’s rapidly becoming iconic, not just on account of his virtuosity but because of his rapport with his audience. Skills in abundance, passion and presence. All that then in addition, charisma, pure creativity and SOUL.

Sabra Guzmán has been a resident of the Virginia hills since 2007, where she has become a fully entrenched member of the burgeoning old-time and country music scene of the Appalachians and beyond. A founding member of the award winning old-time band Old Sledge, Sabra is well known for her solid guitar and bass skills, her unique vocal stylings, and her captivating stage presence. She has been seen on stage at many prestigious venues and festivals – Freight and Salvage, Club Passim, The Los Angeles Old Time Social, The Ark, Floydfest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots – and received a coveted first place Traditional Old Time band at the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival. Sabra Guzmán brings a musicianship and her unique approach to all projects, regardless of genre or instrumentation.

First honing her musical chops in the musical era of the 1990’s post-punk era (Pixies, Minutemen, Palace), Guzmán was first drawn to the rawness and DIY stylings of old time music. Learning equally from her peers and from old recordings, she specialized in rhythm guitar and bass, working to develop a style that drives a band without overpowering the melody instruments. She takes her instrumental and vocal cues from Mother Maybelle Carter, Alice Gerrard, The Louvin Brothers and many others, and has spent time working on traditional ballad singing with Tracy Schwarz and Ginny Hawker.

While much of her time has been spent in the world of traditonal and neo-traditional old time music (Mercury Dimes, Crooked Jades, Flat Iron Stringband, Old Sledge), Sabra Guzmán is currently pursuing projects that span the musical spectrum from old-time to honkytonk (Joe Overton & Clear Blue Sky) to pop-rock (We Are Star Children). Besides these projects, she is additionally slated to perform at the 2012 Brooklyn Old Time Festival with two of Kentucky’s most important young purveyors of old time music, Jesse Wells and Brett Ratliff; and she will be touring with Evie Ladin intermittently throughout 2012-2013.

West Virginia native Ben Townsend grew up amidst Hampshire County’s rich musical heritage. At a young age he learned to play banjo and guitar in the old-time way. Encouraged by such local fiddlers as Paul Roomsburg, Joe Herrmann and Israel Welch, he has gone on to amass a great catalog of traditional fiddle tunes, banjo pieces and songs. While in college at Shepherd University, Ben used his summers to study banjo from stalwarts such as Riley Bogus and Jimmy Costa at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV. Upon graduation, again with the help of the Augusta Heritage Center’s apprenticeship program, he went on to study the traditional fiddle styles of Central West Virginia and Kentucky from Dave Bing of Roan County, WV and John Harrod of Owen County, Kentucky. Having spent time learning both banjo and fiddle in the styles of both West Virginia and Kentucky, Ben’s knowledge is not quick to run out.

While traveling and learning traditional music, Ben also took the time to join The Fox Hunt, a string band from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and tour with Floyd VA’s band, Old Sledge. In the Fox Hunt’s four years playing, they have managed to produce two albums of original music and one album of traidional music along with an EP combining the two. They have shared the stage with such bluegrass greats as Ralph Stanley, Bobby Osburne and John Cowan, as well as newer string bands such as the Hackensaw Boys and the Hillbilly Gypsies. Ben is also a member of a more traditional string band called the Iron Leg Boys with fiddler Andy Fitzgibbon and guitarist Matt Metz.

Visit the Ramblers’s website at

The Long Branch Ramblers play Old Bunch of Keys, in a March 2012 recording