The Ink Penn

You may have figured out that the Penn household is always on the go. This wanderlust is a product of retirement, and we are having a ball. When I worked in corporate America, we traveled, but taking a week or two off required working myself to death the week before vacation and then again upon our return. Taking two weeks off was a rarity.

These days, I may feel a tad overwhelmed when we get home, but only because I feel a need to catch up on my writing and self-imposed deadlines. If we’re away for only 3-4 days, I leave my computer behind and jot down handwritten notes while I’m away; still, I can’t help but miss my laptop.

We have two big vacations planned for later in the year, big as in two-three weeks at a time, and because they’re European trips, I don’t plan to take my PC. That will be a struggle for me, but I’ll try to be a trooper about it.

When I mentioned to a friend that we were going to Virginia in July, her reaction was, “Another trip? I thought you weren’t going anywhere until your trip to England?” I had to laugh at myself when I realized that I didn’t count visiting friends in Virginia for a few days as a trip. Am I spoiled or what?

That said, we had a ball with our friends. We girls worked together for years and feel fortunate that our husbands hit it off too so we can all vacation together. We try to get together annually at least for a long weekend.

On this trip, not only did I leave my PC at home, I even managed to stay away from my tablet for a few days. We flew to Richmond, and our friends picked us up and drove us the several hours to Wintergreen where they have a vacation condo. It’s a little slice of heaven, with evening temps in the 50’s and mountain views. Forty miles west of Charlottesville, Wintergreen offers stunning scenery and plenty of breweries, wineries, outdoor activities, and good restaurants.

Day one we kayaked in the valley on the James River, where the temps crept up only to a bearable 80 degrees. I was intrigued to see cows cooling off in the water near the shoreline in several spots. Besides the cows and geese, we had to the river to ourselves most of the way.

Day two, we visited the Farmer’s Market, not for food—though it all looked tasty—but to check out the pottery, jewelry, and other crafts. Happily, I stumbled across some unique items for this year’s Christmas gifts, and I was proud that I resisted buying jewelry for myself.

We followed that excursion with a short hike along a creek and outdoor dining at Bold Rock Brewery. There I discovered their refreshing seasonal brew of Peach Cider and also sampled their Virginia Apple selection. If I could get either version here in Dunwoody, I’d stock up.

Dinner at the Copper Mine Bistro at the Wintergreen Resort rivaled some of the best meals we’ve gotten in Atlanta. I don’t often cook lamb or veal, so the trio of perfectly prepared lamb chops was a treat.

We ended our stay with a scrumptious brunch on a patio overlooking the golf course, and before we knew it, we were winging our way home. As I often say when we’re with this couple, “Good food, good wine, good friends; what more could you ask for?”

Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum, and on Amazon. Contact her at, and follow her on Facebook,

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