After the show at Bruce’s family’s house we headed to my cousin’s place in Old Lyme, CT for a day off. But it was a “day off” only in the sense that we did not perform. We did, however, put in a few hours of work on their vineyard.

A handful of years ago, my cousin Matt and his lady Donna were visiting their parents (my aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Sal) in Old Lyme. Matt and Donna had been living in California where they had developed an interest in wine, which had given birth to a dream of one day owning and operating a small vineyard. So one day during a visit back to Old Lyme, Matt was sitting on the patio with his dad when he noticed something.

“You know the way this property is laid out would be perfect for a vineyard. The sloping hill facing west. Cool air down at the bottom.”

After he and Donna had returned to California, Matt received an email from his dad that said if he ever wanted to come back, he’d give him that land to start a vineyard. So back they came, and it’s been quite the endeavor.

On this day, Matt and Donna needed help putting up netting over about 12 rows of vines to protect them from birds. It’s a pretty simple process, facilitated by a genius contraption that Matt’s friend put together; it looks sort of like a gallows, but you place it in the back of a Mule four-wheeler and it basically helps thread the netting high above the vines, so that two people get on either side of vines and guide the netting once it threads through the contraption as the Mule drives slowly down the aisle. (I don’t if that makes sense but maybe the video below will help). Anyway, we did that for awhile, then a couple of us went down to the river at the end of the street and swam, while Uncle Sal mowed his lawn (i got some classic footage of this that highly Rockwellian).

Later on, Aunt Mary Ellen ordered us a bunch of pizzas and we sat on Sunset Hill (the name of the vineyard) and sampled some of their wine.

This would obviously be a great place to do a Full Service 20-Tour show, so we’re just waiting until the harvest party to make for the perfect experience.

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