We are nearly ready for Christmas, and took care of just a few more items today.

And it’s a good thing, because the traffic around Tanglewood Mall was impressive.

There are two shopping malls in Roanoke: Tanglewood and Valley View. Valley View is near the airport and was so crowded last Saturday when we went to pick the kids up, it not only threatened to make us late for the first child’s arrival, but gave me flashbacks to living in the Northern Virginia area. (Tysons Corner-loving friends, can you relate?)

But we only had one real errand over on Electric Road today: to pick up some wine for our neighbors. They brought us an amazing pie, made with rhubarb from their garden (!) and how do you reciprocate that?

Well, lucky for us, they mentioned that they like to toast the return of the light on the Winter Solstice (which is tomorrow, y’all!).

I may have mentioned that some of the chain establishments that we knew and loved in Northern Virginia have not made it down here to the Blue Ridge. So, where I would previously have gone to Total Wine in Chantilly for a nice bottle of wine, I had to do a little research to find an enhanced selection around here.

Except the Virgnia’s Blue Ridge Twitter account did it for me, with a listing of the best local places to find holiday gifts. That’s how we found Barrel Chest Wine and Beer. It’s a beer store and a wine store and a bar! They were super helpful and located a tasty looking cabernet for my neighbors. They also carry Cougar Bait American Blonde Ale, from Lexington, KY’s Country Boy Brewing company, for us to bring to Jim’s family’s place on Cape Cod.

Now, as long as our neighbors don’t read my blog, the surprise won’t be ruined.

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