Yes, the Winchester Food Tour hit the airwaves earlier today on The River 95.3 WZRV FM, where Misty Weaver joined Janet Michael on The Valley Today podcast to talk food, beer, Winchester, history, and how all of that comes together for people to learn about the town they live in or simply the town that they’re just visiting!
Below is a full transcript of The Valley Today podcast with Taste Winchester History for December 10th, 2018. And if you’d like to hear the program (because Misty and Janet were an absolute joy to listen to today, so much fun and enthusiasm), the link to the podcast follows the transcript!
(LOVELY INTRODUCTORY MUSIC)
JANET: Hello, and welcome to The Valley Today. I am your host, Janet Michael. Happy, happy Monday.
I am going to warn everyone who is listening today that if you haven’t eaten yet, you’re probably going to be hungry for both food and history by the time we are done with this show. Misty Weaver is here with me in the studio today. We are going to be talking about Taste of Winchester — or Taste Winchester History Food Tours.
JANET: So I am so excited about this. We’ve just spend the last 20 minutes kind of doing the whole interview anyway, so a lot of what I’m going to ask you you’ve already answered for me. But this is such a really cool idea.
So tell me, how did you come up with it? How did you get started with Taste Winchester History?
MISTY: Sure. So I actually started with the history part. We did discuss this, so I’m a huge history buff. This is what we do when we travel; we go find everything and all the historic houses. And Winchester is filled with a crazy amount of history and we don’t really have a cool, interesting history tour.
So I had been doing that kind of research, but then I realized that not everyone loves history. But every loves food, so I thought let’s combine it and we’ll do the fun history stuff, and then we’ll get some awesome food along the way.
JANET: Well, and that’s kind of the cool part, because I assume most of the tour takes place in Downtown Winchester in and around the Walking Mall?
MISTY: Exactly, so it’s basically the two blocks and then we kind of go off for about a half a block at one point, so it’s super-easy for everyone. It’s accessible, you know, kids and adults, no matter your age you can go down. It’s maybe three-quarters of a mile walking total, but you get to see everything and it helps you burn off the calories.
JANET: Exactly. That’s the flip side to the benefit.
JANET: And it’s one of those things where you loved history, but you kind of fell into this whole idea because of your day job more or less?
MISTY: Yeah, so as a real estate agent I am always introducing people to Winchester, probably 80 percent of my clients are moving from out-of-town. And of course everyone wants to know, where can I eat? What can I do when you’re not following me around? And really, can you just give me an entire tour of the entire city?
MISTY: And so I wasn’t getting paid to do that, so I thought, well you know, we don’t have that, and it’s crazy because we have so many awesome restaurants and wonderful places to see, and you know, everyone kind of knows the little history tidbits, but they don’t always know where it happened or, you know, kind of the players and the fun stuff. So it was a really good way to just put it all together and give people an option or are visiting or, you know, have family members in, something to do on the weekends.
JANET: And you also were telling me when we were talking before that a lot of people live here and still don’t know all of the options that are available or they heard a story about a building, but they don’t know where that building actually is.
MISTY: Exactly. So one of the buildings on the stop, The Cannonball House, I lived three blocks from for years and had no idea it was there. Walked by it all — even went to the restaurant that is located there and had no idea. Yeah, so I have had clients say, okay, I want to sell my house.
And I’m like, oh okay, where are you going? What’s happening?
And they’re like, well you know, we really need to go someplace that has a lot of really good restaurants and stuff.
And I’m like, really? Wait a minute. Have you been? And a lot of people don’t go downtown. They really don’t. They still, you know, if you haven’t been down there in the last five years, you have no idea what restaurants are there. There are so many new, it’s insane.
JANET: Well, and that’s got to be a catch-22 for you, because on one hand you want to sell their house and get the listing, but on the other hand you have to, you feel compelled to say, no, wait, there’s this and this and this and this.
MISTY: What’s better than Winchester? I don’t understand. I mean, if you’re going south, I get it. I’m all for that, so–
JANET: Anywhere there’s sunshine and an ocean.
MISTY: I’ll come with you, yes. But other than that, I mean, I’ve had people who are like, oh, I’m going to move to Colorado.
And I’m like, really? Why?
JANET: Well, and you mentioned the cannonball. I mean, there’s an actual cannonball in the wall of the restaurant.
MISTY: It is the actual cannonball that came through the building like 200 years ago. That’s insane. First of all, the gentleman who decided, yeah, I’m just going to stick this back in my wall, like how does that go through your head? I don’t understand.
But yeah, no one knows. Everyone has heard about it, but they don’t know where it is and they don’t really know the story. And it’s a pretty incredible little story. I mean, it came from almost a mile away and they didn’t even know if it was, you know, friendly-fire, on accident, what was going on. So imagine 4:30 in the morning and a cannonball flies through your house. Yeah, it had to be frightening.
JANET: Well, and that’s got to be the cool thing, too, because you know, when you’re talking about history, and you’re right, not everybody loves history because so many people I think have the misconception that history is boring because it’s all about dates and who died and who did this.
JANET: But Winchester has a lot of that kind of history that’s quirky, funky, just weird little things that you didn’t know you needed to know.
MISTY: Yeah, like one of the grandsons of one of the building owners because Governor of Virginia, which is cool in and of itself. Okay, whatever. But he was the first Governor that threw himself a parade.
JANET: A-ha, I like this guy. I like him already.
MISTY: So this is why we have all these parties now for politicians and it’s kind of his fault, so I’m kind of down on him now that I learned that. But he’s like, I need my own cannons set off, my own parade, and you know, now this is like the whole country does all of this stuff now. So it’s really weird that little Winchester had so much impact.
JANET: And it kind of started the whole thing a’rolling.
JANET: Awesome. So how did you get the restaurants to come on board? I mean, did you have to go around to each of them and say, this is who I am and this is what I want to do? Because I assume people taking the tours get to eat.
MISTY: Yes, they get to eat and so, yeah, I had to go introduce myself. And I am a huge introvert. And people that know me and talk to me don’t realize that.
JANET: You’re in the real estate business. How can you be?
MISTY: I know. Yeah, my whole family, when I became an agent was like, you don’t like people; why are you doing this?
MISTY: No, I’m nice once you get to know me, but yeah, that was definitely the most frightening part; could I get everyone on board? And it’s kind of amusing because no one, literally no one knew I was starting this company until the weekend we launched.
MISTY: My son did not know. Because I was so fearful that I would not be able to get the restaurant owners on board. And I didn’t want to put it out there and then be a complete failure. So yeah, there’s a little bit of psychology about me.
Yeah, everyone was on board. Victoria [Kidd] with Hideaway Café was literally the first one that I actually met with in person. And in two minutes she was like, yep, we’re on. Let’s do this. I will put your name out there. I will do everything. This is fantastic.
And really pretty much all the owners were exactly like that. I got turned down by one, but I’m hoping that they’ll be on board.
JANET: Well, yeah, because they’re not going to want to be the one that’s left out.
MISTY: I’m not going to say who it is, but yeah, I definitely want them on board.
JANET: And basically people go to your website and they say, hey, I want to take this. They reserve their time. They buy their ticket and then you confirm with the restaurants, I have ten in this tour, I have four in this tour, whatever?
MISTY: Exactly, yes.
JANET: And then you go place-to-place?
MISTY: Yeah, so we have our starting restaurant, which currently is Hideaway Café, which is awesome because there’s a parking lot right across the street and street parking.
MISTY: Which is free on weekends, if you don’t know. Downtown, come down, even if you’re not going on the food tour.
JANET: After 6:00 on weekdays and every weekend.
MISTY: Yes. So yeah, we usually get everyone kind of booked by Friday, but we do have the cut-off at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and we have had one tour, six people booked at 9:54 one morning. I was like, okay yeah, kind of forgot we had the cut-off at 10:00 a.m.
So yeah, the restaurants are great. We do have a couple that only open for us, which is fantastic, but that does mean that we need to let them know.
MISTY: So you can’t just come at 2:00 p.m. and expect to get on the tour, because we’re not going to have food for you.
JANET: So how many restaurants are on the tour?
MISTY: So we have six right now, and then we have a couple that have kind of filled-in if one of the restaurants has a private party or something like that. So I’m hoping to get to ten so we can mix it up and do kind of different specialty tours as well.
So like I’d love to do a dessert tour. Yeah. The Discovery Museum wants to do a children’s food tour, which I’m super-excited about.
JANET: That’s okay, but let’s go back to the dessert. Dessert, yes.
MISTY: Dessert, yeah. Dessert, or you know, we have, what do we call it–
JANET: Well, you’ve got the beer tours that you’re working on now.
MISTY: The beer tour, yes.
JANET: I’ll tell you what. Let’s take a quick break. When we come back we’ll talk a little bit about the beer tours because there are so many breweries now.
JANET: In Downtown Winchester. That just kind of makes sense that you would add that on as a separate tour.
JANET: So we’re going to do that when we come back.
Misty Weaver is in the studio with us today. We are talking about Taste Winchester History Food Tours. So we’re going to talk about the breweries that are involved. We’ll get you some more details about how you can book a tour because I’m assuming that if I get six of my friends or ten of my friends together, I can call you up and say, hey, I just want you to do a tour for us?
JANET: Cool. So we’ll talk about that when we come back as well. I am Janet Michael and you are listing to The Valley Today.
JANET: Welcome back to The Valley Today. I am your host, Janet Michael, and this segment is brought to you by Valley Health, offering the latest minimally-invasive surgery advancements. You can learn more at valleyhealthlink.com/mis.
So we were yakking all the way through the break and I had to shush you before we came back on the air.
MISTY: You had to shush me.
JANET: Misty Weaver is in the studio with me today. We have been talking about Taste Winchester History Food Tours.
Now, you do these just on the weekends, so this isn’t something you can do during the day during the week, right?
MISTY: No. So you can schedule a private tour if you have, you know, maybe a company Christmas party you want to do.
JANET: Now that’s a good idea.
MISTY: Right. I mean, do your people really want another jar of jelly? I mean, come on, let’s do something fun here, guys. You know, bachelorette parties, pretty much anything. Get a group together.
But our standing tours are weekends only. So Saturday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., and then our beer tours will be Sunday 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
JANET: So tell me about the beer tours. We talked about the food tours in the first segment, but there are quite a few breweries downtown, which is kind of cool that you can fit your tours into what they’re doing.
MISTY: Right. It’s kind of amazing and really, I mean, they’ve only been around for two years, I think, the oldest one. So it’s awesome that we have so many. So we have three officially. We have a fourth one opening.
But then a lot of our restaurants also serve stuff from like the cideries around Winchester; Escutcheon, which is downtown, but not quite close enough to do a walking tour, but a couple of the restaurants serve their stuff, so we’ll be able to sample them at least.
Yeah, so it’s pretty amazing, and they all do such different things.
JANET: Well, they do, and that was one of the things I’m working right now, on a podcast series for craft breweries in the Shenandoah Valley. And I’ve interviewed a half a dozen of them so far. And every single one of them has a different spin or a different take or a different brew, so there’s really — you can’t say, oh no, I’ve already been to a brewery, because it’s not going to be the same when you go to a different one.
MISTY: No, and all the brewers actually go to all the other breweries. Like they just go hang out and have beer.
JANET: They’re a family, yes.
MISTY: They are. And they know. They know they’re not going to — I’m not going to have my beer there. So I get to try something new, too, so it’s amazing. Yeah.
JANET: Now, a lot of the breweries, though, in Winchester, don’t necessarily serve food. So how do you work food into the brewery part? How does that work?
MISTY: So we will be doing one food stop. I’m hoping it will be The German Table, because hello, perfect.
MISTY: But if not, I have a couple of others up my sleeve, but yeah, we definitely want people to have at least a little bit of food during the beer tour.
MISTY: I’m not saying anyone would get crazy, but you know, I just want to make sure everyone is safe.
JANET: So you mentioned you’ve got three. So I’m assuming Winchester Brew Works is one?
MISTY: Winchester Brew Works, yes. Broken Window Brewery. And Alesation, we are finalizing right now. And then our fourth will probably be 50/50 Tap Room or one of the other restaurants that serves — or probably the new cidery that’s down there.
JANET: I didn’t know there was one.
MISTY: Yeah, right. A new one.
JANET: You’re giving me information.
MISTY: And of course I’m totally blanking on their name. Kindred Point. There we go, Kindred Point. Yes, they have a wine tasting room and cider tasting room.
JANET: That’s right, yes. I was thinking wine. I wasn’t thinking cider, but yes, they do both.
MISTY: Cider, yes, you’re right. So yeah, so they might be one of the stops.
JANET: So most of these tours are in, like we said earlier, in the downtown Walking Mall, so people should come prepared to walk even though it’s not, like, you’re not walking a marathon here.
MISTY: I mean, we’re not jogging, you know. It’s basically a little break between each tasting just to give you some time to settle. But then we also do the history stop during that time, so we’re walking past a certain building or you know, a certain point down there. So it’s really, you know, two blocks of walking split-up into five sections. So it’s, you know, five minutes maybe.
JANET: It makes it a whole lot easier.
JANET: So how much research did you have to do to find and pull the history out of a lot of these things?
MISTY: So I did a lot. I think I own like every book about Winchester now. You she see my Amazon order history. But it’s super-fun and we really lucked out. We have the Stewart Bell Archives at the library —
JANET: Oh yeah, at the library.
MISTY: — at the library, which is amazing. And I don’t know if you read The Valley Pike I think it is, in the newspaper, this column has been going on since like 1999.
JANET: Oh, it’s like a day in history sort of, but it pulls out some things it gives you–
MISTY: Exactly, like all these little stories and stuff. And at one point he put together a book on his favorite ones, so I started with that. And I actually, I had not lived in Winchester before Stewart Bell died. I cried. Like he had one of his columns, it was about him dying, and I’m like sitting in my bedroom in tears. I’m like, okay, this was like 40 years ago, No, it was that long ago, but I didn’t even know this guy, but you get so connected to all the people that made Winchester. Yeah.
JANET: And that’s got to be the cool part about the tours, is seeing that on the faces of the people that you’re talking to that are participating in the tour.
MISTY: Yeah, yeah. All of them, we do the fun stories, you know, the things that really connect people. We have some stories about teenagers and the things that they did back then, and let me tell you, kids have not changed.
MISTY: But then it’s also connecting with the owners of all the restaurants. It’s the same thing. Like you don’t think about it when you go in somewhere, but the person serving you coffee in Winchester is most likely one of the owners.
JANET: Or the kids or brothers or sisters, it’s family.
MISTY: Or the kids or whatever. Exactly. It really is family. And they get to know you. They know, you know, some of these people didn’t even know my name. Now they do, but before — but they knew what I ordered every time, which is another reason we started the food tour, because we all end up ordering the same thing and going to the same places.
So now we get to introduce you to new places and new foods that you may not have tried. We had one gentleman, we go to Fellowship of the Sip, which is one, another restaurant people always walk by. And it says “Tea House” in the window. And if you don’t like tea —
JANET: I know where that is.
MISTY: — you will not stop in. Stop in, the food is amazing. And she does something different every time, Dori, the sweetest woman in the world. Love her. Everyone loves her. Every time we go, and I’ve gotten people to actually drink tea, and they’ve loved it, which is crazy.
But the story I was starting, we have a gentleman, she served a vegan muffin.
JANET: Yeah, nah.
MISTY: Exactly, you do this face right now. No, he did not realize it was vegan at first until he ate it.
JANET: That’s the only way you’ll get me to try anything like that.
MISTY: Exactly. He was like, oh my God, I love vegan food.
MISTY: It’s real food. It tastes like real food, but you wouldn’t try it if you have that thought.
JANET: Yeah, you’re right. I wouldn’t have, so.
JANET: I’ll tell you what, let’s take one more quick break. When we come back, we’ll give all the details for how people can register, get signed up for the tours, all of your information on social media, we’ll do all that when we come back.
JANET: Awesome. We are in the studio today with Misty Weaver. She is with Taste Winchester History Food Tours. I am Janet Michael and you are listening to The Valley Today
JANET: Welcome back to The Valley Today. I am your host, Janet Michael, and we are in the studio with Misty Weaver. She is with Taste Winchester History Food Tours and we have been having a blast.
I have learned things about Downtown Winchester I didn’t know and I’ve lived here my whole life.
MISTY: It’s awesome.
JANET: So yeah, thank you for that. I appreciate that.
JANET: But we were talking about the food tours. You have food tours that you do on the weekends. You have beer tours that you’re about to start doing with some of the breweries. People can book their own exclusive tour if they want to do so.
So tell me, where do I go? How do I start if I say, oh, I want to do that?
MISTY: Absolutely. Simple. Tastewinchesterhistory.com. You can order your tickets online in advance. The cutoff is 10:00 a.m. Saturday, so if you’re thinking of doing something last-minute, you can go there. If it’s already booked, you will see a phone number on there. You can give me a call if you have any questions. Frequently asked questions, everything is on there.
And then social media, we are @tastewinchesterva on everything; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
And we do a live video every Tuesday taking you somewhere new in Winchester.
JANET: See, I love that. I think that is so cool.
MISTY: We have new wineries that have opened. We have a ton of new stuff, so.
JANET: Well, and that’s got to be the other thing that’s cool for you, too, because you’re kind of right there in-the-know, so when something happens, where those of us that are kind of, you know, we kind of think we know what’s going on, but we can never have our pulse, our fingers on the pulse of everything. You do.
MISTY: I try to. Yeah. Plus that I like to eat and drink, so everyone tells me when something new is opening so we can be there.
JANET: But people can book their own thing. So if I want to do a Christmas party or I want to get just my girlfriends together, I can do that?
JANET: Even now, I mean, it’s a little cold outside, so just wear a coat.
MISTY: Absolutely, wear a coat. If it’s raining, we still do it. We’ve done in pouring down rain. We haven’t done snow yet, so I’m waiting. Well, I really don’t want to do it snow, but we’ll see what happens.
MISTY: Our very first tour, actually, it was pouring. Our practice tour, and we were like, well, it’s practice.
JANET: Yeah, that’s a good way.
MISTY: And it was fine. It was absolutely fine.
JANET: So and you’re hoping, I mean, you’ve got a half a dozen or so restaurants that participate now. And you’re goal I guess would be to add another half dozen and be able to alternate the tours and that sort of thing?
MISTY: Right, that way you can come again and again and have a completely different experience. And the beer tour, the history stuff will be totally different from the food tour as well, so if you’ve done the food tour, you can do the beer tour. You’re not going to be completely bored.
JANET: And there are so many different things history-wise downtown that you’re never going to run out of buildings to point to and say, this used to be, and this is what was here, and this is what happened.
MISTY: We would have to do like a 48-hour tour to cover everything, so yeah, we will never run out of stuff.
JANET: Are there things that you tell the people that are taking the tour, and you can just see on their face that they had no idea and it kind of, a-ha, I taught them something today?
MISTY: Yes. Yes. Especially the City Hall history. No one knows, no one goes in there unless it’s something bad. People need to go in.
JANET: That’s one of the stops?
MISTY: That’s one of the history stops and everyone is blown away by the history of it, yeah.
JANET: Yeah, because a lot of people wouldn’t think, yeah, it’s just where you go to pay a ticket or pay a fine or get, you know, a license or a permit or something like that for something, so it does kind of make sense.
JANET: Awesome. So what is the web address one more time?
JANET: Awesome. And tickets range, how much?
MISTY: $55 for food tours and it will be $65 for beer tours.
JANET: And they include food and they include beer tastings?
MISTY: It includes everything, yeah.
JANET: Awesome. Well, I am so excited. I’m going to come down and, you know, bundle-up and come down and take a couple of these.
MISTY: Awesome. Can’t wait to have you.
JANET: Well, Misty, thank you for coming to hang out with me, I really appreciate it.
MISTY: Thank you so much, Janet.
JANET: We have had a blast here in the studio today.
Tomorrow is Tourism Tuesday, Front Royal Edition, so Felicia Hart is going to come join me. But I highly encourage, you know, take a walk downtown in Winchester and you can eat and learn a little bit of history while you’re doing it, then tastewinchesterhistory.com is absolutely the thing for you.
I hope you will meet me back here tomorrow. We’ll have a brand new show. I wish I could tell you who Felicia was bringing, but she always likes to surprise me, so I have no idea who that will be tomorrow, but you’ll be able to hear this show again on our website if you give me about an hour.
Otherwise, meet you back here tomorrow at 12:30.
To listen to the podcast from The River 95.3 WZRV with Misty Weaver from Taste Winchester History Food Tour, click here: Taste Winchester History on The Valley Today Podcast