The yellow church set back from the road in what seems like the middle of nowhere is not what you expect to see coming around the corner. This same church has seen far stranger scenes however, as it came on a ferry to reach its current home.
St. Matthew’s Church originated in Walton, and was brought to its location by ferry, where it was transformed into a winery, restaurant, and shop, now known as Avondale Sky Winery. When we set off in the car, the winery was not our destination – it didn’t even make the list of possible stopping points. But we noticed the signs as soon as we took Exit 5 off the highway, and followed them.
It was well worth the detour. Not only does the winery have an intriguing story, what with the ferry and all, but the grounds are beautiful, housing a creaky swing overlooking the garden. Although the looming storm clouds forced us back on the road, a tour around the garden will be reason enough for a return visit.
The back of the church is home to a patio, where appetizers are served at the D’Vine Morsels Café, from 11am to 4:30pm daily. Even with storm clouds rolling in, the remaining sun poured in through stained-glass windows, lighting up the displays of wine and souvenirs, placed among original artifacts from the church.
The menu sounded delicious, though we were too late for lunch, and wine tastings are also available. A pleasant afternoon could be spent just wandering the grounds, sampling the food and drink, and enjoying the odd juxtaposition of having a drink in church – and not just a communion sip.
We came from the Valley, and took Exit 5, past Brooklyn. Here’s a map: