By Randy Arrington
STANLEY, April 24 — Recycled bottles, repurposed barrels, and carefully woven grapevines have taken on special meaning at one local attraction as a means to draw more visitors and showcase the Page Valley.
“This is one of the first ideas I had when we came here…and this has been cooking in my brain ever since,” Cassie Wallace said.
Cassie and her husband Steve purchased Wisteria Farm & Vineyard along Marksville Road near Stanley from Sue and Moussa Ishak in January of 2022. The couple has hosted numerous activities at the vineyard from “sip and paint” events to “cork crafts” and its “Music Under the Arbor” series.
On Monday afternoon, a team from the Virginia Tourism Council (VTC) visited Wisteria to celebrate yet another attraction to go along with the animals, vineyard and view of the Blue Ridge mountains. A $1,500 grant from VTC covered materials to complete Page County’s third LOVE sign to promote Virginia’s 50-year-old tourism campaign — “Virginia is for lovers.”
“You’ve got a beautiful view…people are going to ‘love’ this,” Mary Lewis, a tourism counselor at the Main Street Welcome Center in Richmond, said during an unveiling of the sign at Wisteria on Monday. “People run to these signs…and this is backdrop…this is beautiful.”
The Wallaces put the final touches on the sign over the last four days. Steve did the welding and they used items discarded from their business.
“We had the idea to make it out of repurposed materials, which is important to us,” Cassi said. “It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally done…We’re excited to have this as a part of Wisteria now, which is cool.”
A couple dozen people attended the unveiling of the sign, including Stanley officials who say Wisteria’s success is their success.
“What they do helps us,” Stanley Town Manager Terry Pettit said on Monday. “We have thought about [erecting a LOVE sign] at one of our parks…over time other projects took its place…but it’s here and this is basically in our backyard. They help us and we help them. They are great neighbors…they belong to Stanley now. “
Wisteria is considered to be Page County’s first winery, and it was one of the first stops to sign up for the Blue Ridge Whiskey-Wine Loop.
During the process, the Wallaces had an “discussion” about the placement of the LOVE sign.
“She won,” Steve said, noting its location near the Wisteria sign.
“We thought about when people come out and take a photo…what do they want in the background?” Cassie said, adding they have plans to build a stand, so tourists can set the timer on their phones and cameras and get into the frame themselves.
In addition to a selection of wines made from estate-grown grapes, Wisteria Farm and Vineyard features a small flock of Romney sheep and free-roaming chickens, as well as farm fresh eggs and yarn available for purchase.
To find LOVE signs in Virginia, CLICK HERE.