Alex Munroe used to take his dog to play and swim in a beautiful lake in Elizabethtown. When the idyllic property came up for sale, Munroe didn’t hesitate. He could have kept the picturesque secret for himself. Instead, he developed a venue he could share with the community: Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery.
It’s been a little over a year since CFVW opened its doors and it is quickly becoming the premier destination for things like fine dining, weddings, events and getaways — and for good reason.
“We are so close to the Fayetteville community,” Monroe said. “We are accessible. For someone looking for a nice ‘daycation,’ there are not many places around (where) you can do so many things.”
Fine Dining The menu at CFVW is all farm-to-table and changes seasonally. “We like to keep it fresh,” Munroe said. “You can come have great food. We pair every meal with our wine, and we develop our wines around our menu. The house wines used here have been developed to go with North Carolina vegetables, meat, poultry and pork. We took a lot of care developing (them).”
Events The scenic grounds, unique waterside venue and welcoming staff are all reasons to plan a wedding, family reunion or other event at CFVW. Lakeside lodging, one of the largest camellia exhibits in the state, the ballroom, a lakeside amphitheater and a pavilion are perfect for making memories.
Outdoor Entertainment “We are proud to be members of the North Carolina Agritourism Project,” Munroe said. “The average child is three generations removed from farming. So, most children today have never picked up a chicken egg from under a chicken or seen a chicken up close. Here, they can see llamas, mini horses, mini donkeys, swans, peacocks and Flemish rabbits, which are the largest in the world. We have blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, grapes and over 200 rose bushes. We have an 18-acre lake and beautiful land preserved around us. We also have honey bees; we are making our honey.”
Art “After 9/11, New York City was shut down. Do you know where people went?” Munroe asked. “They went to museums.” CFVW is home to works by modern masters including Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali. “Studies show that when people look at art, it triggers the same emotional response in the brain as when a small child looks at their mother,” Munroe said. “That had an impact on me.”
The collection also includes artworks by celebrities including Grace Slick, Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Phyllis Diller, Muhammed Ali, David Lee Roth, Sylvester Stallone, Sophia Loren, Jaques Cousteau, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Mr. Brainwash, Red Skelton, Dom Delouise, Sid Caesar, Burt Reynolds and many more. “They may not be professionally trained, but these pieces give you a chance to know these celebrities differently,” Munroe said.
It’s in this spirit that CFVW chose to partner with the Fayetteville Dinner Theatre to present “The Fantasticks.”
The longest-running off-Broadway show of all time, this musical comedy is the perfect show for Fayetteville audiences. Playing off the talents of a strong cast, it has a clever storyline with lyrics written by Tom Jones and ageless music and songs by Harvey Schmidt.
Director Jeanne Koonce, Purple Door Productions, sees the intimate setting of the dinner theater as providing another major strength for this production. The show is funny, romantic and intimate, and all with only eight characters.
The cast is composed of local and regional talent many theater enthusiasts will recognize. The Girl, Luisa, is played by Fayetteville resident Amber Jansen, a junior at Massey Hill Classical High School.
The Boy, Matt, is played by Ryan Ransom, a St. Pauls native and a music/ theater student at UNC Pembroke.
El Gallo is played by Clay Rogers. He is a native of Fairmont and employed by Givens Performing Arts Center in Pembroke.
A strong supporting cast includes Robeson County natives Matt Jacobs and Steve Chambers as the meddling fathers and Denver McCullough as Henry, the old actor. McCullough has performed in many local and regional productions at Cape Fear Regional Theatre and the former Fort Bragg Playhouse. UNCP student Dakota Hammonds plays Henry’s sidekick, Mortimer. UNCP alumni Winona Oxendine is cast as the mute and the stage manager.
The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre is being billed as “A unique theater experience.” Defined, this means the evening will include much more than a great show performed by talented actors.
The evening begins with a V.I.P. reception and wine-tasting and sale at 6 p.m. hosted by CFVW. The winery will showcase seven of its wines.
At 6:30 p.m., a three-course, duel-entrée dinner will be served by the Ramada Plaza staff while the theater guests are entertained by Fayetteville’s own Cross Creek Chordsmen, an award-winning chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society Choral Group. According to spokesman Joshua GrayHeim, the group will present a repertoire of current hits as well as traditional four-part harmonies dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s.
“The Fantasticks” opens immediately following. There will be plenty of prizes and surprises at intermission as well as a post-show meet-and-greet with the actors. The FDT and CFVW will give away a grand prize each evening worth hundreds of dollars. Prizes include a dinner for two at the winery with a complimentary bottle of wine, a flight of all seven of CFVW’s wines and a two-night stay in the cabins on the lake at CFVW.
Proceeds from “The Fantasticks” benefit the Kidsville News Literacy and Education Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, for securing reading and educational resources for Cumberland County children. CFVW will also donate all proceeds from the wine-tasting and sale to the foundation.
“With an awesome show, talented actors, a V.I.P. reception, an exclusive wine-tasting, a great dinner, door prizes, entertainment by the Cross Creek Chordsmen, and all culminating with a post-show meetand-greet and grand prize giveaway, this will truly be ‘a unique theatre experience’” said FDT producer and Up & Coming Weekly Publisher Bill Bowman. “It’s all about giving the audience what they pay for. Value. Fayetteville residents appreciate good theater and great entertainment, and that is what we are going to provide for them.”
Bowman also expressed his appreciation and thanks to the FDT supporters and sponsors: Ramada Plaza, Allegra Printing & Imaging, Five Star Entertainment and Women’s View Magazine.
Show dates are July 27, 28 and 29. Tickets cost $75 per person with discounts for seniors 65+ and active duty military. Tickets are available from 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. at the FDT Box Office at the Ramada Plaza. Call (910) 391-3859 for details.
To make reservations online or to learn more about the show, visit www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com. To learn more about CFVW, visit www.capefearwinery.com.
PHOTO: Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery offers a variety of dining and entertainment venues.