Read Sara's column in PennLive PA Media Group
Your unofficial ambassador to Harrisburg

What's new on

Giveaway: Spring Gate Vineyard Wine Bucket

Newest winery on the block, Spring Gate Vineyard is already making quite the impression on the greater Harrisburg area.

Hidden just off of Devonshire Road, you’d never think to find such rustic charm within spitting distance of mega-stores. Spring Gate’s beautiful tasting room and added extras (fire pits, blankets for cool nights; special-release ciders each week) is quickly putting the winery, cidery and farm on the map.

If you haven’t visited yet, grab a friend and go. Spring Gate is often releasing new wines — its own, along with those from sister winery in Virginia — plus the aforementioned ciders. They also work with local vendors to supply on-site snacks, whether it’s Sunday brunch with Mountainside Supper Club or a Italian treats from nearby Zia’s.

This week, we’re giving away a Spring Gate Vineyard Wine Bucket. The Wine Bucket includes Spring Gate’s best selling sweet wines, Susquehanna Sweet Red and Susquehanna Sweet White,  along with two (2) Spring Gate wine glasses and a box of four (4) of our delectable chocolate truffles — all tucked in an ice bucket.  A $60 value!

spring gate vineyard

Complete your entries by using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CATEGORIES: Giveaway, Harrisburg, Wine

Craft Beer, Cider + Bourbon, NFL Sunday, Brewfests & MORE

What a night! Actually — what a day I had yesterday: Morning radio show co-hosting duties with Bruce Bond, then a baby shower for a dear friend expecting twins (!). Afterwards, we had an absolutely amazing Chef’s Table beer dinner at The Garlic Poet with Finch’s Beer Co. I shall detail this later in full, but it was incredible.

Here’s a quick look using my new favorite app, Flipagram.

After that wonderful dinner — where I left feeling full but not overstuffed (so crucial) — I rested at home for a bit before meeting a gaggle of gay friends in Midtown for some pre-bar tour wine and laughs. We eventually headed out with stops at Harrisburg’s three gay bars: The Brownstone Lounge, 704 and of course, Stallions. I’ll be documenting later this week in PennLive. I’m hopeful the gents will host me again — it was a blast.

While out, I learned of the engagement of one of my best friends! Congrats to Jamie and Steve — Andy and I are thrilled for them.

Today, we’re heading out to Quaker Steak and Lube (Dad’s choice) for wings during the Steelers game.

It’s late, so let’s get into it:

From PennLive:

Elsewhere on the Internet:

Upcoming Events:

  • Nov. 5 – Save the Date! HAPPY HOUR with at The Firehouse.
  • Dec. 6 – Save the Date! 3rd annual Holiday Party at The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey.
  • Sign-up for our Events newsletter & be the first to hear about Events!

Can Steelers rebound after tough loss?

Editor’s note: CBS 21 won’t be carrying this week’s game in favor of the Baltimore Ravens game. Where are you watching?

The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to put the embarrassing loss last week behind them when they play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The last meeting between these two was back in 2011, and the Steelers were able to pull out a 17-13 win in Pittsburgh.

Last week was either a wake-up call for this Pittsburgh team or it is the start of a downhill spiral. This week’s opponent won’t go a long ways in determining their ultimate fate but it will be a nice preview as to how last week affected the team.

This is another game that the Steelers should win handily. The Jaguars are coming in at 0-4 and have not come close to winning any of their games.

The Jaguars also do not match up well the pass-happy Steelers. Defensively the Jaguars are dead last in the NFL (350 yrds/gm), while the Steelers are eighth in passing (268 yrds/gm).

Le’Veon Bell and Legarrette Blount could make the Jaguars day even harder with the way they have been running as of late and it can take some pressure off the wide receiving core who might be without their number two wideout, Markus Wheaton. Wheaton was very limited in practice on Thursday, which means Darrius Heyward-Bey or Justin Brown might be asked to step up.

Ben Roethlisberger has looked as good as ever, and his favorite target Antonio Brown proves week after week that he is one of the elite receivers in the NFL.

#453708952 /

If the Steelers defense was playing as well as the offense the Steelers would probably be 3-1 right now, but injuries have led them to slip and look like a shell of themselves.

When Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones and Ike Taylor went out in the same game — and all for extended periods of time — is when the season started to look bleak.

The defense was already struggling and now they have to rely on William Gay, Brice McCain and Antoine Blake in coverage and James Harrison and Sean Spence to take the snaps vacated by Shazier and Jones.

Blake Bortles, the Jaguars rookie quarterback, will get his second career start this week. Bortles has played well in his relief of Chad Henne and showed even more promise last week. He is a young but talented quarterback who shows a lot of similarities to Roethlisberger.

#453778270 /

Even Big Ben himself admitted it.

Allen Robinson, a former Nittany Lion, is one of Bortles’ favorite targets and has been playing great in his rookie season. The Jaguars have also found another wide receiver, Allen Hurns, who has broken out this season.

The Steelers should be able to win this game with little problem, but the question is going to be how they win.

They can run away with it, like they should, or they could make all Steelers fans sweat into their beer for a few hours.

Let’s hope we all don’t have tear beer by the end.

Celebrate Fall with 2 Local Brewfests

Fall is a such a huge time of year for craft beer, and all of the local events popping up seem to agree. From fest beers to pumpkin ales and even ciders, there’s a little something for everyone. Over the next two weekends, two events in particular invite you get your #drinklocal on with local breweries to try and home brews to explore. Get your drinking dresses (and pants) on friends, you’ve got sampling to do!

Central Pennsylvania Oktoberfest

beer and track.jpg

This Saturday at Hollywood Casino and Penn National Racetrack, the Harrisburg Hershey Craft Beer Country presents the 2nd annual Central Pennsylvania Oktoberfest. After attending last year’s I can assure you that this event is a blast.

The brewfest features local craft beers from Appalachian Brewing Company, Brewery at Hershey, Great Lakes Brewing Co., Lancaster Brewing Co., Liquid Hero, Market Cross, McKenzie’s Hard Cider, Otto’s, Penn Brewing, Pizza Boy Brewing, Snitz Creek Brewery, South County Brewery, Starr Hill, Swashbuckler and Troegs!

This is the perfect chance to try beers from those breweries you’ve been dying to get to but just haven’t made it there yet. Plus, there’s a special horse race for the event that you can watch while you sip your brews track-side and there will be a Johnny Cash tribute band to rock out to.

VIP tickets ($75 in advance) get you in early at 1 p.m. and allow you to try special VIP-only brews from each brewery as well as hors d’oeuvres and a souvenir mug. General admission ($30 in advance, $40 at the door) opens at 2:30 p.m. for tasting.

My favorite part about last year was when I realized that I needed to sober up a bit before heading back downtown, I just popped into the casino for a while for water and a few hands of black jack. Be sure to grab your tickets now here.

Homebrew Harvest Fundraiser

homebrew harvest fundraiser

Maybe trying the latest adventures in homebrewing is more your style? Next Sunday, Oct. 12 is the Homebrew Harvest Fundraiser at the Brewery at Hershey. The best part about homebrew festivals is that the beers have no requirements, are made with love, and can feature crazy experimental flavor combinations you probably won’t be seeing anywhere else.

Stop in to Brewery at Hershey next Sunday between 1 and 4 p.m. for this brewfest and sample your way around the variety of fantastic homebrews. Plus, enjoy live music from Two Pints Shy to get you in the groove.

This event is a competition, and there can only be one people’s choice winner. How will they be able to decide without your vote? With such unique entries like Mexican Chocolate Porter, Pumpkin Oktoberfest, Peach Berliner Weisse and Jalapeno Lime Kolsch, that vote is going to be a hard one to make. Maybe one of these brews will inspire you to brew one or two yourself?

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Four Diamonds Fund and Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Tickets are just $20 and can be purchased online here.

FCC rules against NFL

If you’re part of the NFL offices you have already had a pretty hectic start to the season, and now the government might have just thrown another wrench into the works.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently voted unanimously to ban the NFL from blacking out games for a local team when the game does not sell out.

The old rule used to be that if the game was not sold out at least 72 hours before kick-off that the game would be blacked out for local viewers.

The change to this rule will allow the local station to carry the game by using the broadcast from another station outside of the local market.

The original reason for the regulation from the NFL was to make sure attendance didn’t decline with the rise in television technology and availability.

Now for me there is no better experience than going to a live sporting event no matter what it is. Nothing can compete with the atmosphere of going to an NFL game and the way it feels to finally see your team in person.

#185435900 /

Why do you think tickets are still so expensive?

If they were really hurting to get people in the seats they would drop the prices.

But to do it for every single game is something that not many people can do and this is why they rely on local stations to bring them their team.

People in this area have lucked out though because the Steelers and Eagles have never had trouble selling out games, but this has affected fans in Tampa Bay, Carolina and in Jacksonville.

Although I know there some Steelers fans in Harrisburg that have had to suffer through a Ravens game rather than the Steelers.

In 2013, 99 percent of NFL games were broadcast on free TV. Only two out of 267 games were blacked out last year.

This rule is outdated. It was created in the early 1970s when the only revenue for teams was ticket and merchandise sales. Now teams get hundreds of millions of dollars from broadcasting rights, and this makes up a majority of their revenue.

Even with all of these things considered the NFL is still concerned with this ruling and have been for sometime.

First, the NFL has many pressing matters to deal with. Whether it is domestic violence or lawsuits from former players. They have many more things to worry about other than maybe losing a few hundred tickets a season.

Seriously, it’s no real skin off of their nose other than losing a little bit of power.


Weekend Roundup 10/2

So, last weekend we had this big party on Sunday, and I was all [inside my brain], “Awesome, once this is over, then I can chill out for a week or so.” Wrong. That said, I’m having fun. Tuesday night, Andy and I had a nice, impromptu date night, then last night, we had a meeting of the minds about the upcoming Holiday Party. Details coming soon!

#tbt Can you guess where this was taken 2 years ago?

#tbt Can you guess where this was taken 2 years ago?

Tonight, I have drinks with the one and only Dani Fresh, then tomorrow I’m speaking at the MATPRA Media Marketplace panel discussion on content creation in Carlisle, both re: blog content and online media outlet. After, I’m grabbing drinks with a friend, then I’m in for the night.

Good thing, too, because Saturday is JAM-packed. We’ve got The Bruce Bond Late Afternoon Show on Saturday Morning from 9 a.m. ’til noon, then a brief respite before a friend’s baby shower, which I have to leave early in time for the Chef’s Table with Finch’s Beer Co. at The Garlic Poet. Then, I’m going to go take a nap because later that night I’m getting an official tour of Harrisburg’s gay bars, which I’ll be documenting for ya’ll next week in PennLive. (Typing this all out makes me think perhaps I over-booked this one.)

On Sunday, there is football. Ugh, and it’s not on TV, so that means we’re headed out to watch the Steelers. We usually hit Moe’s, but last my dad mentioned Quaker Steak and Lube.

Need more inspiration? Tune in tomorrow morning during the 7  o’clock hour to Glenn & Bob on The River 97.3 for “Sara’s Weekend Picks.”

This week’s Weekend Roundup is brought to you by Hershey Harrisburg Craft Beer Country, hosting the 2nd annual Central Pennsylvania Oktoberfest this Saturday at Hollywood Casino. Click the image below for details.


What are you doing this weekend?


Run down? You might be anemic.

Feeling tired and burned out from running? Yeah, it happens to the best of us. However, if that fatigue is lingering and nothing is making a difference, it may be your iron levels. While I recognize this is certainly not something that effects every athlete, it is more common for those of us that are active.

tired runner source:

Even though I am a vegetarian (and have been for more than half of my life), I have never had a problem with my iron before this year. When I began training for a spring marathon in January, I really was struggling. Although I had never stopped running, I suddenly realized how hard it felt.

For me, here are the warning signs that I ignored or blamed on “losing my mojo.” If any of these sound familiar, perhaps its more than just a burnout.

  • Speedwork felt impossible. Paces that I should have been able to do with effort were not happening. I couldn’t turn my legs over fast enough, and more than one occasion, I was convinced I was going to fly off the treadmill (this was during the polar vortex). I remember emailing the coach I was working with during a run and writing, “I don’t know what’s wrong but I cannot hold this pace for the life of me.”
  • I didn’t finish a single run without stopping to catch my breath. As someone who usually runs long distances, I suddenly wasn’t able to make it more than three miles without stopping to gasp for air … and it’s not like I was moving too quickly.
  • My go-to normal pace felt really hard. I don’t run with a watch, but I could tell I was running very slowly. Sometimes, I use my phone to time myself for half miles or miles just to check my pace, and I realized I was running at least two minutes per mile slower than normal. And it felt hard.
  • I developed leg cramps that sometimes were so bad, I couldn’t run. Because your cells don’t have enough oxygen, it’s possible for your legs or arms to cramp up. Sometimes, I’d have to quit a run after a quarter of a mile because my legs were locked up so badly.
  • I was completely exhausted. “It’s marathon training, I should be tired!” I thought. Wrong. You most likely do not need to be going to bed before 8 p.m.

Despite having all these symptoms, I was shocked when I found out I was “severely anemic.” It never even crossed my mind that something was really wrong. I told people I just didn’t have it anymore.

I now take two iron pills a day and my levels are almost back to normal. Running feels much better, I (usually) bounce out of bed in the morning and overall, I feel like a new person.

So, if training isn’t going well, and hasn’t for months, maybe its time to get your iron levels checked. I wish I had.

CATEGORIES: Fitness, Running


Sara’s Kitchen: Apple Cider Harvest Punch #30daysofBourbon

In the nick of time — September being National Bourbon Heritage Month and all — I present to you my original cocktail, made last week for the Surra Harvest Festival. Because I made it two ways (and you can, too), I’m just calling it Apple Cider Harvest Punch. It packs one, too.

We’re so lucky to live near Apple Country. One of the best parts of the fall season is fresh Pennsylvania apples — and cider. Our friend, Mike Weiser, from Weiser Orchard Farm Markets, brought us a couple gallons of fresh apple cider, plus a ton of beautiful apples (I hid the honeycrisp for myself – ha!). This set the base for this cocktail.


Because it’s Bourbon Heritage Month, however, I also wanted to feature bourbon — but rum also would work well, as you’ll see. Finally, I also found this to be a great use for Berentzen apple liqueur (which I found also makes a nice addition to rye whiskey on the rocks).

appleApple Cider Harvest Punch

  • 1 gallon fresh apple cider
  • 2/3 bottle of bourbon or rum
  • 1/3 cup Berentzen apple liqueur
  • 2 L club soda (optional)
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 6-8 sprigs of thyme

Combine in large container. Add ice.

Our first batch featured a cheap bourbon – Evan Williams (originally purchased to make Bourbon Sea Salt Caramels, so I wasn’t splurging). Our second batch used craft Folly Cove rum from Ryan and Wood Distilleries in Gloucester, MA, a gift from my in-laws.

Sara’s Kitchen: Stuffed Pepper Stew

Goodness, I’ve been planing this post for ages. For those of you who attended the Surra Harvest Festival this year, this is the chili/stew I kept pushing on you. Granted, 80+ degrees is a bit warm for a hot dish, so fortunately this dish freezes well.

stuffed pepper stew

This is an adaptation of a Stuffed Pepper Stew from a former coworker. I cut out all sugar (I don’t like it, even to sweeten my ‘maters, but if that’s your jam, go to town), and I added fresh stuff I had around — usually peppers and tomatoes. It makes a huge difference — but that said, this would be fine with canned/frozen stuff, too, I’m sure.

You also can vary the meat. I believe the below photos (taken last year because writers procrastinate) feature ground venison, the version of which I sent with Andy to hunting camp with eight other hungry dudes. This past Sunday, I used ground beef and homemade venison sausage. So, feel free to be creative! This recipe is easy and as interesting as you make it.

Stuffed Pepper Stew


  • 2 lb ground meat (beef, venison, turkey or combination)
  • 1 28-oz can tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes, really)
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (or chopped fresh!)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups chopped green or red pepper (I like to use both, or even the frozen bag of tri-color, for a more colorful dish)
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • Torchbearer Hot Sauce (optional – we like Tarnation XX in this one)

Brown meat in large dutch oven. Drain, if necessary. Combine all ingredients, bring to boil and simmer for 40 min.

Pour: I’d probably drink a hoppy pale ale or IPA but you wouldn’t go wrong with a nice brown ale, either.

CATEGORIES: Recipes, Sara Bozich

Giveaway: YWCA Fall Fest Oct. 4

This Saturday, YWCA of Greater Harrisburg celebrates its 5th annual Fall Fest at its Camp Reily location.

The event features a beer tasting, great food from MoMo’s BBQ & Grill and live music from local songwriter Doug Burlew.

Admission is $35 per person and including food, beer tastings, music and an official YWCA Fall Fest tasting pint glass.

ywca fall fest

This year’s beer samplings will include Fegley’s Devious Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Troegs Perpetual IPA, Weyerbacher AutumnFest, Deschutes Black Butte Porter and Victory Headwaters Pale Ale.

Fall Fest is organized by the YWCA Greater Harrisburg’s Junior Board. Proceeds from Fall Fest are used to purchase equipment for Camp Reily, make improvements to the camp and fund summer camp scholarships.

This week, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to YWCA Fall Fest ($70 value!).

Complete your entries by using the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join Sara's Mailing List