Skip to main content

Cecil County Life

Blue Elk Vineyard: Beauty on the river’s edge

Dec 01, 2023 03:37PM ● By Tricia Hoadley
Photos by Jim Coarse
Text by Richard L. Gaw

For any visitor who drives down River’s Edge Road in North East – be they a bride or groom, a wedding congregation or merely a small group of friends wishing to enjoy a flight or two of wine – the site of Blue Elk Vineyard and the sweeping bend of the Elk River before them is as gentle as a welcome made with open arms, inviting them to experience happiness.

Spread graciously across 140 acres of the estate, Blue Elk Vineyard is defined by many sights, sounds and emotions. It is a scenery’s dream. It is the billowy flow of a bridal gown against the river wind just before nuptials. It is the precious moments of a wedding reception. It is the sweet and delicious pour of wines with the names Bugle and Lakota and Patriot, and it is the quiet comfort of friends gathered in the rustic tasting room enjoying conversation and a bottle on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Several years ago, I came to a wedding here with my husband, Mike, and I found the property to be completely stunning, then four years later, Mike tells me, ‘Do you remember the wedding we went to in North East, at that vineyard? It’s for sale!’” said Blue Elk Vineyard owner Denise Novak, who has owned the vineyard since 2017. “I told him, ‘Mike, we don’t need anything else.’ A week later, he asked me to hear him out.

The next thing I knew, I was here at Blue Elk Vineyard, organizing my first wedding. In short time, I was giving tours to prospective brides and grooms, maintaining our venues, running the weddings, cleaning up and creating contracts.”

Several years later, Blue Elk Vineyard has become one of the most beautiful wedding destinations in the Chesapeake Bay Region, averaging 75 ceremonies during a five-month period every year. Since it first opened in 2020, Blue Elk has continued to produce 17 varietals of wine made by a private vintner that include Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Pinot Grigio and its signature Chardonnay. To Novak, however, there is one component of Blue Elk Vineyard that has become to those who drive down Rovers Edge Road as its most precious and sustainable force.

I have felt the occasional stuffy atmosphere at other wineries – I call it ‘pinky up’ pretentiousness – and so I will continue to make Blue Elk a friendly and comfortable place to come to that is easy and welcoming – for everybody,” she said.

Blue Elk Vineyard is located at 88 River’s Edge Road, North East, Md. 21901. To learn more about events and weddings, visit www.blueelk or contact (443) 674-8800. Hours of Operation: Thursday & Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Cecil County's free newsletter to catch every headline