Twelve years ago, Frank and Amy Faust bought a 6-acre plot of land in the Loess Hills countryside with the intention of building themselves a log cabin. Instead, they found themselves sidetracked by a new dream—starting a winery. At Sugar Clay Winery, the Fausts now produce up to 10,000 gallons of wine each year, yet, as they told KETV-7, they still take the time to cork each bottle by hand. Visitors can introduce themselves to 14 of Sugar Clay’s proprietary varietals in the tasting room, such as the sangria-esque Loess Hills blush or a four-grape ambrosia blanc whose flavors morph from apple to butterscotch and almond with each sip. Outside, shaded decks house guests peering out on views of sloping valleys soundtracked by a chorus of birds hiding among the surrounding cedars. A fire pit warms sippers during crisper nights or on afternoons when a tour group of refrigerators shows up, and live musicians fill the air with notes from dulcimers and acoustic guitars.
In a style fitting with their sword-and-shield emblem, the King’s Crossing Vineyard & Winery’s yearly renaissance festival harks back to ye olden days with a weekend of days-of-yore-style entertainment. A Scottish band toots the soundtrack to the festivities as visitors hoist flagons of beer and wine and belly dancers enchant viewers with sultry undulations. With multiple opportunities for guests to demonstrate their feats of strength, the fest hosts an archery tournament and dueling matches fought with swords, maces, and enormous turkey legs. The afternoons are filled with informative demonstrations on renaissance life, performed by actors in full period dress.
Mead was known as the nectar of the gods ancient Greece, and Moonstruck Meadery takes its own mead-making tradition just as seriously. How much? Just take a look at the team's ever-stretching list of awards to see all the silver, gold, and bronze hardware the team has taken home at international competitions. Their winning creations include a traditional show mead made with alfalfa honey and wild clover as well as fresh-fruit meads that sparkle with summer flavors of cherry, peach, and blackberry. When visiting the meadery, come hungry: a substantial menu of food is available, including honey-crust pizzas that pair nicely with the spirits.
The masked chainsaw bearers and flesh-eating zombies may have earned Gateway of Chaos a top rating on Hauntworld.com for two-years running, but they don’t do it for the awards. The terrifying show––a combined effort of more than 50 volunteers—elicits screams to benefit the Malvern Area Betterment Association, a nonprofit working to better social, educational, and developmental growth in the Malvern community. Comprising thousands of square feet, the haunted house also affords local actors plenty of space in which to flex their menacing muscles, and past years have seen the haunted house changing nightly to keep repeat visitors and ghostly real-estate agents on their toes.
In the days before kegs and bottles, beer enthusiasts would have to cart a bucket to their local brewery, fill it up, and carry it (gently) home. Lucky Bucket Brewing Company pays tribute to brewing history both in its name and its traditional brewing techniques.
Lucky Bucket’s flavorsome creations are crafted inside an 18,000-square-foot brew house. Gleaming silver tankards give birth to bottles of a pre-Prohibition-style lager, a pleasantly floral IPA, and the dark, malty imperial porter Certified Evil.
The facility operates a craft brewery, as well as Nebraska's only craft distillery, which turns out hand-crafted spirits such as Cut Spike Single-Malt Whiskey and Cut Spike Premium Vodka. The distillery ages it's whiskey for two years in brand new American oak barrels.
When a major flood hit the Missouri River in 2011, it drastically changed the riverfront, creating new sights across its banks. With this fresh face, the river serves as a scenic stage for tours on the River City Star, a riverboat featured in USA Today's August 2009 article ?10 Great Places to Stream Through Cities?.
At the wheel of a classic, double-decker riverboat is one of River City Star's three captains, Captain Ken, Captain Dave, or Captain Steve. Accompanied by an expert crew, the captains ferry passengers over the serene waters that make up Omaha's riverfront. They pass by antique structures such as the historic Old Iowa-Nebraska Swing Bridge, and newer fixtures including the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge, described in USA Today as ?a one-of-a-kind design that looks like an art installation across the river.?
On dinner cruises, cooks prepare a lineup of cuisine that changes monthly, as passengers dance to the sounds of live jazz or island music. Back on land, weddings unfold beneath a 40'x80' tent set up at Miller's Landing.