High above a lush vineyard, the morning sky brims with creatures of flight: an eagle, a large bumblebee, a pigeon that forgot how to land. These were just some of the sights Airbus Balloon Rides' owner Andy Richardson imagined would greet his future down-gazing passengers. He first fell in love with the roar of a hot air balloon's flame just before entering the second grade, and that passion has driven his dreams ever since. Ten years after buying his first balloon at age 14, Andy now commands a fleet of rainbow-colored balloons that come in standard and specialty shapes. These colorful vessels set the elevated stage for individual flights and tethered rides helmed by Andy and his talented team. Flights lift off at sunrise, in the afternoon, and at sunset, when the low sun paints an orange-red glow over water, fields, and reindeer still stuck on rooftops.
Back on land, Airbus Balloon Rides also educates visitors on hot air balloon creation inside their balloon factory, which welcomes tours. At the end of each tour, the guides lead guests in a champagne or mimosa toast with accompanying hors d'oeuvres, celebrating their skyfaring adventures together.
Bites of Bloomington Food Tours introduces groups to foodie destinations off the town's beaten paths. On Saturdays, tour guides and participants head out to savor treats such as Turkish cuisine at Turkuaz Café, baked goods at Sweet Claire Gourmet Bakery, and ice cream at The Chocolate Moose. Groups learn more about Bloomington's neighborhoods, too, as the guides point out interesting historical and architectural sites along the way.
The Hunter family knows bees. At their family-owned and operated farm, they continue a more than 100-year-old tradition of producing honey and honey-related products. Managing several hundred hives across the state of Indiana, Hunter farms produce honey, beeswax, bee pollen, and propolis, which is used to make everything from beeswax soap and lip balm to honey hot-wing sauce and 32 different flavors of honey sticks.
Guided tours of the honey farm teach groups of all sizes and ages about the work of the honeybee, while forestry tours introduce tourists to the farm’s 65 acres of hardwood. The beehive tour lets guests shadow a beekeeper on the job while "Flight of the Bumblebee" plays on repeat in their heads. The Worker Special tour includes even more hands-on learning, teaching visitors how to roll their own beeswax candle and fill bear-shaped containers with honey.
PaintballTickets.com has promoted major paintball battlefields across the country for more than 20 years. Its paint-splattered footprint encompasses fields all over the United States—and even in other countries, such as South Africa. Promotions include packaging attractive deals for paintballers that include admission and equipment rental. With deals planned, they expose players to great deals and field owners to new visitors.
The story of Mallow Run Winery reads like a Steinbeck novel with a happy ending—a tale of romance, music, and farm life. John Richardson grew up on the 600-acre plot where Mallow Run now resides, but left for 35 years to become a teacher. During this time, he raised his son, Bill, whose dream of following the pastoral path of his ancestors led him to pursue a degree in Agriculture at Purdue University. After he graduated and his father retired, they both returned to John’s stomping ground with the intent of growing grapes for various Indiana wineries. Bill would meet his wife, Laura, while playing music locally in the Carmel Symphony—the former on French horn and the latter on clarinet—and thus, the triumvirate behind Mallow Run Winery was born.
Between the bushels of corn and soybeans that spring from the verdant fields, eight acres of grapevines produce the plump fruit that goes into bottles of Chardonel, Traminette, Seyval Blanc, and other varietals, and the tailpipes of any double-parked cars on the estate. The winery has become a destination to listen to live music in addition to sipping wine with friends and family, as the winery’s spacious lawn is often used for concerts from local artists.
When the leaves begin to change with the season, so too do the spirits trapped inside The Asylum House, luring in travelers with the curiosity of its awful secrets. The sprawling facility encompasses many haunted rooms in a variety of themes, terrifying visitors with undead creatures in the Crypt of Elysium and disgusting them in a blood-soaked meat locker where the butcher, plunging his fingers into the raw beef, startles passerby by screaming “I never wash my hands!” The house’s twisted sister attraction, Indy Zombie Paintball, invites apocalypse survivors to fend off undead actors with paintball guns.