Led by a professional artist and New Orleans native, the classes at Creole Canvas are designed to be engaging for those with painting experience as well as welcoming for beginners, with no previous experience required. Students sit down in front of a provided canvas and munch on snacks and beverages they've brought along while the teacher guides them through the steps of creating a work of art. Once they've brushed, daubed, and passionately splattered their pieces to completion, students can take them home to show off.
More than 30 wineries dot the idyllic Texas Hill Country, the historically rich backdrop for ARC’s Wine Plus’s tours. The company’s signature excursion, the wine tour, makes stops at three or more wineries, where guests can swig samples as guides share facts about wines, specifically those born in Texas. Brew tours, on the other hand, showcase Texan beer and its history. During tours of local breweries, groups can soak up the guide’s exhaustive knowledge with their brain sponges while sampling local suds.
From 1927 until 2009, the Piper Aircraft company produced 144,000 airplanes. Of those, 90,000 are still flying. One is a 1978 single-engine Saratoga that can often be seen soaring over the hills and lakes of the Texas landscape.
Inside that Saratoga, the Air Tours Texas pilots lead up to five passengers on scenic tours and adventures, sharing scenic aerial views of Lake Travis, Canyon Lake, Austin, San Antonio, and Enchanted Rock with their awestruck human cargo. The group of pilots also offers sunset flights, stunningly romantic marriage-proposal flights, and copilot experiences that introduce aspiring pilots to flight basics.
In 1910, Louis Bush led his first tour of Washington, DC, loading passengers into the refurbished chassis of a Mack truck that he had painted blue and gray. From this humble beginning, Louis expanded his Gray Line tours throughout the United States and abroad. The company currently hosts tours in more than 700 destinations across six continents and all three moons. However, Gray Line's expansive international scope isn't nearly as important as its commitment to a narrow, regional focus. Each tour aims to introduce visitors to some distinctive facet of the city's identity, from the ghosts of Savannah, Georgia’s, historic district to the towering redwoods of San Francisco’s Muir Woods. During the chauffeured sojourns, guides dole out intriguing tidbits of local knowledge, giving the groups some invaluable insight into the areas’ histories and cultures.
The tour guides at Grand Double Decker make sure that participants will always remember the Alamo. That's because they whisk them aboard trolleys or double-decker buses for storied tours of the famed site of Texas's battle for independence. They also unveil more than 50 other points of interest, including landmarks in the Texas burg such as the Riverwalk, San Fernando Cathedral, and the Texas Ranger Museum, complete with secret portals leading to John Wayne's hat collection. In addition, tour guides lead riverboat cruises that float down the San Antonio River past boutiques, cafés, and seasonal flowers.
A crackling fire warms guests perched at white-draped tables in the candlelit wine cellar. Upstairs, diners marvel at the picturesque views of the vineyard and rose garden filling the glass-enclosed patio's windows or deeply inhale the aroma of wildflowers drifting onto the vine-covered porch. It's against these intimate backdrops that servers at The Vineyards Restaurant deliver steak, seafood, and other upscale dishes to tables, which come aglow with candlelight as dusk falls.
The chefs work hard to make each bite as special as the surroundings. They age beef-tenderloin fillets for 45 days before plating them atop garlic-and-mushroom sauce and slowly marinate chicken in a spicy chipotle-garlic oil before nestling it in a bed of pasta covered in cilantro cream sauce.
With such food in such a setting, a regular night out at The Vineyards is one to remember, but a special occasion there is truly magical. For marriage proposals, anniversaries, and the reunions of long-lost pairs of socks, staffers lead guests down a candle-strewn path to a private table set for dessert among the vineyard's rows of grapevines. The Vineyards has held more than 500 weddings in its open-air pavilion, and its on-staff wedding coordinator and floral designer help plan picture-perfect ceremonies.