When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.
More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.
Draped in a black cloak, a figure holds a lantern to light the way along a weathered stone wall. As the tour group follows, the cloaked leader recounts a story, perhaps a tale about Canada?s last working gallows, or perhaps about the riots that once overtook the streets.
Though Haunted Walk?s guides are well known for their theatrical flair, the tales they tell are not so well known. As they lead walking tours of Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto, the guides unveil fascinating yet rarely told tales of each city?s dark side. Narrations may include ghost stories backed by eye-witness accounts or the underpinnings of a nefarious political plot. Haunted Walk doesn't limit it tours to just the dark side ? they also offer Steampunk time-travel tours, which transport participants on a wacky adventure through the hidden secrets of Ottawa's past. Private tours are also available.
January 11, 2015 will mark the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald?Canada?s first prime minister. Theatrical walking tours allow both students and adults to learn about Sir John?s achievements by walking in his footsteps. On these tours?named the Best of 2012 by Vacay.ca?professional actors and musicians from the SALON Acting Company dress in period costumes to regale guests with Sir John?s triumphs and scandals. The tours visit the hotel where Mackenzie King spoke to the dead, the Market Square where the first Canada Day was celebrated in 1867, and the home of Sir John?s arch nemesis.
But the celebration of Sir John isn't limited to tours alone. SirJohnA2015 was founded to throw him a party, and like all great parties, its more than a year long. The cross-Canada celebration highlights Sir John?s life and achievements while weaving in entertainment to engage Canadians and recognize the life and legacy of Canada?s first Prime Minister.
McMaze Corn Maze was established more than a decade ago by Sandy McDonald, who designed the family?s first 3.5-acre corn maze when he was just 14 years old. Over the next 10 years, Sandy and his family watched their endeavour blossom into a year-round family-friendly business that hosts seasonal activities year-round. Fall is the family?s busiest season, when visitors flock to find spooks in their farm playground and wagon rides, and explore the pumpkin patch to search out a perfect specimen to be turned into a pie, jack-o?-lantern, or organic football helmet. The original hand-carved corn maze has since multiplied into five separate mazes, including a ?haze maze,? which mystifies wanderers by sending them on a seemingly endless journey through fog and lights, and a door maze that presents 52 possible exits.
Winter snowfalls fail to stop the McDonalds? love of celebrating, and so they invite families back to the 120-acre farm for old-fashioned sleigh rides through the woods, made all the more festive with hot chocolate and homemade cinnamon buns. Once the ground thaws in the spring, the farm comes alive again as guests descend upon the fields to help plant the first pumpkin seeds and welcome the arrival of baby farm animals as they parachute down from passing blimps. Homemade ice cream keeps things cool throughout the summer as pig and duck races entertain spectators of all ages, and parents stock up on corn on the cob and other farm-fresh produce.
Wineries are often found far down country roads, shrouded by the curling tendrils of their vineyards. At The Wine Garden, though, the entire winemaking experience can be had without setting foot outside of the city.
Yeast bubbles busily in stainless-steel fermentation vessels, transforming the juices of grapes from fertile regions of Chile, Argentina, and California. The fermentation process yields wines that range from crisp chardonnay to heady cabernet franc, the progenitor of cabernet sauvignon, and oak barrels bestow some of the elixirs with a rich maze of tannins. Fruit wines made with peaches, cranberries, or strawberries make refreshing summertime drinks and help work friends mingle with hummingbird friends at parties. Patrons play a major role in the entire process, selecting grapes and siphoning finished wine into bottles. The Wine Garden's gourmets also brew craft beers and stock hot sauces with humourous names such as Blair's Chipotle Death Rain.
Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 stories in height.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.