Many people feel an indescribable urge to follow in the footsteps of celebrities long passed—hoping that a connection to their genius or charm still lingers in the air of their apartments and favorite pubs. The guides of Esotouric understand and share this urge, though they prefer to roam the paths of history by bus. After scouring the famed neighborhoods of Los Angeles in search of interesting and outlandish locations, they share their findings on bus adventures that retrace the trails blazed by local artists, filmmakers, writers, and actors.
Esotouric's odysseys wind through haunts such as Raymond Chandler's favorite breakfast spot and the salon Charles Bukowski visited for his weekly knuckle-hair perm. Coloring their tours with anecdotes about the films adapted from his noirish stories, guides also visit locales captured in the cinematic landscapes of James M. Cain. Various tours explore Southern California’s culture, literature, and architectural sides, giving history hounds the chance to sniff out sinister deeds in old-time tattoo parlors, burlesque shows, and crime scenes.
For four years running, photographer Sean J. Mason—who has been capturing striking images of clients for more than 15 years—has won WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Award for his spontaneous, photojournalistic fine-art photography. In addition to documenting weddings and engagements, Mason captures striking portraits of clients, allowing them to recall fleeting moments in time or show up fading paintings of relatives in their Hall of Ancestors.
While many citywide scavenger hunts require registering in advance, showing up to a set location, and finishing on time, Urban Adventure Quests requires only a smartphone and a thirst for the unknown. Following routes provided on a online whenever the mood strikes, participants in the scavenger-hunt-style challenge can explore New York’s Central Park, iconic Hollywood Boulevard, or the historic Las Vegas casinos where the world's first roulette wheel fell off a passing circus car. Along the way, they absorb tidbits of local history and see iconic landmarks while decoding clues and completing exciting challenges.
With a list of vendors representing celebrated local wineries, restaurants, jewelers, beauty shops, and more, the Food & Wine Lovers' Festival is a catered carnival of Dionysian deliciousness. Vino-sippers can sample fermented grape nectars from dozens of wine and spirit makers, while sweet teeth can get their fix from fine confectioneries. Accessory shops share space with craft designers and cigar slingers, giving smoke blowers an array of stylish vessels to store their stogies in until man lands on the moon for real. Additionally, a portion of the event's proceeds will go to the Ventura County Food Share, a local organization that distributes food to the hungry throughout Ventura County.
When Brian McInerney reflects on the humble beginnings of Wheel Fun Rentals, he points to his childhood passion for bikes. "As far back as I can remember, I had a real love affair with bicycles," he recalls. During a trip to Italy in 1987, Brian's affinity for cycling blossomed into a full-fledged obsession when he spotted locals' transporter of choice, the surrey. Inspired, he began importing the Italian four-wheelers to a rental business in the U.S. that eventually expanded into Wheel Fun Rentals, now a nationwide web of shops that also loans out bikes, electric cars and mopeds, and man-powered watercraft. Adventuresome athletes can also compete in activities such as surrey scavenger hunts and blindfold obstacle courses navigated via shouted instructions from a seeing teammate or exceptionally long rounds of trial and error.
cityHunt’s urban adventures thrust participants into unfamiliar territory, daring them to explore parts of their cities previously untraversed. Held in various neighborhoods within the nation’s largest cities, each scavenger hunt challenges teams to answer trivia questions and seek out items of interest in a bid to complete the hunt as the fastest squad with the most points. Some tasks might require a keen memory or knowledge of the city's history, while others might ask camera-wielding participants to snap a photo of certain object or landmark without pausing to day dream about all the civil and municipal engineering that must have gone into creating such an awe-inspiring place. At the end of each adventure, cityHunt staff members meet with squads to discuss their strong points and areas that could use improvement, making it an off-the-beaten-path team-building exercise for corporate clients and groups of friends alike.