Historians and university professors team up with professional tour guides to create Freedom Quest Cultural Tours, LLC's comprehensive cultural excursions. The company helms tours in seven cities around the country, giving visitors an up-close and curated look of museums and historical sites. The "I Am The Greatest" tour visits the Muhammad Ali Museum and Kentucky Railway Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; the American Patriots tour browses the National Mall and passes the White House in Washington DC; and the "Roots" tour heads to Memphis, Tennessee to visit the Underground Railroad Museum and other monuments to black history.
Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.
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 Vintage Indiana wine festival totes more than 200 award-winning Indiana wines. As varietals from wineries such as Oliver Winery, Winzerwald Winery, and Best Vineyards flow into glasses, food from eateries such as Bazbeaux, Chef JJ's, and various food trucks curbs appetites. Live music adds a soundtrack to the entire affair, which also includes special events such as culinary demonstrations.
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.