Since 1969, when Gladys Haak gave her husband Raymond two concord grapevines to celebrate their 10th anniversary, the couple's namesake vineyard has flourished into 1,800 vines sprawling across three acres. Galveston County's first and only winery transforms grapes into award-winning potions that have earned the attention of the Houston Press and the Dallas Observer. Whether sipped onsite or at various shops and restaurants, the wines grace glasses with a diverse mélange of local blends. Custom labels can be commissioned to personalize each bottle with heartfelt dedications or nutritional information written in iambic pentameter.
The vineyard welcomes thirsty visitors with tours of their verdant vines, 25,000-square-foot workshop, and deli stocked with Boar's Head meats and pungent cheese. Frequent guests reap the exclusive benefits of the winery’s club memberships, which include invitations to special events, first tastings, discounts, and complementary bottles. An event-ready banquet space also sets the scene for memorable weddings and events, with the winery’s chef, Kim Johnson, overseeing catering duties, cake cuttings, and the busboys’ a capella performance of “Take My Breath Away."
Mechanized towers stand along the shoreline of Wake Nation Cincinnati's 10-acre lake, steering riders across the water as they grip cables rather than lines attached to boats. Cruising clockwise from the cables, up to seven people at a time can wakeboard, water ski, kneeboard, or waterskate around the aquatic arena at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. Wake Nation designed the main lake for everyone from beginners to elite-level riders, and peppered it with manmade obstacles and floating jumps, allowing boarders to zip along and pull off tricks that sometimes aren’t possible behind a boat. They also have a smaller practice lake for beginners and young riders from 5 years old and up.
Experienced staff members observe boarders at all times, supplying safety tips, training, and navigational advice for circumventing Poseidon’s rose bushes. Visitors can bring their own equipment, or rent or buy necessary gear from Wake Nation’s pro shop. A cast of instructors lead lessons and observe riders during freestyle riding, fun summer camps, and special events such as birthday parties.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
Secondhand Diva offers up an array of high-end women’s clothing and accessories in used but excellent condition, plus a selection of new boutique items. Shoppers can pop in and peruse jeans fashioned by brands such as True Religion and 7 for All Mankind ($10+), vintage handbags from Coach and Gucci ($10+), an assortment of gleaming jewelry ($15 on average), and a variety of feet-hugging shoes ($15 on average). Secondhand Diva only sells fashions that are free of stains, odors, and territorial ghosts who refuse to share closet space with photo albums and suitcases.
Novel Approach gives social scrapbookers a chance to add a few new pages to their artistic portfolio while befriending like-minded crafters. In the shop's classroom area, 15–20 would-be memory keepers and card crafters can gain creative insight while upgrading their scrapbooking powers from mind-blowing to super-mind-blowing. The Pizza and a Six Pack class ($40) lets students draft a half-dozen pages and munch on pizza, and the Breakfast Club option ($60) involves devouring a continental breakfast and composing a 20-page 12"x12" album. Novel Approach also offers various card classes that deal with stamping and paper techniques ($25–$30), paper-bag book classes ($30), and more. Visit the schedule for class times and information about what supplies you'll need to bring along. Though today's Groupon is only good toward classes, budding crafters and bookmakers can also peruse Novel Approach's inventory to locate crafting supplies and then buy the ones that look friendly for 10% off the regular price on the day of their class.
A+ Pack and Ship escorts delicate belongings across long distances with complete packing, boxing, and shipping services. With full-service treatments, the wrapping specialists carefully ensconce items in bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and cardboard boxes to ensure shipping safety. Same-day delivery and overnight FedEx or UPS services effectively transport items to their proper locales while eliminating the need to breed genetically enhanced, super-strong carrier pigeons. A selection of holiday gift items such as greeting cards ($3.99) and college stockings ($29) accompanies items with additional holiday flair. Shipping prices are determined by weight, dimensions, zip code, and date of arrival requested. For reference, customers can ship a 1-pound package overnight to Atlanta ($10.30) or a 5-pound package to Laguna Hills, California, within four days ($21.54).