The sun has risen over Ridgefield Farm & Orchard for more than a century, dusting its orchard's apple trees, its winding cornfield maze, and its acres of pumpkins with warm, nurturing rays. Generations have flocked there from across the country, snipping fresh buds from flower gardens during the summer months or scampering though the pumpkin patch come fall. The advent of autumn also marks the beginning of the farm’s apple-picking season, when dwarf orchard trees grow heavy with juicy gala, empire, and 13 other varieties. After the annual pumpkin-picking and Halloween celebrations have passed, the grounds offer up an abundance of firs and spruces to be used as Christmas trees or stacked up and tied together into one giant Christmas tree. Throughout the year, the onsite country store peddles seasonal produce and housemade jams to boast the bounty of the farm's fields and to keep visitors fueled.
Phantom Fireworks first burst onto the scene more than three decades ago. Today, the company lights up backyards of America from coast-to-coast with more than 1,200 locations.
Much like its products, Phantom’s employees frequently take to the skies. They travel around the globe in search of the industry's latest ground and aerial displays before returning home with rockets, missiles, fountains, and aerial repeaters. From there, an extensive in-house testing program takes over, checking each item's safety before it’s sold to the public.
That testing program is just one of Phantom’s pillars of safety. The company also holds memberships with multiple pyrotechnics organizations, and it offers customers additional information about fireworks laws and history through its Fireworks University.
Shepherdstown Pedal & Paddle offers a range of bikes and boats for traversing the terrain of the area. Choose a Specialized Crossroads comfort bike ($40 for full day), a Specialized Hardrock mountain bike ($40 for full day), or a Specialized 24" Hotrock kid's bike ($35 for full day) for your velocipedic travels. Area attractions include the clay and crushed stone of the C & O Canal Towpath and the Civil War battlefield of Antietam. You can also use today's Groupon toward a rental of a canoe or kayak ($35–$55), allowing you to tour the sites of some of the Revolutionary War's famed underwater battles between the colonists and the sea-people.
Hidden among Strasburg's thicket of spindly trees, patchy grass, and dirt fields, castles and wooden forts stand strong while flying saucers hint of an alien invasion. This is all part of Skyline Paintball's battlefield landscape, which includes twelve fields such as Mars Attacks and Frontier Fort. Before slinking through trenches and underground bunkers, players load up on fresh paintballs by Kee and GI Sportz, sold by Skyline onsite. Refs oversee matches to ensure everyone understands the finer techniques of pointillism and that no one uses a marker that fires faster than 280 feet per second. Less experienced players who rent equipment play in separate games from more experienced players who own their equipment, helping ensure games are evenly matched. Players can walk on during open play each Saturday and Sunday during which up to 20 players can sling rainbows of paint throughout strategy-laden matches. For paintless competitions, Skyline also hosts laser tag sessions.
Since 1998, Old Town Stained Glass's resident silica specialists have been crafting custom glass artworks for local churches and businesses while sharing their skills with the public through a full schedule of glass art classes. All-inclusive crash courses in glasswork guide students through the process of blowing color-flecked baubles, spangling home décor with vibrant mosaics, and cutting and soldering fragments into elaborate stained-glass panes. The shop also stocks a full complement of glassworking supplies and handblown trinkets to satisfy any gift giver, artist, or disrobed message in a bottle that wanders by.
Sprawling across 16 acres of mountain terrain atop Wisp Resort and the 550-acre Fork Run Recreation Area forest, Adventure Sports Center International immerses thrill seekers in a range of river sports, climbing, hiking, and other outdoor programs. On the river, experienced rafting guides—some of whom are U.S. Olympians—pilot adventurers down a one-third-mile artificial whitewater river, through four classes of changeable but authentic rapids bordered by boulders excavated onsite. Those who have reached the bottom return to the starting pool on a raft conveyor belt that defies gravity better than when Newton threw apples back into the trees. In the forest preserve, visitors frolic along rugged mile-long trails on bike or on foot, or scale natural limestone boulders and ledges. Climbing guides teach basic bouldering and rappelling while keeping the ledges clear of heckling mountain goats, or send adventurers off geocaching to hunt for a container hidden somewhere on the rocks or forest floor.
As visitors explore freely, youths hone academic and social skills through outdoor adventure and learning programs where guides teach them to raft, kayak, climb, mountain bike, and hike using only their imaginations and any required gear. The center’s artificial aquatic park and preserve have also hosted a range of festivals and competitions, including seven national whitewater championships and a bouldering championship.