Though spectral forms and shadowy figures still reside in The Haunted Cottage, its greatest legacy is as the occasional vacation home of assassin John Wilkes Booth. Also known as the Booth House, The Haunted Cottage is home to paranormal researcher Vince Wilson, who helms the haunted abode's ghost tours and maintains the paranormal library and history museum, where guests can spy a vampire skeleton among other supernatural exhibits. All this knowledge pours from Vince's mouth during tours and investigations, which pair breakdowns of the house's 200-year history with actual equipment designed to catch ghosts, from cameras and digital recorders to EMF meters.
The Haunted Cottage also strives to school spirit-seekers with paranormal-research training that cycles through parapsychology topics such as extrasensory perception, hypnosis, and psychic healing.
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.
A short 6 mile trip from its more recognized cousin, Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob offers visitors a glimpse into one of Frank Lloyd Wright's distinctive Usonian homes. The small structure exemplifies Wright's abiding philosophy of organic architecture, as it melds naturally into its surroundings. Standing 2,050 feet above sea level, the home sits below a crest of hills, and its native tidewater red cypress and sandstone construction materials help it seem to sink into the hills themselves.
Tours of the property provide insight into the home, its features, and its original owners, as well as its newest inhabitants, Lord and Lady Palumbo, who have since filled Kentuck Knob with an extensive art collection. In fact, the gardens, woods, and meadow are dotted with works from such notable artists as Andy Goldsworthy, Claes Oldenburg, and Ray Smith.
In early September, just as the first signs of fall nip at the landscape around the quiet pond and the rolling vineyard—that's when the time is right for Miracle Valley Vineyard to harvest the grapes that will become its estate-grown cabernet franc. But as is so often the case with wine, patience in consuming it is rewarded. The cabernet franc's enticing bouquet of raspberries and violets gives way to a rounded mouthfeel, which balances the ripe fruit flavors with its restrained tannins. During the rest of the year, customers could stick to one of the vineyard's half-dozen other wines, including an off-dry rosé with a lingering sweetness to match its pink hue.
The wine is the main attraction at Miracle Valley, but the grounds are just as enticing. The winery frequently hosts graduations, rehearsal dinners, and other gatherings for up to 50 people, not to mention group tastings in a tasting room that overlooks the lush scenery. While guests are there, they can stroll the territory, perhaps stumbling across bullets from the Civil War raids that took place in the area.
On a stroll through Cobbler Mountain Cellars' winery, one might come across owners Jeff and Laura McCarthy Louden guiding visitors to the cozy tasting room. There, the married vintners describe taste-size samples from their reserve, such as an oak-and-stainless-aged Chardonnay or a Cabernet Sauvignon with notes of dark cherry and tobacco. The winery's 2011 Meritage won the gold medal award at the Virginia Wine 2014 Governor's Cup Awards while their Hard Apple Cider took home the silver medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in 2014. The Loudens pair their estate wines with samples of local artisanal cheeses and croissants that can be purchased on site.