Wahoo’s Adventures refers to itself as the “original” whitewater outfitter, having facilitated outdoor excursions on rafts, tubes, canoes, and kayaks for the past three decades. Whitewater-rafting tours take place upon the Watauga River, the Nolichucky River, and Wilson Creek Gorge, three waterways with differing levels of frothiness, much like three cappuccinos ordered by a family of bears. Alternatively, adults without rafting experience and children as young as 6 months can lazily drift down the New River while sprawled across tubes. As they pass rugged hillsides and scenic farmland, tubers can smell wildflowers, listen to chirping birds, and keep eyes peeled for Sasquatch footprints. Keeping clients safe is Wahoo’s main priority, which is why their experienced guides equip adventurers with high-quality life jackets, helmets, and paddles before taking the water.
River and Earth Adventures stands out from other wilderness outfitters by being completely operated by their own guides. Their fleet of seasoned cave, mountain, and water-navigating guides work in tandem with professional ecologists and geologists, focusing Blue Ridge Mountains excursions on environmental education as well as adventure. During all day trips, guides divulge area history and expound on forest and river ecosystems as well as geology in caves whose interiors rest at 60 degrees year-round to keep them free of snowman hermits.
Each trip also immerses adventurers in athletic activity, whether on hikes to summits and secluded waterfalls, spelunking through electricity-free cave tunnels, or rafting and kayaking down the Watauga River rapids. For those in search of extended excursions, guides lead children's adventure day camps and combination trips that further an environmental focus and bottle-cap collections through river cleanup projects.
The instructors at Masterpiece Mixers Paint & Party Studio supply the canvases, paints, and brushes, requiring visitors to bring only their creativity. At studios located around Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Massachusetts, they lead all-level painting classes that last from 90 minutes to three hours, and focus on subjects ranging from the natural, such as birds and flowers, to still-life guitars, vases, and wine bottles. In some themed sessions, instructors also teach groups to paint abstract pieces or create their own variations on famous landscape paintings that, unlike the originals, can include dinosaurs. Some sessions follow a special date-night structure. At every location, the staff members encourage visitors to bring their own wine, beer, and snacks if desired.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
Having spent more than 24,000 hours at the controls of airborne helicopters and fixed-wing planes, Richard Cantley possesses a sure footing at any elevation. From his post within the gray T-hangar at the privately owned Johnson City Airport, the experienced pilot and flight instructor escorts first-time flyers to the skies during hands-on lessons. Whether students aspire to obtain a license of their own or just a panoramic view of Tennessee’s scenic landscape, Richard peppers each lesson with tips on how to read instruments, adhere to proper safety precautions, and swerve around zeppelins during rush hour.
Tipton Street Pub's friendly bartenders pour patrons a selection of more than 50 beers, with back-kitchen cooks quelling guests’ hunger pains with a menu of burgers, sandwiches, and classic pub-inspired appetizers. The establishment’s sprawling drink menu abounds with 27 bottled imported beers ($3.50 each), 13 bottled domestic beers ($2.50 each), and a selection of 14 draft beers ($1.50–$4), including Miller High Life pints ($2). Complement a frosty brew with free chips and salsa (available during happy hour), or hang a fang on an appetizer such as the savory bourbon chicken wings ($7) or spicy cheese-stuffed jalapeño poppers ($5). A selection of sandwiches and burgers also is available, including a Pub burger—topped with grilled onion, mushrooms, swiss cheese, and bacon ($6.50)—that knows how to order its own beer.