As fall winds sweep over the land, all manner of horrifying creatures descend on Scream Fair Halloween Haunt to feast on visitors' shrieks. Multiple themed areas provide a host of different scares to curdle the blood of even the bravest souls, and new horrors rumble the walls each season. In previous years, vampires have hunted the living, murderous lunatics have escaped their cells, and Michael Myers has caught an unlucky few in order to subject them to his vacation photos.
What's proper etiquette for the queen's sommelier? West Coast Wine Education's John Gerum confronted this question head on when he served Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently he made the right choice, as he went on to pour wine for prime ministers, presidents, provincial premiers, and cultural icons during his 20-year career. Gerum's achievement distills three generations of fine-dining experience that was passed down from his father, a chef, and his grandfather, a maitre d'. Wine education was always his passion, so when starting out, he sought personal instruction from the master sommelier Andrew Laliberté and demonstrated a palate refined enough to earn him membership and certification from the International Sommelier Guild. Gerum often merges his know-how with other wine educators to cultivate a roster of classes and hone their delivery. These experts join in delineating scotch terroir and describing the bouquet of a student's favourite pinot-stained shirt with an easy professionalism that has enthralled groups of up to 300 people. They share their expertise with casual drinkers and professionals during two-hour workshops, in consultation for store openings and events, and through appearances on Global TV.
With Langley's picturesque countryside as its backdrop, Neck of the Woods Winery concocts red, white, and sparkling wines using grapes grown primarily in the surrounding Fraser Valley. The facility takes advantage of the area's cool climate–which is similar to that of Northern France and Germany–to oversee the entire production process from pressing to bottling. After spending quality time with their maker or a court-appointed barrel, products migrate to store shelves throughout Fraser Valley and Vancouver, or stay right at home in the winery's tasting room. There, visitors pass through daily to sample the varietals, or hang out in the showroom, warmly stocked with rustic casks and a crackling fireplace.
The award-winning Ott & Murphy Wines outfits fortuitous palettes with otherworldly wines, handcrafted in the French winemaking tradition. From a waterside tasting room overlooking the Puget Sound’s Saratoga Passage and the Cascades beyond, you and a fellow burgeoning oenophile will sample 2-ounce pours of four wines from Ott & Murphy’s current stock. Leave unadventurous taste buds at home when sampling sips such as the 2008 tempranillo, a bright, fruity vintage wafting forth scents of berry, cola, caramel, and coffee, or the 2009 viognier, a dry Northern Rhone white blend that recalls violets, honeysuckle, and straw, supplemented by tastes of peach, apricot, melon, and minerals to form a vino that's both fruity and floral, like a popsicle shrub. Complement a night of imbibing by nibbling on two custom truffles, made with Ott & Murphy’s own tempranillo grape tears and silky-smooth chocolate tongue paint.
Plants aren't all that scary. Which is what makes Potters House of Horrors so unusual. Every year, when the chill of autumn fills the air and pumpkins grow on vines, Potters transforms from a relaxed garden center into a spooky maze filled with giant spiders and hung skeletons. Traveling through the 9,000-square-foot labyrinth, visitors will encounter of a series of haunted rooms where live actors and animatronics test their tolerance for fear in a setting straight out of a horror movie. Whether under cover of darkness or in a kaleidoscope of color, each room is designed to frighten everyone, from teenagers to emotionless robots who take over teenager bodies.
It often takes 12 minutes just to leave the house, remember you forgot your keys, and go back for them. In the same amount of time, Island Express Air’s signature snappy flights can shuffle passengers all the way from Abbotsford to Vancouver. The airline also services Victoria and Nanaimo with their fleet of professional aircraft, outfitted with cutting edge XM Satellite GPS technology that keeps pilots apprised of weather and terrain clearance.
The airline complements its regularly scheduled local flights with airborne sightseeing tours. From the windows of intimate planes equipped with a maximum of 10 seats, tourists drink in views of the Gulf Islands, Mount Baker, and other landmarks, dipping low enough to glimpse whales as they power-wash the plane’s underside with their blowholes. Alternatively, the airline’s private charter flights can whisk passengers to a destination of their choice.