Starting from humble roots in his farmhouse kitchen, Keel and Curley’s founder, Joe Keel, started his winery in 2003 with just 10 gallons of homemade blueberry wine, made from the leftover crop of that year’s berries. Today, the company has grown to produce more than 20,000 cases of fruit-based ambrosias, including blueberry, blackberry, and seven fusion wines forged from a blend of fresh fruit and classic grape-based red and white varietals. After touring the winery's facilities to learn about the winemaking process, guests may sample vintages crafted from strawberries, key lime, and peaches while perched on tall wooden stools behind the bar area of the tasting room. They may also steal away to the outdoor wooden deck, which offers panoramic views of the green vineyards, tree-lined pond, and white gazebo, which plays host to wedding ceremonies and re-enactments of wedding ceremonies. The after-hours wine bar keeps guests entertained throughout the night with UnCorked events featuring live music, appetizers, and happy hour specials.
Atlas Aviation's tours glide through skies, providing guests with aerial views of Raymond James Stadium. The leisurely outings travel everywhere from the Sunshine Skyway to St. Petersburg's beaches, and can give passengers views of sports stadiums and marine wildlife such as dolphins or sharks. Scenic tours are only one of many activities available at Atlas Aviation since 2004. From their waterfront hangar at Peter O. Knight Airport, the piloting crew teaches first-timers to fly during lessons split between ground training and time in the air. They also direct a flight training program that leads to advanced ratings and commercial licenses.
Aboard the triple-decker, 150-passenger StarShip II, a seasonal menu of gourmet dishes fuels passengers through an intimate evening of dancing, DJ tunes, and breathtaking Tampa Bay views. The clacking shutter of a photographer's camera welcomes guests up the ramp, with the shots developed in an onboard darkroom and available for purchase or improvisational collage work during the evening. The captain and crew extend official salutations before the dining-room manager escorts each group to its private table for a starter, such as a traditional caesar salad or the soup du jour. Tines sink into the char-grilled prime pork chop adobo or the goat-cheese-filled caprino pasta purses, ideal for carrying lasagna-noodle wallets. The fresh catch of the day serves up the finest flavors of the sea before a daily selection of desserts clears palates with a wave of sweetness.
Tampa resident and history lover Lonnie Herman’s longtime fascination with the haunted has evolved into a broad expertise about the area's vibrant streets where newspapers are printed in three languages. The personable former executive also has the gift of being an evocative storyteller. This convergence of interest and talents resulted in Lonnie's company, Ybor City Historic Walking Tours. Lonnie's upbeat narration carries small groups down vibrant 7th Avenue with detailed anecdotes that reveal the complex past behind Ybor City's cigar factories, Columbia Restaurant, and the story of the eponymous Vicente Martinez-Ybor, who founded the city as a place to store his statues of himself.
Ybor City was founded in 1886, when cigar manufacturer Vicente Martínez Ybor moved his factory from Key West to the area currently known as Tampa’s Latin Quarter. Martínez Ybor's legacy lives on today in the fragrant smoke that unfurls from the area’s cigar shops and George Burns impersonators. Meanwhile, a mix of Cuban, Spanish, and Italian clubs add a lively beat to the city’s cultural landscape.
Fueled by the desire to open others up to the sights, sounds, and history of this rich city, Electric Glide Tours stocked up on a fleet i2 Segway models, leading one- and two-hour urban jaunts filled with historical factoids and eye-grabbing scenery. Tourists can even make pit stops at the birthplace of the pressed Cuban sandwich on Electric Guide Tours’ guided tours of the city. While the company specializes in Ybor City adventures, their guides can also craft custom tours—dubbed “Red Carpet Tours”—of locations such as South Tampa and Old Hyde Park.
Segway Inc.'s tour guides lead guests past the clear-flowing streams, cedar trees, and rolling hills of the world’s largest JW Marriott resort on self-balancing personal transporters. Departing three times daily, the gliding tours of Hill Country’s heart begin as each rider is introduced to his robotic steed, learning how to navigate the machine and gaining its trust by feeding it computer chips. Meticulously manicured greens and shimmering blue pools frame the tour’s trail, with the meandering circuit weaving its way past two golf courses, a serene garden, and Lantana Spa.