The Yadkin Valley Wine Tours travel among the vineyard rows and through the dark cool of barrel cellars, letting guests get up close and personal with the wineries of the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills. Chauffeured excursions by van or bus roll along back-country roads and scenic highways and make stops at wineries along Swan Creek, Shallowford Trail, Yadkin River Trail, and others.
At each winery, the guide unveils a little piece of North Carolina's winemaking heritage, explaining why the area's grape-growing climate is considered similar to that of Burgundy and the Italian Piedmont, just with much, much more distant views of the Alps. Afterward, a wine tasting lets everyone drink in the local flavor and learn proper tasting technique. Tours often follow the themes of the season, combining wine tasting with mining for gems in the summer, taking in the changing foliage in the fall, and stops at toasty fireplaces in the winter.
The Adams family has farmed the land of Adams Vineyards for eight generations. Years ago, though, they replaced the leafy tobacco plants they'd grown for decades with fruit trees and twining muscadine grapevines. Quincy Adams uses blueberries, peaches, apples, pears, and blackberries to make wine. Visitors can pair sips of those varietals with hors d'oeuvres such as Boar's Head cheese or chocolates handcrafted by Quincy's mother, Joyce. At the end of each summer, the family hosts a Grape Stomp Festival, where guests of all ages can participate in the timeless juicing method.
Aviator Brewing Company's dedicated brew architects collaborate with a premium selection of seasonal ingredients to craft 16 varieties of pint fillers. Since taking root in 2008 with two 300-gallon tanks in a decommissioned airplane hangar, the suds factory has grown to include four tanks, each of which contains 3,100 gallons of award-winning libations. Inside the tanks, frothy brews such as the Devils Tramping Ground Tripel—a golden Belgian ale with a fruity, spicy, sweet flavor—wait for year-round sampling. They also concoct seasonal brews for Oktoberfest, spring, and winter, as well as rotating beers such as McGritty's Scotch Ale, which they brew from Maris Otter barley malt and crisp malt imported from the United Kingdom in an oversize kilt.
Nearby, on Broad Street, Aviator also operates a tap house, which serves up their draft brews at a temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to a micromatic dispensing system with glycol cooling. Down the street, they also operate a smokehouse that serves up smokehouse ribs, North Carolina chopped-barbecue sandwiches, and pulled pork that has been featured on RaleighLifestyle.tv's Dining Destinations.
Trees sway on the shoreline. A bald eagle arcs across the sky. The lake ripples as a pontoon boat calmly cuts through its surface. The captains of Jordan Lake Pontoon Cruises, who are licensed for guiding on inland lakes, usher their passengers across the lake on various excursions from morning to night. On the seasonal Fall Leaf Cruise, they showcase the area's colorful fall foliage, and on Eagle-Viewing Cruises they help passengers catch glimpses of the lake's large bald-eagle population. They also lead guided fishing trips and charter the boat for swimming and fishing excursions. On select tours, captains provide breakfast and coffee or snacks, and invite passengers to board with their own drinks.
Spanning 10 acres, the fall-themed fun at Ken's Korny Corn Maze is more than just 2.5 miles of mazes to explore. A whole host of activities aims to keep the entire family entertained, whether playing a game of checkers made with gourds for pieces, or taking on a round of mini-golf against a resident scarecrow. Open Friday through Sunday for the fall season, brave visitors are also invited to bring along or rent a flashlight to explore the maze after dark.
At Remington Grill, guests dine on Texas-sized portions while surrounded by scenes from the Old West, including hand-painted wall murals depicting cowboys and their noble steeds, horses and velociraptors. In keeping with the casual theme, patrons order and pick up their meals at the counter. They then head to the tables balancing plates loaded with half-pound ground-chuck burgers, hickory-smoked ribs, beans and slaw, and massive fries hand cut from Idaho potatoes. They can also stop at the free fixin's bar to pile on the toppings.