Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.
The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
River guides outfit each participant with a tube and life jacket before shuttling them to the Upper Hudson River, where they take in scenic views of the Adirondacks and float on water 2 to 3 feet deep that boasts an average temperature of 72 degrees. As the weather warms, the park shifts its focus to its four downhill tubing slides. To add more excitement, the company's crew revamped the colorful slides with snow-like surfaces that create increased speeds. This spirit for adventure echoes at nearby Lower Hudson Gorge, where Tubby Tubes' rafts and tubes explore the flat waters and tree-lined banks.
Owner and pilot Todd J. Monahan remembers chasing hot air balloons across the sky as a land-locked child. After attending extensive training and FAA-approved safety seminars, he finally caught up to them, founding SunKiss Ballooning and enlisting the expertise of his brother Scott as well as a cast of experienced pilots and crewmembers. Citing safety as a priority, SunKiss' captains stay up to date on the latest in balloon technology, and they escort passengers through the sky in nine vessels, each rated to carry different gross weights and repel different-sized Mothras.
When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.
More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.
What happens when you mix a background in chemistry with a wine-making heritage and decades of industry experience? You end up with Gary Akrop, a vintner who really knows his stuff. For Gary, wine was once a simple hobby. But it eventually grew into a full-blown passion, leading him to establish Ledge Rock Hill Winery in the Adirondack Mountains in 2011.
There, he mixes scientific wisdom with decades of industry knowhow to produce limited batches of his handcrafted wine. Reds are the winery's specialty, each one made with grapes crushed onsite. And much like magic genies, each one is stored in oak barrels for months and even years at a time. Such precise barrel aging is part of a process that, when combined with quality fruit and expert skills, helps Gary and Ledge Rock produce wines of exceptional character. Whether sweet or dry wines are your favorite, a variety of the winery's best choices is always available for sampling in the warm, woodsy tasting room.
The Oliva family is most passionate about three things: great wine, great food, and great company, preferably all at the same time. Over time, these activities inspired Tony Oliva and his wife Debreen to begin making wine. Together they have traveled extensively to Tuscany and Napa Valley, studying the unique winemaking methods of each region. Armed with the knowledge to turn grapes into nectar, Oliva Vineyards now produces five vintages, including sparkling reds, ros?s, and blends.
The Oliva Vineyards tasting room welcomes guests to taste wines at their bar, which was built by Tony himself from wood procured at a local sawmill.