Tim Langdon and his wife, Renee, founded Camp Flintlock on a simple concept: people learn about history best if they live it. The Langdons know firsthand: they live on the property in an 18th-century-style log home that Tim and his friends built by hand. To immerse visitors in their colonial world, the Langdons host overnight camping trips where visitors can sleep in colonial-style tents, fire muskets, and string together Native American?inspired necklaces. At residential summer camps, guests even don colonial garb and participate in daily chores, such as splitting firewood and looking over their shoulder for the British. For those who just want a taste of colonial living, school field trips and day camps include activities like making beeswax candles and playing colonial games.
In 40 years, Hinnant Family Vineyards has had time to grow 87 acres of muscadine grapes that have been turned into succulent wines, some as old as the vineyard itself. While the wines are the specialty, the team also opens its gate to visitors seeking to learn about winemaking, picnic on the wraparound porch, celebrate their weddings, or attend a summer music festival.
Owner and vintner Dr. Lane Gregory and his staff of merry winemakers harvest their wine grapes from the fertile muscadine vines that flourish on Gregory Vineyards' 120 acres of lush farmland. The winery's Old-World tasting room and wood furniture lend a rustic atmosphere to samplings of cleverly named wines such as Sly Fox, Ruth Walton, or the dry white known as Bald Eagle. Like North Carolina's banana trees, the regional muscadine grape thrives from late August until early October, giving Dr. Gregory and company only a matter of weeks to harvest the tough-skinned fruit.
In addition to tastings, the handsome property plays host to weddings and other special events. And, on an average day, visitors may be spotted in the vineyard with Dr. Gregory, or exploring the vineyards.
Shrouded in groves of leafless trees, Darkside Haunted Estates looms ominously. Dilapidated black shutters hang from the two-story house's white, weather-beaten siding, and behind its black door, nightmares have stirred to life for more than two decades. Throughout its eerie grounds, the staff has installed dynamic special effects on a collection of attractions that has ballooned to more than a dozen, including a quarter-mile haunted trail and a backwoods hayride. Unsettling sites tell the estate's sordid story through the Darkside Mortuary, Rottenkorr Cemetery, and The Manor. They’ve also installed a "Fame of Shame" board, which keeps track of visitors who bail early and of monsters who faint at the sight of their own fake blood.
Established in 2000, Ken's Korny Corn Maze presents an autumn playground where families converge every year for full days of exercise, learning, and fun. As the centerpiece of the property, the 6-acre corn maze snakes visitors through 2.5 miles of trails that take months to design and construct. Burrowed into the stalks are rest areas that provide trekkers with benches and water coolers, and checkpoints track how long groups spend in the maze so they aren't slowed by having to drag cumbersome grandfather clocks behind them. Hasty escapes from the maze's twisting paths leave plenty of time to check out other family-friendly attractions, including an 8,000-square-foot rope maze, a mini-golf course, and hayrides.
The mobile historians at Triangle Glides lead tours through the most exciting locations in Raleigh's past and present. They spin tales as groups glide past modern and historic landmarks on the Downtown Discovery tour or learn of riots, duels, and public hangings during a more macabre tour, aptly named Raleigh's Darkest Secrets. In other tours, groups travel into the 19th-century neighborhood of Oakwood and enjoy the lush grounds of Oakwood Cemetery, the final resting place of nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers.
This sort of exploration is the foundation of Triangle Glides, but its Segways are restricted to land. To explore the area's waters, the company also sells and rents standup paddleboards. Resident instructors can help newbies master these watercraft during seasonal lessons on nearby Lake Wheeler, where paddlers find calm waters surrounded by leafy forests.