When the sun sets over the Pisgah National Forest, the gourds lining Stingy’s Illuminated Pumpkin Trails begin to glow. Its more than 1,000 craft pumpkins—hand carved by local artists—display scenes such as rainforests, pirates, and mythical creatures. Before nightfall, however, Stingy Jack's Pumpkin Patch entices guests with myriad other autumnal attractions. The forest beckons guests to explore its spooky trail on foot or via hayride, a hay-bale maze challenges them twists and turns, and a human hamster wheel welcomes sprint sessions, all of which are carefully monitored by a staff of giant scientists.
Throughout the day, dance groups command the stage while local vendors hawk their wares and munchies, and Stingy Jack's Pumpkin Patch personnel sell pumpkins grown by local farmers. Along with pumpkins for purchase, Stingy’s Ultimate Pumpkin Chunker hurtles them into the woods in a grand spectacle all night once the pumpkin trail lights up.
The turquoise mountains rising out of Lake Lure's waters may have made it onto films such as Dirty Dancing because of their scenic beauty, but they also serve a practical function. “The mountains block out the wind, so you can always find good water,” Lake Lure Adventure Company president Genevieve Helms told Waterski Magazine. With the help of the water-sports rental company, visitors can take advantage of the lake's amiable conditions that are perfect for activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. Passengers who choose to take guided fishing trips use baited lines to capture mountain trout and bluegill, whose populations are replenished yearly. Instructors certified by USA Water Ski lead waterskiing and wakeboarding expeditions aboard MasterCraft ski boats, and pontoon rentals let visitors take the wheel and pilot one of Lake Lure Adventure Company's roomy boats for a day of leisure.
More than 500 feet in the air, a climber pauses atop Looking Glass Rock, taking in the scenic views of North Carolina that stretch for miles in every direction. The AMGA-certified guides at Appalachian Mountain Institute aim to help climbers reach these elevated vantage points. Their guided trips range from beginner lessons to more advanced multipitch climbing, which exercises techniques that can be used to scale the peaks of Table Rock. As winter brings colder weather and more embarrassing pajamas, ice climbing beckons groups to tackle vertical flows of ice.
AMI also sponsors the Adventure for Kids Program, an outreach initiative designed to take local kids climbing. Additionally, they lead camps for teenagers and retreats that fuse climbing with yoga.:m]]
Travels In Wine Tours' co-founders, Kimberlee Young and Derek Schuler, share their love of wine, food, and travel with curious tourists through tours designed and led by certified sommeliers. Epicurean scenic tours of boutique wineries, personalized luxury Napa vacations, and custom weekend getaways marry viticultural education with flavorful indulgence as guests take in picturesque panoramas of vineyards that stretch to the horizon before curving upward and forming bridges to the moon.
Falderal Winery welcomes guests into the oak-study tasting room twice a month to expound upon the scientific miracle of fermentation. Instructor and vintner Paul Kovacich, a native of the terroir of western North Carolina, wields his experience at Thistle Meadow Winery to aid the public during fermented endeavors. Paul's class covers the winemaking process, from the addition of yeast to bottling to making labels out of cartoons from the New Yorker. Reservations are recommended, as the winery caps classes at eight students.
Entering its 75th-anniversary season, Brevard Music Center displays the artistic progress made by its talented students by presenting an annual summer concert series. Led by current Boston Pops conductor and Brevard artistic director, Keith Lockhart, as well as a sea lion believed to be the reincarnation of Beethoven, the center enrolls more than 400 students aged 14 to 29 to study with its staff of distinguished artists. With this deal, concertgoers can soak up orchestral sounds from the best available seating in all three orchestra sections. Tickets for "Opening Night" on June 24 are still available, when the orchestra will roll through Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35, as well as two other pieces.