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.
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.
The idea for an annual barbecue expo began slow-cooking in 2010 at a family lunch. The Boyds thought about organizing a little barbecue competition and ended up luring 8,500 barbecue enthusiasts to their "small" cook-off and fundraiser. Now in its third year, the charitable event continues to develop flavor and raise money for local schools while packing bellies with some of the area's best barbecue recipes.
With napkins in hand, attendees can follow the smoky scents and sounds of sauce-splattered high-fives from the tents of a variety of vendors. Ten teams of grilling gurus face off in a whole-hog cook-off, with the winners earning a cash prize and a spot in the state championship later this year. A new Chick-fil-A sauce competition sifts through the day's top toppings until a winner is crowned. Between bites, guests can also savor the festival's many attractions, including a police dog demonstration, a petting zoo, and a BMX bike show, where riders wow onlookers by performing tricks and bunny-hopping over smokers.
Acumen Arms trains out of several shooting ranges, servicing both North and South Carolina.
Acumen Arms' rentals include firearms such as a .22 caliber handgun.
Bob Plyler holds the distinction of having earned the NRA's Triple Distinguished Expert award, a commendation recognizing proficiency in pistol, rifle, and shotgun shooting. At Acumen Arms, Bob combines this award-winning expertise with an instructional certification from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and his experience as a Vietnam veteran. This echoing expanse of knowledge comes in handy when he teaches classes that range from basic marksmanship to concealed-carry qualification. Bob takes a special interest in tactical training, and he he also tailors services for hunters, including clinics in turkey and whitetail-deer hunting, and guided hunts on controlled preserves for deer and game birds.
To really appreciate the scope of the Blue Ridge Corn Maze, you'd have to take to the skies above the 6-acre cornfield. Luckily, the brains behind the maze catered to their wingless visitors by installing an observation deck that provides an over-the-stalk view of the twisting pathways and may offer a hint as to the direction of the exit. Past maze patterns have carved out the corn with themed designs such as industrial scenes, lumberjacks felling trees, and a perfect likeness of Walter Mondale. The center also boats a 60'x140' rental tent for special events and can send hungry maze-goers home with grass-fed beef and farm-fresh pork, which are available for sale.
Brian Griffin, head cheerleading coach and director of Mountain Elite All-Stars, knows how to take a squad to the top of the pyramid. From his start as a Power Cheer all-star in Port Orange to his four state championships and six national titles with the Power Cheers elite open squad, he honed the skills to win and now sports more than six years of experience as a cheerleading-and-tumbling coach. With contagious enthusiasm, Brian and the coaching team of Mountain Elite All-Stars welcome students to the home of the Thunders, where aspiring boys and girls of all ages learn to be roaring tumblers and pompommers under their expert tutelage.