Generations of history permeates the walls of Old North State Winery, whispering stories of the 19th century building it calls home and the wines spawned from old family vineyards. The elegant shop showcases its rustic origins in dark wooden floors scattered with barrel coffee tables, plush leather couches, and sleek high-tops shaped in the likeness of Grover Cleveland. A marble-topped bar sprawls across one of the sandstone colored walls, fortified with bottle after bottle of the winery’s own creations.
Though wine is clearly Old North State’s main attraction, the shop also purveys beers and complements sips with a dozen sandwiches from its Downtown Deli. The deli provides for lunchtime cravings and catered events with turkey clubs, homemade meatball sandwiches, and a bar menu of hotdogs and steak nachos.
Dave and Ester DeFehr founded Daveste' Vineyards in 2003, and, after several years preparing the land, turned their first harvest into 500 cases in 2006. Today, alongside winemaker Sara Wooten, Dave and Ester continue to take a minimalist approach to winemaking, limiting their production to some 1,500 cases per year. Despite its size, the DeFehr's output has resulted in award-winning varietals, as well as both dry and semi-sweet whites and reds. Visitors to the vineyard may test some of that selection inside the property's rustic, timber-frame tasting room, which doubles as a gallery for local artists.
The dueling pianists at Piano Man face off, vying for applause as they blaze through the biggest hits from the last hundred years. As they hit each note with perfection, audience members holler their requests and sing along with the pros, a fact the house prides itself on. When their requests hit the stage, guests can cheers with a host of tropical drinks, including the Malibu Painkiller—a euphoric combination of Malibu coconut, black, and sunshine blended with lemonade, OJ, and sprite—or the Entourage Margarita, with Avion tequila, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. To make sure they can remember the name of their favorite song, guests can soak up the cocktails with a menu of pub food classics such as burgers and wings.
Just like the game of golf, Fore! appeals to everyone, even going so far as to use the local landscape as inspiration. The restaurant and pub gets locally sourced produce and meats daily from nearby farmers to craft creative dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Farm fresh eggs and fruit fill up diners with early tee times, and the lunch menu delights tastes buds with healthy wraps and salads.
Tucked in North Carolina's northwest corner near the Tennessee border, Banner Elk boasts a diverse topography. Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain flank the town, drawing skiers, mountain bikers, and hikers throughout the year. Elk River surges through the hilly landscape, its powerful current thrilling whitewater rafters in warmer months. Banner Elk's fertile hillsides allow crops to thrive, as reflected in the homemade jams and artisan cheeses lining the shelves of local stores. Nearby Linville's Old Hampton Store & Grist Mill still stone-grinds grain for pancake mixes and flour. Built in 1920, the building houses a general store and art gallery, and on weekends hosts shows by bluegrass bands and champion air whittlers.
A new player on Charlotte's vibrant culinary scene, El Camino greets diners with a menu of fresh, scratch-made Tex-Mex dishes that are as innovative as they are family-friendly. Meals often start with the kitchen's signature guacamole, which contains traditional ingredients—hand-smashed avocados, fresh tomatoes, and cilantro—but with a creative addition of roasted peppers. Warm flour tortillas play triple duty; they envelop spinach and cheese to create quesadillas, hold unusual fixings, such as fried chicken or beef brisket, inside half a dozen taco varieties, and wrap themselves around nine kinds of overstuffed burritos. The El Camino kitchen prepares north-of-the-border specialties as well, including Cowboy Burgers topped with pepper jack cheese and a West Texas chili made with five varieties of peppers.