SONIC is the largest chain of drive-in restaurants in America. With modest roots as a hamburger and root beer stand founded in 1953 in Shawnee, Okla., called Top Hat Drive-In, the name was changed to SONIC in 1959. The first drive-in to adopt the SONIC name is still serving customers in Stillwater, Okla. and today the chain
Kestrel Vintners' two 80-acre vineyard sites furnish wines culled from a collection of dark, rich reds and crisp, fruity whites—all created and housed within the 15,000-square-foot winery ziggurat. Inside the tasting rooms, guests can sip on an evolving selection of six samplings, with offerings that may include the Lady in Red 9th Edition blend, juxtaposing dark, fruity flavors with rich spice and cedar, or the bright and citrusy 2009 Falcon Series sauvignon blanc. Drinkables are paired with a charcuterie plate, featuring a selection of cheese and cured meats arranged to resemble Italy's boot kicking a giant meatball. Visitors will take home two souvenir glasses to commemorate their grape-fueled adventure, and will receive 20% off any wines available for purchase at the time of their visit.
"Baker City's kinda big. It's got traffic lights," says Dave from the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center—traffic lights whose initial installation was funded thanks to a 1920s tax on the hotel's bordello services, which is another tale entirely. Baker City's population is just under 10,000, but the city boasts more than 100 buildings on the historic registry, which helped earn it a finalist position on Rand McNally and USA Today's Best of the Road "Most Beautiful Town" list.Tagging along for Historic Baker City's self-guided walking tour is an educational way to spot some of these distinguished domiciles up close, but for an even more authentic eastern Oregon outing, travelers can clip-clop through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage. Ron Colton, dressed in a white button-up oxford and a white cowboy hat, takes folks on leisurely equestrian rambles around town or romantic rides through flocks of wild cherubs. In a friendly country drawl with leather reins in hand, Ron points out where he saw lightning strike the cross right off the roof of the old Catholic hospital.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers' market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,400 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options, such as the pepperoni pretzel and eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade mixers.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. They also reach out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Black Bear Frozen Yogurt & Espresso's menu offers treats and beverages to satisfy any sweets craving. Yogurts are made from high-count active yogurt cultures obtained from one of Portland's locally operated creameries. These simple ingredients are transformed into a rotating spectrum of frozen yogurt flavors, including simple blends like french vanilla or egg nog to specialty flavors such as s'mores or snowflakes, which is best dispensed directly onto a stuck-out tongue.
Chilly treats can be paired with hot espresso drinks featuring the fresh flavor of locally roasted beans. Beans are acquired through Family Direct trading, which pays fair wages to coffee farmers and their families in South America and Africa for the best-grown coffee from their fields.