A towering wine rack spans an entire wall and glimmers with more than 1,000 bottles. Across the room, a lineup of nitrogen-regulated Enomatic machines dispenses samples from 80 wines to be sipped, swirled, and theatrically spit while reclining on a leather sofa, or while sitting at the long wooden bar. Small, shareable plates populate Sarasota Vineyard's menu in the forms of cheeses, roasted olives, and prosciutto-wrapped figs, ideal for pairing with wines or barley pops from a list of 20 beers.
It may be the inaugural year of Tysons Fall Harvest, but it already has the docket to rival any well-established fall festival. This family-friendly event will keep kids entertained with plenty of activities, from pony rides and petting zoos to a hay maze and pumpkin carving. Those who need to brush up on their carving skills can sit in on demonstrations from master pumpkin carvers or head to the craft corner to paint or just hug a gourd that escaped.
Even without kids in tow, adults will have plenty to do, including visiting the wine and beer garden for unlimited samples when they purchase a tasting glass, as well as shopping a marketplace with pumpkins and fall decor. They might even consider dropping by Rocknoceros's set at the live-music stage; they might be a kids' band, but their acclaim has landed them gigs at Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and the Kennedy Center. A portion of the Harvest's proceeds will benefit the Spirit of Hope Children's Foundation.
Since 1980, Time For Wine has colored the palates of wine lovers with a wealth of limited-production vintages from around the world that are typically unavailable in stores, restaurants, or juice boxes. Personal consultants continue the cherished traditions of European wine tasting by helping clients select a choice bottle with thorough sampling, taste analysis, and metaphors that may involve freshly cut grass or the musk of a well-travelled nickel. The boutique's sommeliers can make house calls to customers to host tastings of wines such as Italian chianti and South American malbec, and mail orders of finely aged grape juices ship within 24 hours. Customized labels grace specially ordered bottles with family photos, family crests, and personal messages.
Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
There's no telling who you'll run into on a Beer Crawl crawl?past events have seen stormtroopers, cowboys, and even a brace of rarely spotted Waldos. Thanks to themed costume contests that run the gamut from neon '80s wear to masked superheroes to a holiday-themed "ugly sweater crawl," attendees of all stripes race or meander between trendy area venues. At each one, they enjoy free beer and drink specials as DJs spin popular tunes and supervise games such as Flip Cup or Figure Out What Channel the Game Is On. Participating bars vary, but can include watering holes such as Yard of Ale and MacDinton's, among many others.
Chefs at La Casa Della Pasta embellish pastas, gnocchi, and desserts made in-house with handfuls of imported Italian ingredients, including eggplant and mozzarella. As owner Enrique Tangari told the Tampa Bay Times in 2011, "I import everything, flour, water, tomatoes, cheeses … to make any kind of pasta dish you want, on the menu or not." His commitment to imported flavor also extends to the restaurant's drink menu, which features wines made from such traditional Italian varietals as pinot grigio, sangiovese, and nebbiolo, as well as beers with suspiciously small amounts of fermented grape juice.