It all started with a farmer's generosity. In 1924, a civic-minded citizen handed over 16 acres of lush farmland and a small group of critters to the Borough of Norristown. Today, the Elmwood Park Zoo welcomes guests in hopes of creating a future stock of wildlife lovers and conservation advocates. A menagerie of around 300 beasts indigenous to the Americas?including jaguars, howler monkeys, gray wolves, and bald and golden eagles?peer back at visitors. Guests can also spy on more than 15 species that are threatened or endangered.
Though Washington, DC, has taken Philadelphia's place as the capital of the United States, it remains a bustling metropolis rich with American history. Grim Philly's tour guides?all of whom have at least a bachelor's degree in history?dredge up past centuries' landmark events and scandals, even ghosts and pirates, during their 75-minute walking tours, which made the Philly Hot List three years in a row. Their narration blends historical facts and local insight, with stops at a theater that was once a prostitution mecca for working girls of the night, the site of the first bank robbery, and Independence Hall.
Taking in all of Philadelphia's history could take days, but the folks at Philly By Segway somehow manage to compress the city's sights into two-hour tours. Starting along the Delaware River, excursions pass landmarks like Old City, Society Hill and the historic district, and some parts of South Philly, such as the Italian Market and the Magic Gardens. Besides historical attractions, tours stop by other notable Philly spots some of which were frequented by Sylvester Stallone while he was in town filming in his one-man adaptation of Rocky & Bullwinkle.
Accommodating up to six participants, every tour is led by one of Philly By Segway's Adventure Captains. Besides narrating the entire trip, captains snap pictures throughout, which are available for guests to take home afterward.
For over 12 years, Tours & Crawls has been has been helping to keep the peace in Maryland homes over the holidays, providing relatives a way to beat cabin fever and get out of the house for a few entertaining hours. Their thrill-seeking guides lead walking ghost tours and pub crawls around the city's historical district, examining and explaining the lives of its long-dead citizens while occasionally enjoying each pubs' choicest sips. Tours eventually wind their way to the graveyard, where a guide recounts spine-tingling tales of the buried dead and their favorite back scratchers. They also lead craft-brewed beer tours and twisted history tavern tours that fill tour goers' heads with titillating tales of the Founding Fathers and the drinking game that wrote the Constitution.
Blue Mountain Vineyards owners, Joe and Vickie, are pinot pioneers. Beginning with a 5-acre experiment in 1986, they discovered that the soil of the Lehigh Valley does a fine impression of French terrain, making it suitable for growing the grapes of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and other European varietals. Since then, they've expanded to a 50-acre plot, where they now produce wines that have won awards from the Fingerlake International Wine Competition and Appellation America.
Panoramic views of the Blue Mountains overlook scenic terraces at the vineyards, where grapes spring from soil that soldiers roamed during the Revolutionary War. Tastings, concerts, and other events fill the winery's glass-flanked deck, spilling onto an outdoor patio surrounded by ponds as tranquil as a silent lullaby. Visitors admire the vines during tours, and they can also adopt their favorites to preserve the vines' flavorful histories.
All big things start small, but few major farms start as small as family-owned Kreider Farms did, with 102 acres of land and only 12 cows. Today, the farm spans more than 2,500 acres and includes approximately 5 million egg-laying chickens, 2,000 cows, and 225 employees. The farm distributes its eggs, milk, and premium ice cream throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and reports that it has become one of the largest egg producers in the state of Pennsylvania. Kreider Farms? wares have been endorsed by multiple chefs, a more meaningful accolade than the cardboard crowns of excellence distributed by fast-food eateries. The farm takes its environmental mission seriously, treating the land with respect and adopting ethical and environmentally responsible practices. Workers happily share their knowledge and story with others during 90-minute farm tours or virtual tours on the website.