After graduating from Vassar College in 1997, vintner Tom Carroll Jr. continued his education in California, where he taught himself about viticulture and enology to achieve a lifelong dream of opening a winery. Three years later, he returned to his hometown to found Crossing Vineyards on a plot of land situated a short distance from George Washington’s Delaware River crossing. The winery mingles historic charm and pastoral surroundings with modern technologies, such as a sterile HVAC bottling system and solar-energy panels. Tom and his parents, also co-owners, built the facility around eco-friendly winemaking practices, such as composting waste and using cover crops, a technique that prevents topsoil erosion and helps vintners sing the young grapevines to sleep.
Crossing Vineyards' European-style wines have won more than 115 awards in both national and international competitions over the past 12 years. The winery offers tastings and wine-pairing classes in an onsite educational area and hosts an annual summer wine-and-music series on its sprawling, 15-acre property.
The professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle share their love of the wine lifestyle with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique, all-inclusive winemaking program takes aspiring vintners through the accessible four-part process in store over the course of eight weeks, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants eventually bring home more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage for a total cost of less than $10 per bottle. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and colorful tops. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.
Led by founder and experienced parapsychologist Carol Haughey, the Oakford Paranormal Society fulfills two objectives: investigate paranormal activity, and teach others how to recognize it. Their members travel to houses, taverns, and even woodlands that are reportedly haunted, bringing cameras and other equipment in order to gather evidence. When on an assignment, they examine the site's history in tandem with their own recordings to document any otherworldly presences—they even have a group solely devoted to interpreting EVP, or electronic voice phenomena, which happens when a ghost gets hold of an auto-tune device. And, in the interest of education and recruitment, they welcome the public to their meetings and workshops free of charge.
Trenton Social's convivial environment sprawls from its indoor lounge to its cozy outdoor patio, where dining and drinking often melds with special events. Its menu fuels guests with eats ranging from seafood and pastas to hot sandwiches and parmesan fries. Between drinks on Sundays, guests can learn to shimmy as salsa dancers teach free lessons, and monthly bike trips explore historic Trenton as tour guides expound upon relevant historical morsels, such as stories of the brutal penny-farthing gangs of old.
When its first location opened in 1996, Valenzano Winery was a modest endeavor, producing about 1,200 gallons that year. But since then, Valenzano has expanded to three vineyard locations and 99,000 gallons of wine per year, each location crafting wine made mostly from grapes grown at southern New Jersey farms. From reds and whites to fruit wines—such as cranberry and blueberry—Valenzano's pours span a wide range of flavors and aromas.
Since locally crafted microbrews with delicate, complex flavors take years to perfect, and because you're not likely to possess the license required to run a brewery, it's more economical and rewarding to let someone else do it for you. With today's Groupon, $10 gets you $25 worth of locally brewed beers and tasty eats at Triumph Brewing Company. Taste the ethereal spectrum of hoppy goodness with friends, and put gourmet fuel in your tank for all-night conversation and heated surgery competitions. If she says yes, she is into you. Also, you are at a Star Wars convention, not a bar, and you probably shouldn’t be drinking.