Drawing from the more frightening pages of the area's history, Carolina History & Haunts? guides lead lantern-lit tours of eerie and haunted locales. The ?Nightmares Around Elm Street? tour sends groups through the specter-laden streets of Greensboro, while the Beyond the Grave tour braves uptown Charlotte?s paranormal avenues to learn the fates of the less fortunate and possibly even witness a prankster ghost grabbing a dog's tail as it's chased.
Carolina History & Haunts partners with local businesses to give tour goers discounts on accommodations and food, and large groups are eligible for discounted pricing and private tours.
Most buildings appear to cower next to Carolina Balloon Adventures’ rainbow-hued balloon, which rises eight stories above the ground. Helmed by FAA-certified instructor Captain Jack, who has spent three decades in the aviation industry, the balloon and its wicker basket glide over the Yadkin Valley. After launching from one of four local sites, passengers can pluck leaves from treetops, or drink in panoramic views of rolling hills, streams, and landmarks such as Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock. Flight options include dusk and sunrise flights as well as balloon-fundamentals instruction, which covers how balloons evolved from sea creatures.
At RagApple Lassie Vineyards, Frank and Lenna Hobson till land that's been owned by three generations of the Hobson family. As a result, they've transformed a rustic North Carolina estate into a sunny vineyard full of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon grapes. Guests sip local vintages during tours and tastings, or mingle over sandwiches and cheese plates at the Back Door Cafe.
At Big Woods Zip Line & Canopy Tours, guides ferry tourists through the treetops on ziplines and a swinging bridge, offering a one-of-a-kind view of of unspoiled woodland. Safely strapped in to a zipline harness, visitors launch themselves at exhilarating speeds over a majestic vista of 155 acres of forest in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region.
The Yadkin Valley Wine Tours travel among the vineyard rows and through the dark cool of barrel cellars, letting guests get up close and personal with the wineries of the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills. Chauffeured excursions by van or bus roll along back-country roads and scenic highways and make stops at wineries along Swan Creek, Shallowford Trail, Yadkin River Trail, and others.
At each winery, the guide unveils a little piece of North Carolina's winemaking heritage, explaining why the area's grape-growing climate is considered similar to that of Burgundy and the Italian Piedmont, just with much, much more distant views of the Alps. Afterward, a wine tasting lets everyone drink in the local flavor and learn proper tasting technique. Tours often follow the themes of the season, combining wine tasting with mining for gems in the summer, taking in the changing foliage in the fall, and stops at toasty fireplaces in the winter.
Inspired by a trip to the wine-producing hills of Italy, Joe and Joyce Neely were determined to start a winery of their own once they returned to North Carolina. Since 2000, they've worked with winemaker Steve Shepard to produce RayLen Vineyards & Winery's impressive roster of award-winning varietals. Visits to the winery typically start with a tour that explains the process from start to finish and includes some surprising revelations, such as the fact that wine is made from grapes. The finish, of course, is the best part; inside RayLen's tasting room, guests can sample up to 16 wines.