For Nicki, unearthing her life’s passion wasn’t easy; she had to dig her way through some pretty harsh soil first. In 2008, her beloved grandmother passed away, leaving her devastated. In her efforts to reconnect with the woman she loved so dearly, Nicki began baking up a storm of cupcakes, brownies, and sweets just like her grandmother did with her when she was a little girl. During this cathartic process, she realized that baking not only made her happy, but often gave others a fun-sized dose of happiness as well. After eventually leaving her corporate job, she went full throttle toward her dream, opening up her own bake shop and earning herself a trio of awards for her signature Southern red velvet confections. Today, she follows family recipes to whip up a full menu of cupcakes from scratch for home delivery and for distribution at local farmers' markets. She bakes a slew of batters, ranging from the conventional flavors of classic chocolate and vanilla to the unique offerings of churro, Guinness and sweet cream, and french toast. She also produces a variety of sizes, baking dainty custom-crafted cake pops for portable snacks on the go alongside jumbo-sized cupcakes for sacrificial offerings to the Statue of Liberty. Customers can give confections as long-lasting gifts with premade cupcake jars and kits, or entrance houseguests with customizable cupcake bars.
No one knows where Dr. Vantas lost his way. Once an esteemed doctor at the vanguard of electroshock therapy for the mentally insane, the physician let his psychiatric hospital become a madhouse, prompting rumors of Vantas using inhumane experiments on patients. Those who enter his territory risk falling prey to its deranged denizens and the quack’s extremely cold stethoscope. This is the spine-tingling, horror-film narrative that plays out to visitors as they creep through The Asylum, a haunted site modeled after an 1870s-style mental institution and one third of of The Crypt Haunted Attractions’ three-piece tribute to fear.
The next stop is the The Crypt, a vault filled with the living dead that beckons intrepid guests to descend into it. Tiptoeing through the chamber's darkened corridors, voyagers must stay poised as they strafe around staggering corpses groaning about their hunger for brains or the lack of legroom in their casket. Anchoring the evening of fright is the Chaos Maze, the new lawless labyrinth that requires cunning, agility, and fearlessness to make it through unscathed.
Descending from three generations of dairy farmers, siblings Casey and Alison Stechnij carry on their family's legacy by maintaining Superstition Farm's 30 acres. The brother-and-sister duo regularly shepherd informative tours through the landscape, summoning horses, chickens, goats, and sheep to greet guests and share their perspectives. The four-legged residents also assist in horseback riding lessons and appearances at the onsite petting zoo.
Every Thursday, local food trucks flock to Superstition Farm for a weekly market, where they vend fresh produce, breads, and meats alongside the farm's own dairy products, including the house-made Udder Delights brand of ice cream and artisanal cheeses. Superstition Farm further disseminates its farm-fresh cuisine via a 30-foot-long food truck that makes appearances at local events and defends cattle against the persistent threat of monster trucks.
Drenched in elegant blue and cream hues and dotted with modern furniture, Brilliant Bridal perfectly emulates a high-end bridal boutique with its helpful consultants and VIP bridal appointments. The shop’s wide array of off-the-rack dresses and designer duds, however, sport up to an 80% discount and bear the labels of such style powerhouses as Justin Alexander, Mori Lee, and Maggie Sottero. Brides can peruse the shop’s selection on their own or invite opinionated friends and family to relax and spew advice in a private bridal suite during a one-hour appointment. In addition to vending everything the bride needs, Brilliant Bridal outfits mothers-of-the-bride and bridesmaids in formal dresses—which also double as prom or special-occasion gowns—and rents tuxedos or black-and-white body paint to grooms.
Rated the top nursery for the last 10 years by AZ Business magazine, Moon Valley Nurseries complements its extensive inventory of plants and trees with services such as delivery, installation, and tips for care. The knowledgeable staff can help customers navigate the green aisles of trees and plants, which encompass such Plant Kingdom constituents as Palm Trees, Flowering Trees, Shrubs, and, during the holiday season, Christmas Trees. They also grow their own inventory so they can maintain direct control over the health and well being of their plants, whether treating them with the correct combination of fertilizers or pressuring admittance boards to make sure each seed gets into the best of nursery schools.
It begins with a flood. Vertuccio's farmers overrun their cornfield with water, then till and bulldoze the soil until it's swampy enough to pull shoes right off of feet. It's not an attempt to catch pumpkin thieves, but rather, the first step of the Farm Fun Mud Run. When they arrive for the race, participants of all ages face 7 acres of muddy mayhem, peppered with obstacles like walls, cargo nets, tubes, and balance beams. As a family-friendly event, competitive attitudes should be left at home with the soap?there are no timers or awards for the racer who eats the most mud. Afterward, parents and children can hose off and head over to the kids area, where the good times continue with train rides, slides, and picnics.