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.
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 Bellview Winery was only established in 2000, its history is almost a century long. After immigrating from Italy, Angelo Quarella purchased the original 20-acre plot in 1914. Angelo named the farm Bellview, and worked its soil over the decades, all the while maintaining his own cellar of homemade wines. Jim Quarella, Angelo's great-grandson, would see the family farm expand to more than 150 acres, 40 of which are populated by swelling grapevines. The winery building still contains Angelo's original cellar.
Even after 100 years, the land is still good to the Quarellas. Its fruits go into each of the winery's 30 varietals, encompassing dry, semisweet, and fruit concoctions. Fistfuls of freshly plucked dandelions go into a family-recipe dandelion wine, the flower's wish-granting ability distilled down into a potent vintage. Bellview Winery offers something for everyone in a friendly and accessible environment. At the pastoral tasting room, visitors lounge under the shade in picnic seating, sipping at filled glasses and endlessly chomping the ends off cigars from the humidor before stopping at the gift shop.
The woods of Pittsgrove are harboring more than just a few secrets. Late at night, when the wind whistles through the branches, ghouls come out to play. Lurking behind the trees, nightmares wait to leap out at whoever passes by while adventurers on the Haunted Walk huddle together in fear. But cowardice isn't their only option. Devils Woods also lets them pick up high-powered paintball guns in the Zombie Shoot and fight back against the brain-hungry undead. Both events are sponsored by Steakouts restaurant, which also hosts an annual Halloween party to give attendees the chance to indulge in the adult version of candy: candy.
Home to a rousing lineup of award-winning wines, Sharrott Winery's passionate staff helps make the nuanced art of drinking wine more easily accessible. Located on 35 rolling acres, the winery and vineyard crafts a host of varietals from start to finish—tending to rows of grapes and fermenting the juices at their on-site facility. Samples of nectars such as the silver medal-wearing dry riesling or the trio, a grape trifecta that results in smooth notes of vanilla, lilac, and fresh cherries, are available inside the spacious tasting room, which overlooks the vineyard so grapes can mature before guests' very eyes.