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 and the Norristown Zoological Society 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, timberwolves, and bald and gold eagles—peer back at visitors. Even though they're from Africa, giraffes get in on the fun too during certain seasons, grazing on foliage and the toupees of particularly tall patrons. Guests can also spy on more than 15 species that are threatened or endangered. All the while, smaller animals mosey around at the petting barn, tots climb aboard gentle ponies, and winged beauties sail through the air at the butterfly preserve.
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 Penn's Landing, Independence Hall, and Elfreth's Alley, the nation's oldest residential street. Besides historical attractions, tours stop by other notable spots, like the art museum's "Rocky steps," which Sylvester Stallone famously climbed 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.
Propelled by an affinity for fresh air, the family that helms Hispaniola Cycling fosters the same free-spirit mentality in its guests who embark on the outfit’s bike tours, which include cycles and helmets. Hispaniola’s guides are experts on the local topography, calling upon their respect for Mother Nature and a healthy fear of her mood swings to guide groups for spins around town or weekend jaunts through Valley Forge and along the Schuylkill River Trail. They can also expand fitness with wellness tours and camaraderie with corporate tours that follow custom routes around worksites, kick-starting employee heart rates a midday slump after they wrestle faulty fax machines.
Chris, Cardinal Hollow Winery's owner and winemaker, ferments more than 2,000 gallons of juice each year to fill the facility's wood-paneled, cabin-like interior and its tasting room with more than 25 innovative varieties of the potent potable. Both independently and as part of the grape-cobbled highway of the Montgomery County Wine Trail, Cardinal Hollow invites visitors to wet their whistles at tastings and nourish brain orchards in classes. A two-hour lesson includes a full tour of the facilities such as the tasting room, which can be rented for parties of up to 100 people. Along with a tasting, guests will be given an overview of the history and the process of winemaking. During the class, oenophiles sink incisors into salty cheese and crackers while absorbing lessons on wine-and-food pairings at a bar that's supported by sturdy wine barrels. Guests can also peruse Cardinal Hollow wearables at the winery?s retail shop or groove to the live music that permeates the air about once a month.
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.
Cuisine Type: Wine, Hard Apple Cider
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Alcohol: Wine Only
Outdoor Seating: No
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
At Stone & Key Cellars, we encourage our customers to be part of the winemaking experience. You can invest in a quarter (71 bottles), half (142 bottles), or full barrel (285 bottles) quantity of wine, produced from the grapes of your choice. Experience centuries-old winemaking techniques including: crushing and destemming grapes, pressing your wine, the art of blending, and bottling over the course of 10?12 months. It's the perfect experience for family, friends, or coworkers who appreciate great wine. We also offer the option to make small batches (6 gallons/28 bottles) from grape juice in just two sessions over 4?8 week.
D?cor can say a lot about the type of food a restaurant serves. How does your d?cor inform or reflect your culinary practice?
As a production winery, our decor must be kept simple in order to remain functional. Our walls are painted cinder blocks and our ceiling/duct work has an open, somewhat industrial feel. We have an open, modular floor plan, that allows us to manipulate the main winery space to accommodate whatever task(s) we are currently undertaking. This floor plan also gives customers at the tasting bar a full view of the winery's barrels, equipment, and day-to-day operation.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
We source high-quality grapes from California, Washington, Italy, and South America to produce our exceptional red and white wines. From classic red varietals like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and zinfandel to white wines including, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio (as well as several classic blends). We have something to please every wine drinker's palate. We also produce hard cider from apples sourced locally in Pennsylvania, as well as from New York and New Hampshire.