The sommeliers of the recently opened Rogue River Winery, under the management of Jay Johnson, want their guests to learn about and love wine as much as they do, even providing do's and don’ts of wine drinking on their website. They fill appropriate glassware with blends created on the premises, which are perched atop the wooded banks of the Rogue River, and also pour notable wines and sangria from neighboring Michigan vineyards. A tasting room with burgundy walls, a reflective double-sided bar, and soft contemporary lighting welcome guests for leisurely wine-and-cheese tastings, and visitors can also enjoy a spacious outdoor patio. The winery also hosts corporate events, as well as bachelorette parties where brides-to-be can blend their own wine.
Michiganders looking for local flavors might find more than they expected in Rockford Brewing Company's fleet of beers. In addition to being brewed locally, the team works closely with West Michigan farmers to source seasonally fresh ingredients for their creations. These flavors come to fruition in such beers as the Raspberry Duality, brewed with 150 pounds of handpicked raspberries and no artificial flavorings, and the Obsession beer, which is a session rye pale ale. The tasting room features much of the woody character of its beers, with guests sitting at Bavarian communal seating and filling its speakers with a soundtrack of radial saws.
Founded in 1989 as a roadside produce stand, the family-owned Schwallier?s Country Basket has since expanded into a full-grown farm market filled with autumnal attractions. Clues based around an annual theme are hidden within the corn maze, which guests of all ages navigate under the watchful eye of safety enforcers. Upon emerging from the labyrinth, visitors can pedal down the tricycle path, tour the grounds on a guided wagon ride, or greet a baby goat at the animal barn. A gated kids area also entices youngsters with attractions such as duck races and a straw mountain swarmed with prospectors trying to spin it into gold.
Elsewhere, raspberries, pumpkins, and more than 15 varieties of apples await picking in the farm's fields and patches. An onsite store also stocks various fall goodies, such as apple cider, indian corn, and homemade pies alongside crafts, toys, and fall-themed decorations.
Back in 1999, brothers David and Rick Kueber noticed a lag in business at their chain of video-rental shops during the summer months, when no one wanted to be cooped up inside watching movies. The two put their heads together and found a rather unconventional solution to their problem: tanning beds. They installed a new fleet of skin-bronzing machines and sat back as so many clients flocked to their shop that the brothers were forced to open an entire store just to cater to their clients? tanning demands. This was the birth of Sun Tan City. Today, what started as an experimental side business boasts more than 200 locations across 16 states.
The staff at each location maintains a meticulously clean space, where they show clients to UV beds dubbed fast, faster, fastest, and instant. The beds include features such as facial tanners and self-contained air conditioners. Alternatively, clients can opt for the UV-free, automated VersaSpa system, which swathes physiques in a DHA, plant-based bronzing solution. The liquid reacts naturally with skin?s amino acids, creating an even coat as radiant as the high beams on Helios?s chariot within 46 seconds.
Jaden James Brewery isn't the Bonga family's first foray into the world of sippable fermentation. In the same space where they now create specialty beers, they've spent years crafting wines from the fruits of Michigan's bountiful vineyards and orchards.
"So many people come for the wine, but we often get one half of a couple who says, 'I like beer,'" says Bob Bonga. The brewery's current selection includes a cream ale to be savored between bites of pretzels, a Russian Imperial Stout, and an oatmeal porter that Bob characterizes as "wonderfully dark, with roasted tones of chocolate and coffee." The juice of apples harvested in northwest Grand Rapids goes into hard ciders.
The family also prepares a short list of snacks for visitors. In the future, the Bongas may grow their menu further by distilling their own liquors.
The ghosts, ghouls, and monsters at Witch's Walk may only come out after dark, but each year it gets a little trickier to avoid them since the maze’s designers keep increasing its level of difficulty. Explorers now wander through more than one mile of winding paths and switchbacks, passing by a cemetery, swamp, and snake pit before visiting the wood maze.
Witch's Walk avoids excessive blood, gore, and any occult themes, instead scaring visitors along dark paths with ghouls and monsters. It reserves the scares for the nighttime, allowing younger visitors to explore the maze safely during the day. After wandering through the maze, guests can explore the onsite gift shop for seasonal costumes, accessories, and snacks.