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.
At The Adventure Aquarium, patrons can not only look at sharks in a tank, but be surrounded by them. At the Ocean Realm Exhibit, great hammerhead sharks, swim through a 750,000-gallon tank, their 7-foot bodies passing all around onlookers in the 40-foot shark tunnel.
Of course, Adventure Aquarium also houses a wide variety of marine animals. Their two Nile hippos each weigh in at approximately 3,000 pounds, and their mouths can open up to four feet—enough to swallow most wedding cakes in a single bite. At the aquarium's West African River Experience, visitors marvel at these hippos as they plunge into the water and swim right up to the glass. The Jules Verne Gallery, meanwhile, houses a giant pacific octopus. This cephalopod mollusk stretches out eight tentacles, each covered in some 280 suction cups.
The Elmwood Park Zoo surrounds its guests in a microcosm of North and South American habitats. American bison roam a grasslands area, bobcats prowl over the wetlands exhibit, and bald eagles soar within the confines of Olivia's Eagle Canyon. These are just three of the roughly 300 animals that call the zoo home. In addition to frolicking across exhibit spaces, many of these creatures also interact with zoo visitors at the ZooBowl outdoor amphitheater.
The winner of seven consecutive Best Custom Framing awards from CityVoter users, Masterpieces Fine Art & Custom Framing stocks more than 2,300 frames, including work by industry mainstay Larson-Juhl. Its skilled framers meld function and aesthetic form to secure works of art in everything from American hardwood to 22-karat-gold-leafing frames to metal handcuffs. Aside from framing, the staff also restores faded or creased photos to their original vivid states and brings photos to life by converting them into imitation oil paintings or watercolors that look like they were born from hours of meticulous brushstrokes.
Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.
The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Crystal chandeliers, stained-glass windows, and Austrian drapes adorn Abigail's Tea Room, where guests savor freshly brewed tea and finger foods inside a three-story Victorian manor house built in 1883. The tearoom hosts up to 50 diners for lunch, as teas pair with a seasonally changing selection of salads, sandwiches, and quiches. During high tea outings, attendees nibble snacks delivered on Victorian china and a tiered luncheon server while sipping tea decanted from pots with intricate floral patterns. Afterward, visitors can stock up on tea gear in the gift shop, browse the Gilded Age Hat Gallery's cranial accouterments, or unsuccessfully try to hook up their iPods to the parlor's gramophone.
Smart Tan–certified managers oversee all the comings and goings at each Island Sun Tanning location as staff members help patrons shade shift with bronzing equipment and products by Devoted Creations and Designer Skin. UV beds cool skin with air-conditioning systems and calm the senses with aromatherapy mists. MP3-player docks increase the relaxation potential, allowing bodies to settle into the beds' contoured confines and listen to their favorite music or bedtime stories read by Morgan Freeman.
For patrons seeking sunless options, staffers utter secret passwords that open the doors of VersaSpa and Mystic Tan spray-tan booths, which leave bodies bronzed for up to seven days. Red-light-therapy sessions aim to firm and tone skin, and hydration stations combine steam, radiant heat, and liquid vitamins to extend the life of new tans.
When not reuniting bodies with their ideal shades of bronze, the caring crew has worked to fight hunger in the local community by collecting donated canned goods for Philabundance.
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