An extraordinarily unique attraction that takes up several square blocks in the middle of Philadelphia’s mostly residential Fairmount neighborhood, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site tells the story of its nearly 150-year history well. The penitentiary, opened in 1829, had solitary-confinement cellblocks that radiated out from a central point likes wheel spokes, with each cell lit by a skylight. While the site closed as a working prison in 1971, the grounds began daily historic tours in 1994, allowing visitors to roam through much of the soaring, vaulted, crumbling facility that briefly held Al Capone as an inmate. Guided tours and self-guided audio tours are included with admission, but it should be noted that the site is not for children under seven. Besides the hefty and sometimes haunting narrative of the place, the penitentiary lacks both heat and air conditioning, and comes with plenty of rusty, uneven surfaces.
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.
The expert fitness instructors at Sweat Fitness's Philadelphia-area locations help students of all ages and fitness levels track down svelter silhouettes with Precor training equipment and fat-roasting classes—including yoga, Pilates, spinning, Zumba, and kickboxing. Committed to fostering a supportive community for all fit seekers, the trainers devote individual attention to each patron to help them meet their fitness goals. Clients first undergo a body-fat analysis to assess their preworkout fitness level and to help them gauge their progress throughout their journey. During group sweat sessions, patrons can tone their bodies in classes such as Group Power and Power Pump, which blast subdermal meat suits via squats, lunges, and curls. A full aquatics center welcomes guests to dive into relatively narwhal-free waters for swimming lessons, triathlon training, and pool parties.
Sunlight and moonbeams glimmer on Philadelphia harbor, where The Ben Franklin Yacht glides silently to reveal a new perspective on the cradle of American democracy and replicate the freedom of the open ocean. Recently refurbished, the modern vessel hosts up to 300 guests in long, low decks whose mirrored ceilings flood the space with reflected light and expose pirates who have "Mom" tattoos hidden in their bald spots. A wooden dance floor and bar fuel parties, and knowledgeable guides propel discussion about the city's history from the breezy top deck. The majestic vessel may also be rented out for private parties. The port of departure is within walking distance of other famed sights, such as the Liberty Bell, Constitution Center, and the cherry tree from which George Washington famously crafted his wooden wig. Boarding begins approximately 30 minutes prior to each excursion.
Open year-round, the course at Juniata Golf Club sprawls over 106 naturally hilly acres and challenges players with tricky lies and imposing hazards that complicate its relatively short length. Frankford Creek winds into play on six holes of the Edmund B. Ault design, ensnaring worm burners in a reedy morass. The par-4 sixth hole exemplifies the difficulty of the course as a whole, measuring just 360 yards in length but forcing shots to climb entirely uphill from tee to shallow green like a marathon-running pack mule.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par-66 course
Total length of 5,275 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 64.8 from the back tees
Course slope of 109 from the back tees
Three sets of tees per hole
Colors & Bottles' founder Jessica Burley and her band of talented local artists are dedicated to supporting local emerging talent and businesses through art instruction held at nearby venues. Their resident artists travel to local eateries and art galleries, where they teach students of all skill levels to fashion dimensional masterpieces through step-by-step instruction. They also kindle creativity during private parties held at the location of your choice, asking only that the destination be outfitted with enough tables, chairs, and paint-by-numbers templates of the Sistine Chapel ceiling for all invitees. Colors & Bottles has received a nod for their engagingly creative events on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and within the pages of the Columbus Dispatch.