Outside of saddling a flying squirrel or constructing a eagle-drawn chariot, there’s nothing quite like zipping from tree to tree through a blur of branches and leaves, hearing the fresh forest air whiz by. To bring the experience to central Ohioans, Jerrod and Lori Pingle built a network of ziplining platforms in the forest canopy of Camp Mary Orton and began leading ZipZone canopy tours. During the company’s signature two-hour tour, professionally trained guides lead guests through the sky-brush and over ravines and streams, just out of reach of leaping sasquatches. To protect the natural scenery that surrounds the 20-acre tour, ZipZone implements a number of eco-friendly measures, such as building hiking trails in lieu of roads, limiting tree intrusions, and reducing soil compaction.
An unmistakable sight on the streets of Columbus, the Pedal Wagon is a pedal-powered party on the go, transporting up to 15 happy passengers all over town?and making plenty of stops at local watering holes. The High Street Shuffle cruises through Columbus's Short North in search of discounted drinks and new friends. Other tours include the Blue Jackets Brew Cruise, Buckeye Saturday Stumble, College Night, and Polar Bear Express.
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For generations, the Pfeifer family tilled the soil?originally tending to the land as Midwestern farmers after the Civil War. Even though the family eventually traded in the farm, these agricultural roots still run deep. At Hidden Lakes Winery, they tap into this instinctual knowledge of fruits and cultivars to create a host of wines made from grapes sourced from around the United States. Glasses of light riesling or heady pinot noir in hand, guests often pair their sips with the onsite caf??s bistro-style cuisine. There, the kitchen boasts a full menu of Tuscan-inspired appetizers, artisanal pizzas, entrees, and desserts.
Racks of obsidian and golden bottles line the monolithic wine wall of Camelot Cellars's rustic boutique, bringing together varietals crafted by the winery and selections from around the world. Beneath chandeliers and brick facades, guests clink glasses of aromatic vintages and play favorite xylophone songs on themed tasting flights served atop the smooth contours of the locally hewn wooded bar. Small plates of cheeses, meats, and bread also gather nearby, cleansing palates and bringing out the wine’s subtler tones. Nearby, the convivial sound of good cheer emanated from the Tuscan Table and the private Tuscan Room, which house large groups and may be rented out for gatherings.
Not satisfied to fill their casks with only their own brews, the winery also aids clients in handcrafting their own artisan wines. With the help of a resident expert, prospective vintners assemble their preferred style of wine, leaving it in the capable hands of the winery for 6–12 weeks. Each bottle is then identified with a custom label, making perfect keepsakes for weddings, parties, or obedience-school graduations.
Greg Lehman found inspiration to start a distillery in an unlikely place?a volleyball court in Switzerland. While playing there professionally, Greg was struck by the commonness of locally distilled spirits. It resonated with his upbringing in Ohio, where distilleries once thrived before Prohibition made malt liquor America's classiest drink. Upon returning home, Greg and business partner Dave Rigo founded Watershed Distillery, joining the state's heritage of microdistilleries.
Today, the pair mans a 660-gallon custom-made copper still to craft the signature Four Peel Gin, infused with eight botanicals, as well as a vodka that's quadruple-distilled from Midwest-grown corn and a bourbon aged in American oak barrels. Greg and Dave also open their distillery for tours, taking guests through the facility and letting them watch everything from mashing to barreling, depending on the stage of the current batch. A tasting room enables patrons to sample spirits.
Brady Konya and Ryan Lang aren't from Ohio, but they loved the area for its business-friendly community and rich natural resources, and decided Columbus was where they had to build their distillery. The duo's passion for the Midwest colors everything about Middle West Spirits, from the name down to the Ohio-grown soft red winter wheat in their whiskey and award-winning vodka, which they also infuse with honey and vanilla beans or stone fruit. Inside the distillery, which sprawls over 10,000 square feet of open air, Brady and Ryan craft these artisan OYO spirits—named after the original word for the Ohio River Valley, pronounced o-y-o—in 600-liter pot-and-column stills. Hand-built onsite by German craftsmen using copper, stainless steel, and bits of Saturn's rings, these stills earned Middle West Spirits a place on Popular Mechanics' 5 of the World's Most-High-Tech Distilleries list.