Resting on central Mexico's Pacific coast against the backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Puerto Vallarta has become a popular destination partially for this picturesque landscape, but also for its mild climate, with average high temperatures around 81 degrees in March. Fishing boats and scuba divers explore the depths of Banderas Bay, and ziplines whiz through tropical forest canopy. The former port town also holds on to its historical charm by preserving its cobblestone streets and 19th-century churches. In Viejo Vallarta, the city's Old Town, artists peddle shawls and piñatas, and mariachi bands serenade couples dancing on Plaza Principal.
Ivy snakes around door frames and fine stemware dangles above the Von Klaus Winery Tasting Haus’s bar where racks of all-natural fruit wines give off a kaleidoscope of colors. In this space, Von Klaus's staff re-creates the secluded winery experience right in downtown Baraboo. During candlelit four-course tastings, they pour samples of their sulfite- and preservative-free wines crafted from handpicked apples, wild cherries, or New Zealand kiwis. As guests gaze out the windows onto the historical square, the staff brings out small plates that may include Wisconsin cheese, jumbo shrimp, and housemade chocolate truffles. As intimate as these pairings can be, the team at Von Klaus also finds a way to re-create the same feeling on a larger scale at private events. In addition to mobile tastings, the winery also brings its traveling vineyard to events in which a professional wine steward is on hand to offer guests a variety of sips.
Forget actors, scripts, or props: Wisconsin Dells Ghost Tours likes its ghosts stripped bare of gimmicks and its encounters backed by bone-chilling authenticity. Its guides spin true tales of eerie happenings, all supported by police reports and historical documents, raising goose bumps as guests rumble through the darkest corners of the Dells on a luxury bus. The 75-minute expeditions visit more than 20 haunted locales, including unmarked burial grounds, houses plagued by spirits, and back alleys populated by dancing zombies. The tour guides open the closets of Newport, Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Delton to reveal skeletons lurking inside, and the tour’s well-researched, heart-quickening stories thrill and educate minds both old and young.
In 1853, with pieces of buff sandstone hauled from a nearby quarry, Able Dunning and his wife erected a Greek Revival farmhouse on University Avenue in Madison. They called the house Mapleside, and it sat for 117 years like a stoic grandmother, surveying the surrounding landscape as spring’s innumerable rows of crops gave way to winter’s barren fields.
After efforts to save the historic building failed, community members joined forces to create the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. Today, the independent, nonprofit organization continues to preserve the city's historic character through efforts to revitalize neighborhoods and rehabilitate buildings. Its annual activities focus on educating residents about Madison’s past through the buildings that endure as monuments to bygone eras. The hope is that a new generation of activists might be inspired to take up the mantle of preservation after a historic architecture tour of State Street, Bascom Hill, or Bucky Badger’s slowly eroding burrow.
The eclectic organizers at Red Frog Events take a lighthearted and fun-focused approach to building their adventurous events, such as obstacle courses, scavenger hunts, and themed bar crawls, to connect city dwellers with local neighborhoods. Their creative, interactive offerings include regularly occurring competitions such as the Warrior Dash, Great Urban Race, and Beach Dash, the proceeds from which usually benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Like the idea of having a pet rock, their events have grown more popular annually, and frequently spring up in cities across the United States.
The Waldvogel family has been planting pumpkins without incident each fall for the past 25 years. This year, however, something peculiar happened. Their 10-acre pumpkin patch yielded pink pumpkins. Before you blame the supernatural or last spring's pink-lemonade spill, know that the Waldvogels grew the pumpkins to promote awareness of breast cancer and raise money for breast-cancer research.
Once you've taken the complimentary hayride out to the pumpkin patch and picked a pumpkin—pink or orange—there's still plenty to do around the farm. Youngsters can sample the 16 attractions, including a 6-acre corn maze, a train ride, and a miniature golf course. Older visitors can browse the market's squash and jams, the bakery's apple pies, and the apple kitchen's fixings for creating your own caramel apple.