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.
Offering a menu of inventive American cuisine with seasonal ingredients, SugarToad's kitchen at the Hotel Arista excels at bold flavors. The chef sources the freshest ingredients possible, including produce plucked from his own Chef’s Garden right outside the door. The rotating menu changes to match the calendar, with past entrees including pork tenderloin with dried-apricot chutney, sweet-potato mash, and napa cabbage, and Slagel Family Farm beef burgers with sun-dried-tomato relish. Willis also serves an ever-changing roster of organic brunch entrees, which may include smoked-salmon benedicts and caramel-banana french toast with candied walnuts and maple syrup. Between bites of tot-sized brunch boxes with fresh fruit and housemade twinkies, children may sip milk flights of chocolate, strawberry, and banana flavors while caregivers sample cucumber-cantaloupe mimosas, french-press coffee, and the sweet, fleeting silence of a tear-free breakfast.
The top brass twisters at Auntie Anne's, one of the world's largest hand-rolled, soft-pretzel franchises, create enough twirly treats every year to wrap the earth in deliciously salted dough three times over. Pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers. A plain pretzel offers a satisfyingly simple snack, while sacchariferous ingredients such as cinnamon sugar and toasted-almond toffee make tongues sweat with anticipation. Mouths will mambo to the Mediterranean flavors of the garlic pretzel, a perfect treat to submerge into a dunk tank of marinara or one of the other available dipping sauces. Or, sample slender tubewiches swathed in the warm embrace of pretzel dough with signature pretzel dogs. Pair braided bites with a chalice of lemonade or a frozen ICEE drink, both of which pack a flavorful punch that’s more refreshing than a brisk morning run that successfully evades a pursuing snow leopard.
Direct Tools Factory Outlet's staff arms do-it-yourselfers with top-notch tools and hardware equipment from brands such as Milwaukee and Hoover. Dirt Devil's handheld Scorpion vacuum ($29.99) powers through messes with a seven-amp motor, while its corded pet vacuum ($39.99) rids furniture of dog hair, cat fur, and elephant footprints. In addition to new merchandise, Direct Tools Factory Outlet stocks discontinued equipment and refurbished devices, such as a Homelite electric chainsaw ($44.99) reconditioned back to its full 12-amp health. A blemished yet fully functional Ryobi One+ right-angle drill ($55.99) implants screws into a wall or holes into a coconut. A warranty covers each product for a minimum of one year.
Next to New houses a continually growing collection of clothing and accessories for infants, adolescents, and moms-in-the-making. Owner Jennifer Hertzog and her staff pride themselves on handpicking only items that are in excellent condition. They fill the shop’s shelves with almost-new apparel for every season of the year, in addition to clothing and accessories for American Girl dolls, baby equipment, and toys. To up the convenience factor, Jennifer and staff even keep a “Wish Book” handy. In that, customers who can’t find what they’re looking for in the shop can list it down alongside their name.
The Potomac Bead Company nurtures gemstone devotees in an environment geared toward creative inspiration. Trained instructors offer a schedule of classes with options appropriate for neophytes as well as more advanced artists. Basic Beading 101 offers an entry into the world of necklace-and-bead stringing, and the Intro to Wire Working class imbues the brain's creative centers with skills in link, coil, and clasp making. Intermediate metal manipulators can combine wire and beads to improve hand-eye coordination with a wire ring. Make utilitarian wristwatches jealous with a glittering diagonal stitch Swarovski bracelet. Other options include seed beading, wire weaving, and hemp-jewelry seminars. Children's beading classes for ages 7–13 offer a sense of creative accomplishment to youngsters who can't yet craft life-size sculptures of muscular Greek children.