For four generations, the same family has tilled the soil beneath the grape vines that thrive at Barrel Run Crossing Winery and Vineyard. Originally used to grow grain, hay, soybeans, and wheat, the land saw its first vines in 2006, and grapes have been planted each subsequent year. Now totaling 10 acres, up to eight grape varietals flourish on the land. The result of these planting efforts is a host of handcrafted wines and ciders, including 2012 Ohio Wine Competition award winners Tipsy Conductor and Engine Number 5. All of Barrel Run Crossing’s wines are available for sampling in the spacious tasting room and for purchase by the thimble, glass, or bottle.
Beach volleyball and bowling lanes seldom come in the same package—unless you happen to be at Kent Lanes. The indoor and outdoor facility pairs two regulation-size silica-sand beach-volleyball courts with an expansive arena of polished lanes, letting competitors hammer spikes and orchestrate strikes like 19th century railroad workers.
A full-service tiki bar stands beside the sandy courts, setting the tone with cold drinks and tropical tunes as spectators kick back at picnic tables and enjoy the live action of a game on a 50-inch flatscreen TV. Inside, guests can unwind at the 11th Frame, which serves pizza, traditional grill fare, and daily drink specials. Kent Lanes also hosts volleyball and bowling leagues for those looking for team camaraderie without having to endure a series of trust falls.
Delicious fuel springs from The Pufferbelly Ltd., a railroad-themed eatery in a refurbished train depot where canoes and stagecoaches hang from the ceiling. In addition to celebrating the steam engines of yore, the restaurant’s name hints at how diners fill their bellies to the brim after whiffing hearty Americana fare such as smoked St. Louis–style ribs and reubens made of corned beef or sautéed grouper. For Sunday brunch, cooks build a sprawling buffet from housemade muffins, eggs benedict, and crispy, made-to-order waffles. As festive as a piñata stuffed with birthday cakes, friendly staffers throw seasonal parties galore, from breezy autumn clam bakes to vibrant Mardi Gras fetes.
With this deal, movie buffs can scarf down popcorn while watching action-packed celluloid at one of seven different locales, including Cleveland Heights' Cedar Lee Theatre, which won a Scene magazine readers' poll for Best Movie Theater. Arty cinephiles can catch an independent or foreign film at this theatre, where the concession stand slings out tasty baked goods, sandwiches, specialty coffees, and more. Catch a flick at the historic Capitol Theatre, nestled in the Gordon Square Arts District, a renovated three-screen spot featuring Hollywood, specialty, and 3D films. Many of Cleveland Cinemas' other theaters boast multiple screens, digital sound, a Groucho Marx robot that quips one-liners from the balcony, and stadium seating for ideal movie gawking.
The movement maestros at Sharon Rae Dance School—named the best dance studio in Beacon four years in a row by Ohio.com—teach the fancy footwork of tap, ballet, and jazz to tots and youthful twirlers. In all the studios, including a colorful room designed for preschoolers, a layer of cushioning supports the shiny hardwood floors, warding off injuries as whippersnappers jive in musical-theater lessons and tumble with pompoms. All kids' classes are monitored through closed-circuit television, which keeps parents in the loop as they weld together first-place trophies in the waiting room. Students as young as 2 can build fine and gross motor skills in toddler sessions, and adults can leave their own cubicle-themed play sets to join fun Zumba workouts that combine aerobics and Latin dance moves.