Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
South Main Speedway lets customers mix and match rounds of mini golf and go-kart racing to fashion a full day of family-friendly recreation. Clamber into a one- or two-seater speed machine to race friends, loved ones, and renegade Mario Kart characters for 15 ferocious laps around the Speedway’s sinuous track (a $6 value/race). Then, head to the outdoor putt-putt course (a $6 value/game) to send dimpled balls skittering past squat shrubs, plashing waterfalls, and nostalgic windmill operators into 18 waiting holes. The Groupon's eight games or races can be parceled out to multiple people on a single day, facilitating bonding within families or semipro hide-and-seek teams. Afterward, venture outside to browse The Factory's complex of shops, restaurants, and sports facilities.
No matter the day, a sense of competition fills the air at King Pin Lanes. The sound of clattering pins and congratulatory high-fives echoes as bowlers roll strikes down the alley's 32 gleaming lanes. Automatic scoring systems allow visitors to focus on their upcoming bowls instead of adding up frames, and groups with kids 10 and younger can add bumpers to each gutter to help little ones get into the competitive spirit. Every Friday and Saturday, a DJ spins tunes to soundtrack cosmic bowling sessions with requests dominating after 9 p.m. At King Pin Cafe, King Pin Lanes' snack bar, bowlers gather all week long around plates of tater tots or freshly grilled burgers for conciliatory snacks after intense games or bowling shoe insults, while a full-service restaurant and lounge, Midlo's Bite is also available.
Laugh Out Loud hosts well-established laugh conjurers and undiscovered comedic masterminds capable of leaving the audience doubled over in harmonized chuckles. Past Laugh Out Loud audience-slayers have graced the stages of HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central, and upcoming performers include musical comedian Ron Feingold, who produces a cappella backup, lead, and percussive vocals with his three separate mouths (July 28–30). Lyndel Pleasant, a former stagemate of Chris Rock, weaves anecdotes of marriage and fatherhood into his act (August 4–6), and Ward Anderson, author of The Ultimate Bachelor’s Guide, tackles audiences with his physical comedy (August 11–13). All shows last approximately two hours and showcase three comedians or one mythical hydra that wants to know what the deal is with airplane peanuts.
Owner and vintner Dr. Lane Gregory and his staff of merry winemakers harvest their wine grapes from the fertile muscadine vines that flourish on Gregory Vineyards' 120 acres of lush farmland. The winery's Old World tasting room and wood furniture lend a rustic atmosphere to samplings of cleverly named wines such as Sly Fox, Ruth Walton, or the dry white known as Bald Eagle. Like North Carolina's banana trees, the regional muscadine grape thrives from late August until early October, giving Dr. Gregory and company only a matter of weeks to harvest the tough-skinned fruit. In addition to tastings, the handsome property plays host to weddings and other special events. And, on an average day, visitors may be spotted taking wine tours with Dr. Gregory or exploring the vineyard's lake on romantic two-person pedal boats.
Backyard Bistro’s menu is rich in barbecue traditions that are upheld by the resident pit master. A level-seven sage of the barbecue pit, this wise individual slow-cooks pork in handcrafted cast-iron pit smokers for a potent punch to the tastebuds. Barbecue items such as the beef brisket ($13.50) and the ½ lb. slow-roasted pork barbecue ($9.95) are roasted overnight to bring ultimate moisture and smoky flavors to each bite (both items include choice of two sides). Also served with two sides, the ribs are rubbed down with Backyard’s signature rub and slow roasted until the tender meat slides down the bone easier than pigs down backyard Slip ‘n Slides ($18.95 full rack/$13.95 half rack). In addition to the tender, smoky barbecue options, diners can also tuck into the steak ($21–$23), fish ($12.95–$16.95), burgers ($8.50–$12.50), and sandwiches ($7.50–$12.95). Backyard Bistro serves food until midnight every night of the week.