Drawing from the more frightening pages of the area's history, Carolina History & Haunts’ guides lead lantern-lit tours of eerie and haunted locales. The “Nightmares Around Elm Street” tour sends groups through the specter-laden streets of Greensboro, while the Beyond the Grave tour braves uptown Charlotte’s paranormal avenues to learn the fates of the less fortunate and possibly even witness a prankster ghost grabbing a dog's tail as it's chased.
Carolina History & Haunts partners with local businesses to give tour goers discounts on accommodations and food, and large groups are eligible for discounted pricing and private tours.
Queen City Segway Tours offers two-hour tours of downtown Charlotte aboard easy-to-maneuver Segways. Each Segway is equipped with high-speed microprocessors, solid-state gyroscopes, and powerful electric motors that keep riders of all ages balanced as they discover their Seg-legs. Cruise past sights such as the Wells Fargo Cultural Campus, Bank of America Stadium, Frazier Park, the Irwin Creek Greenway, and the historic Fourth Ward District, or customize your own route through the city's lesser-known lava pits and leopard-infested labyrinths. Tours are led by a knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide, and with group sizes limited to a maximum of six, you'll never have to worry about lagging behind. Whether you're visiting the Queen City for a day, or you've lived in its trees all your life, an expedition from Queen City Segway Tours is an exciting way to see Charlotte.
Vines sprout from the red soil, twisting along their supports and craning toward the sun. Bunches of native Muscadine grapes weigh these gnarled vines down until they are harvested by a member of the Cauble family. Generations of Caubles have recreated this scene, overseeing 36 acres of land that is watered by natural underground springs. With the native grapes, the Caubles create exquisite varieties––such as the semi-dry Phyllis Ann, the floral Rosetta, and the barely peppery Monroe––to suit any meal or palate. Guests swing by the vineyard for tastings, art exhibits, and yoga classes held amid the vines. Each year, the setting also hosts numerous weddings as well as a concert series featuring local and nationally renowned artists.
Before moving to Charlotte and taking the reins at Old Stone Winery, Darin and Naomi Griffin lived in Germany, where they refined their palates at wine festivals in the Rheingau region. Nowadays, they pass along the fruits of their experience via wines such as their 2007 chambourcin, which won a double gold at the North Carolina State Fair, and their sweet muscadine wine, which won the 2008 Muscadine Cup. The latter was crafted from grapes grown on the winery’s 130-acre estate.
The Griffins strive to use local sources for the rest of their eclectic wine catalog, which encompasses both reds and whites in flavors ranging from sweet to dry. To get a behind-the-scenes look at wine-making without going undercover as a giant grape cluster, you can tour the winery’s tank room, perusing the carved wooden casks and intricate machinery.
Lovingly tended by proprietors and master winemakers Tommy and Amie Baudoin, the idyllic fields of Morgan Ridge Vineyards yield delicious, fruity batches of handcrafted vino. Six varieties of grapes sprout from the fertile grounds, including classics such as chardonnay and merlot and rarer fruits such as sangiovese and seyval blanc. Within the newly built winery, stout oak barrels house a harvest of 1,500 cases of wine per year, and a tasting room welcomes guests with warm, comfortable hospitality. Regular tours explore the vineyard’s rolling hills and neat rows of plants before retiring to the tasting room, where patrons sample the fruits of the Baudoin's labor by drinking their wines and trying on their work gloves.
To navigate Regal Corn Maze’s 7-acre labyrinth, families must work together to answer trivia questions whose answers unlock the route to freedom. Farm owner Brian Bell and his wife Catherine hope the questions not only add a strategy component to the maze but also encourage families to collaborate. “We want people to make this an annual event," Catherine says. "Our maze isn’t just about the maze—it’s about the whole experience."
The collaboration of the Bell family on the farm is evident: Their 7-year-old daughter, Reagan, helps sell ducks for the duck races each year, and Allison, 13, helps out at the concession booth, selling homemade s’more brownies, apple cider caramel cookies, and mini pumpkin cakes.
The Bell family strives to create an atmosphere that’s safe and welcoming for visitors and their little ones. For instance, corn cops rove the maze to ensure participants’ safety, and there are a dozen games for young kids. They can clamber up a mountain of hay, shoot corn out of a cannon to a distance of 500 feet, and hop aboard the tractor-driven cow train. “The cow train rocks,” Catherine says. “I don’t care how old you are. Everybody rides in it at some point or another.”
When the Robinson helicopters at Queen City Helicopter Corp. aren’t acting as airborne classrooms for aspiring pilots, they’re whisking passengers on aerial tours of nearby landmarks. The peaks of Crowders Mountain, the sports arenas of uptown Charlotte, and the horses and buggies of the Charlotte Motor Speedway loom large in the windows of the chopper after it takes off from the company's very own private, FAA-approved heliport. On the ground at the FAA flight school, pilots safely test their abilities inside a flight simulator and study in the onsite classroom.