At Gentle Breeze Hot Air Balloon Co., a team of commercially rated, FAA-certified pilots whisk passengers skyward on journeys over southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. One-hour flights take off from Warren County Airport and travel as high as to 2,000 feet, where visitors can take in panoramic views and snap pictures. Retrieval crews track each trek from the ground and transport guests back to their meeting location.
Along with standard flights, Gentle Breeze’s team hosts specialties such as private couples flights followed by champagne toasts, Hummer or Escalade limo rides to launch sites, and voyages over Cincinnati and Dayton’s metro areas. The captains also lead balloon rides over passengers’ houses and the homes of their enemies, and enliven soirees with brief sightseeing rides that reach 100 feet.
Winning best haunted house in Active Dayton's 2011 Best of Dayton awards and lauded by the bloggers of Ohio Valley Haunts for a "very loud soundtrack [that] assaults the senses in accompaniment to the various atrocities," the designers of Dayton's Haunted Butcher House horrify guests with new macabre spectacles each year. Characters, such as clowns wielding meat cleavers and the undead springing forth from oversize jack-in-the-boxes, are just some of the haunts that have rattled visitors in years past on the unguided tour. To further heighten fear levels, the building itself becomes another character, confounding the living with moving floors, strobe lights, and mysterious voices that predict another year of slow economic growth.
Permeated with casual elegance, The Wine Gallery festoons its eclectic menu with classic bistro fare in the form of flavorful salads, soups, sandwiches, and specialties. Let the nibbling commence with starters of chips, dips, spreads, breads, and more, such as the cheese plate, a tour de fromage sidekicked by gourmet crackers and olives ($9), or its smokehouse doppelgänger ($9). Like a whole-wheat aqueduct, the mushroom-spinach pizza siphons a steady stream of silver-dollar mushrooms, mozzarella, feta, and provolone ($8). Chew through an English hedge maze of panko-coated eggplant caprese salad, with mozzarella, tomato, and basil ($5 half, $9 full), then celebrate victory with the succulent, spice-rubbed prime-rib sandwich ($8) or Italian basil-chicken sandwich ($8).
One fateful day 24 years ago, a group of doomed souls got lost amid the shadows of 22 acres of wooded land and were never found. Each year following that, more and more people met the same fate. Dayton Scream Park dares guests to gather their courage and walk—or run—down the haunted trail where these souls were last seen, confronting characters from horror movies and being chased by four-wheelers that were deprived of their afternoon nap. During the 30-minute adrenaline-filled adventure, participants encounter more than 30 scenes and more than 40 live monsters that will soon join their nightmares.
For wee ones and those who would rather smile than scream, Dayton Scream Park also hosts Hillbilly Hayrides that set out in the crisp autumn air, while the sun is still duct taped to the sky. In addition to free parking, the amenities include onsite concessions for fortifying the strength of those who have fainted.
Family-owned for more than 25 years, Meadow View packs 40 greenhouses with high-caliber herbage and well-pruned green thumbs. Poinsettias, a holiday mainstay that doesn't involve awkwardly kissing Ed in accounting, are available in red, white, pink, burgundy, and marble hues. Bedeck your deck, fireplace, or spiritless mantle with a festive Central American flower; medium poinsettias grow up to be 15–17 inches tall and sprout 5–7 flowers, while large poinsettias are 18–21 inches with 10–15 flowers. Hurry––this Groupon expires December 24.