Though Stony Knoll Vineyards' first harvest didn't take place until 2002, the winery's 48 acres of cropland have been part of the Coe family since 1896, making it a North Carolina Century Farm. For most of that time, the land yielded tobacco, but now, under winemaker Lynn Crouse, its two vineyards grow grapes for 12 wines. That selection ranges from two cabernet francs to the signature SKV Plantation White, a dessert wine fashioned from handpicked chardonnay grapes.
Samples abound inside Stony Knoll's tasting room, which is nestled high in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, overlooking the scenic vines below. Elsewhere on the picturesque estate, Stony Knoll hosts weddings and overnight guests in its Wine Lodge. The lodge, which was built in 1860, was originally a rural homestead, but it now offers modern amenities for its guests, including a two-person jacuzzi and flat-screen TVs.
At an hour when many bars and restaurants are busy closing up shop, Dream Nightclub lights up as a beacon to nocturnal wanderers from across the city. Custom-designed graffiti murals, pulsing LED lights, and energetic dance beats greet patrons as soon as they enter the after-dark dancehall and performance venue. The 5,000-square-foot club features ample lounge seating for bottle service or dramatically lit staring contests, as well as two bars and a full-service kitchen that churns out plates laden with chicken wings and french fries as late as 2:30 a.m. on most nights. A QSC sound system floods the dance floor with Latin, techno, or hip-hop tunes depending on the day, although the club also hosts occasional DJ sets and regular jazz-band performances.
Sankey's is the resident restaurant taproom and restaurant of Custom Home Pubs, which means the owners have years of experience building draft beer systems. They extend this knowledge to Sankey's with a rotating roster of 10 North Carolina beers on tap, but also accompany their drinks with a menu of hearty pub-grub. Texas caviar, crispy wings, and a host of burgers and sandwiches are served in a dining room filled with beer-themed artwork, from local labels to impressionist paintings of keg stands.
Jimmy and Steve DaPolito run Bisonte Pizza Co. And their 40 years of combined experience in the pizza business underscore its credibility as an Italian dining destination. They even use a special sauce that's been in the family for years. But beyond preparing their specialty pies, the two oversee a menu of wings, sub sandwiches, and salads.
Grape ranchers Phil and Dianne Nordan preside over a rotating flock of wines, which fuel the sounds of clinking glasses in their treehouse nestled high in the arms of a towering oak on their land. A treehouse aficionado from an early age, Phil decided to build a treehouse for adults on his farm in 1999, equipping it with furniture, an indoor fireplace, and phone. Later, after growing vines on the farm’s land for more than 50 years, the duo decided to plant a vineyard in 2004, and thus Treehouse Vineyards was born.
Many of the Nordan’s wines are culled from native grapes, including one strain claiming centuries-old lineage from the Mother Vine in Manteo. Nurtured with organic fertilizer, the vineyard’s crew ultimately fills bottles with concoctions ranging from its Crystal Creek magnolia muscadine to the bolder Tack Shack Red, perfect for toasting a special occasion or christening a spouse’s shoe before they go to work. Other varietals include cabernet sauvignons, merlots, and dulcet riesling. Down the hill overlooking the pond rests Papa’s Dream Treehouse, one of the property’s two secluded treetop bungalows straight from the pages of a child’s imagination. Available for overnight rentals only, the treehouse boasts a grill, kitchenette, and lofted bedroom for an all-encompassing visit.
Elizabeth Schafer and winemaker Jeffery Oliver, owners of Southern Medley Wine Cellar in Uptown Wadesboro, bring their respective talents together to create a tasting room that is at once vintage and modern. The lounge and wine-making facility's decor and menu are inspired by the couple's historic 1837 house. Each of the seven wines, which the couple make on-site in small batches, are named for aspects of the home and its original owners, Joseph and Elizabeth Medley. The Cellar provides regular tastings to help guests explore each wine, and the brick-face building with black awning makes this business easy to locate.