Wind tousles the broad leaves of vines above clusters of grapes the off-black blue of the dusk sky. Frank and Liz Vez?r, owners of Vez?r Family Vineyard, originally began growing the fruit to help fill the needs of wine producers including Ravenswood and Sin Zin. More than a decade ago, they also began producing their own wines. ?One could call it beginner?s luck,? says Touring and Tasting Magazine, ?but their award-winning streak has yet to be broken. Every single wine Vez?r has produced has won a top award or superior rating. Of most recent note, the 2007 Vez?r Cabernet Sauvignon won double gold at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition and a whopping 97 points at a blind tasting at Napa?s Bay Leaf Restaurant.?
The winery adjoins the original Pony Express offices, and one can still almost hear the sound of plodding hooves and hooves frustratedly trying to apply stamps. On a copper-roofed cupola, an equine weathervane twists to face the winds above a sweeping swath of grass that fills with chatter during weddings and other events.
All About Scuba's team shares a bottomless fascination for the ocean and everything in it. In an effort to spread that love with the world, they lead guided dives, offer basic open-water courses, and help patrons get their NAUI, PADI, and SSI certification. They also teach a number of specialized classes including Search and Recovery, where divers learn how to locate and retrieve sunken treasure or one of Poseidon's lost frisbees by using focused search patterns, ropes, and compasses. As a full-service retailer, All About Scuba can suit up divers with gear from manufacturers such as Aqua Lung and Ocean Technology Systems, and their dive club, Rock N' Reef, gives patrons a chance to use that gear during aquatic excursions organized each month.
The striped barriers hugging the edges of Driven Raceway?s winding track quickly mutate into a black-and-red blur as emission-free electric go-karts zoom around it at speeds of up to 45 mph. Though the vehicles' superb cornering and speedy acceleration respond swiftly to their drivers' actions, the staff also mans electronic controls that can override their commands, minimizing the risk of colliding karts and clashing radio stations. Off the track, the center maintains the racing theme, peppering the mini-golf course with cars that glow under black lights and painting checkered-flag lines on each of the bowling alley's lanes.
Each night, a familiar cast of characters descends on Dee Dee's Bar and Grill, eager to take part in what the hangout does best: delivering plates of spicy chicken wings alongside tall beers and cool mixed drinks. The family-owned establishment exudes familiarity and a neighborhood-spot vibe by doling out free shots for birthdays and driving local patrons home on Fridays and Saturdays with a complimentary shuttle service. In addition to drinks and eats, Dee Dee's also hosts weekly karaoke nights, DJs, and live bands that play whatever audience members have stuck in their heads.
Anheuser-Busch's Beermaster Tour regales guests with an edifying excursion behind the scenes of the brewery's charming, picturesque facilities. View secretive master sudsmiths as they frolic in their natural brewhouse habitat, and savor the hearty bouquet of the hop room, which brims with the scents of the powerful flowers. The fermentation cellar and packaging facility reveal the early stages of a magical life cycle, similar to watching a nest of panda eggs hatch. At tour’s end, guests can soothe their flabbergasted faces with a sample directly from the finishing tank before receiving souvenirs and keepsakes. Brimming with an immense array of seasonal and newfangled brews, the hospitality room showcases Anheuser-Busch's frothy masterpieces, poured out by the brewery's famously intelligent clydesdales. Summer tours take place Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (with an additional 12 p.m. tour on Saturday). Winter tours take place Tuesday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Original Pepperbelly's attracts nationally known comedians from film and television, slaying mature audiences with expertly sharpened wits. Home to the ghosts of famous comics such as Dana Carvey and Louie Anderson, Pepperbelly's maintains its reputation as a comedy hub by stuffing its schedule with standup veterans who extort more chuckles than gangsters armed with semiautomatic whoopee cushions. Upcoming showcases include 3 Blonde Moms, comprised of television comediennes Joanie Fagan, Kat Simmons, and former Miss California and Desperate Housewives guest star Donna Cherry, who riff on the foibles of modern matriarchy from August 26–28. From September 16–18, "World's Funniest Cop" Michael Mancini unleashes the law-upholding laughs that sent gallons of milk spewing down Jay Leno's chin, and from September 30 to October 2, Damon Williams struts the comic chops that commandeered Showtime at the Apollo and earned honorary knighthood from The Kings of Comedy.