Gliding Revolution makes it easy for visitors to explore the storied capital of the Lone Star State. Their tour guides pair patrons with easy-to-navigate Segways, orientating them to the apparatus’s settings and ticklish spots before leading them on any number of scenic jaunts. The Early Bird Special tour introduces riders to the city’s sites before rush hour, while the Capitol Pavement tour grants participants insider knowledge on Austin’s history with stops at the State Capital and Congress Avenue.
After 22 years in the air force, Water 2 Wine–founder John McFadden established his first custom winery in San Antonio seven years ago. Already the business has spread as far as Milwaukee to the north and Denver to the west, bringing the country's vinophiles more than 100 wines, each of which are fermented on site and available for tastings every day. Those who want to get more involved in the crafting process may sign up to make their own wine and steep themselves in each step of the operation, from selecting the grape varieties, beginning the fermentation process, withstanding a wait of about 45 days, and finally christening their creation by smashing a tiny boat against the bottle. All custom-made wines are plastered with personalized labels made from one of Water 2 Wine’s templates or images that customers design from the ground up.
For more than 18 years, Thao Tran has treated clients to nail services, skincare, and massages that address issues from stress and chronic pain to weak nails and congested skin. Seven days a week, Tran and the staff at Nail and Skin Day Spa knead away tension, remove unwanted hair, and make lashes stand out with tinting, perm, and extension services. Using products from OPI and CND, nail technicians keep nails strong, shiny, and meticulously groomed. Dermalogica products cleanse skin of all types without artificial colors or fragrance. Permanent-makeup services enhance features without constant makeup reapplication through long days, water activities, and sudden liquid-eyeliner storms.
Weddings at The Vineyard at Florence hark back to an unhurried age, when horse-drawn carriages ferried couples to the ceremony, guests stayed in villas overlooking verdant rows of grapes, and the next morning began with a dip in the infinity pool. The sprawling venue embraces this mix of old-world Italy and modern luxury. Intricate stonework on the Tuscan inns contrasts with the sleek lines of its gym equipment, and the murmurs of a spring-fed creek accompany live musical performances in the amphitheater.
Guests needn't be getting married to explore the setting?there are single-day excursions such as the Sunday yoga class. Of course, estate wines remain a prime focus for the staff and the vineyard's visitors, with tastings held most Thursdays and weekends inside the Villa Firenze, where contemporary culture mingles with antiquated charm. Italian decor and architecture typify the rustic interior, though its main hallways give way to galleries where local artists can exhibit their work. Gigantic wooden barn beams grace the ceiling in the traditional wine shop, and the outer decks afford views of the polo field alongside the arbors and herb gardens.
Rather than preserve their slice of countryside with uninterrupted quiet or a colossal snow-globe dome, the vineyard's tenants strive to fill the hills with life. They host classes on topics from pairing wines to organic farming, and welcome diners to sample handcrafted confections at Bissinger's Chocolate Experience and Caf?. Bands fill the wine-tasting room with new rhythms each week, and festivals such as the Harvest Celebration Weekend?where attendees can glimpse stone carvers at work and dine on homegrown cuisine?imbue the rural expanse with a close sense of community.
In 2006, Craig Pinkley traveled to Napa Valley. It started as a business trip, but after a VIP tour of an established winery and a symphony of glass clinks, Pinkley's adventure ended with a career wakeup call. Grapes were his passion, so he set out to make them his coworkers.
Pinkley studied every aspect of wine—"from land, to vine, to vinification"—before deciding on Pilot Knob Vineyard's locale, where rainfall drains ideally and soil presents a balanced mix of nutrients. Spanning 112 acres and perched on a ridge overlooking Texas hill country, Pilot Knob takes its name from an extinct volcano nearby and serves as a romantic location for weddings and events. At Pilot Knob's tasting room, guests can sample the vineyard's wines amid stone fireplaces, high ceilings, and ample windows or step outside to the wraparound porch for far-reaching vistas of the surrounding countryside.
Suited for all kinds of aquatic explorers, the enormous fleet of watercraft curated by Austin Boat Rentals ranges from long houseboats to three-person WaveRunners and boats to pull water-skiers. But not only do they rent out boats, they plan parties, offer access to the Volente Beach Water Park, wakeboarding lessons, and even limo service to the downtown area.