Featured on NewsChannel5 for its conspicuously old-fashioned appearance, Nashville Pedal Tavern takes pub crawlers on its 16-seat bicycle-powered trolley, which allows them to drink as they pedal. With this deal, you’ll be a part of a two-hour foot-powered stroll along an adult-beverage-populated route. With speeds of about 5 mph, the pedal tavern goes slightly faster than a normal pub crawl. Ample snack storage space allows you to load up on pork rinds between stops, and bumpin’ iPod speakers pump up the jam for you and nearby dancing Thomas Jefferson impersonators. Crawlers can continue whetting their whistles at one of several establishments along the mobile pub’s route, including Whiskey Kitchen and Tootsies Orchid Lounge, ideal stops for crawlers wanting to stretch their legs and having another brewsky.
Mel Baddorf didn’t start out as a runner. He used to be content cheering on his sons, who both scored college running scholarships, until he opened his own fitness club, lost 70 pounds, and discovered a love for fitness that endures to this day. That love is equaled by his enjoyment of sharing Memphis history with others, and Rockin' Running Tours pairs those passions as he leads athletic guests around the city at a calorie-burning pace.
The informative tours range from 3–6 miles, with Mel adjusting the pace so everyone can keep up. Groups can set forth on their own tour of two to six people, or join up with other visitors for camaraderie as they discover Civil War history, explore Midtown Memphis, or see the downtown sights. Mel also maps out custom pub runs where groups sample microbrews and get in touch with the city’s livelier side. Each guest receives a post-run bottle of water and a snack, as well as a souvenir T-shirt ideal for throwing on in lieu of a shower.
Decaying skeletons and demonic nannies lurk in the corners of Graves Manor's ghastly family room, dining room, and parlor. Elsewhere, screams echo throughout the Madison Square Mortuary, a space haunted by equally unsettling sights, including a crazed clown, fanged creatures, and stacks of unfinished paperwork. Nashville Nightmare has been named a 2013 Must Haunt by Haunted Attractions Magazine and lauded by Nashville's About.com chapter as one of the city's best haunted houses for its mixture of bloodcurdlingly detailed scenes, animations, special effects, and a dedicated troupe of intense actors.
If Ghost Hunter Chattanooga’s paranormal investigators know the meaning of fear, they don’t show it. In any case, their curiosity overrides the bone-chilling sensation they regularly experience while untangling the secrets of the afterlife. They share this curiosity with small groups on ghost-hunting tours that venture into the shadows of Chattanooga’s most fertile haunting grounds. During these nightly explorations, they employ an arsenal of advanced equipment—including EMF meters, infrared-temperature guns, and Ovilus X talk boxes—to tell genuine poltergeists apart from Old Man Witherses running around in bed sheets.
USA Raft weaves aquatic wanderers of all skill levels down the whitewaters of the Pigeon River, affording inside views of the towering Smoky Mountains. Speed seekers and mild floaters alike can revel in the five-mile stretch of either the Upper or Lower Pigeon River Express, as guides employ their regional and water-sport knowledge to identify the grandeur of the landscapes and the functionality of pointer fingers. Mellow water-waders and fun-time floaters mosey through the mild ride, a slower guided tour along the Lower Pigeon River that boasts a river gorge, views of the Cherokee National Forest and the Smoky Mountains, and a calm current that never loses its temper. Adventurous seafaring types opting for an adrenaline-fueled excursion will reap the rewards of the wild ride, which careers through five miles of the Upper Pigeon River Express and paddles past Smoky Mountain scenery.
When Franklin On Foot founder and guide Margie Thessin discusses the Civil War’s impact on Franklin, she shuns dry textbook summaries. Instead, she gathers groups before historic homes and battle sites, and she explains, “The war happened here. The people who lived here– this war was their 9/11. This was their Pearl Harbor.” Suddenly, she sees sets of eyes light up, as minds make the leap from musty tomes and texts to the people who lived¬—and fought and died—where they now stand 150 years ago.
To make history relevant, Ms. Thessin humanizes it, honing in on the famous and lesser-known people who shaped Franklin and the struggles they faced to do so. In that spirit, she seeks out guides who are not only passionate about history but possess a natural knack for storytelling.
In keeping with her commitment to orchestrate vivid tours, Ms. Thessin conducts them by bike or on foot. “You get so much from a place by walking it instead of looking out a window of a bus—you may as well fly at 32,000 feet,” she says. Small groups of sightseers stroll or if preferred, Charleston across the downtown area or expand their tour’s scope by cruising on one of Franklin On Foot’s 24-speed Fuji bikes.
In the gulches of an abandoned phosphate mine, a labyrinthine path echoes with the roar of unseen chainsaws and the rustles of hidden ghouls. Monsters and zombies lurk in the darkness at Millers Thrillers Zombie Paintball Hayride and Haunted Woods, but it isn't mere craving for blood or brains that makes them so eager to terrify––the scary staff members actually receive a bonus for making visitors wet themselves. Really. “I did always like Halloween," says founder and owner David Miller.
Miller wasn’t always in the pants-wetting business, but you might say the business of Halloween in his blood. He grew up growing and selling pumpkins with his grandfather and––though he admits he was too scared to try them as a kid––his interest in haunted houses led him to intense study in the art of scaring, including seminars and conventions. His interest in creating eerie worlds inspired him to begin his walk through haunted woods and zombie-paintball hayride––during which visitors wield mounted paintball guns to fire upon advancing zombies and blank canvases hurled by poltergeists. But landing a few paintball hits won't be enough to ease the natural terror of the haunt's surroundings. “There’s a lot of spooky stuff around all this country farmland… with no streetlights in sight,” Miller says. “We…play on the fact that people are going to feel like they’re lost in the middle of nowhere.”
Despite the fright fest’s scariness, Miller’s real aim is to give visitors a good time. Staff members go easy on little kids and the elderly, and at the end of the walk, customers can calm chattering teeth around a fire pit and rejoin the world of the living by gathering around the concession stand or a stage that hosts a nightly illusionist and zombie drum line.
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