Sometimes, it only takes one family to ruin a neighborhood. In the case of the Voodoo Bayou in 1901, Baron Michael Verdun and his wife, Lady Cassandra, were the ones to blame. The psychopathic werewolf and his vampire bride set about building a menacing Antebellum-style mansion atop an old cemetery, where they began creating twisted human-animal hybrids. Enraged, the townsfolk set the mansion aflame, burning its inhabitants in the process. But the Baron and his wife never truly left.
Today, their spirits still inhabit Thrillvania Haunted House Park's nearly 50 acres, which encompass four distinct haunted attractions. A giant brain controls the clowns who rule Cassandra’s Labyrinth of Terror, a twisting maze of black-lit hallways and neon colors. Monsters roam outdoors at Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment, and Mortimer Thorn continues to perform cruel experiments within the run-down church known as Thorn Hall. However, the epicenter of terror remains Verdun Manor, the decaying—and occasionally flame-throwing—mansion.
Spooky origin stories aside, the manor is actually the invention of the late human Lance Pope. Mr. Pope grew up fascinated by old mansions, monsters, and haunted houses. So together with a design team—including former Disney Imagineers—Mr Pope built a sprawling park with more hidden scares than his childhood self could have imagined. His creations have garnered many fans and led to ample media attention, including a feature on Travel Channel's America’s Scariest Haunted Attractions.
Everything that needs to be said about The Victorian House is in its name. The home exudes the elegance of the bygone era, with its steeple-roof chapel, historic architecture, and expansive lawns. It's frequently the host of weddings both simple and extravagant; besides the chapel, there's a vast reception room for post-ceremony parties, and an outdoor gazebo features prominently in many of the wedding parties' pictures. Private dressing cottages hide the bride from the groom as they prepare for the ceremony; the bride donning her dress, the groom fixing his tie, and the priest preparing his t-shirt launcher. The chapel, where most ceremonies take place, boasts three large arched windows behind the altar where light filters into the room, and large candelabras fill the area with dim, intimate light.
The staff at My Spa & Boutique aim to beautify guests in a relaxing atmosphere. Massage therapists incorporate fragrant aromatherapy into candlelit couples massages and technicians combat signs of aging during facials with ?minence Organic Skin Care products. The team's tool of choice for tightening lax skin or removing hair is the Soprano XL laser, whose skin-cooling tip and gradually heating IN-Motion technology minimize client discomfort. The device can disable follicles on any skin type, be it pale, tanned, or made of plaster.
In the salon area, experienced stylists craft custom cuts and colors and perform specialty services such as feather extensions. Tiled floors, arched doorways, and soft lighting from ornate sconces give the space an ambiance reminiscent of a Spanish hacienda.
Arturo and Tina Vargas have a unique way of celebrating their family's central Mexican roots. They make an annual journey to different locales south of the border, ending each trip with a visit to their hometown of Cuernavaca. But these aren't average vacations. Instead, Arturo and Tina use the opportunity to discover new ingredients or recipes that they can bring back to Cristina's Fine Mexican Restaurant, their flavorful franchise of Texas eateries. Their culinary findings appear throughout the menu of Tex-Mex cooking.
The staff at each of the Vargas' venues wholeheartedly embraces those deep roots, making flour tortillas in-house, hand-rolling enchiladas, and preparing orders of guacamole directly beside diners' tables. But that's not to say the dishes are expected?salmon with pineapple butter and fried chicken breast with white wine-cream sauce demonstrate some of the kitchens' more experimental inclinations. Flavored margaritas and mojitos can add spirited refreshment to meals, as can any of the beers that the restaurants import from Mexico via man with a very strong throwing arm.
The staff of Edin’s Candy Bouquet fashions customized bouquets made from artfully displayed candy and themed trimmings. In two days time, approximately as long as it takes to plan a successful bank heist, the team can weave together candy and edible treats—such as whirly pops, Butterfingers, Swedish Fish, and Fun Dips—into custom baskets that reflect any occasion. Bouquets can fill a mug, wicker basket, or vase surrounded by holiday decorations.
The technicians at Progas perform a kind of everyday magic, calling forth flames from grills and summoning hot water directly from the tap. Instead of spell books, they draw their power from a more natural source—propane. The shop’s service crew brings their versatile fuel, which is clean, nontoxic, and odorless, into residential and commercial spaces. They specialize in tank installations, leak checks, and appliance conversion, ensuring that old-fashioned home accessories that run on wood or feathers from passenger pigeons can finally join the 21st century.