In 1978, a modest 32’x144’ poly greenhouse began supplying a farm with tomatoes and pepper plants. More than 30 years later, the greenhouse has exploded into a 3-acre operation that supports a leafy abundance of 15,000 flowering hanging baskets, more than 100,000 potted annuals, and 25,000 potted perennials. Helmed by Don and Janice Bench and their son and daughter-in-law, the greenhouse and nursery pairs visitors with more than 200 varieties of hybrid roses, which only require 1 gallon of gas to bloom on the highway, as well as trees, shrubs, statues, and fountains.
In November and December, the garden center morphs into a winter wonderland that showcases more than 100 decorated trees and a seasonal trove of ornaments, fragrant wreaths, poinsettias, and crimson bows. During summer months, the Benches man a roadside produce stand, where they sell sweet corn, melons, beans, and squash from their 650-acre farm.
Peggy Dennis and Mark Kohn transformed the historic Oak Harbor Hotel, while retaining the well-known façade's historic charm. But inside the duo refurbished the guts by restoring the century-old hardwood floors and hanging glittering chandeliers. They remodeled the dining room to house their restaurant – which serves a variety of locally grown produce and locally raised meats. They also renamed the venue to The Beekeeper Inn, a nod to their own passion for apiculture. Together they run the banquet hall and restaurant, taking breaks in their day to tend the family farm, harvest honey, or net a new swarm of bees. Mark even uses the Inn's upstairs space as a Krav Maga practice studio to teach self defense classes.
Sandi's Village Cafe warms customers with house coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos in flavors such as french vanilla. To complement the beverages—which also include chai tea—the staff serves breakfast food such as cinnamon rolls and later-day eats such as paninis and salads. To end things on a sweet note, customers can order butterscotch sundaes or ice-cream cones with one of the cafe's seasonal flavors.
Happy Hour Inn's inventive chefs swirl fluffy dough discs with a traditional, white, or garlic-butter sauce before scattering the pies with more than 20 toppings ranging from pepperoni to potato chips. A menu of 17 specialty pizzas supplements conventional toppings with eclectic accents such as potatoes, sour cream, and thought bubbles. The taco pizza forgoes its mozzarella origins in favor of a nontraditional cheddar-cheese smattering garnished with taco meat, tomatoes, and lettuce. A creamy alfredo sauce saturates morsels of chicken, bacon, and onions atop the California white, whereas the buffalo-chicken pizza brandishes a spicy mélange of breaded chicken, two cheeses, and hot sauce. Diners can prime palates for the sliced feast with a 1-pound basket of boneless or bone-in wings that, like a spy with a laundry budget, don one of seven saucy disguises.
Great American Cookies freshly bakes a wide range of dentist-defying goodies, including a variety of fresh-baked brownies and cookies such as white chunk macadamia, M&Ms, pecan supreme, and snickerdoodle. Relive the wonderment of being a wide-eyed youngster without being zapped by a shrinking ray gun by frisbeeing a Big Bite ($0.89) or Double Doozie ($1.99) cookie right into the kisser. Pick up a half dozen regular cookies ($7.99) or hone gift-giving skills before the holidays with a heart-shaped tin ($16.99) of cookie creations. Quench sweetly inspired thirst with a regular 20 oz. fountain soda ($1.59) or a nice tall glass of even more cookies.
Revolver turns out a rotating menu of simple seasonal dishes that combine local and organic goods with atypical ingredients. Owner and chef Michael Bulkowski creates an atmosphere of fine dining without the risk of extended pinky-finger sprains with playful small plates such as the cinnamon-spiced duck meatballs with tempura squash and goat cheese ($8) or local rutabaga soup with cranberry-cashew pesto ($5). Latent hunter-gatherer instincts alight as forks harpoon the Flint Ridge Farms rabbit with niçoise olives, tomatoes, and fettuccine ($26) and dip bites of locally raised sirloin into sides of creamy polenta ($19). Toast confluent tastes with a libation from chef-selected wine and craft beer lists, and complement meals with a sultry glass of the Jezebel pinot noir ($12) or regal bottle of Bell’s Brewery’s Oberon summer ale ($6).