In production since 1988, Mackintosh Fruit Farm introduces city slickers to country life with seasonal crops available for handpicking and a meandering corn maze. Harvesting hands can make their way through rows of ginger gold, gala, golden delicious, york, and fuji apples, filling containers with up to eight pounds of potential pie-fillers or impressing dates by playing catch with squirrels. Couples may alternatively opt to adopt a newborn pumpkin from Mackintosh's patch to serve as protective porch guardians during late-October monster invasions, then find their way through a maze of corn, where seven game and activity stations entertain along the way. The corn maze takes most people an hour to navigate, though delays can result from sightings of a translucent James Earl Jones.
Framed by the rising crags of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club’s 18-hole course incorporates mature hardwoods, immaculate greens, and dramatic elevation changes into a pristine layout that earned a position on Golfweek’s list of the Best Courses You Can Play in 2009. Cresting hilltops give way to sweeping panoramas of the natural surroundings, including a 60-foot waterfall stationed behind the 18th green that used to host Gary Player's famed cliff-diving exhibitions. A grass-tee driving range, large putting green, and short-game practice area unfurl across the mountainside terrain, helping players warm up neglected swings. Additionally, players can prepare for an upcoming round with a lesson from Blue Ridge’s staff of sage instructors or by scrutinizing the course’s splendor from the wraparound terrace of the stately clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
In 2009, Southern Louisiana native Melissa Crosswhite decided to show the nation's capital what Cajun cuisine is really about. With eight generations of family recipes in her hand, she set up shop in a historical 18th-century home. Soon enough, the mouthwatering aromas of her spicy étouffée, jambalaya, and gumbo filled the house and out onto the street, where it started drawing crowds from Maryland, Washington DC, and West Virginia. Today, diners enjoy meals prepared from those same trusted family recipes, including blackened chicken, alligator, and fried oyster po' boys. All sandwiches are made with New Orleans' famous Leidenheimer bread, spicy chipotle sauce, and the laments of a poor, poor boy. Guests enjoy their meals on a quaint patio or amid the historic home's Mardi Gras masks, crimson walls, and vintage touches. Chef Crosswhite's dessert skills can put a sweet cap on any creole feast with pecan pie and authentic Café Du Monde beignets.
The windows at Panorama at the Peak provide picturesque mountaintop views of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and the weekly changing menu provides tastyesque dishes constructed from organic produce and produce from local farms. Start your square meal on a round note with an order of lamb meatballs served with feta-dill dipping sauce ($8.99). If you'd like to keep your meal as light as a globetrotting eccentric's hot-air balloon, try a crunchy toasted-walnut watercress salad in a Pennsylvania Dutch–inspired bacon-and-onion dressing ($7.29). Roll Thanksgiving into a conveniently portable sphere with turkey croquettes, three pan-fried cakes served over local apple-cranberry compote ($18.99). Panorama offers vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, and its efforts to provide cruelty-free meats have earned it the Certified Humane label from Humane Farm Animal Care.
Aiyara Thai Restaurant's menu transports taste buds to Bangkok with its arsenal of authentic flavors and spices. Chicken-satay skewers twirl into piquant peanut sauce ($5.95), and the grilled, marinated beef salad juggles red onions, scallions, and crisp lettuce ($7.95). Many entrees exist in vegetarian, seafood-spiked, or meat-married form, such as green-and-red curries ($7.95–$13.95), or the five-alarm pad phed pha, which combines eggplant, red pepper, Thai herbs, and fork-melting chili paste.