Macabre miniature golf
Have you ever tried miniature golf? Do you love it? Did you once love it but not so much any more? When I was younger, it was a very popular and inexpensive date but through the years it seemed to seriously decline in popularity. In recent times, however, it seems to be regaining popularity, perhaps because of the different, sometimes very extreme, themes of some of the courses. If you enjoy the macabre and miniature golf, I may have found your Nirvana.
For $14, you can get an entire day of unlimited mini-golf and billiards at The Haunted Mill and Purple Planet Mini-Golf courses. Both courses are housed at the same location in Belmont and are open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Built inside of an allegedly haunted former mill, The Haunted Mill mini-golf course immerses putt-putters in blacklit scenes of blood, banshees, and birdies. As your caddie (not included) helps you line up your shot on one of the course's nine carnage-ridden holes, your club will be susceptible to the claws and cleavers of monsters and madmen, each foaming at the fanged mouth to make you dinner. On the links of The Haunted Mill, fear is every player's handicap, and tears are par for the course.
The Purple Planet course offers the same sort of atmospheric thrills as The Haunted Mill, but without all the chainsaw-wielding zombies "just playing through." Decked out in glow-in-the-dark paint and intergalactic imagery, the Purple Planet course transports players to a space system just eight parsecs beyond the Pebble Beach Asteroid Belt. Cosmic golfers can wear special 3D glasses to further bring the course's astro-ambience to life. As a bonus, 4D golf cleats allowing for interstellar time travel are not provided and also do not exist.
Once you have enjoyed as much golf as you can stand try a coffin ride, where you will be enclosed in a hydraulic-powered casket and shaken around like a morbid martini, all while a camera inside the coffin captures your claustrophobic consternation. You can also enjoy unlimited games of billiards ($1 per game), ideal for guests wanting to prove that, when serial killers aren't lunging at them from scream-filled shadows, they can indeed place little round balls in holes.
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When you enter the pavilion of the DSBG, look up! The dome is actually very beautiful and there is an impressive plaque on the floor beneath this dome that marks the year that the garden pavilion opened.
In here spare time, one of my coworkers works up at DSBG and she tells me that this dome is the oldest thing up there. It comes from a Baptist church in Canton, Ohio. Mike Bush, who is the executive director of DSBG, purchased it at an auction in Atlanta, GA. It came in pieces and had to be assembled once it arrived here. Apparently, there was already a hole in the ceiling as they were preparing to place something in this spot, but when Mr. Bush saw that this piece would fit, he jumped at the chance. Thanks for the information, Karen!
Named a Minor Basilica in 1998 by the Vatican, Belmont Abbey is on the campus of Belmont Abbey College. The small, but lovely campus can be visited in about a half hour and offers some great photo opportunities. The architecture of the abbey is not overly impressive, but the stained glass windows are something to behold.
On Main Street of downtown Belmont, you'll find some interesting historic buildings and some shops, but just before you enter this business district is the most impressive aspect of the town. It's here that you'll find some really impressive old, southern mansions.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens
The DSBG is made up of over 110 acres of beautifully landscaped and manicured gardens. You'll find numerous fountains and a water displays as well as flowers in a wide array of dazzling colors. There is also an impressive visitor's pavilion in which you can purchase tickets, visit the gift store and buy refreshments.
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