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Seven Great Factory Tours

Via Contributors
wind farm in Southern California, image
Photo caption
The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm can be seen from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.


Once in a while we like to take time to appreciate the means of production along with the product. There are dozens of opportunities to tour the places where our favorite creations are crafted, fashioned, or otherwise manufactured. Here are seven of the best working wonders.

Windfarm Tours North Palm Springs, Calif., (760) 251-1997, Given California's recent energy woes, $23 (for adults) is hardly excessive for a ride through a forest of giant windmills and a lesson in environmentally friendly power. The tour of the wind energy facility utilizes an electric car recharged by the wind—the ultimate power trip.

Celestial Seasonings — Boulder, Colo., (800) 525-0347, The free 45-minute tour includes a stroll through an herb garden, gallery (tea box designs), and factory (8 million tea bags are produced daily), and sampling from more than 50 varieties. If the tea doesn't clear your sinuses, Celestial's Peppermint Room will.

Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream — Union City, Calif., (510) 471-6622. If you feel like ice cream, a cool $2 can get you two scoops and a view of the manufacturing process. If you really want to feel like ice cream, visit the Cold Box warehouse, maintained at a frigid 20 degrees below zero.

The Boeing Company — Everett, Wash., (800) 464-1476, Large crowds view huge airplanes (7-series wide-bodies) inside part of the world's most enormous building. Just don't bring the small (under 4'2") tykes.

Jelly Belly Candy Company Fairfield, Calif., (707) 428-2838, Watch these treats being shaped, glazed, and polished, but don't miss the Jelly Belly artwork. Nothing whets the appetite like thousands of jelly beans arranged to look like Margaret Thatcher.

Anchor Brewing Company — San Francisco, Calif., (415) 863-8350, A pioneer in the craft brewing industry, Anchor offers a free, reservation-only tour. A brewer will walk you through the brew house, and the fermentation and conditioning cellars, but the taproom is everyone's favorite.

Tedeschi Vineyards — Ulupalakua, Maui, Hawaii, (808) 878-6058, Tour a winery on ranch land still roamed by Hawaiian cowboys. Inside a 127-year-old cottage, belly up to a bar cut from the trunk of a mango tree and enjoy some fine grape or pineapple wine. Maui Blush, indeed.

Photography courtesy of Conn, Kit/Wikimedia Commons

This article was first published in November 2001. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.