Steinway & Sons

1 Steinway Place
Long Island City, NY 11105

Price: Free. Guests need to be 16 years and older. Tours can be booked by calling the number listed or e-mailing [email protected].
Hours: Tuesday, 9:30am-noon, September through June. No tours available in July and August.

This more than two-hour tour (make sure to bring your walking shoes) provides a behinds-the-scenes look at how a piano is built— from the beginning stages of wood stacks in the lumber yard and the different types of woods and parts used in pianos, to completed pianos ready to be shipped. “What makes this tour unique is that it’s the only place in the Western Hemisphere where you can see a piano being manufactured with all of the key components built in the same factory,” says Anthony Gilroy of Steinway & Sons. On the tour, participants learn the intricate craftsmanship that goes into making these beautiful pieces, as well as the importance of having high-quality woods and parts. Veneer samples and small action parts that were “rejected” by quality control are sometimes given as souvenirs, so keep your eyes open for these.

Taza Chocolate

561 Windsor St.
Somerville, MA 02143

Price: $5 per person. $1 from every ticket is donated to Sustainable Harvest International. Reservations are required and can be made at Children younger than age 10 must be accompanied by an adult, and tours are best suited for kids 10 years and older.
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 4pm; Thursday, 2pm and 4pm; Friday, noon, 2pm and 4pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am, noon, 2pm and 4pm.

Learn how stone ground chocolate is made, the equipment used to make it, and the direct trade and sustainability practices for which Taza Chocolate is known. Since 2006, Taza Chocolate, which is inspired by Mexican cocoa traditions, has been producing thousands of chocolate bars each month that are available in most states. The 45-minute tour begins in the Taza Factory Store equipped with large viewing windows of the manufacturing space. After a brief history of the company and its philosophies, the tour proceeds into the room that houses the roaster, winnowing machines and sacks of cacao beans. Visitors then see where the chocolate is wrapped and stored. Areas where the actual chocolate making takes place is not open to the public, but is visible through viewing windows. From an interactive standpoint, kids love being able to touch a dried cacao pod, cacao beans and the hand-carved granite mill stones that are used to make the stone ground chocolate. Look forward to samples of roasted cacao nibs and a variety of other Taza Chocolate products.

Conner Bottling Works

120 Exeter Road
Newfields, NH 03856

Price: Free. Reservations required.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8am-noon and 1-5pm; Saturday, 8:30am-1pm

Family-owned and operated since 1863, Conner Bottling Works shows how old-fashioned sodas are bottled. The tour consists of a brief history of the company, a short description of how the bottling line that dates back to 1938 operates and what each function does. After the line runs for several minutes, guests may look around and ask questions. “Our tour is exciting to see how a very common item in everybody’s world is produced,” says Dan Conner, operations manager who also handles all the soda flavors. “Not only do you see how the product is packaged but you get to hear an extensive history of a small New Hampshire business.” Sample the flavor of the day, such as cream soda, cherry cola and lemon lime, and get discounts on products.

Haven’s Candies

87 County Road
Westbrook, ME 04092

Price: $2.50 per person or a minimum of $25 for families that want private tours. Participants must be at least 8 years old and are recommended to wear closed-toe shoes. Free window tours are available for families with children ages 8 and younger.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10am-2pm; by appointment only.

Sugar fans rejoice as families get an in-depth look at the various old-fashioned candy making techniques still utilized by Haven’s Candies. Founded in 1915 by Herbert Haven, Haven’s Candies prides itself on hands-on techniques seldom used today. The 45-minute tour grants access to the working candy factory with stops at the candy kitchen, chocolate molding production room, milk and dark chocolate enrobing machine, and in summer the salt water taffy room. “Our guests get a snapshot of where and how chocolate is made, a look behind the scenes at Maine’s premier confectioner and an understanding of how candy is produced from start to finish,” says Andy Charles, owner of Haven’s Candies. Everyone on the tour receives a complimentary goody bag and samples. And for candy aficionados, Haven’s Candies offers free advice and consultations from the in-house master candy makers.

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