At Initial TKD Martial Arts, Ms. Ke and Mr. D.—third-degree black-belt instructors and winners of the 2009 Illinois State Championship in Forms—combine 26 years of experience to foster strength and increased self-confidence in students aged 4 and older through tae kwon do practices. The duo operates under the philosophy that students flourish best in an atmosphere without pressure, and in order to foster a stress-free environment, the instructors personalize lessons to fit individual pupils’ needs. Natural light bathes the hardwood floors within the studio, and an area dedicated to viewers allows parents or guardians to watch their child, spouse, or ambitious pet kangaroo ascend through the dojo’s colored-belt system.
Inner Elements owner Charlotte Trux and her staff of highly trained instructors fortify core muscles with Pilates and Gyrotonic techniques, as well as attending to overall wellness with massage, acupuncture, and weight-management coaching. Sturdy, wooden Pilates machines stretch and strengthen muscles with varying levels of resistance under the supervision of an experienced instructor. The Gyrotonic expansion system strengthens ligaments and keeps hesitant planets on their axes with a combination of rotation and support. Gentle massage kneads loosen tight muscle knots and alternative medicine techniques such as reiki and acupuncture work to realign the body's energy flow to work to treat a variety of ailments.
Like at a medieval fortress, a two-story structure made of wood and stone towers over a pool of water. And like the garbage chute that empties into the open mouth of a moat's crocodile, two diving platforms and a water slide deposit swimmers into the main pool at Batavia Park District's Harold Hall Quarry Beach—a 60,000-square-foot swimming hole chiseled into a former stone quarry. Though visitors can always brave the free falls, a zero-depth edge allows for a more leisurely entrance into the water, where guests of all ages swim laps in the lanes, practice slam-dunking on one another under the basketball hoop, or pull themselves onto a wooden island to sunbathe. On the shore, landlubbers can relax at the picnic area or head to the beach-volleyball court to prevent lobstermen from stealing the net.
The chefs at Tribella Bar and Grill proudly split their allegiance to American and Italian specialties. They sear filet mignon and Fox Valley top sirloin, customizing these prime steaks with bleu cheese, garlic-and-herb breadcrumbs, or Béarnaise sauce and crabmeat. On the Italian side of the menu, patrons find entrees such as veal marsala, fresh beef carpaccio, and penne arabiatta with aged parmesan. Amid the elegant dining room's marbled amber walls, cozy leather booths, and vintage art nouveau posters, guests belly up to white-clothed tables where they sip at global wines and devour tempting desserts such as house-made tiramisu, carrot cake, and turtle cheesecake.
A well-loved wooden bar dominates O'Brien's Pub & Grill's interior, but it isn't the only place to comfortably lounge. An outdoor patio takes advantage of Chicago's temperate summers by providing a breezy venue for diners to enjoy one of the many sandwiches named after an O'Brien family member. The views of downtown Batavia's well-preserved historic district remind patrons of another era, before the invention of cell phones or noisy children. Inside, murals of happy drinkers in green getups frolic across the walls above the wood paneling.