In 1910, fourth-generation German immigrant Alvin O. Eckert set up a small produce stand on a roadside in Belleville, Illinois. More than 100 years later, that roadside stand has flourished into the expansive Belleville plot of Eckert's Farm: a pastoral acreage where orchards surround a country-style restaurant, bakery, and handmade-custard shop. The Eckert family's sixth and seventh generations ensure this farm remains a true family affair. Sixth-generation member Jim Eckert is the chief horticulturist, and his cousin-once-removed, Chris, oversees retail operations and the sale of the farm's homegrown produce and spare scarecrow parts. Chris's sister Jill helms the food program, and his wife Angie oversees the Country Store and colorful Garden Center.
Throughout the year, visitors arrive on the Belleville farm's grounds for a range of seasonal activities, including peach-, apple-, and pumpkin-picking. During the summer, a concert series features live outdoor music on Friday and Saturday nights, and in the fall, staff lead bonfires and evening hayrides through the orchards. Inside the farm building, instructors teach cooking classes for adults and children, as well as a wine-pairing class.
Family-friendly activities also abound at the Eckert family's other two farms. The Grafton farm, where public apple-picking began in 1964, offers daily animal feeding and miniature golf. The seasonal Millstadt farm is home to a workshop, haunted hayrides, and an array of warm-weather children's attractions—including a 70-foot underground slide.
Even before he founded PowerFit Bootcamp, JR Spear always felt a calling to transform people into fitness machines. A fourth-degree black belt and studied martial artist, Spear spent years training future Marine Corps officers and Iraqi soldiers in self-defense and combat skills. Later, Spear taught his own MMA fitness and cardio-kickboxing classes, along with personal and group training sessions. At PowerFit Bootcamp, he and his staff of fitness instructors encourage each student to persevere by leading motivational and high-energy classes. At 14 indoor and outdoor locations, students undergo full-body workouts designed to jettison fat and tone muscle. Trainers welcome students of all stripes, giving them a period of time to complete each move, rather than a number of repetitions, encouraging each student to do as much as he or she can without feeling uncomfortable, overexerting, or resorting to time travel. Along the way, coaches track progress and motivate students by noting benchmarks during physical fitness tests on the first Monday and Tuesday of each month.
LiveWell Wellness Center's Doctors of Chiropractic—Patrick Komeshak and Danny Mosley—treat patients with the LiveWell System, a holistic approach developed to lead patients toward optimal physical, chemical, and emotional health. At this complete wellness center, Drs. Komeshak and Mosley also help patients obtain their heal and wellness goals using a variety of state-of-the-art tools and services. Chiropractic correction realigns the skeletal architecture using techniques that are gentle enough for everyone from newborn babies to senior citizens. Ensconced in one of seven warmly lit private treatment rooms, massage therapists return sore necks and backs to a state of tranquility as they knead out knots and stress, and nutritional experts provide patients with recommendations for dietary supplements. From pain-relief to weight loss to general wellness, the LiveWell team works together to help customers reach their goals and obtain peace of mind.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger?the Whopper sandwich?consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
Founder Todd Beckman opened the first Tan Company location, then called The St. Louis Tan Company, in 1994 with a pair of average-size sun retreats. After perfecting a superstore concept with multiple levels of tanning beds and an intrepid-reporter alter ego, Beckman's bronzing business now spans 53 locations in 8 states, including 39 locations in the St. Louis area. Todd ensures each salon keeps the same high standards that won the 2010 award for Best Tanning in St. Louis from CityVoter.
A knowledgeable staff maintains each bright, highly sanitized environment and stocks shelves with Australian Gold, Swedish Beauty, and Designer Skin tanning products. The Tan Company also fashions UV-free tans with Mystic Tan standup booths that evenly spritz bodies with a paraben-free DHA solution infused with aloe vera.
While unloading their ammo upon enemies, paint-splattered warriors hunt for cover in the outdoor wilderness of Xtreme’s 10 playing fields. They duck behind multistory wooden barricades on the Castle field, navigate a maze of padded pillars and logs on the Arena field, dive into leafy ditches on the Bunker field, and command one of four two-tiered fortresses on the Four Forts field. Much like siblings competing to see who celebrates their birthday first, Xtreme Paintball Park gathers players to engage in competitive scenarios such as capture the flag and elimination. Park staffers expand these play opportunities by constantly building new playing fields and restaging area structures. During private parties, ranks of covered pavilions offer spaces where groups can take a break from excessive sun, rain, and snow as they prepare for the next round.