Trophy fisherman Walter Krause, who has 15 years' experience on the Illinois Muskie Tournament Trail and the Pro Musky Tournament Trail, takes up to two anglers aboard his private boat for a guided trip through two fish-filled Illinois lakes. Whether plumbing the depths of Cedar Lake for striper or pursuing Kinkaid Lake—one of the top trophy-muskie lakes in Illinois—for oversize bass, muskies, and walleyes, participants benefit from Walter’s 46 years of experience and on-board depth finders and GPS. During the course of each customized trip, visitors learn how to track fish movements, how to properly hold rods, and how to train a wall-mounted singing fish to bait other fish with its seductive crooning. Walter provides each angler with life jackets, bait, tackle, and rods, although participants must bring their own fishing licenses, lunches, and weather-appropriate clothing.
So established is Circle K Midwest that even brand-new vehicles recognize what its red-and-white logo stands for—fuel, snacks, and everything else a car might need to keep powering down the road with its driver. Circle K's story starts back in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. Under his guidance, these three little shops grew into the more than 3,000 convenience stores that crouch on our nation's street corners today.
After rolling up to a Circle K, drivers can pump their faithful roadsters full of high-octane fuel and send them skipping through a car wash to experience the cleansing touch of Blue Coral Beyond Green and Rain-X products. Then it's time to step inside the air-conditioned shop for a peek at the provisions. Rows of sodas hibernate behind glass doors, and snacks, candy, and their ATM guardians stand boldly out in the open. Some Circle Ks also offer the Take Away Fresh Café, which presents an appetizing lineup of healthy road fare including sandwiches, fruit cups, and fresh-cut vegetables. Drivers can gear up for a long drive with premium coffees or enjoy a cold Polar Pop, whose specially formulated cup keeps drinks colder thanks to the family of tiny snowmen trapped in its foam walls.
A decade before prohibition, Murphysboro's Stecher Brewing Company made more than 40,000 barrels of beer a year. But the Volstead Act ultimately ruined the business, silencing the city's craft beer industry until the recent emergence of new breweries, including Big Muddy Brewing and Scratch Brewing Company. The nonprofit Friends of Murphysboro celebrates the city's craft-beer heritage with its annual Big Muddy Monster Brewfest, where local and nationally renowned breweries gather to supply samples of more than 200 beers.
While established breweries serve their suds, amateurs in the home-brewing contest try to wow pro beer-makers with their recipes. The local chapter of the Home Brewers Association will have a tent to discuss home-brewing, and the rest of fest includes local vendors serving up barbecue and other tasty treats, as well as live musicians strumming danceable tunes.
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.
StarView Vineyards is home to both native and French-American hybrid grapes that flourish on the vine during breezy, sunny summers. Seven varieties emerge from those vines, resulting in 12 signature wines, from the semi-dry, citrusy vignoles to the Red Star, a semi-sweet chambourcin. Stop by the tasting room to sip samples of these blends?along with wine slushies and sangrias?or head to the cafe to snack on grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta salad.