Chris and Pam Schmick had spent six months cleaning out the scrap metal from their abandoned silos and just finished drilling thousands of holes in its walls. With little time to spare, they prepared for their climbing gym's grand opening on September 2, 1995—a date on which they had already agreed to hold a regional JCCA competition. The effort they've expended in the nearly 20 intervening years shows: today, climbers scramble on top ropes, lead ropes, and more than 20,000 square feet of lava-free climbing surface.
Instructors prepare visitors to surmount the gym's features in a range of classes, such as Rock Gym 101, which is an introduction to top-rope climbing that covers climbing safety, basic technique, and equipment. Once climbers are equipped with gear from the pro-shop, staff shows them around a multi-level bouldering cave, a main climbing area with 30-foot walls shaped by arêtes, cracks, and waves, and the building's five original silos. Elsewhere inside the gym, six auto-belays safely cradle visitors who wish to climb without taking a class.
Looking for a fresh turn in their respective careers, Joe and Dawn Taylor planted the first grapes at Sleepy Creek Vineyards in 2002. In 2007 they opened the winery, where they sell their wines and swap stories with visitors. Amid 10 acres of expansive grapevines, a timber-frame barn houses the winery and tasting room. While sipping Sleepy Creek's varietals, guests can browse the gift shop, peruse the upstairs art gallery, and sample local cheeses from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery and Ropp Jersey Cheese. Above the winery, bed-and-breakfast-style accommodations allow visitors to relax amid the countryside and eavesdrop on rumors spreading through the grapevines outside.
Since launching their flagship 10-week program in 2001, the instructors at Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping have spurred more than 35,000 trainees across 42 locations toward their weight-loss goals. Classes burn fat and build lean muscle with fitness kickboxing and muscle-building with anaerobic bands. Coaches support trainees with a nutrition plan that breaks up food intake into six daily meals, increasing sustaining bodily energy and a sense of déjà vu. The founders of Farrell’s eXtreme Bodybuilding are so confident in their program that they offer a money-back guarantee for those dissatisfied with their results.
ChiroXchange supports a nervous system of more than 250 nationwide locations, whose varying services and technologies all converge with the end of healing bodies with holistic, drug-free techniques. The chiropractors believe that many of the body’s ailments, from sore backs and headaches to fatigue, are caused by blockages in the nervous system. To reverse these blockages, they nudge spinal discs back into place with gentle, strategic pressure, aligning nerves with the vertebra to free the flow of information and cat photos to and from the brain. The chiropractors at each location emphasize communication with their patients. They field questions, explain the purpose of every adjustment, and work with patients to design programs around their unique wellness goals.
Illinois Skydiving Center trains aspiring daredevils through a trio of tandem, static-line, and accelerated-free-fall classes. AFF classes teach solo skills under the direction of instructors and coaches who jump with you, teaching stability and proper deployment skills. Static-line progression jumps prepare sky mavens for the pressures of a solo career with an ascending series of jumps that impart the art of free fall. During tandem jumps, students are strapped to a certified instructor who pulls the cord and directs the movements of parachute as guests take in breathtaking views of the landscape, local tributaries, and central-state volcanoes before feet land safely on the ground.
From May until winter, the USHPA-certified instructors of Hang Glide Chicago spend their weekends accompanying passengers on tandem hang-gliding flights. Flight school sessions acclimate beginners to the sport before they board gliders, which are then towed into the air by a small plane. As flyers are released for their 2,500-foot free flight, they can steer their glider or let instructors guide the way as they take in the surrounding vistas. Students are welcome to bring their own cameras (wrist straps are recommended) or arrange to have their flight recorded by Hang Glide’s HD-panoramic video equipment or their instructor’s photographic memory. Flights take place from sunrise to sunset, and patrons can extend their experience by taking advantage of facilities that include camping grounds, bathrooms with showers, and a lake for kayaking or catch-and-release fishing.