In 2000, Keith Smith created a pond for his backyard. The plip-plop of the water was invigorating and his new water-gardening hobby was a pleasure, so he decided to share both with the world. Since then, his company Backyard Depot has grown from a local operation specializing in decorative water features to a full-service landscaping business capable of grooming residential and commercial yards with a wide array of services. After overhauling lawns with a full mowing and weeding, Keith’s staff can also build landscape features such as an outdoor fireplace or a tall fence to keep feral Santa Clauses from taking up residence.
For Cirrus Air Express, commuting is all the fun. That's because the company does its travelling at high speeds thousands of feet above the ground. It shares its access to the sky with the community by transporting time-critical cargo, and by providing private charter services that jet off to portions of 17 different states. Cirrus Air Express's highly qualified instructors also help aspiring pilots earn certification, teaching students inside aircraft equipped with the most modern avionics available.
The Belvidere Tea Room serves light lunch fare and pots of fine tea Tuesday–Saturday on the first floor of a 9,000-square-foot Belvidere mansion. Built in the early 1900s, the castle-like Victorian home still evokes the grandeur of its past with period furniture, pressed-tin walls, and original woodwork and trim brought from the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Complimentary tours offer guests a glimpse into the mansion's many chambers, including a grand ballroom adorned with gold chandeliers.
The Pink House's elegant 1902 building charms both traditionalist tea devotees and regular lunch-timers, serving a plethora of loose-leaf liquids next to an extensive menu of homemade soups and sandwiches. With more than 50 flavors to choose from, traditional tea savorers can enjoy a pot of their favorite tea variety while extending the pinky finger, entire arm, or pincers of their choosing. Tea is customarily used as a demure alternative to Wild Turkey for reconnecting with friends, calming the mind, and curing stymied conversation boxes. Munch on homemade scones from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and order a pot whenever you wish. Sandwiches made from freshly baked bread include the Summer Garden ($6.99), with layers of cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, and a crisis garden's worth of other vegetables. For dessert, chocolate radars will ecstatically short circuit when in close proximity to the shop's hot, gooey baked fudge ($3.89), decadently topped with a dollop of whipped cream.