Tunneling through the pine-studded bluffs that overlook the Mississippi River, a circuit of immaculately groomed blue- and rye-grass fairways and bent grass greens forms the 18-hole, par 65 course at Great River Road Golf Club. The hills rise and fall throughout the layout—the course offers 160 feet of total elevation change—presenting shots to both raised and descending targets. The signature hole—a 370-yard par-four—doglegs left into an island green perched atop the Mississippi's flowing waters that will test even the most practiced swings. To harness the precision required to aim past the course's narrow, tree-lined corridors and village of Ewok huts, golfers can warm up at a 300-yard grass-tee driving range, which nestles alongside a practice green.
With everything from swimming lessons for kids to softball leagues for adults in its arsenal, the staff at the City of Fairfield Parks & Recreation Offices fight boredom and inactivity one event at a time. At the Roosevelt Recreation and Aquatic Center adults take to the indoor pool for fitness classes before relaxing in the hot tub or sauna to let their exhausted muscles get in a good cry. Throughout the area, outdoor shelters provide cover for barbecues, and racquetball courts host tournaments. Both during the summer and school year, wee ones benefit from trampolining classes and soccer clinics.
At Discover Powered Paragliding, pilot Michael Mixer positions aspiring paragliders on proper flight paths with instructional voyages and a complete line of BlackHawk paramotors. Michael’s expertise is the result of seven years of flying ultralight planes, and he continues to fine-tune his skills by taking off on an engine-assisted paraglider at least three times a week. The gliders—tricycle-like contraptions that can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour—allow Michael and a tandem pilot to ascend up to 18,000 feet in the air. Flights depart in the calm air of early morning, as well as two to three hours before sunset, giving passengers the opportunity to admire bursts of color on the horizon and steer clear of the migratory pathways of feral fighter jets.
Patchy forest to the north and 265th Street to the south border Cedar Valley Golf Course, separating the grassy haven from miles of Iowa farmland on the other side. Within the oasis lie ponds that enter play on all but five of the holes, including hole 13, where the green juts out into a large water hazard that regularly swallows up overly-forceful approaches. Players will find themselves facing other risk-reward scenarios throughout their bout with the course, such as on hole 5, where they must either lay up or go for the green, and on hole 16, where they must decide between hitting a 210-yard shot that carries the water or just picking the ball up and carrying it to the hole.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Total length of 6,497 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 71.2 from the back tees
Course slope of 129 from the back tees
Three sets of tees per hole
Golfers first teed off at Wahkonsa Country Club in 1967, and since then, the 9-hole, par 72 course has maintained its picturesque layout of rolling greens and cascading fountains. Stretching nearly 7,000 yards from the back tees, the course consistently challenges players with behemoth lengths?including on hole 5, which, at 536 yards, is the longest test players encounter. Away from the links, visits to Wahkonsa Country Club can also include practice swings on the driving range and lunch at the bar and grill.
Course at a Glance * 9-hole, par 72 course * Total of 6.856 yards from the tips * Four tees per hole * Course rating of 71 * Course slope of 113 * Click here to view the scorecard.
Countless readers remember the white fences and riverside scenery described in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. But fewer have visited the quaint two-story house where author Mark Twain spent his childhood, gathering inspiration for his famous stories. The spot, first converted into a museum in 1912, was named one of the Top 100 Places to Take Your Kids by Frommer's. Visitors today continue to peruse one-of-a-kind relics from Twain's life, such as his tobacco pipe, his pocket watch, and his Oxford gown. Seven other historic sites surround Twain's boyhood home, among them a museum gallery with 15 Norman Rockwell paintings that depict imagery from Twain's works and the Huckleberry Finn house, the former home of the character's real-life inspiration, Tom Blankenship.