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.
Once the pastoral farm of a young couple, the site of Mr. Bill’s Thrills is now a bloody, cobweb-covered nightmare. In life, the lovers were happy with their peaceful matrimony. But they were soon driven mad by the macabre phenomena they witnessed on their property: slaughtered livestock, rotted crops, scarecrows who vanished from their posts. The breaking point came when the husband killed his wife after mistaking her for an intruder. Tortured by grief, he now stalks the grounds, exacting revenge upon anyone who dares disturb his privacy. The trespassers’ remains, along with those of the madman’s long-lost love, are strewn throughout the Haunted Barn and the Trail of Terror, grimly portending the horrors that hide just out of sight. Like entering into a game of demonic doubles tennis, groups of four at a time are released into the darkened land, plagued by a sense of isolation and fear as they encounter the farm’s maniacal owner and other terrible denizens.
Flying across the country solo is a typical mission for Superman, however, HeliSat’s instructors make this feat accessible to the common man. Their helicopter flight school teaches aspiring pilots aviation fundamentals and maneuvers with hands-on practice, culminating in a solo, cross-country helicopter flight. The high-flying program prepares pilots for the FAA private pilot helicopter check flight. Those studying for the written exam can expand their minds in the ground school program, which covers topics such as helicopter systems and flight computers. The pilots also helm chartered trips for sightseers, and the team of FAA-certified mechanics expertly repair and maintain helicopters suffering ingrown propellers.
At one time, St. Charles Flying Service's airport was a training base for World War II pilots during the early 1940s. Today, several vintage WWII aircraft still call the facility home, as does Boeing, which utilizes the grounds to test its own planes for modern-day military operations. Surrounded by aviation benchmarks both past and present, St. Charles Flying Service passes on the gift of flight to students with flight training for single and multiengine aircraft. From light sport to airline transport pilot, the facility's certified instructors help mold the pilots of tomorrow, who may also take advantage of open-enrollment ground courses.