Founder Rick Sweitzer started the adventure travel company in 1983 before leading one of the first amateur dogsled expeditions to North Pole. Driven by his vision, the guides and instructors of The Northwest Passage lead travelers of all skill and fitness levels to some of the most dramatic terrain on the planet. Locally, the team leads outings around the Chicago area, ranging from stand-up paddleboarding classes on Lake Michigan to kayaking and camping trips in Door County, Wisconsin. As for the rest of the world, Northwest Passage sends it adventurers to conquer it locale by stunning locale during programs that include hiking across Europe, trekking to remote Polar regions, and dressing up like scientists to infiltrate Area 51.
After the art of beading wrapped up Ayla Phillips Pizzo in its colorful embrace, she followed her passion to open Ayla's Originals, eventually creating her own line of jewelry, Ayla's Own, which has been featured in the Field Museum. On the walls of Ayla's shop, strings of Czech glass beads, gemstones, shells, and African beads boast enough colors to represent a rainbow or pay homage to a crayon collection. Filling the shop's floor space, cases brim with marcasite silver, oblong chunks of turquoise, and polished emeralds and sapphires. Bauble-stringing beginners can participate in regular classes taught by talented and worldly jewelry-smiths that concentrate on various curricula, from creating dewdrop bracelets to wire wrapping the hands of a diamond-store security guard.
Renovated in 2006, the nearly century-old Wilmette Theatre entertains theatergoers with a rotating slate of current and classic offerings, including Hollywood blockbusters and niche art films. Cylindrical light from a whirring projector flickers across two auditoriums, where movie-going duos can snack on buttery tubs of popcorn while sipping a soda and whispering spoilers into the facility’s pristine Soundfold curtain. The Wilmette underwent a key renovation in 2006, fortifying the century-old venue’s commitment to quality art with fresh coats of paint, an overhauled concessions center, and screenings of feature-length still lifes.
Formerly known as the Frank Govern Memorial Golf Course, Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course awakens the competitive spirit of golfers of all abilities with an 18-hole, par 60 executive layout. With a total distance of 4,000 yards, the fairway chain invites players to attack each hole from the tee box, as the bulk of the course’s difficulty awaits in the form of challenging greens and scorecards that hypnotize anyone who attempts to read them. Trees also loom on the edges of most holes as the layout winds along the edge of the North Shore Channel. Requiring a considerably shorter playing time than its full-length counterparts, Evanston Wilmette’s abridged links cater to workers squeezing in a quick, after-hours round or 9-irons trying to get in 18 before their date with a dashing pool cue.
Some consider golf a slow sport, perhaps even antiquated. But Golf Nation brings the traditional pastime into the modern age with the most contemporary technology and tools, including true-roll indoor putting and chipping greens and virtual golf simulators. The simulator transports golfers to more than 50 legendary courses, including Pebble Beach Golf Links and the Old Course at St. Andrews. Players can adjust wind, rain, and trajectory of matrix warp drive before teeing off. Golfers can also read up on the latest golf-training materials, perfect their game at multiple chipping and pitching short game areas, a real, indoor bunker area made of real sand ideal for green and fairway side shots, or they can venture outside for driving-range practice from heated bays. With 25,000 square feet of space, Golf Nation also houses a fitness club stocked with quality cardio equipment and extra space for group yoga and spin classes. A café and lounge claims the remainder of the space, brimming with the aromas of healthy food and sound of convivial chatter or heated debates over which kind of bird egg makes the best golf-ball replacement.
Chicago Jewelry and Lapidary School's instructors have had their work shown in galleries around the world. These acclaimed artists put their experience and passion to use by equipping students with the tools and know-how to create their own art. From courses on forging rings to constructing bead sculptures, the class schedule offers a wide array of creative outlets for the curious crafter or surreptitious bead thief. After class, students can post their masterpieces in the virtual art gallery or peruse the online boutique’s selection of healthy teas, essential oils, and chi-aligning crystals.