Speaking with Barbara Aichem-Koster, it's pretty clear that Black Forest Inn is a family business. "My father is head chef Heinrich. My brother is Heiner––short for Heinrich––and his two children are Heinrich and the other, Hansi. They're cooks too." Barbera and her kitchen full of Heinrichs have helped feed Stanhope for more than 34 years with what she calls German continental cuisine––a product of the elder Heinrich's rich culinary education.
"My father was born in Germany, learned to cook there and across Europe," she says. "He worked his way up in different restaurants. Then my brother went back to Germany and did the very same thing." It's this attention to tradition that Barbera credits to the freshness of the ingredients. "We try to use a lot of local produce in seasonal menus and specials. … We don't buy prepared items." Luckily for diners, that also means that the wurst sausages and the German-style pasta, or spaetzle, are housemade.
The elegantly rustic dining room has hand-painted stained-glass ceiling panels, exposed brick, and a hand-crafted bar stocked with a multitude of imported German beers. This, along with periodic live music, has helped bring a younger clientele to Black Forest. "I had a group of 20 young people in here for the Friday-night buffet. The staff pointed out what everything was, explained it to them. And one of the girls, she called later that week, wanted to say how fabulous it was. I grew up in this restaurant, so that was really nice to hear."
Dan Klemm, the self-professed “Snowmobile King,” reigns over two 6,000-square-foot barns filled with more than 400 snowmobiles and more than 50 motorcycles. His collection includes rare and one-of-a-kind sleds, such as a wooden replica of a 1924 Eliason motorized toboggan and a 1951 Ingham, as well as amphibious tracked machines including a Play Cat and a Ridge Runner, which traverse both water and land in much the same way as an octopus wearing hiking books. After marveling at the 1959 Air Sled prototype whose Lycoming airplane engine was intended to propel it through the skies, guests can wander among motorcycles from the 1900s to the 1970s made by the likes of Harley-Davidson and BMW. A 1922 Henderson Deluxe motorcycle with a sidecar nestles among Klemm’s rides, as does a plethora of mini bikes and scooters, pinball machines, typewriters, classic Crosley radios, and other vintage collectibles.
While visiting the museum, guests can step away from the motorized amusements to commune with farm animals ranging from pygmy goats and emus to guinea hens and ducks. Kids can also run around a miniature hook-and-ladder Crosley fire engine before settling down at picnic facilities to munch on sandwiches.
In the open countryside of the town of Sparta stands a red-brick, 17,000-square-foot training facility. Inside are not the Greek warriors of legend but the sporting heroes of tomorrow, still growing into their uniforms. At DreamField Sports, developing athletes train year-round to unveil their inner champion. The facility houses a spacious, brightly lit indoor field that allows for air-conditioned versions of outdoor sports, including football, baseball, softball, and soccer. The enormous field also divides via retractable curtains or is lifted by a troop of dislocated circus strongmen to reveal polished hardwood basketball and volleyball courts. Away from the courts, waiting areas with flat-screen televisions let parents catch up on the local news when they're not looking in on the training sessions through large windows. Each session is led by a group of experienced coaches, many of whom lived former lives as professional athletes and some of whom train current professional and Olympic athletes. Not only do these gurus provide technical instruction, they also encourage positive attitudes and fair sportsmanship and instill the confidence necessary to enter the Indy 500 on roller skates.
A crackling brick fireplace, woodwork, and warm walls with black wainscoting add an air of rural elegance to The Big A Grillehouse, where chefs fire-grill substantial cuts of meat and twirl Italian pastas in savory sauces. After guests cartwheel up the porch steps and settle around white-draped tables to peruse the menu, servers whisk orders back to the kitchen, then bring back seafood-laden appetizers, traditional pasta dishes, and hand-cut, beautifully marbled USDA Choice rib eyes. Karaoke enlivens the bar on Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., and singers can stumble back in on a Sunday morning to have servers pour throat-soothing juices before they scope out a stuffed breakfast buffet or request one of chef Ron's made-to-order omelets. Lushly landscaped grounds feature brick paths, low-draping trees, and a front-side pond whose fountain frequently breaks into a beluga imitation. The space's seven dining rooms are ideal for events from weddings to The Big A Grillhouse's popular murder mystery meals.
The experienced trainers at European Soccer Academy believe that positivity and commitment are key ingredients for inspiring their players, who range from three-year-olds to teens. Through a medley of individual and team services, they strive to plant the seeds of a lifelong love for the game. They practice with all comers, regardless of initial ability, and motivate kickers with safe and constructive teachings that are meant to hone motor skills while building muscle.
During 10-week team-training programs, academy experts work with coaches to tackle collective weaknesses and augment strengths. Employees personalize their exercises for one-on-one practice sessions, while summer camps instill goal-scoring skills with themed activities. Trainers can even attend matches and compose a game day evaluation, which suggests future team strategies such as painting the ball black to recruit muscly bowlers.
With four bronzing beds, two standup units, and one spray-tan booth, Beach Body Tanning is wholly dedicated to helping bodies get beach-ready without burning. UV tanning is available in three tiers, each offering higher-power bulbs to help clients build bronze from a base tan up, and a full range of moisturizing tanning lotions is also on hand to help maintain glows between basks. Sunless VersaSpa sessions send alternating jets of color and drying wind onto skin in just around a minute, offering a choice of two shades along with optional moisturizing pre-sprays and anti-aging solutions that can boost the tan’s longevity and keep it from going prematurely gray.
Beyond employing a fleet of friendly tanning experts, the salon also welcomes facial cosmetic expert Dr. Scott Cohen, who offers complimentary consultations and helps smooth wrinkles by administering cosmetic injections.