Pleasantville Golf & Country Club's nine-hole course blankets the Marion County countryside with a circuit of tree-lined fairways. Originally opened in 1965, the course boasts the trademarks of a mature layout, with well-defined greens, tall timbers, and fairways that are starting to show flecks of gray. The semiprivate club also encompasses an outdoor swimming pool and Bogey's, a grill with a full-service bar and a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and other casual eats.:
Open for just one month every autumn, The Pumpkin Ranch seems more like a scene from a child’s dream than a family-run business. But that’s the way the Handsaker family planned it, hoping to create a family-friendly hub that celebrated their love of all things autumn. They began by cultivating their 9-acre cornfield into a complex maze, incorporating 12 checkpoints that make sure guests are on the right path and offer clues to the ranch’s Farm Scene Investigation mystery. Alongside the maze, the Handsakers have built up a 10-acre patch of pumpkins and gourds, where squashy specimens wait to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns or stomped into wine.
The hayrack ride transports guests to and fro on the ranch, speeding up walks so guests can spend more time reveling in the play zone’s bounce houses, climbable straw bales, and tire towers. For more exhilarating pastimes, the ranch offers tennis-ball launchers that send the bright orbs soaring at water-based targets, exhilarating zipline courses, and fire pits to warm up chilly fall afternoons. Inside the concession stand, staffers sell steamy cups of specialty ciders and hot chocolate alongside homemade baked goods, giving guests a taste of fall, and outside, vendors serve up larger bites such as grilled and smoked meat to fuel the outdoor fun.
What started as a back-yard patch of grapes has grown over the last 17 years into the sprawling Annelise Winery. Overseen by an experienced winemaker with multiple awards, the family-owned operation now lays claim to more than 7,000 vines. The grapes from those transform into a variety of handcrafted wines, which range from classic reds to sweet and dry whites. Whenever the winery is open to the public, visitors can head into the tasting room to sip samples of a fruit-heavy rose or a bright, semi-sweet white wine, or head out onto the covered porch to gaze out over the rolling plains and ponder the meaning of it all.
At Ridgetop Horse Ranch, students learn to ride in an indoor riding facility in the Iowa countryside. Lessons start for kids at age 3, and birthday parties give groups of budding horseback-riders a chance to ride astride a steed. During pleasure rides, visitors can trot down a wooded trail or gallop alongside a picturesque farm. For horse owners, the ranch also offers indoor and pasture boarding.
Two Saints Winery holds fast to the belief that wine should be representative of its region. That's why to create its award-winning Iowa wines, Two Saints uses only grapes from its own property or grapes grown by local farmers. Embedded within the rippling countryside of rural Warren County, the facility produces up to 30,000 bottles per year. And instead of using juices retrieved from faraway sources, such as California or the mini refrigerators inside seashells, Two Saints spurns flavor enhancements and lets the natural flavors of Iowa's land emerge by aging bottles for at least a year. Customers, meanwhile, can enjoy those products right at the winery, especially during free tastings and live events held frequently on the property.