Ann Arbor Aviation Center puts its students through the same training regimen regardless of their long-term goals. This approach ensures that all of its aviation alumni, whether commercial pilots or casual fliers, practice safe flying techniques as they share the air. The outfit's licensed instructors conduct training runs out of Ann Arbor Municipal Airport aboard aircraft by Cessna, Arrow, and Cherokee, guiding students through each step necessary to earn ratings from private pilot to airline transport pilot. Students also perform a good portion of their duties on the ground, both through academic work in ground school and situational practice aboard the Frasca flight simulator.
The ingredient list to make wines at DeAngelis Cantina del Vino Winery reads something like this: Grapes. That's it. The facility's refusal to use other additives–such as sulfites, preservatives, and glitter–means its bottles are filled with only all-natural flavors. Vintners who create all-natural wines believe good wine comes simply from healthy grapes aged in a vat. DeAngelis operates under that notion, all while producing the freshest, perhaps fruitier-than-usual varietals of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, zinfandel, and more.
At 222 feet long and 88 feet high, the Players Riverboat Casino II wouldn't fit on parts of the upper Mississippi River. So when it had to leave its Louisiana home for a new job in Detroit, it took the long way there, passing around Florida, Maine, and Nova Scotia until it chugged through the Gulf of St. Lawrence. All this was just the beginning of the boat's journey—the next step was a thorough transformation from a scrapped gambling vessel into an opulent cruise ship. The staff gussied up its interior, installed several kitchens, and gave it a new royal title: the Detroit Princess Riverboat.
Today, the Detroit Princess is a coveted venue for high-energy celebrations and relaxing cruises alike. Its five tiers of outdoor decks afford dual skyline views of Detroit and Windsor and up-close glimpses of the Ambassador Bridge, the crucial link that keeps Canada from floating away. Inside each of the boat's four stories, passengers can visit a full bar and socialize inside heated and air-conditioned rooms. The biggest of these boast dining areas anchored by prime-rib buffets and sprawling dance floors where DJs or live Motown groups prompt guests to boogie down. Holiday parties, late-night excursions, and private charters take the nightclub vibe to the water, and floating wedding ceremonies and receptions let even the merfolk branch of the family be a part of the fun.
After respective careers as a research scientist and an educator, Larry and Pam Satek were ready to settle into retirement. They anticipated relaxing on the plot of land purchased by Pam's great-grandfather in 1915—a verdant space that had matured from an apple orchard into an overgrown tangle, and which the Sateks turned into a commercial vineyard where other Indiana wineries bought their grapes. Now that they had escaped the daily grind, the Sateks' plan was to begin crafting their own wine. They did so with well-recognized aplomb, and soon, their "retirement business" was winning awards at the INDY International Wine Competition. In the past three years, almost 80% of their wines have medaled—the 2012 contest alone landed them 23 awards, including two Concordance Golds, which signify a unanimous decision by the judges. Their success is hardly surprising, though, if one looks at the descriptions of their wines. They deem their Old Vine red zinfandel "a searing of lightning and poetry," and liken the sweet Mango Mania to "sunshine in your glass."
The Sateks remain continually tapped into the community in an effort to share these wines, many of which are made from exclusively locally grown fruit. Their Twitter feed and Facebook page keep fans posted regarding new releases and suddenly sold-out varieties, and those hoping for a closer look can take a tour of the vineyard and bottling facilities. Additionally, special events such as dinners and pairing classes teach visitors how to expertly marry sips to bites without disappointing both of their families.
Founded by Post cereal magnate spouse Leila Post Montgomery in 1922, Leila Arboretum boasts 85 acres of gardens teeming with more than 3,000 varieties of aesthetically pleasing carbon-dioxide scrubbers. Contemplative horticulturalists can ponder the meaning of life and the unfathomable evil of the soprano saxophone while taking a meditative turn or 20 through the Peace Labyrinth. Otherwise, promenade through the various triffids and piranha plants in the perennial and native plant gardens. The one-acre Children’s Garden—replete with tin-can robots, a fairy house, and a landlocked hot air balloon—gives imaginations a place to run amok, as well as a plant-based way to learn one's ABCs from asparagus fern to zinnia.
Talladay Farms ushers in cool air and the smell of drying leaves with harvest-season festivities near an apple orchard. Each year, staff members chart out complex mazes that illustrate an annual theme—this year, it's farms, including a barn, cow, and tractor—across roughly 7.5 miles of twisting paths carved into 26 rolling acres of golden corn. When they're not meandering through the complex mazes, guests gather around bonfires and picnic tables or head next door to Wasem Fruit Farm's apple orchards and pumpkin patch. As Halloween nears, they convert the twisting and turning paths of one maze into a haunted labyrinth, where actors leap from the rustling dead stalks of corn wearing terrifying masks or shirts with facts about how often paper cuts happen. Conscientious staffers place several checkpoints throughout each maze and hand out maps to keep guests from getting lost.