From the air, the pathways at Country Corn Maze come together to create detailed images of cows, stock cars, tractors, monuments, presidents, and various other American icons. From the ground, though, they seem to wind endlessly without any sense of reason, providing adventurers with acres of maze to lose themselves in.
Each year, the Martindale family collaborates with Maze Play Inc., which uses computer-aided design software and GPS-directed tractors to carve out intricate pieces of art. The Martindales’ life on the farm and the culture of the rural Corunna countryside inspire the shapes of their mazes, which can range from a pictures of a farmstead to an homage to the firefighters of 9/11. After construction is complete and the maze walls have grown to the proper height, they invite guests to explore the 5-foot-wide pathways during the day or at night by flashlight. To keep patrons energized while they wander the corn labyrinth, Country Corn Maze also provides seasonal produce and concessions in its 1900s-era barn, from warm donuts to cups of hot organic cider or cocoa.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
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.
For more than 10 years, Forest of Fear has been luring thrill-seekers into the woods to face 5 acres of nerve-testing frights. As they traverse the twisting, moonlit path, visitors encounter the forest's ghoulish inhabitants, including a devilish doctor, cannibalistic circus clowns, and a hallway filled with tragic brides stuck wearing off-white dresses, even though they'd ordered ivory. Guests set their own pace on the self-guided path, allowing them to stop along the way to get a better view of what’s lurking in the creepy cemetery or inside a school bus inhabited by forces more sinister than scholastic.
Though the haunted forest may scare, its overarching intent is help the community. All of the profits go to the Kentwood Jaycees, who use the money to sponsor community projects and help purchase food for families in need during the holidays. The staff is composed entirely of volunteers, and local Boy Scout troop 344 provides monster-themed concessions to warm chilled patrons as they await their turn to be terrorized.
Jaden James Brewery isn't the Bonga family's first foray into the world of sippable fermentation. In the same space where they now create specialty beers, they've spent years crafting wines from the fruits of Michigan's bountiful vineyards and orchards.
"So many people come for the wine, but we often get one half of a couple who says, 'I like beer,'" says Bob Bonga. The brewery's current selection includes a creamy ale to be savored between bites of pretzels, a Russian Imperial Stout, and an oatmeal porter that Bob characterizes as "wonderfully dark, with roasted tones of chocolate and coffee hops." The juice of apples harvested in northwest Grand Rapids goes into hard ciders.
The family also prepares a short list of snacks for visitors. In the future, the Bongas may grow their menu further by distilling their own liquors.
Captain Lee Robinson spent his childhood fishing Alabama’s inshore waters for trout, redfish, flounder and tripletail. His passionate pastime turned into a career—now a USCG-licensed boat captain with 15 years of fishing experience, Lee leads fishing trips for Mobile Bay Charters through the same shallow waters where he spent his youth. At the helm of his 24-foot Pathfinder, powered by a Yamaha 300-horsepower engine rather than a chariot of seahorses, he takes passengers to prime fishing spots in waters from Mobile Bay to Orange Beach.