St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. This family-owned winery, founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921, is nestled in the picturesque fruit-growing region along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Today, grandson, David Braganini, has adopted the family tradition of wine making.
For their willingness to brave the winter waters of Lake Michigan, the hosts of NBC’s Today Show called the crew at Third Coast Surf Shop a “philosophical group of hardy souls.” The surfers have accepted their lot in life with cheer, working with what they have by pioneering the art of lake surfing. They’ve also shown up on the CBS's The Early Show, National Public Radio, and Newsweek in their effort to expose Midwesterners to surfing and paddleboarding and expound upon the advantages of the Great Lakes as a surfing venue. Along the sweeping shorelines, six quadrillion gallons of fresh water rise up in wind-generated waves, which are more manageable for beginners than the larger swells in the ocean and less likely to contain depressing submarines tangled in plastic bags. When not fitting patrons with paddleboards, the team of instructors leads camps, where young surfers find their sea legs, construct sand castles, and play soccer while building social skills.:
Frolicking in a 500,000-gallon wave pool, plummeting from 100-foot free-fall slides, and drifting along a 1,200-foot lazy river with 5 mph currents are just a few of the diversions found within Seven Peaks' net of water parks. The aquatic havens spread across Utah, and Indiana, luring families and adventurous kayakers with forests of twisting water slides such as the Provo location's Boomerang, which sends passengers ricocheting down three stories. Calmer fun awaits at child-friendly areas such as the Salt Lake location's Dinosaur Bay, where toddlers splash and ride small slides, and lazy rivers welcome both whippersnappers and adults hoping to relax.
In addition to its water parks, Seven Peaks manages a fleet of fun centers. Visitors to the Sandy location try for strikes in bowling and guests at the Lehi location enjoy rides on a pirate ship or in bumper boats. The Orem location lets you putt through a glowing, neon mini-golf jungle lit by black lights or whack at the imagined faces of arch-nemeses in the batting cages.
The friendly and experienced staffers at this full-service day spa perform an array of treatments to transform forlorn figures into flattering frames. Carve a coveted 12-pack into your midsection with a Zerona body-sculpting treatment ($200–$250). During the 40-minute session, a noninvasive laser melts rebellious fat cells loitering under the skin, which then get fully eliminated through the body’s natural detoxification processes. This Groupon is good for one treatment, but six treatments are recommended for optimal results. Opt for two spider-vein treatments to noninvasively banish web-like squiggles and inadvertently offensive words from your surface.
Two hunters step through a field of sorghum, making their way toward the tree line in the distance. Just where the wild grasses brush up against the tree trunks, there's a slight movement in the brush. It might be a hen-sized chukar partridge about to spring into the air on its short, barred wings. But if they're lucky, the hunters will spy the green crown, red wattles, and long tail of a plump prize pheasant.
These kinds of upland bird hunts draw sportsmen year-round to Deer Creek Hunt Club's more than 500 acres of woodlands, rolling hills, and wetlands. Well-trained gundogs—both flushing breeds and pointers—can accompany hunters on these expeditions, which are led by able, professional guides. Off the field, visitors can sharpen their skills in clay-shooting facilities with skeet and five-stand fields as well as a sporting-clays course with different sections for beginner, intermediate, and experienced marksmen. Convenient automatic traps throw clays, and a wobble trap challenges shooters by changing the flight of each target it throws. The staff also leads private shooting lessons and hunters’ safety courses.
After a day in the fields, guests can refresh at the clubhouse, where furniture built by local Amish craftsmen fills a rustic but comfortable dining room. Memberships grant frequent guests privileges such as access to the clubhouse’s upper level, where the ghost of Davy Crockett often appears to give out hunting advice. Just a few miles inland from Lake Michigan, Deer Creek is located about 90 minutes from Chicago and about 30–40 minutes from South Bend.
Mudderland transmutes one of the Midwest's largest motocross tracks into a swampy test of endurance, challenging thrill-seekers across 3.5 miles of military-style obstacles. Unfurled across the site of a WWII munitions factory, the one-day, full-body assault sends participants running, climbing, and crawling through a lineup of natural barriers, including a 19-foot concrete wall that sprouted from a radioactive apple seed during the 1940s. As limbs splash through ponds, slither through tunnels, and flail wildly while soaring down monstrous slip and slides, spectators bask in the muddy melee from elevated bleachers and VIP viewing decks. Afterward, fresh water bursts from the course's showers to blast away dirt and reveal each participant's new layer of confidence.