For more than 50 years, the monks of Marmion Abbey have tended 300 acres of farmland. They started with Christmas trees, and now maintain 120 acres of pines, spruces, and firs that smell exactly like car freshener. On the remaining acres, they tend pumpkin vines and corn mazes, interspersing these areas with scenic picnic groves.
Throughout the year, the monks open their land to the public. In the autumn, they host Pumpkin Daze, a harvest festival with tractor wagon rides and a petting zoo. Around mid-November, they grant access to their tree farm, supplying visitors with rental saws for you-cut trees and bellowing "Timber!" just like Paul Bunyan did when he fell into bed at night. The monks stock their farm store with handcrafted goods that complement the season, whether caramel apples in the fall or quilts in the winter.
With the mission of making flight affordable and welcoming to all land-dwellers, the instructors at SimplyFLY help men and women of any background take to the sky on their own. Novice pilots prepare for solo flight through private and sport license training in a Remos aircraft, soaking up accessible instruction in just-for-fun flights or licensing programs. Rentals and joint ownership programs give customers a top-of-the-line aircraft when they want it without the hassles of storage and maintenance that come with capturing one’s own plane in the wild.
Artist, instructor, and The Genuine Article owner Betty James Hoppensteadt provides students with artistic and practical guidance during classes that cover a variety of mediums. Turn chaotic piles of beads and stones into harmonious arrangements with a two-hour lesson on bead stringing, where crafters of all abilities can learn how to properly wield jewelry-making tools and create interesting patterns and designs on cord, wire, or thread. A large selection of finishing notions completes each adornment, allowing each student the opportunity to leave class sporting one-of-a-kind body ice.
Like at a medieval fortress, a two-story structure made of wood and stone towers over a pool of water. And like the garbage chute that empties into the open mouth of a moat's crocodile, two diving platforms and a water slide deposit swimmers into the main pool at Batavia Park District's Harold Hall Quarry Beach—a 60,000-square-foot swimming hole chiseled into a former stone quarry. Though visitors can always brave the free falls, a zero-depth edge allows for a more leisurely entrance into the water, where guests of all ages swim laps in the lanes, practice slam-dunking on one another under the basketball hoop, or pull themselves onto a wooden island to sunbathe. On the shore, landlubbers can relax at the picnic area or head to the beach-volleyball court to prevent lobstermen from stealing the net.
Be Active Outdoors organizes physical and recreational activities for adults and children of all fitness levels. Regular events challenge locals to break their sedentary habits with 10-mile bike rides, lessons on revitalizing waterways, and group adventure races. An annual river-basin tournament combines a focus on conservation with thrilling paddleboat and shoreline fishing. The Amped Up Adventure race complicates traditional adventure racing with urban elements including biking, running, paddling, and an obstacle course to get people moving in their home environments.
Ballydoyle specializes in comforting Irish fare and even more comforting Irish ales. Folks will wonder why more meat isn't corned after trying the star of Ballydoyle's sandwiches, the corned beef on marble rye (8.95). Heartier Irish specialties include shepherds pie ($11.95), Bangers and Mashed ($11.95), and Dinny's Irish Fry—an aorta-challenging amalgamation of Irish bacon, Irish sausage, black-and-white pudding, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, two eggs any style, toast, and the keys to Dublin for those that clean their plates ($12.95). Another Irish specialty, boxty ($11.95–$13.95), wraps a homemade potato griddle cake around a variety of fillings, such as vegetables, chicken, and Larry Bird's NBA championship rings. An Irish pub would just be Denny's without an extensive list of draft and bottled beer. Ballydoyle's is one of the only pubs that serves McCaffrey's Irish Cream Ale, making it as delicious as it is exclusive.