The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.
The pedal pioneers at Boschertown Grand Prix Racing have been facilitating high-speed adventures on one of the largest tracks in the Midwest for more than half a century. In the early days of racing, the course served as a venue for the homemade karts of avid individuals, but now houses a herd of go-karts, sprint-karts, and super-karts that eliminate the possibility of unfair home upgrades such as engines outfitted with nitrous or the flux-capacitor of a 1981 DeLorean. Drivers as young as 10 reach speeds of up to 17 mph in a standard kart; racers 16 or older helm 24 mph sprint-karts; and drivers 18 or older take control of 28 mph super-karts. Wheels roll over hairpin turns, banked corners, straightaways, and opponents' rights to call themselves "Greased Lightning" as drivers dominate laps around the 5/8-mile track.
After a decade getting her hands dirty with clay, artist Donna Schreiter swung open the doors of The Painted Pot in 2001, determined to bring the art of ceramic creation to all ages and skill levels. Inside the open studio, adults, kids, and families dabble raw bisques with glaze-soaked sponges, assemble mosaic works, and shape wet clay on spinning wheels. Kids' classes guide little hands to shape and paint their own pieces, and grown-ups-only evenings throw in margaritas for sipping and instructions for weaving baskets out of old utilities bills.
At My Handyworks, the team specializes in turning handprints into art. They can transform a set of acrylic-paint handprints and footprints on a tile into a custom painting, perhaps of a duck, or dyed wax molds of hands into keepsake statuettes. Their art classes, meanwhile, cover a wide variety of skills, teaching kids to decorate pumpkins and adults to recreate masterpieces by Monet and Van Gogh.
An award-winning artist, Denninger's artistic spark was ignited after attending a particularly dreary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The joyless displays fueled the positive painter to fill the world with inspirational imagery. Denninger's nature-scapes are the visual equivalent of a foot rub at the end of a long day of work: tiny blooms poke out of clouds, birds soar through the skies, and pretty streams peek out from hard rocks. Larger-sized wall coverings average $20 for an 8x10 and $75 for a 12x18. Upgraded options such as framing and signed prints vary from piece to piece. Those preferring a more-flippable option can invest in one of Denninger's limited-edition inspirational books for $75. To update your interiors without leaving them, apply a portion of today's Groupon to shipping (parcel shipping starts at $5.15 for a 5x7 print; shipping costs depend on the weight of the art and whether it's parcel, priority, or express mail).
Named St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year in 2010, Main Street Gym owner Wendy Black invigorates limp limbs and un-buff thoraxes with her more than 10 years of personal-training experience. In a six-week boot-camp session held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, crews of 15 or fewer huffers and puffers stretch and strain together in one-hour workouts twice a week. Evening sessions at 7 p.m.—led by trainer Marcel Walker—pump up the after-work crowd. Black leads 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. sessions so early risers can achieve their morning sweat without power-lifting medicine balls full of boiling-hot coffee. In addition, a one-on-one consultation will compile body measurements, past workout history, and a cardiovascular assessment to address personal-fitness and nutritional goals and to help barbell adherents overcome their deep-seated fear of aerobics. See Main Street Gym's online schedule for details.
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