Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger?the Whopper sandwich?consists of flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and Hershey pie keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
When Alive magazine publisher Elizabeth Tucker first thought about LASIK surgery as an alternative to the glasses she had worn since second grade, she didn't think it was an option. She feared the cost, worried about the time off work, and was unsure about how safe the procedure would be. Luckily, numerous friends told her about the transformative effects of their own procedures, and she finally decided to take the plunge at Crown Laser Center. There, a team of seven board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and surgeons put Elizabeth and other clients at ease as they correct corneas with trained hands and cutting-edge equipment, boasting a 99% surgery-success rate. Elizabeth is now glasses-free and doesn't regret a thing. "It's been life-changing for me," she says in a video on the laser center's website, "I would recommend it to anyone."
Permanent Great Looks Salon & Spa?s team of spa technicians enhances exteriors with a comprehensive menu of skin, body, and nail treatments. Manicure services provide customers with nails painted with Shellac polish that protects against chips for up to two weeks, even after wearers build sand castles to store stockpiles of shucked oyster shells. Toes simmer in heated bubble basins before curling up in steamy towels in the pedicure room, and aestheticians stationed in serene private rooms treat skin to body scrubs designed to polish surfaces and stir circulation. The active ingredients in body-scrub formulas range from Dead Sea salt to organic brown sugar steeped with essential oils and more conducive to soft skin than intercepting sneezes from the Marshmallow Man.
The golf carts at The Woodlands Golf Club take players on a grassy roller-coaster ride over frequent changes in elevation and down fairways brimming with challenging lies at every turn. Play intertwines perilously with a winding creek at many points, with a scant three holes, like a cautious wicked witch, managing to avoid water altogether. All 18 holes launch players down zoysia grass fairways from one of four tees, challenging each club in the bag en route to greens that hold approaches and roll true. On the last hole, the newly refurbished clubhouse provides a scenic backdrop for the homestretch.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 72 course
Total length of 6,418 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 70.6 from the back tees
Course slope of 123 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
To the sounds of rollicking live piano music, Ragin Cajun Piano Bar celebrates the cuisine and culture of Louisiana with a tempting menu of crayfish, bourbon-glazed steaks, juicy burgers, and spicy andouille. Bowls of crayfish étouffée in a creamy roux and chicken wings slathered in a piquant voodoo sauce evoke images of the sunny South, and an open-air balcony and a second-story patio frame stunning views of a river town that shares the Mississippi with New Orleans. On weekends, live piano players bang out popular rock and pop tunes as patrons sing and dance along, contrasting with somber weekday lectures on the differences between English common law and Napoleonic code.
Surprise your sweetie with a romantic getaway that won't cost you a fortune in plane fares with today's side deal for turn-of-the-century charm and modern luxury at the Beall Mansion, an elegant bed and breakfast just 40 minutes from downtown St. Louis in Alton, Illinois. Get away from your neighbors' kids and sassy mail carrier, pamper your inner elite, and indulge in the lavish decor and 24-hour all-you-can-eat fine chocolates. For $140, you get a one- or two-night stay, depending on the day of the week, in a deluxe queen room complete with private bath, luxurious bedding, and opulent 11-foot ceilings. Check in on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday for a two-night stay, or stay for a single night on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.