Chandler Hill Vineyards' rolling, verdant rows of chambourcin and vignoles grapes and placid lakeside views offer visitors a quiet place to get away from it all. Built on land once owned by freed slave Joseph Chandler, the winery still retains the essence of the past. The 5,000-square-foot, lodge-like tasting room stands on the site of Chandler's modest cabin. Century-old artifacts discovered during the excavation, including a shotgun and a Hoveround, remain on display, and stones from the original foundation have been carefully repurposed. As candles in a wrought-iron fixture flicker overhead, guests here sip wines from Missouri and the West Coast and chat by a glowing fire in a large stone fireplace.
In its A-List 2010 feature, St. Louis Magazine said, "We’re fans of many regional wineries, but there’s something about Chandler Hill that feels a little more sophisticated, a little extra tucked-away." Thanks to its lush vineyards, 4,500-square-foot deck for warm-weather relaxation, and events such as live music performances, the secluded spot was named the Most Fun Winery on Ladue News's 2012 Platinum List.
Once the pastoral farm of a young couple, the site of Mr. Bill’s Thrills is now a bloody, cobweb-covered nightmare. In life, the lovers were happy with their peaceful matrimony. But they were soon driven mad by the macabre phenomena they witnessed on their property: slaughtered livestock, rotted crops, scarecrows who vanished from their posts. The breaking point came when the husband killed his wife after mistaking her for an intruder. Tortured by grief, he now stalks the grounds, exacting revenge upon anyone who dares disturb his privacy. The trespassers’ remains, along with those of the madman’s long-lost love, are strewn throughout the Haunted Barn and the Trail of Terror, grimly portending the horrors that hide just out of sight. Like entering into a game of demonic doubles tennis, groups of four at a time are released into the darkened land, plagued by a sense of isolation and fear as they encounter the farm’s maniacal owner and other terrible denizens.
At Sun Rays, an exhaustive list of UV and UV-free tanning services sheathes bodies in golden veneers. Tanning packages cater to the entire corpus with 20-minute sessions in a Sunvision tanning bed; leg tans show preferential treatment with light focused exclusively on the gams. A comfort chair allows recumbent positioning during the session, and UV glasses protect the eyes from light rays and radioactive slideshows of embarrassing family photos. Alternatively, guests can opt for a UV-free glow with airbrush tanning services. Technicians spray epidermises in Playboy airbrush solution, imparting a bronze finish that lasts up to seven days, about the time it takes to color the entire body with a burnt-sienna crayon.
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.
At one time, St. Charles Flying Service's airport was a training base for World War II pilots during the early 1940s. Today, several vintage WWII aircraft still call the facility home, as does Boeing, which utilizes the grounds to test its own planes for modern-day military operations. Surrounded by aviation benchmarks both past and present, St. Charles Flying Service passes on the gift of flight to students with flight training for single and multiengine aircraft. From light sport to airline transport pilot, the facility's certified instructors help mold the pilots of tomorrow, who may also take advantage of open-enrollment ground courses.