As trainers with wide-ranging horsemanship backgrounds help introduce them to Valley View Acres’ faithful lesson horses, students learn equestrian essentials such as brushing, tacking, and horsecare, as well as walking, trotting, and cantering. The facility cares for horses and their riders in a variety of ways, from boarding to breeding. A special focus is colored white thoroughbreds, bred from long racing pedigrees that stretch back to the horses that pulled the Mayflower. The Valley View Acres show team shows on the Illinois Hunter Jumper Association circuit and competes in the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association trials.
The sibling-run Meadow View Corn Maze beckons autumnal explorers to its 10-acre corn labyrinth accented by a two-acre pumpkin patch, complimentary hayrides, and interactive games. Couples, familial units, and cabin-fevered roommates can peruse the gargantuan starch puzzle that weaves four miles of paths into an elaborate design commemorating the first responder heroes of September 11. The pumpkin patch gives perusers the chance to pick their own gourds for frightening jack-o'-lantern displays or to replace deflated basketballs. Traverse the picturesque grounds in a rustic wooden wagon that leads excursionists to scalable hay-bale stacks, baggo games, moon walks, and other family-friendly fall activities. Dusk-time visitors arriving October 21st–23rd or 28th–30th can careen through the haunted maze decked out with spooky sights such as eerie corn goblins and zombie tax accountants.
Lead by a crew of experienced professionals, including 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Don Essig III, Hickory Stick Golf Club challenges its visitors with a rippling course of Ireland-inspired greens and rolling fairways. Choose from a trio of instructors to help fine-tune swings with two 30-minute private lessons. The trained club swinger will aid students in modifying underperforming hits while instilling proper techniques to help avoid sand traps and feral golf carts. The TrackMan Pro club analysis is designed to further enhance newfound follow-through with video-capturing radar. This visual data helps golfers see their stance in slow motion, as well as the swing trajectory with 1982 holographic overlays.
Designed by famed golf-course architect Joseph L. Lee, Plum Tree National Golf Club delights par pursuers with a picturesque, 18-hole course intertwined with more than 200 acres of unspoiled McHenry County forestland. Host to numerous Illinois PGA events and national qualifying events, the verdant fairways challenge club swingers with 105 sand traps, demanding water obstacles, and distractingly seductive grass. More than 4,000 trees stand perched along the rolling terrain, and players can rely on well-kept fairways and greens thanks to a recently completed maintenance-and-drainage program that required no less than 17 hedge trimmers and one very large wet/dry vacuum cleaner.
On warm nights, live music spills from D.C. Cobb’s stage and flows onto Woodstock Square. As if thumping bass weren’t incentive enough to duck into the brick-walled dining room, passersby may be won over by the aroma of sizzling bacon, which chefs smoke and season in-house daily. The juicy strips grace hand-formed beef patties, joining the ranks of other creative flourishes such as fried egg, mac 'n' cheese, and guacamole. Further cementing their status as a bastion of the Square, D.C. Cobb’s hosts the annual Main Street Music Fest, replete with local bands, food vendors, and longing looks from park statues.
The Golf Club at Waters Edge presents golfers of every stripe with a nine-hole layout that puts iron accuracy and short-game touch to the test. The Randy Wirkus design extends to 1,700 yards for a par of 33—an ideal setup for beginners who want to focus on fundamentals and ex-players who want a reason to sport their bygone golf fashions. After the round, golfers can unwind at the onsite restaurant, which offers a full-service bar, a Friday fish fry, and a pool table.