Compare Transport LLC dispatches a fleet of clean, punctual taxi vehicles for general and airport transportation around Chicagoland. Most of the company’s drivers have decades of experience, and their language fluency includes Polish, French, Greek, and Spanish, allowing them to easily serve and transport their customers.
The tow plane’s propeller starts to spin, and rapidly disappears into a dizzying vortex. Immediately the plane lurches forward, causing the towline that connects it to the Schweizer SGS 1-34 glider behind it to tauten and begin hauling the engineless aircraft down the 2,600-foot grass runway. The pair picks up speed until the forward plane lifts off the ground and into the great expanse of blue above it, the glider still following obediently. When they reach the intended altitude, the tow plane drops the towline, allowing the glider to soar effortlessly without the help of fuel, which it can do for hours.
The all-volunteer staff of FAA-certified instructors and tow pilots at Sky Soaring Glider Club construct such a scene for students and joy riders alike each week. Including the SGS 1-34, the crew operates a fleet of six gliders, using them for everything from student-training runs and flights with members. When not at the controls of a glider’s avionics instruments, the staff conducts ground instruction at its hanger and classroom near their own privately owned airport.
Village Vintner Winery & Brewery poses a gastronomic triple threat, operating as not just a restaurant and winery, but also a fully functioning brewery. A battalion of stainless-steel machinery ferments the hand-selected wheat and barley that make up the vanilla-cream ale, the German-style hefeweizen, and the Vintner Hop Rocket, an 8.2% ABV varietal culminating from six types of hops and mad, mad science. At the tasting bar, guests can sample these brewery end products, along with Village Vintner’s expansive selection of homemade red, white, and fruit wines. The main restaurant area houses a wood-fired pizza oven, which bakes the pesto pizzas and smoldering baby back ribs that complement potables.
A spirit of good-natured fun permeates the copper-hued premises, as evidenced by a free monthly wine and mug club. Live music is a common occurrence on Friday nights, and Wednesdays star Chef Rob’s pork special.
A family walks down a lane cut into a sprawling field of corn, striding confidently until they reach a fork. After a debate, they turn left, and eventually left again. A wooden bridge leapfrogs them to a new path, lined with rows of eerily similar corn stalks. Luckily, it's a balmy day, the blue sky striated with wispy clouds, and they're not in a hurry to emerge from the green ocean of corn.
From an observation deck nearby, the 28-acre cornfield looks like a postage stamp inside the 450-acre farm, which grows soybeans, corn, and more than 50,000 Christmas trees. Homesteaded in 1840, the land is now owned and worked by a third generation of Richardsons. The family wanted to welcome visitors to the farm to enjoy the rural, outdoorsy fun that could only fit on such a sprawling space. They planted the corn maze?among the world's largest?and devised other attractions such as a zipline and paintball gallery. Visitors can also cheer on racing pigs, pet animals in an interactive zoo, and participate in different maze games. In autumn families come to pick pumpkins and in winter they cut their own Christmas trees.
The staff at 2K Adventure Gear lures explorers into its storefront with apparel, equipment, and accessories for warm- and cold-weather excursions, and helps keep like minds together by organizing a variety of fun, rough-and-tumble outdoor events. A selection of kayaks, paddles, and life jackets outfit aquatic travelers; snowshoes give trekkers the surefootedness of a mountain goat and the problem-solving savvy of a lab rat with a degree in public relations. Clients can load up backpacks and venture forth on one of the company’s weekly paddling events, held at sites around the Midwest. Beginners can take advantage of lessons that accommodate no more than 12 students, and more practiced paddlers can take group trips to Wisconsin, central France, or a whale’s dreamscape.
Single-seat Formula K go-karts sidle beside two-seaters on Kristof Entertainment Center's family-friendly driving track. After letting the wind tussle hair, friends and families compete on the 18-hole scenic miniature-golf course replete with challenging holes and flanked by waterfalls, fountains, and castles. In batting cages, baseballs and softballs hurl toward bat-wielders, and players send bowling balls careening toward pins across lanes during regular or cosmic bowling. Sports skills are further tested at seven billiards tables that leave ample opportunity for sinking in eight-balls, and the arcade's classic redemption games such as skee-ball facilitate fun and prizes. After exhausting all one's rounds of play, Kristof's Bar reenergizes visitors with Pepsi products and snacks while broadcasting sports on its many televisions.