Operating out of the historic Defiance general store built around 1898, Katy Bike Rental's owners Todd and Robin White showcase their pride in local heritage as they equip visitors for voyages down the Katy Trail State Park. Originally the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, the line has since been converted into a state park whose calm gravel trail winds through lush forest alongside the Missouri River. Cyclists set out aboard the store's fleet of hybrid mountain bikes, tandem bikes, or comfort cruisers, each with optional attachments such as child carts to tow kids. They then pedal past old railroad signals and between man-made stone walls, and follow cliffs running along the river. Additionally, Todd organizes events along the trail, such as wine and movie nights, at local wineries and breweries or, when it’s a flannel kind of day, log-rolling contests with local lumberjacks.
Ellen of Ellen Baehr Equestrian has been interacting with horses for as long as she’s been able to walk like them. As the training force behind her namesake business, Baehr began riding and competing at the tender age of 4. In the decades since, she’s sat in the saddle for thousands of hunts and jumps—experience that she now applies during lessons on the 31-acre plot that comprises Gold Farm.
Baehr’s approach is simple and sincere: for every lesson—regardless of the student’s age or ability—she encourages riders to play the role of teammate to their horse. In doing so, riders often experience meaningful improvement that can prepare them for both serious competitions or casual rides past the drive-thru windows of nearby fast-food restaurants.
A 30,000-square-foot clubhouse overlooks the course as it cleaves through more than 200 acres of dense forest, undulating fairways, and a meandering stream that comes into play on multiple holes. Players' skills are immediately put to the test as they try to keep snorkeling gear in their bag on the fourth hole, where a stream runs along the entire right side of the fairway. As the front nine’s only par 5, the fourth hole still presents a birdie opportunity due to its sub-500-yard length, wide fairway, and lack of quicksand bunkers. The water continues flow on the back nine, which, at a full 400 yards longer than the front, makes players earn their postround beers back at the clubhouse, where they can survey the course's expanse through the structure’s massive windows.
Course at a Glance:
18-hole, par 71 course
Total length of 6,443 yards from the back tees
Course rating of 72.4 from the back tees
Course slope of 138 from the back tees
Four sets of tees per hole
The Stallion and The Colt are the two courses at Crescent Farm Golf Club, the former being an 18-hole titan that spans more than 7,000 yards, and the latter a 9-hole, par-30 executive course. At The Stallion, golfers test their meddle amid heavily wooded areas, native grasses, and a dozen water hazards. The course's signature hole—the par-three eighth—features a tee shot that must clear a tree-lined pond. The architect behind the main course must have had a flair for the dramatic, as both nines close with the course's two most-difficult holes.
At The Colt course, small greens make approach shots a challenge, compensating for the modest length of certain holes. But while the two layouts offer different golfing experiences, they both weave through gently rolling terrain that makes walking or pushing a cart full of bunker sand across either course a breeze.
Adventure Valley lets just about anybody live their own real-life action movie. For the epic battle scenes, the park has seven paintball fields (including six fieldball fields and a woodsball fields) where sharpshooters can dodge projectiles, practice stealth techniques, and hone their tactical know-how. And for the epic getaway scenes, there are ziplines—more than 1.5 miles worth. After warming up on a "baby zip," action-stars-in-training can fly through the forest canopy on nine more runs, including a 1,100-foot-long "super zip." And, there are two more ziplines over a paintball field for live aerial assaults. And best of all is that this 90-acre training ground is just a 30-minute jaunt from downtown, making it the closest zipline park to the city.