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Kempton Facilities

One Adventure Place
Kempton, Illinois
 

 If you know of any clubs or organizations in the American upper Mid-West looking for a great place to hold a meeting or a conference let them know about us, or let us know about them. We have some wonderful facilities here in Kempton, Illinois, home of Adventures Unlimited Press and the World Explorers Club.

 

Adventures Unlimited Press (AUP) is not just a publishing house and online bookstore – true bibliophiles can also visit affiliated Adventures Unlimited bookstores around the world! We have three locations in the United States: Kempton, Illinois, Roswell, New Mexico and Cottonwood, Arizona; plus bookstores in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Glastonbury and Liverpool in the United Kingdom; and in Fergus, Ontario, Canada.

 

AUP's Flagship bookstore at "One Adventure Place."

 

Our flagship bookstore is at "One Adventure Place" in the heart of Kempton, a small Illinois farm town far off the beaten path.  Kempton is about a two-hour drive south of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, about halfway between Chicago and Champaign, Illinois.  East-west it is about equal distant between I-55 and I-57, east of Pontiac, Il. and west of Clifton (south of Kankakee).

 

 

This tiny town sits astride an abandoned rail line, with just one block of houses to the east of the track and three blocks to the west of it.  The "main road" through town is Township Line Road that runs east-west from nowhere to nowhere.  Kempton has just one block north, Lincoln Avenue, and three blocks south of that little-traveled thoroughfare: Main, Kemp and Park Streets.  The lack of truck and auto traffic does have its advantages.  During good weather the streets are almost crowded with the locals driving about in golf carts and on their riding lawn mowers!  And yes, with luck you might even see a horse drawn wagon on occasion!

 

On Township Line Road at First Street is the Village Hall with the town's sky blue water tower behind it.  A hundred feet or so south, at the corner of First and Main Streets, you will find the AUP bookstore and worldwide fulfillment center.

 

 

Across First Street from it are Sgt. Pepper's Bar and Grill and The Peppermill Restaurant, famous for its Saturday night Prime Rib special (see: http://www.wexclub.com/pages/pepper1.html). Live music, Country Line Dancing, karaoke and even open mic comedy shows are regular happenings at Sgt. Pepper’s. Breakfast and lunch are available every day except Sunday (Saturday breakfast features Biscuits and Gravy, weekday lunches feature a daily special with salad bar). Gormet dinners (at reasonable prices) are available on Friday and Saturdays. 

 

Completing the downtown "corridor" are a heating oil and lubricants seller, an automotive garage, a US Post Office, a grain silo complex, two turn of the last century commercial buildings now used for storage, and a tiny bank.  Two churches bracket this slightly more than one block of businesses, sitting at either end of the business district like bookends.  On the eastern edge of town is an elementary school that takes in children from three counties. The unfenced play yard on the town side of the school is a popular spot for after hours play.  On the other side ball fields meld into cornfields. Behind the school is the century old cemetery.

 

Across Main Street from the AUP bookstore is the Veteran’s Memorial, a square of lawn with a glass case displaying the names of those who gave their all.  Another hundred feet further south on First Street, on the other side of the Veteran’s Memorial, is the volunteer fire department's fire house and next to it an American Legion Post meeting hall on the corner of First and Kemp.  Beyond that, on First Street from Kemp to Park Streets is the village park.  It has a children's play area with slide and swings and such, a covered picnic table area with a grill, a soccer field and a basketball court.

 

Mural on the First Street side of Sgt. Pepper's

 

If you are a fan of mural art you must visit Kempton.  We have four murals on three buildings covering six walls.  Two face each other on First Street.  On the AUP building is a depiction of the Giza Plateau with its pyramids and the Sphinx.  Across from it on Sgt. Pepper’s is a modern rendering of the Beatle’s album cover.  Behind Sgt. Pepper’s is the Tiki Deck a delightful outdoor dining area and Beer Garden with a sprawling mural depicting a South Pacific island scene.  On First Street between the Village Hall and the AUP bookstore is the AUP warehouse covered in a vast semi-abstract mural with images reminiscent of Paleolithic cave paintings. 

 

The Ice Age was good for Kempton. The ice sheets that covered much of North America pushed immense quantities of earth before then – leaving some of it here. The town is located near the Terminal Moraine, a few hundred feet above the Great Plains. Kempton sits on the edge of what once was one of America’s greatest wetlands, one that covered the heart of Illinois in hundreds of square miles of seasonal marsh.  After World War I the Army Corp. of Engineers made all that nasty wetness go away.  Because of the glacial deposits and thousands of years of super abundant plant and animal life the soil here, black as India ink, is any gardener’s dream. The wildlife is still here too, living in preserved patches of prairie or treating the village’s trees and acres of well-kept lawns as their own. The railroad came through here to skirt the marsh, and the town, founded at the end of the 19th Century, grew up on the rail line surrounded by what is believed to be the richest farmland in the world.

 

A pleasant 15 or 20 minute walk down the rail line will bring you to a glacial kame that is locally referred to as an “Indian mound.”  It offers a sweeping view of the lands to the south and east. Indians used that hill as a campground and lookout for thousands of years and artifacts are still regularly discovered there. No need to build a time machine as a visit to Kempton truly is a trip back in time, to a kinder, smaller, slower world.  What better place to be home to the World Explorers Club (WEX Club) whose quest is to find “far out adventures in far away places”? Is there an Adventure waiting for you in Kempton?

 

The AUP bookstore has a small coffee nook conversation area (all bookstores have coffee shops in 'em these days, don't they?). We would be happy to arrange a wine and cheese reception and/or book signing with one of our authors there for your group!  Our bookstore has much more than just what is in the AUP catalog, including both new and used books, fiction and non-fiction, plus exotic gifts from around the world, greeting cards, toys, candy and WEX Club logo apparel, plus video rentals!

 

Sgt. Pepper's across the street can service up to 80 people, in dining room or lecture hall arrangements; and provide a limited short order menu or buffet to conference attendees. The bar is a standard full service neighborhood bar, affording attendees a place to network with each other or to hobnob with the locals.  The American Legion Hall a two-minute walk away is also available for larger conferences. It has a bar, snack bar and a stage as well as a large open floor perfect for rows of chairs or square dancing.

 

Front of the World Explorers Club clubhouse and Worldwide Headquarters

 

Additionally, we have two beautifully restored Victorian houses that were built in the 1890s.  In addition to their being great “spill-over” locations for a conference, and a place to party and network after, they are also awesome for weekend getaways, weddings, and bachelor/bachelorette parties.  One house is the WEX Club clubhouse and the other the home of one of Kempton's three resident writers, Jerry E. Smith.  We have a “sister” facility about 6 miles away, The Green House B&B, near the intentional community of Stelle (see: http://www.greenhousebed.com/). The Greenhouse B&B has three bedrooms for overnight guests.  It also has facilities for weddings and parties both indoors and outdoors. Numerous motels are located about 45 minutes away in Kankakee, Dwight and Pontiac.

 

Jerry E. Smith home is on the corner of Second and Kemp Streets, one block down and one over from the AUP Bookstore – a pleasant five-minute stroll from the “action” downtown.  Next to it on Kemp Street is the WEX Club clubhouse. Combined, we have eight bedrooms and nine beds to choose from. We don’t mind your bringing your sleeping bags and air mattresses!  If your party doesn’t object to getting cozy we can put up your entire club or frat house for a night or a weekend!

 

The WEX Club clubhouse has an exotic bar stocked with beverages from around the world; a pool table; a number of arcade-style pinball machines and an air hockey table.  Jerry E. Smith's house has the WEX Museum featuring vintage science-fiction toys (many made in the Soviet Union) and other memorabilia.

 

Just one crowded corner in the WEX clubhouse.

 

The WEX Club clubhouse is decorated with art and artifacts brought back by World Explorers Club members from their treks around the globe.  

 

Each house features bedrooms decorated in distinctive themes, including: Atlantis, Egypt, Pacifica, China, Ancient America, Africa and The Observatory.  Both houses have full kitchens; and a clothes washer and dryer, iron and ironing board and such are available.  Jerry E. Smith's house is our designated non-smoking house, while the Clubhouse, with its bar and pool room, is open to smokers. 

 

The price per night in either house is $35.00 for non-members and $25.00 per night for WEX Club members.  This includes one free video rental each night and 10% off on meals at Sgt. Pepper's and on book and video purchases from the AUP bookstore.

 


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