A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas?its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries?Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
At Tan Alaska, four different levels of tanning beds wait ready to bronze the skin of patient tanners. Specialized tanning lotions aid in this process, some with ingredients of caffeine, or hemp. Meanwhile, spray tans eschew the sun for quick, easy tanning, while hot tubs await, water bubbling, for relaxing jaunts away from the harsh colds of winter.
One of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of paints in the Pacific Northwest, Parker Paint has been sprucing up interiors and exteriors since 1945. The company has evolved over the years to keep up with the latest advancements in painting technology. Among the multi-hued fruits of this evolution are weather-ready exterior paints, whose modern formulas scoff at the elements and prove ideal for realistic yet unflattering outdoor murals of the neighbors. With more than 1,600 shades to choose from, painters will find it nearly impossible to settle, like a bowl of jello during an earthquake. Luckily, customers can take advantage of the handy virtual decorator to narrow their choices and forecast what color schemes should be applied to which room, such as aquamarine themes for the exotic-fish room, bright primary colors for the inflatable fire escape, and a variety of yellows for a basement filled with antique butter churns.
Owner Sheri Olesen stocks her boutique Chartreuse with gently used apparel, jewelry, and accessories and blankets its walls in the creative output of local artists. Guests can cover upper hemispheres and tattoos of swear words with a women's top ($10–$30) or don a crochet hat ($30–$55) to keep noggins toasty. Legs shimmy into designer jeans or aerate calves in a skirt ($45 or less), and an array of belts ($20 or less) can keep wayward slacks from slipping off to rendezvous with capris sweethearts. Shoppers can drape collarbones in lanyards of handmade jewelry ($50 or less for most pieces) or adorn den walls with prints by local canvas-coaters ($25–$125).
The warmth of the staff at Mile 5.2 Greenhouse & Gift Shop rivals the warmth of its hand-tended conservatory. The affable plant buffs rely upon customer-focused service to combat impersonal "big-box stores," gladly guiding visitors through their greenhouse's lush pathways where flowers peek from hanging baskets and tropical plants share the roof with herbs. More than 125 types of perennials and fruit-bearing boughs boost their resilience as they endure the winter cold, training their blooms to return year after year so they can one day avenge their ancestors against the weed-whackers of clumsy gardeners.
In addition to its striking greenery, the Eagle River outpost stocks their gift shop with an array of gourmet foods, ranging from Lake Champlain chocolate bars and Oregon salt-water taffy to hearty soup and bread mixes. Additionally, home accessories such as wind chimes and scented candles can pair with potted petals to create colorful gift combinations.