To create small batches of wines and spirits at Infinity Beverages Winery & Distillery, the proprietor draws upon the best raw materials available throughout the United States. But those aren't always the raw materials you'd imagine: Spirits include vodka made from fruit rather than grain, and original wine recipes are equally distinctive, ranging from sweet-tasting pinot noir and zinfandel blends to port-style moscato.
At Infinity Beverage's Tasting Lounge, tasters enjoy free samples of wines, specialty cocktails, and the occasional taste of libations in development. Besides a place to unwind with a drink, the tasting lounge is home to weekly entertainment and specials, including live music every Friday and special chocolate-based martinis every Wednesday.
When the Gaffer family describes The Nova as "an eclectic little wine bar," they're not speaking figuratively. This cozy spot was refurbished from half of the historic liquor store it's attached to, a liquor store with a cave that burrows 150 feet into the nearby hillside. The Nova is the Gaffers' love letter to wines, where chef Nate crafts seasonal menus inspired by the more than 200 bottles of wine onsite. And while pan-fried walleye with a cornmeal crust would pair nicely with a bottle of white, dishes such as the Nova dirty burger with mushroom-cream sauce would probably fare better with a craft beer from the restaurant's 12 rotating taps. As a proponent of wine, beer, craft cocktails, growlers, and all things spirits, the Nova and its sister liquor store often host events and tasting parties in the aforementioned cave.
Several years ago, Ken Smith and Chase Williams were typical door-to-door salesmen. In need of a gimmick to boost sales and a quicker mode of transport, the duo tried riding Segways and immediately fell in love. Eventually, they turned their love for the two-wheeled transporter into their current venture, All American Segway. Their company provides all manner of Segway engagement, including guided Segway tours that offer rolling educations in local history and wildlife. Customers can also discover the revolutionary devices on their own by renting out Segways for recreational use, private parties, or as a friend for a lonely office chair or shopping cart.
Held aloft by 35 years of family tradition, Stillwater Balloon sends intrepid explorers skyward from a port just off the scenic St. Croix River. Friendly FAA-certified pilots operate each craft and readily answer any questions that passengers may have as they float through gorgeous views of the surrounding valley. The billowy, multicolored behemoths cruise at treetop level, allowing travelers to shake hands with monkeys. Private and semiprivate flights are the business's forte, but Stillwater Balloon also accommodates custom flights for backyard surprises or ultimate school pickups.
The Afton House Inn sits on the banks of the St. Croix River, just 30 miles east of downtown Minneapolis. There, city-dwellers will discover a homey bed and breakfast retreat, with plenty of river views and unique guest rooms decorated with antiques. The inn has earned awards from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast for its fine-dining restaurant, which, in addition to its extensive wine list, serves a classic American menu of steaks and seafood. Their Steak Diane, beef tenderloin medallions flamed with brandy and finished with a demi-glace, is prepared table-side. During the day, guests can build up an appetite at the Afton Alps Ski Area, just 10 minutes away, or take a river cruise on the St. Croix (between April and October).
Crisp air, stunning foliage, and on-deck entertainment: these are just a few of the amenities that can be enjoyed from onboard Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines’ fleet. Guests leisurely cruise down the St. Croix River on the Grand Duchess, Afton Princess, or Sweet Afton, dining from a buffet prepared by the Afton House Inn restaurant. Excursions carry a variety of themes, from comedy dinner cruises with sets by standup comedians to Treasure Island Casino tours with sets from standup Long John Silvers. Vessels may also be rented to accommodate private events and occasions.