Cross Country Soaring owner Don Ingraham brings more than 4,000 airborne hours of experience to his sailplanes' controls, maneuvering the engineless crafts through the air with bird-like agility. Tow planes loft each passenger flight airborne, sending planes thousands of feet up into the sky before leaving pilots and their guests gliding through the atmosphere without the noisy distraction of a typical flight. Each flight is different—sailplanes may gain altitude in thermal updrafts before bottoming out stomachs with daring dives. Picnic tables and couches cluster around the hangar, giving friends and family a comfortable place to watch soaring flights. Students eager to earn their own glider rating and fly solo can take advantage of Cross Country Soaring's experienced instructors, learning the ropes under the hawk-like eyes of seasoned pros.
For fairway fans seeking guidance in their quest for a slimmer handicap, Montgomery National Golf Club's Head Golf Professional and General Manager Paul Schubring brings nearly two decades of teaching experience to his lessons, teaching hard-driving students how to putt as smoothly as a skilled debater announces that he is rubber and his opponents are glue. Schubring works with students on all aspects of the game, including jump shots, and tailors instruction to individual needs in a private 60-minute lesson.
Carved out of the countryside by Minnesota course architect Joel Goldstrand, Montgomery National Golf Course unfurls across rolling terrain, pocked with ponds nestled in the cool shadows of cottonwood trees. Generous fairways beg to be split by confidently swung drivers, and sandtraps wait to ensnare orbs gone astray due to a moment of self-doubt or the suction of a briefly active bunker wormhole. The 6,540-yard circuit concludes at the dramatic 18th—the course’s second handicap hole—which features a 540-yard climb to a short-grass summit defended by Scottish ski instructors.
Duffers can prepare for their round or carve fractal divot patterns into the large, all-grass hitting area at the club’s driving range, flanked by a practice bunker and green. After a day of intrepid pin hunting, players can retire to clubhouse and bask in the frothy ambiance of a beer or soda on the clubhouse deck overlooking the ninth hole.
Course at a Glance:
Scott Wardell gazed upon an open prairie, and had a vision. He imagined a farm ––part orchard, part conservationist project––which grew fall fruits like apples and plums alongside the prairie's natural, essential hardwoods and evergreens. His vision became reality when he planted his first orchard in 1999, and he and his family haven't looked back.
Today, the crew at Montgomery Orchard hosts plenty of family friendly entertainments. They welcome visitors for self-guided tours through the beautiful prairie, and also invite them to come pluck ten varieties of apples––not to mention pears and plums––fresh from the trees during harvest season. After baskets are filled, they take guests to an old-fashioned cider press, where they can squeeze their own cider, which they can then take home or trade to scarecrows in the corn maze in exchange for a map to the exit.
The Summit Golf Club’s 18-hole course takes dimpled orbs somersaulting over a topsy-turvy landscape that spans 7,022 yards of challenging, undulating terrain. Hemmed by mature trees, the course rises and falls across elevation changes up to 110 feet, which demand deft club selection, confident swings, and golf carts not prone to motion sickness. Cresting hills give way to scenic vistas peppered throughout the course, where clubbers can pause to overlook the bentgrass tee boxes, fairways, and greens as they wind past rippling streams and hedge against arboreal walls. The club also encompasses a nine-hole, par 3 course, ideal for novices or golfers in the midst of punishing bedtime-flouting drivers.
Championship Course at a Glance:
Robert and Nicole Stai have a passion for the outdoors. Combined, they have been avid adventurers more than 50 years–including several years of marriage. The Stai's opened The Gear ReSource Outfitters in order to equip others for adventures of their own. They keep their shop stocked with the industry's newest gear, as well as lightly used and consignment items brought in by customers or bears trying to clear room in their dens for flat-screen screen TVs. More than just a source for outdoor apparel, Robert and Nicole also help customers put their purchases to work with guided adventures, including canoeing and kayaking trips in the summer and snowshoe treks in the winter.