Anytime Fitness, which boasts 1,689 clubs in North America, makes it easier for average folks to etch out time for exercise by doing one simple thing: staying open 24 hours a day for 365 days a year. As fitness seekers challenge themselves on cardio and Hammer Strength machines and hoist Iron Grip free weights in clean, well-stocked facilities, security monitoring ensures they’re safe and producing enough sweat to meet official government standards. Members can also ramp up their exercise regimens with the help of Anytime Fitness’s staff of personal trainers, who demonstrate moves and sling motivating tips. After workouts, guests can shower in the private restrooms or hop into one of the tanning booths available 24 hours a day.
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.
Afton Leather’s owners, Jim and Donna, are active members of the local biking community and use their time off the hog to proffer a selection of fine leather apparel and other unique products that complement the motorcycling lifestyle. Browse the 1,400-square-foot shop for a selection of bike-themed T-shirts ($20/1, $25/2). Or, fight back against wind, glare, and drag-racing gnats with speed-friendly sunglasses ($10–$25). Female bikers can warm windblown necks with a women’s scarf ($10), and all riders rebelling against the oppressive tyranny of sleeves can suit up in a vest ($45+).
Scott Hansen's Comedy Gallery splits sides with stand-up comedy performances served up alongside full dinners. Take a seat at Welsch’s Big Ten Tavern at 8 p.m. to enjoy a quarter-chicken dinner, served with soup or salad, and the choice of a baked potato, au gratins, garlic mashed potatoes, wild rice, steamed vegetables, or a side of already-primed smiles. At 9 p.m., the laughs begin as that evening’s comic takes the stage. On September 9 and 10, veteran Minneapolis comic Jodie Maruska relates hilarious hijinks about life, family, and body acceptance. On September 16 and 17, Eugene Meaux presents a menagerie of relatable characters from daily life in a fun, friendly, and real performance. On September 24, laugh along with comedian Jim Wiggins, who has tickled audiences on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, in a performance that harkens back to the witty styles of comedians like George Carlin and Thomas Edison.
Each member of St. Croix Scuba's staff of dorsal-fin-less divers has at least eight years of diving experience and are PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certified. During a Discover Scuba Diving lesson, this fleet of skilled aquapeople will teach budding divers the ins and outs of scuba equipment and the basic concepts of breathing underwater during a 30-minute class. Then, novice divers will spend an hour exploring the depths of an indoor pool and experiencing the weightless sensation of breathing underwater, which is similar to falling off a mechanical bull after a full body wax. You must be 12 years old and older to scuba dive, and be sure to bring a swimsuit and towel.
Hosted by an eclectically elegant collection of inns and museums peppered throughout the St. Croix River Valley, the 2011 Chocolate March launches guests on self-guided, cocoa-centric excursions. Guests munch on chocolate delicacies and take in architectural desserts with chocolate-dipped innkeepers at five separate stops, one of which will feature a wine pairing, on the Sunday jaunts (different destinations are featured each weekend). Depending on their chosen date, chocolate hunters can relax under the mannered, leaf-shaded porticos of Rosewood's Queen Anne mansion, take in the brick-draped Gilded Age grandeur of the Water Street Inn, or plot a sweet rustic retreat or candy-coated coup d'état by Wissahickon Farms' general store façade and peppermint-stick split-rail fence.