What began as a colony farm built by the U.S. Army in 1935 became, by the mid-1950s, the childhood home of Reindeer Farm's head honcho, Tom Williams. After studying the habits of Scandinavian and Siberian reindeer herders in high school, Tom began to understand why the antlered creatures were considered the "cattle of the North": The brisk Alaskan climate suited their dense coats and languid presence at pool parties. In 1987, after years of practicing law throughout Alaska, Tom ventured to Canada to meet his first herd of reindeer, which he kept corralled next to a tiny sign and donation jar on the modest farm. Since then, that initial herd has blossomed into 150 reindeer, who graze beside 35 elk, 13 horses, one bull moose, and one surprisingly well-adjusted bison. Now a petting zoo, the farm has grown alongside the herd, with guided tours, scavenger hunts, and horseback rides treating guests to an up-close and hands-on experience with the majestic animals. Located in the colony's original chicken coop, a gift shop provides guests with any number of collectibles to commemorate their visits.
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.
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.
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.
?Clich?? and ?mundane? are not words one would use to describe The Look?s cache of chic clothing, lingerie, and adult products. The 7,000-square-foot boutique houses rack upon rack of fashionable streetwear alongside sensual bras, panties, and costumes. It also stocks hard-to-find adult accessories such as massage oils, lotions, and incense designed to enhance romance. Garments? tags reveal upscale brands such as Obey, Lucky-13, Dreamgirl, and Seven 'til Midnight.
For more than 40 years, D'Florist has added artful elegance to special occasions with unique, blooming bundles. Peruse roses in every shade of the scented spectrum, choosing red to signify romance, pink to signify appreciation, or peach to signify a desire for pie. The always-artful arrangements can integrate tropical flowers, seasonal plants, or orchids ($35 average for small arrangements; $75 for larger sizes), bringing a touch of exotic flair to any Thanksgiving table, New Year's party, or honeybee birthday celebration.