Challenge Nation pioneered the urban-adventure race with a race season that includes visits to more than 35 cities across the country. Each scavenger hunt is personalized to the hosting city, exploring its many diverse neighborhoods with a series of clues that would test even the most skilled children's-book detective. The teams?composed of at least two people?vie for a $300 first-place prize. The Amazing Race?style competition rewards quick wits and wise planning over physical fitness, so the best way to prepare is by doing logic puzzles while eating Funyuns and lounging in a La-Z-Boy. The top 25 teams qualify, the top five receiving free entry, to compete in the national championship, which rewards winning teams with a $5,000 cash prize.
Cherries from Michigan bedeck rainbow trout from a farm in Harrietta. Mrs. Dog’s Disappearing Mustard, from Grand Rapids, drapes across sausage made from lamb raised on a family farm in McBain. Though many of the ingredients at Bar Divani are local, the chefs draw culinary influences from around the world. They dunk Bay of Fundy salmon in walnuts and apple horseradish relish, and combine dollops of aged cheddar-cheese grits with small plates of cajun-spiced black tiger shrimp. The trio of lamb sliders prance through a range of flavors, from sweet cinnamon honey yogurt to pickled carrot and pistachio butter.
The earthy scent of simmering bourbon barbecue sauce suits the warmly hued dining room, where light dances off rich wooden accents. An illuminated wine cellar showcases 40 varieties, allowing patrons to find the ideal pairing for any dish or discretely cheat through the Wine Connoisseur Weekly crossword. Servers cut among bronze columns beneath exposed-brick walls, leaving a wake of aromas that hint at alligator and exotic grains of paradise as they visit curved booths swaddled in ornate fabrics.
I Wish Lessons’ professionally guided classes convene in various venues throughout Chicago, Boston, DC, and Detroit, uniting and educating like-minded learners in vibrant social settings. The company’s hundreds of teachers have educated countless learners while introducing them to new friends and planning private events, including birthday parties and baby showers. Classes broach a multitude of engaging, lighthearted subjects, such as beer and bacon pairing, scotch tasting, cupcake decorating, and sushi rolling.
Since 1825, the Old Town area has seen both prosperous times and, for the second half of the 20th century, stretches of destitution. Within the last 30 years, dedicated locals have started turning Old Town back around, dropping its building vacancy rates from 90% to fewer than 10%, and establishing a slew of festivals, art venues, and boutiques. The Old Town Commercial Association plays its role in this cultural and economic renaissance by holding the annual Old Town Oktoberfest, a Midwestern interpretation of the traditional German holiday.
Over the course of two days, live polka bands provide a soundtrack for German-style dancing and festivities. Vendors pour German and European Oktoberfest beers from Spaten, Warsteiner, and Frankenmuth, and autumnal beers from American breweries such as Sam Adams and Blue Moon. Local restaurants serve authentic German dishes such as spaetzle, potato soup, frankfurters, and bratwurst throughout the fest, allowing visitors to taste the country’s staples without having to stow away in a UN ambassador’s suitcase.
The board-certified colorists at Pura Vida Color Studio strive to live up to their name?which intends to capture the essence of good vibes and relaxation?by using sustainable, earth-friendly Davines products. The Davines concept salon also specializes in flamboyage highlights, a spin on balayage that uses gently gripping mech strips to separate small sections of hair instead of using traditional foils. The technique produces natural-looking waves of color.
The salon's subdued decor turns eyes' focus toward vibrant tresses. Stylists can judge and calibrate colors in the abundant natural light from wide windows. The salon's neutral-colored walls echo the burble of the storefront fountain and the footfalls of the well-coiffed elves who live inside the potted plants.
Voted #4 Best Wine Shop by WDIV in 2010 with Top 5 placements in the past four years and a 1st place win in 2007, Filipo Marc Winery combines quality pre-pressed grapes from vineyards around the globe to craft a multitude of compelling liquids. During their accessible and snobbery-free wine tastings, cured-grape-elixir sippers sample 15 selections from the wine list, which runs the gamut from sweet to dry. Glasses are paired with harmonious cheeses, crackers, and sausages to accentuate flavors. A full range of wine styles, from sanguine merlot or shiraz to blonde pinot grigio, parade playfully through patrons' mouths as erudite experts expound upon the wines' origins, flavor notes, and favorite Flintstones.