The United States Coast Guard–certified captain of Magnolia Blossom, an old-fashioned black-and-white-painted steamship, pilots his vessel alongside city skylines and wild parks with up to 125 passengers on board. On its three cruise routes, the boat drifts by Pike Island and the skyline of St. Paul, passes through a lock and dam under the Minneapolis skyline, and floats past wildlife preserves and state parks on lengths of the Minnesota River, all without running any red lights. Inside the vessel, a climate-controlled lower deck lined with tall windows houses rows of banquet tables, each surrounded by chairs draped in white and tied with large red bows. On the top deck, café tables offer panoramic views from beneath a three-quarters canopy cover.
At AirMaxx Trampoline Park, age really does become just a number. Here, adults and teens giggle and frolic alongside their kid counterparts, channeling the unbridled energy stores from their youth years. The indoor facility houses multiple lanes of trampolines, which each incline into a slope at their trail's end, waiting to propel bouncers into spectacular flips and aerial tricks. In addition to family-friendly open-jump times, the facility dedicates late Friday nights to teen dates, filling the space with lower lights, louder music, and more regrettable haircuts. They also host arcade games, laser tag, mini golf, and an Extreme Dodgeball league during which competitors face off on the jump surfaces and avoid blazing tosses with impressive aerial stunts. During Maxxercise classes, the trampolines transform into workout havens as instructors lead sessions that combine aerobics moves with high-flying fun.
The story of Wineries and Grille in St Croix Falls began at a picturesque Wisconsin orchard. Former owners Linda and Mike Welch were busy crafting delicious apple wines from the fall’s harvest when the phone rang. "I’ve got 20 pails of ripe grapes,” the voice on the other end of the line said. “What do I do with them?" Out of the goodness of their hearts, Mike and Linda sprung into action, blending the grapes with their apples to create unique local wines. Their process evolved, as did their humble orchard, which now encompasses Wineries and Grille. Though they have since sold the orchard, they continue to produce apple and grape wines. They also market and sell wines from other local makers who have a talent for making outstanding vintages but struggle with the vagaries of marketing, sales, or convincing customers that some bottles contain genies.
Linda and Mike have a knack for tracking down Wisconsin’s best wines, partnering with producers such as Seven Hawks Vineyards to spread forward-thinking drinks. They sell new wines crafted from cold-weather hardy grapes at the University of Minnesota. They also carry national labels, such as Canyon Road from California, which is specially crafted for dining, and international labels from Spain, South Africa, and elsewhere. But even stronger than Linda and Mike's love for ambrosials is their love for St. Croix Falls and its local produce and game. Their son Greg uses these local ingredients to create hearty entrees with elk, rainbow trout, and hand-cut steaks. They pair smoked pork chops and crisp salads with bricks of homemade fudge and cheesecake, for meals that highlight the subtle flavors in their wines and leave diners yearning for more.
BayView Event Center takes on the gustatory burden of planning parties, bridal events, or holiday gatherings with an expansive catering menu of gourmet appetizers and intricately arranged party platters. Soirees start on a bite-size note with starters that include an assortment of toasted and seasoned baguette canapés ($58 for 25 pieces), such as roasted pork dolloped with a savory jalapeño-and-blackberry marmalade. Salads and veggie, fruit, meat, cheese, and bread platters serve 12–18 people or 300–400 famished pixies. Deadliest catch the chilled Atlantic salmon plate ($75), a piscatorial trencher that dresses the eponymous fish as cold smoked lox with a dill-mustard sauce and capers, plank-grilled with mango salsa, and sous vide with a basil garlic-butter infusion. International dishes, such as the mediterranean platter ($90), inspire guests to pen odes to Grecian urns while munching on morsels such as spanakopita (miniature spinach pies), stuffed roma greek salad with an ouzo aioli, and beef and chicken gyro roulades with tzatziki sauce.
Everyone has different ways to gear up for their meal on Thanksgiving Day: some eat a huge breakfast to rev up their stomachs, others abstain from food all day to preserve their appetite. But at Lake Calhoun Park on Thanksgiving morning, some people won't be thinking about food at all; instead, they'll be running. Racers of all ages will congregate around the Beast 2 Feast start line on Lake Calhoun Parkway, where they'll depart on a timed run/walk around a scenic 3.1-mile course that encircles the lake.
The race isn't just for the sake of holiday celebration, though. It was inspired for more charitable reasons: the majority of the proceeds go to the Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, with additional funding given to the Minnesota Heat youth basketball association. Those interested in registering can do so as individuals or get a team together, and friends and family are encouraged to come out as spectators and cheer the racers on.
Based on the idea that the most effective workout is one that is completely customized, Koko FitClub’s patented Smartraining sessions gather data about each client’s fitness level and use it to individually tailor workouts. The Smartraining software relies on two things to personalize a workout: a personalized electronic data key for each member and smart machines capable of reading the information on that key.
The key remembers all the workouts its owner has ever done, and it recommends exercises based on the level of fitness it has observed. The machines read those recommendations and literally coach people through strength and cardio exercises, using video screens to describe proper form and set the pace. The resulting computer-created regimen continues to adapt as clients get fitter or spontaneously sprout extra limbs. The program makes it easy for beginners to start a new fitness program without feeling overwhelmed, so they can transform their bodies free from the anxieties of standard exercise routines. Koko FitClub even offers complimentary sessions to let potential members become acquainted with the futuristic fitness technology.
Koko also personalizes nutrition, giving each member a custom Koko Fuel meal plan that details the exact quantity and type of foods needed to fuel their body. The plans teach people what to eat to burn fat, build lean muscle, or boost metabolism.
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