Midwest Mountaineering can trace its origins back to 1970, when avid rock climber Rod Johnson found himself frustrated with the lack of climbing equipment available in Minneapolis. When Johnson returned from a voyage to California with a backpack full of gear, he decided to sell his accumulated goodies to friends and local climbers out of his own kitchen, calling his operation The Johnson Company. As his business grew, so did its inventory—expanding to include tents, skis, kayaks, and canoes. Rod’s business quickly became too big for his kitchen, eventually landing at its current location under the name Midwest Mountaineering.
Today, the store continues to equip outdoor adventurers with quality gear and apparel. A cheerful blue-and-red sign splays across its historic storefront, which houses racks of apparel and specialty equipment for an array of extreme sports that includes long-distance backpacking, paddling, and ice climbing. Kayaks and canoes, which customers may try out before purchasing during regular boat demonstrations, dangle from ceilings next to life preservers, and shoes, coats, and athletic gear line the exposed-brick walls. An enthusiastic staff of outdoor aficionados stands by to offer customers tips on finding optimal products and the best clothing lines to impress fashion-conscious wildlife, as well as lead regular instructional workshops, hands-on clinics, and special events.
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.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
Descend any of Spirit Mountain's slopes, and you may feel like you're in the middle of a postcard. That's because the inclines rise above Lake Superior and St. Louis Bay, granting guests full glimpses of the picturesque bodies of water. It's just one of the things that sets Spirit Mountain apart from other outdoor recreation parks. A few more of those things: a zip line that whips through the treetops, an alpine coaster called the Timber Twister, and a 9-hole mini-golf course.
Plymouth VIP Carwash & Auto Service extends the reach of a typical wash ‘n’ go center with professional detailing services and a full-service repair shop. For more than 25 years, cars have pulled up to the pump for a full tank of gas and then headed into the 112-foot wash tunnel for a date with soft cloths and high-pressure jets. The Plymouth crew also doles out complete interior and exterior detailing packages, calling upon mink oil to condition seats and paint sealant to leave exteriors as spotless and glazed as an immortal donut. In the garage, ASE-certified technicians tune up engines, change oil, and perform a list of other maintenance and repair services
The creative process can get complicated, which is why the staff at Color Me Mine breaks it down into four straightforward steps. Artists begin by choosing a bisque from an inventory that ranges from plates and mugs to animal figurines and picture frames. With paints and brushes in hand, they decorate the smooth, blank surfaces with designs and words. The staff fires finished pieces in a kiln to cure the pigments and make them food- and potion-safe before artists take their masterpieces home. In addition to hosting parties in-studio, Color Me Mine also shuttles supplies to homes and offices for events such as birthdays and bridal showers.