At Wild Mountain Winery, everything is local, right down to the grapes and the process in which they're grown. Surrounded by the green hillsides of the St. Croix River Valley, Wild Mountain utilizes the methods of Elmer Swenson—a pioneering breeder who revolutionized grape growing in regions plagued by cold, short seasons, and undomesticated snowplows. Having been perfected over the years, those time-tested processes now result in hardy varietals that represent the local climate, soils, and vines. Travelers along the Upper St. Croix Wine Trail can explore Wild Mountain's territorial flavors in a number of ways, including during weekend tastings that come with a souvenir glass.
Wintergreens Golf and Grill provides a cozy, cabin-like sanctuary for fairway-weary golfers of all skill levels, who can improve their game at one of four virtual-golf stations featuring more than 40 exciting courses ($18–$27/hour). The machines are equipped with sensors that detect the movements of real golf gear, meaning that players can practice with their own lucky clubs and never have to squeeze into someone else's plaid pants. Between simulated ball-smashing swings, clubbers can refuel their belly-buttoned chambers with appetizers such as potato skins ($6.99) and mozzarella sticks ($6.59), or empty pitchers of draft beer ($8.50) into cups and clank them to celebrate avoiding virtual sunburn.
While stationed in Germany with the U.S. Air Force, Troy Chamberlin and his wife Laura developed a love for wine at the wineries of the Rhine Valley. Upon returning home, they set about creating a European-style vineyard to share the joy of their days abroad without having to hurl their fellow countrymen across the Atlantic. Thus Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard was born, a 55-acre plot complete with stables, a fishing pond, and an art gallery. The heart of the vineyard, though, is its 2.5 acres of grapes, nearly five tons of which are grown in six varieties for use in their award-winning wines. Visitors can sample Chateau St. Croix's sundry varietals and blends after a half-hour tour, pairing each sip with chocolates, cheeses, and crackers.
Metal fences extend above a brushed metal bar, where platforms hold custom hogs––motorcycles decked out with flames and thick, silver rims. If the bikes don't paint a picture, how about staggered biker signs dangling from the rafters, or a homestyle menu of flame-kissed favorites? Fatboys was formed in 2004 as a place for bikers to compare tattoos and crochet helmet cozies, but as time passed, a more diverse clientele began streaming in for the food and ambiance.
Amid neon signs and the clack of pool balls, black lacquered tables populate with golden-fried apps, meaty sandwiches, and the signature Fatboy burger––a full-pound of USDA Choice beef with three kinds of cheese and four strips of bacon. Warm weather triggers the opening of an enormous V-twin patio, where patrons can sip a brew while watching barbecue-slathered ribs slide right off the bone.
In addition to supporting charitable organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Fatboys hosts events such as karaoke, live music, and the Biker Babe Bike Wash, which allows bikers and rebellious chariot drivers to have their wheels shined to a pristine sheen.