A row of neatly trimmed trees lines either side of the winding driveway that leads up to the stately clubhouse at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course, welcoming visitors to its verdant grounds. Ever since players began spraying drives and rolling putts over the 18-hole course in 1994, the club has filled the space with similar congenial flourishes, including flower beds and a central lake fountain. After players hole out and exchange secret handshakes on the 18th green, they can head for drinks at the course bar, complete with a veranda where they can watch the sunset.
Founded 22 years ago by owner and trainer Gail Simpson, St. Croix Training Center offers lessons for riders of all abilities in a spacious, heated indoor arena. The experienced trainers are proficient in hunt, saddle seat, and Western pleasure-riding styles. Equestrians age 6 and older will spend 30 minutes atop their horse working on the basics or fine-tuning their trot, and approximately another half hour on the ground, saddling and grooming their new many-hands-high friend or discussing the history of carrots over a bowl of sugar cubes.
Skiers and snowboarders gently rise over the St. Croix River Valley in one of 18 chairlifts that grant them access to Afton Alps’ 300 acres of skiing terrain. With 48 trails—80% of which are manageable for beginner and intermediate alpinists—and an average annual snowfall of 48 inches, guests can carve their way down Afton Alps’ 350-foot vertical drop in a variety of ways, from slowly snaking down a 3,000-foot run to tucking into a cannonball at the peak and landing with a white splash at the base. Three rental shops provide guests with high-quality gear, and a snowtubing park offers a more leisurely way to enjoy the tender romance between snow and gravity.
In the spring, the melting snow gives way to the fairways and greens of Afton Alps’ 18-hole golf course, where golfers hunt pars over a combination of flat and hilly terrain. Guests can take in scenic views of the St. Croix River and its attendant wildlife aboard a peppy golf cart or while cruising down trails on a mountain bike or runaway wheelbarrow.
Lady Katherine's founder, Katherine Fossler, strives to foster a sense of sisterhood and support during workouts that emphasize sassy fun while trimming down waistlines and boosting self-esteem. She and her fleet of passionate instructors teach gals of all shapes and fitness levels to spin and twist on the studios 20 poles or to plant their feet on the ground during traditional fitness classes and the Signature program, which blends exotic dance moves into a muscle-sculpting regimen to tone cores. The 90-minute workshops cover various tantalizing topics, such as chair dancing, pole-dancing basics, and holiday-themed strip-tease sessions, which motivate ladies to don alluring garb such as a mini Mrs. Claus dress or a sultry shift made from Krampus fur. Ladies can host a private dance party to shake up girls-only gatherings, celebrating a birthday or bachelorette party with 90 minutes of dancing and posing for flirty photos.
Sometimes, you?d rather just enjoy a view of the fairways than be on them. That?s why the staff at Danny?s Bar & Grill, located at Stoneridge Golf Club, welcomes guests to sit on their expansive patio, which gives them clear views of the green. The patio features an outdoor fire pit where guests can keep warm on cool nights as they wait for plates of chef Bohnert?s Guinness-braised short ribs or mahi mahi encrusted with macadamia nuts. When patio weather is over, guests can still hang out by the indoor fireplace in the dining room where a slew of high-definition TVs showcase golf matches and, if the golf match turns out right, golf fights. On weekend evenings, live bands entertain in the dining room.
Tandem means you jump tethered to an instructor; since you're in front and have your own altimeter and ripcord, it feels like you're diving on your own. The ride starts with a 10-minute instruction on safety and procedures, and then you board the new PAC 750 XL aircraft and ascend 10,000 to 13,000 feet for a brief plane ride. You and your trained tandem partner leap into the open sky to confirm that a gypsy didn't invent gravity at last year's state fair. For about 60 seconds, you're free falling, then the ripcord is pulled, the safety canopy opens, and you float, with bird-worthy views, securely to the soft landing zone.
As the owner of the initials in DCW Riding Instruction's title, Diane Williams teaches aspiring riders how to safely and confidently command a horse in the styles of hunter, jumper, and dressage. Though her instructional style is laid-back, Diane never compromises on safety and always ensures that proper techniques and precautions are in place before moving on to more advanced parts of a lesson. She keeps energy levels high during each 60-minute block, packing the allotted time with a variety of exercises and the theoretical explanations for various components of style, such as keeping heels down, toes in, and hair in a slow-motion billow.