Great blue herons stalking the wildflowers along the Kinnickinnic River. Trout leaping out of the water to feed. Owner and lifelong outdoorsman Mike Kealy and his guides lead kayaking trips past these and more dramatic sites, which typify the undeveloped riverbanks throughout eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Each outing begins at a select meet-up point, from which guides provide shuttle service to and from the launch sites. Along with unveiling the rivers? untouched scenery, River Guide?s team can also add a fishing guide to each trip, taking guests into streams teeming with brown, rainbow, and zebra-striped trout.
About 30 minutes from Minneapolis, the crew of Kinni Kayak runs tours on the Kinnickinnic River in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 3.5-hour excursions travel an 8-mile stretch of the river in a secluded, nonresidential area teeming with wildlife. For first-time kayakers, Kinni offers lessons with instruction as basic as how to sit in the craft and hold the paddle and as advanced as paddling techniques and fish grammar.
Vintage Paintball Park’s speckled outdoor arena unfurls ten different fields, including the Thunderdome, where players aged 10 and older engage in colorful combat under the watchful eye of trained referees ensuring safety. Amid the paintball crossfire, sharpshooters weave in and out of a variety of obstacles situated around urban landscapes, wooded courses with pillboxes and trenches, hilly terrain, and moms yelling to come inside for supper. The park hosts myriad battle scenarios that keep guests entertained throughout the day or for the duration of season passes. Private paintball lessons help players improve shooting accuracy before releasing them into the line of fire during Saturday and Sunday afternoon open play. An onsite concession stand replenishes body fuel with snacks and drinks so that players can jump back into games with the energy of a superhero bit by Ben Franklin.
At Seventh Farm, fledgling equestrians will be guided through a four-week introductory course that meets for two hours each week. Owners Tom and Liz teach all the classes themselves and limit class size to three or four students at a time so that all participants are given extra care and attention. This eliminates confusion, dangerously steep learning curves, and amateur dressage errors such as accidentally dressing a male horse in a sundress. Seventh Farm's horses likewise receive excellent care and nutrition and have been specially trained as teaching horses, so they're not easily spooked by nervous students, hyperactive children, or malingering jockey ghosts.
As a girl, Lynette Weldon dreamed of horses and cleaned stalls in exchange for the opportunity to ride. But she was only allowed to take out horses known to be stubborn and difficult-the ones no one else wanted to ride. Over time, the experience toughened her riding abilities, allowing her to grow into a trainer with a knack for bonding with troubled ponies.
At Lost Creek Ranch, Lynette guides students and horses along trails and streams during riding lessons. Eagles often glide overhead in search of fretted field mice, and tufts of woodsmoke climb from the campsites of ranch visitors. She also guides many of her riding students to competitive shows where horses are encouraged to settle their differences through equitation rather than bare-hoof boxing or telling yo' mare jokes.
Kelley Frame and Fine Art Galleries nestles magnum opuses of all sizes inside high-quality frames assembled in-shop by skilled craftsmen. Diploma-framing packages ($59.95) protect and artfully display hard-earned clown college degrees by securing the certificate into a black frame, stabilizing it with an acid-free paper mat, and protecting its privacy with one-way glass. Posters, portraits, or photographs with sizes going up to 30"x40" ($49.95–$99.95) find comfortable homes behind glass in a 1 1/4" frame, available in a choice of finishes, including black, mocha walnut, mahogany, clear pine, and invisible oak. Spiff up blank walls with framed military medals, wedding pictures, collectibles, or team jerseys. Special conservation and preservation services, meanwhile, assist connoisseurs looking to shield precious pieces from the dangers of acid, light, or superpower-inducing gamma rays.