Approximately 6,000 years ago, when Sumerian scholars were devising some of mankind's first mathematic systems, a mile-thick sheet of ice began to melt half a world away in the region known today as Minnesota. Slowly, the glacier shrank and poured gallons of water into the land around it, leaving behind gorgeous rock formations dotted with artistic ridges and eye-catching striations. Perhaps most notable of these formations is a structure that resembles a cross, which inspired settlers to name its surrounding river St. Croix, or "holy cross."
Today, modern humans can catch a glimpse of these awesome sights thanks to Wild Mountain. Seasonal activities include skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, where snow-goers explore 100 acres of hills encompassing 26 runs, bunny slopes for newcomers, and four terrain parks for the seasoned veterans. Wild Mountain also holds daily lessons, youth and adult programs, as well as racing competitions and camps run by knowledgable and trained northerners.
Vintage Paintball Park?s speckled outdoor arena unfurls 10 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.
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.
A casual grill and pub, Bo's 'N Mine celebrates food and friendly competition in equal measure. Large flat-screen TVs hanging over the tables show live sporting events, and regular matches of Buzztime Trivia pit friends against friends, or friends against retired chess computers. In a dedicated game room, folks can keep the camaraderie going with arcade games, darts, and pool.
The menu of casual pub fare, meanwhile, seems designed to keep guests fueled for play. Popular sandwiches such as roast beef and chicken fajita are served alongside Bo's signature burgers, each anchored by 1/3-pound hand-formed patties made with meats sourced from Pierce County producers. Beer-battered shrimp or fish, and barbecue pork ribs round out the menu. As if the entertainment factor wasn't enough, many of the proceeds from dining and gaming go toward a good cause: Bo's supports five local and national charities.
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.