Inside the Cannon River Winery, visitors can perch at tables made from wine barrels and sip varietals while listening to the croons of local bands echoing off the sparkling silver tanks. Throughout the winery, guests immerse themselves in the entire experience of drinking and appreciating wine, from learning about each varietal during wine tastings to high-fiving each grape.
Twin Cities VIP helps to create memorable nights on the town by staging visits to some of the city's exclusive clubs. Groups may either walk to and from locations, or snag a ride and a drink in one of the fully stocked luxury limousines while a host or hostess tags along to keep spirits high. Not only do club-crawl fees include all applicable cover charges, but they also allow parties to officially jump over any lines without riding the coattails of pogo-sticking celebrities. From there, partygoers are free to lose themselves in the music and flowing cocktails until it's time to depart and head to the next club on the list.
When the Gaffer family describes The Nova as "an eclectic little wine bar," they're not speaking figuratively. This cozy spot was refurbished from half of the historic liquor store it's attached to, a liquor store with a cave that burrows 150 feet into the nearby hillside. The Nova is the Gaffers' love letter to wines, where chef Nate crafts seasonal menus inspired by the more than 200 bottles of wine onsite. And while pan-fried walleye with a cornmeal crust would pair nicely with a bottle of white, dishes such as the Nova dirty burger with mushroom-cream sauce would probably fare better with a craft beer from the restaurant's 12 rotating taps. As a proponent of wine, beer, craft cocktails, growlers, and all things spirits, the Nova and its sister liquor store often host events and tasting parties in the aforementioned cave.
Held aloft by 35 years of family tradition, Stillwater Balloon sends intrepid explorers skyward from a port just off the scenic St. Croix River. Friendly FAA-certified pilots operate each craft and readily answer any questions that passengers may have as they float through gorgeous views of the surrounding valley. The billowy, multicolored behemoths cruise at treetop level, allowing travelers to shake hands with monkeys. Private and semiprivate flights are the business's forte, but Stillwater Balloon also accommodates custom flights for backyard surprises or ultimate school pickups.
The Afton House Inn sits on the banks of the St. Croix River, just 30 miles east of downtown Minneapolis. There, city-dwellers will discover a homey bed and breakfast retreat, with plenty of river views and unique guest rooms decorated with antiques. The inn has earned awards from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast for its fine-dining restaurant, which, in addition to its extensive wine list, serves a classic American menu of steaks and seafood. Their Steak Diane, beef tenderloin medallions flamed with brandy and finished with a demi-glace, is prepared table-side. During the day, guests can build up an appetite at the Afton Alps Ski Area, just 10 minutes away, or take a river cruise on the St. Croix (between April and October).