Once you and seven fellow wilderness wanderers strap on helmets, harnesses, and gloves, you'll head over to Bean Creek Canyon—a pristine redwood preserve nestled among the Santa Cruz mountains—and spend two hours soaring between the boughs of some of the world's tallest trees on six ziplines up to 440 feet long, along with two sky bridges that take you 150 feet above the Ewok-infested forest floor. Though you'll feel the wind of trunks and branches as they rush past, seemingly within inches of you on either side, you'll reach the next platform without bruising so much as an ego. In between lighting off bursts of adrenaline fireworks, Mount Hermon Redwood Canopy Tours' two certified tour guides will share ecological facts, bringing the majestic centuries-old trees alive in a way that doesn't involve them angrily pelting you with apples.
Club One's clean, eco-friendly facilities furnish fitness fanatics with access to hundreds of weekly classes, as well as pools, saunas, and state-of-the-art cardio contraptions. Over the course of the week-long membership, the only limiting factor to how many workout sessions you attend, including spinning, kickboxing, aqua fit, Pilates, and 12 types of yoga, is the tendency of the human body to catch on fire from sustained friction. Schedules and fitness features vary by location.
Poetic Cellars, one of the newest wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains, is set amidst the rolling, oak-studded hills and the solitude of a country estate. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy fine wine in an unhurried, tranquil atmosphere.
1933 was a banner year for Phillip and John Bargetto. Prohibition finally ended, and the brothers were able to reopen their winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Originally from Piedmont, Italy, Phillip and John embraced their passion for growing northern-Italian varietals, twining their hillsides with vines of dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
Now run by the Bargetto family's third generation, the winery continues to cultivate these same grapes as well as two of Santa Cruz's more well-known varietals, chardonnay and pinot noir. Its most heralded wines hail from the 40 acres of trellised vines at Regan Estate Vineyards, which produces balanced yet concentrated fruit thanks to its sunny hilltop location, loamy soil, and cool breezes from thousands of naturally occurring ceiling fans.
Controlled aging in new-French- or American-oak barrels imbues some of the winery's reds with lingering finishes and toasty sweetness, and stainless-steel barrels ensure that the whites retain their vibrant acidity. Although most of the wines display a more approachable style, the La Vita line embraces the family's Old-World routes, featuring complexly tannic and age-worthy blends of Phillip and John's favored dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.
Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.
From its humble beginnings in Kankakee, Illinois, in 1938, Dairy Queen has grown from a delicious experiment in soft-serve ice cream to a household name with more than 5,900 restaurants around the world. The shop's signature frozen delights are built upon frosty foundations of creamy chocolate or vanilla soft serve, which swirl idyllically into cones, cups, sundaes, Peanut Buster parfaits, and the chain's iconic Blizzard treats, blended with crumbled candy and other mix-ins. Ice-cream cakes cleverly conceal surprise fillings of fudge and chocolate crunch between layers of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, providing sweet, sliceable sustenance for birthday parties and other special occasions.
Fruit rules the roost on the other side of the slushy emporium, where Orange Julius blends its signature frothy drinks crafted from fruit juice, ice, and a "magic” powdered sweetener that explains why they disappear from most customers’ cups minutes after the first delicious sip. Real fruit purée forms the basis for the shop's smoothies, which also come in diet-friendly light versions that boast one-third fewer calories than regular smoothies.
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