Northern Vineyards is a shared winery owned by the Minnesota Winegrowers Cooperative, a group of winemakers who own 1- to 15-acre vineyards across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Members grow Frontenac, Prairie Star, and other grape varieties that perform well in the region; since the region has a cold climate and short growing season, grapes grown here must tolerate lower temperatures, ripen early, and be able to knit their own woolen mittens. In the fall, growers lug their mature grapes to the main winery in Stillwater, where award-winning winemaker Robin Partch transforms them into 30 kinds of wine.
The winery?s barrel room hosts wine tastings seven days a week at a glossy, wooden tasting bar. There?s also an outdoor deck that overlooks a historic lift bridge along the St. Croix River. In nice weather, visitors can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with a glass of wine on the deck.
Taste of Stillwater's annual festival, established in 2011, directs the spotlight toward the palate-popular offerings of local wineries, breweries, restaurants, and food trucks. Throughout the daylong celebration, empty tummies shuffle from station to station filling up on samples of refreshing beverages and foods, fueling bodies to explore the festival grounds' shopping opportunities and to tour Saint Croix Vineyards. Families stake their claim on the lawn area with blankets, foldable chairs, and giant bronze statues of their great-grandfathers before they feast their ears on live music. Taste of Stillwater dedicates a portion of its proceeds to charities including Valley Outreach, a community-based nonprofit organization that supports low-income people with donations of food, clothing, and other necessities.
Your Boat Rentals helps people enjoy the benefits of boat ownership without hassles such as towing, cleaning, and repairs. The club maintains a fleet of boats, including leisurely Luxury Bennington pontoons that can hold up to 11 people. Renters need only make online reservations for one of these vessels, arrive at their dock of choice, and speed away with a fully fueled and clean boat. Six different lakes set the stage for these aquatic excursions, giving families many boating options. On any given day, Your Boat Rentals' vessels carry passengers across a number of lakes including White Bear Lake, Forest Lake, Waconia, Prior Lake, and Lake Minnetonka.
• For $93, you get two months of weekly competitive cheer classes for kids ages 8–18 plus a cheerleading top and lycra shorts (up to a $244 value). • For $65, you get two months of weekly noncompetitive-cheer classes for kids ages 8–18 and competitive-cheer classes for kids ages 6–8, plus a cheerleading top and lycra shorts (a $164 value). • For $20, you get one month of weekly adaptive-cheer classes, geared toward kids 7 and up with physical or cognitive disabilities (a $55 value).
The par-three 11th at Bristol Ridge Golf Course is a formidable sight from the tee box. Armed with whatever club or curtain rod they can hit roughly 130 yards, golfers peer at a green wreathed by a semi-circular pond, which constitutes a watery grave for any tee shot that strays long, left, or right. And that's the third easiest hole at Bristol Ridge Golf Course's 6,582-yard, par 72 course. Rolling terrain, tree-lined fairways, and intermittent ponds—water comes into play in some form on 10 holes—characterize the layout, anchored by a par-five on each nine that rate as the two most difficult holes. Golf instructor Leif Bjornson roams the course and its practice facilities, offering clinics and private lessons for golfers of all ages and abilities that want to improve their game so they can finally ask their crush to caddy for them.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,582 yards from the farthest tees * Course rating of 72.1 from the farthest tees * Slope rating of 133 from the farthest tees * Three tee options
Between 1956 and 1980, WWII veteran Robert W. Nicholson, Jr.?or, as he liked to be called, Bob?and his family owned a total of 72 horses. The horses kept the grass on the Nicholson property short?so short, in fact, that a visiting colleague of Bob's once quipped it would make an incredible golf course. And that's when the light bulb went off. Soon, the Nicholsons were transforming their horse farm into a nine-hole golf course, which officially opened in 1972 to the delight of local players and the most dexterous of the horses. Seven years later, the final nine holes were added. Today, the Nicholson family still owns the 18-hole, par 70 course, where players enjoy rounds surrounded by rippling hills, open fairways, and mature trees. The Nicholsons aren't finished yet, though. Recently, they hired Northco Golf & Hospitality to unlock the hidden beauty of this horse-farm-turned-golf course. Guests can look forward to upgrades that are scheduled to take place over the next season of play.