Twenty-one runs streak across the Toggenburg Mountain Winter Sports Center trail map, furnishing skiers and snowboarders with ample real estate to perfect swerves and test nerves in the crisp high country air. Five lifts—two doubles, a triple, and a pair of beginner rope tows—hoist snowy revelers to the top of runs such as the black diamond Oh My Goat, the blue square Angora Alley, and the green circle Capricorn Caper, as well as two terrain parks. Here, a gantlet of rails, boxes, and tables not only give daredevils the chance to show off their aerial acrobatics, but also provide a rough idea of what it would be like to wear skis into a furniture store. First-timers and skiers in need of a refresher can sign up for snow school, where expert instructors illuminate proper technique during private, semiprivate, and group lessons.
Off the mountain, Chilly Choices ski shop keeps skiers and snowboarders warm on the outside with hats, gloves, goggles, and apparel. Meanwhile the Foggy Goggle and Toggenburg Cafeteria keep them warm them on the inside with toasty eats such as braised tenderloin tips and pizza.
The ember of Nick Coppola's fervor for fishing began years ago. While Nick studied biology in college, this passion bloomed into a full-blown vocation as he spent summers scouring the rivers of Southwest Montana. Since those early moments wading in the tides, Nick has become a New York State–licensed guide, continuing to catch trophy salmon, steelhead trout, brown trout, and runaway goldfish as the head of Slickwater Adventures.
Throughout two seasons each year, Coppola and his staff lead anglers of all levels into some of the East Coast's most picturesque habitats, including the Ausable River during summer months and the eastern Lake Ontario tributaries during winter. No matter the location, Coppola encourages participants to customize each adventure to their specific goals, whether they are honing existing skills, learning basic techniques, or luring in trophy catches with tricks and well-timed eyewinks.
Nestled in Syracuse’s historic Armory Square district, PJ’s Pub and Grill’s unpretentious atmosphere belies the filet mignon sizzling in its kitchen. Patrons can slice into gourmet beef cuts and other upscale dinner entrees, such as a sesame-crusted tuna and portobello-stuffed ravioli, as games unfold on the eatery’s big-screen TVs. Alternatively, diners can opt for bar-style eats, which complement a bar-sized selection of wine, beer and shots. Dishes range from shepherd’s pie and grilled paninis to burgers, such as the Southwestern, crowned in pepper jack cheese and onion straws. A daily rotation of lunch and happy-hour specials adds an element of surprise to the dining experience, much like finding a winning lottery ticket in your date's wallet, and groups can retire to a choice of two brick-walled banquet halls for private celebrations.
An old-fashioned marquee illuminates the entrance to the Palace Theater, its scarlet and gold light beaming just as brightly as when the venue first opened in 1922. Back then, it was a 1,300-seat neighborhood movie theater with a second-floor dine and dance ballroom. That was owner Alfred Dibella's vision, and when he passed away in 1959, he made sure the theater landed safely in the hands of his daughter, Frances.
Today, the Palace remains a family heirloom. Much like a dubstep remix of the Gettysburg Address, the current space is a mixture of modern technology and vintage appeal, retaining its architectural integrity despite updates over the years. Perhaps the biggest change has been Palace's transformation from a single-screen movie house into a multi-use event space, capable of hosting everything from rehearsal dinners to graduation ceremonies.
Swamp Road Walk of Terror rings in the Halloween season with its spooky trail, inhabited by ghoulish characters such as Killjoy the Clown, Ripsaw the Lumberjack, and Swamp Creature. As visitors traverse the boggy landscape, frightening apparitions spring from the darkening path, eliciting squeals, jumps, and silent vows to join a running group. Of the bevy of characters at the annual spookfest, the Dollmaker seems to quicken the most pulses; famed local toymaker Herbert Merkins, wanted for kidnapping and murder in connection with crafting his seemingly innocent dolls out of human skin, is on the loose. The fact that the tale is made up doesn’t stop swampgoers from fleeing the actor’s clammy grasp as he and his cohorts frighten visitors with backstories of terrifying experiences and trips to the DMV.
Clasped between Saguaro National Park and the Ironwood Preserve, Double R Ranch appears as though it were plucked straight from the frames of an old Western movie. The windswept grounds stand as a gateway to the thousands of untouched acres that quietly stitch together the Northwest side of Tucson. The ranch gives visitors a chance to explore that land with horseback rides and birthday parties. It also offers weekend getaways and RV hookups to city-dwellers in need of an escape from the crowds and door-to-door minivan salesmen that come with urban living. Double R also accommodates guests who have their own horses with overnight stabling services.