Though the artisans at Laketown Chocolates get inventive with their creations, they don't tamper with the foundation of their treats: the same 150-year-old European recipe they've used for the past 30 years. Their chocolate-makers custom-blend this formula to craft 34% milk chocolate; 50% and 72% dark chocolate; dark mint chocolate; and white chocolate, and concoct all specialty items in an in-house kitchen. The result is store shelves filled to the brim with their innovative treats, including locally themed sweets such as Minnesota-shaped chocolates, birch bark, and chocolate moose; homemade english toffees and salt caramels; and chunky chocolate bars mixed with ingredients such as wasabi and espresso beans. Staff can also pour liquid chocolate into more than 1,500 stock molds at a customer's request, turning the mixture into shapes such as business cards, commemorative wedding coins, and edible suits of armor. Their attention to detail even extends to the presentation. They box, wrap, and decorate treats with accents such as ribbons and colored foil.
Birdstone Bead Studio's savvy instructors teach jewelry-crafting techniques that range from basic beading to complex methods of cutting, filing, and riveting in a quaint BYOB studio. They welcome up to eight guests at a time, granting students ample breathing room as they sift through piles of beads or try reviving a CPR dummy. The teachers drop pearls of wire and wisdom during each hour of instruction before empowering pupils to make their own jewelry.
Since 1985, the experienced captains and crews at Paradise Charter Cruises and Minneapolis Queen have been shepherding guests along the azure surfaces of Lake Minnetonka and the Mississippi River. Their fleet of five vessels steers customers around the area while accommodating them with full-height glass windows, enclosed outer decks, bar and restaurant options, and karaoke performances by prize-winning big-mouth bass. Boats glide along the coastline of Lake Minnetonka, catching sights of small lakeside towns, and down the Mississippi River to the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, Saint Anthony Falls, and the setting sun.