With a passion for boating the waters of Lake Minnetoka to take in views of the region's natural beauty and lush green landscapes, Wayzata Bay Charters' owners charter their 60-foot lake cruiser to make the experience accessible to all. The owners decked out their two-level cruiser—which can host up to 60 people—with a full bar, two satellite TVs, satellite radio, a 2,000-watt sound system, and enough helium balloons to keep both the boat and the party afloat. Believing a jaunt on the lake makes for an ideal event whatever the occasion, they've designed packages specifically for weddings and bachelorette parties, and they still offer public cruises to assure everyone has a chance to take to the water.
Deep within a secluded, 200-year-old forest, more than 100 actors terrify visitors at Scream Town's more than five haunted attractions. Scares begin as the fabled and deranged Blood family puts chills into hearts while roaming the facility’s Oak Blood Forest, which patrons wander without tour guides, protective wagons, or flashlights. Over in the 10-foot-plus cornfield, guests navigate a 15-minute maze that passes through a meat freezer with frozen cow parts, a botanical center with living vines, and an alien-occupied zone. Further foreboding hangs over the more than 7,000-square-foot Circus Asylum, a wooden maze where circus freaks petrify visitors by creating balloon animals of three-headed poodles. A guide leads small groups along the Scream Town path where sasquatches are rumored to prowl, and the 500-foot, pitch-black Rabid Alley startles guests with creepy sounds and in-your-face sensations. Once patrons have returned to safety, they can decompress from the cache of frights with snacks such as mini donuts or hot cider.
Since 1985, the experienced captains and crews at Paradise Charter Cruises & 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.
A rustic red barn nestled in the fields of New Prague stands as the centerpiece of Next Chapter Vineyard. Around it stands six acres of vineyards blooming with marquette, frontenac, gris, and le crescent grapes. On these grounds, the Tulloch family mashes, presses, and ferments their varietals into a range of red and white wines. They often demonstrate their process to curious visitors and incorporate old winemaking techniques, such as grape stomping and wine bottling. Nearby, guests can pick apples at the Montgomery Apple Orchard.
Tour de Cure raises money to benefit the American Diabetes Association by sponsoring bike tour events in 44 states. Events include rides of various lengths ranging from 7 to 100 miles and support riders with rest stops and snacks to keep them fueled. Riders with diabetes get to wear Red Rider jerseys and lead the events through farmland, down city streets, past waterways, and over daunting hills. At the finish line, festivities include live music, lunches, vendor booths, massages, and activities for kids, depending on location.
In the 1880s, Matt M?llner crafted his own wine and whiskey with his brother-in-law in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nearly a century-and-a-half later, his descendants carry on the tradition more than an ocean away at Millner Heritage Vineyard & Winery. The Millner family oversees every facet of their business. Father Don is the CEO, while mother Mary handles the gardening and decor. Jon, their son, cultivates the vines, mashes the grapes, and ferments the wine. His wife Annamaria, a Hungarian-born winemaker and agricultural engineer, not only helps him, but also oversees just a little bit of everything else.
The family's European and Minnesotan heritage comes through in how they blend modern equipment with traditional wine-making techniques, using eight varieties of grapes grown on their nine acres of land beneath their nine acres of sky. In 2013, their craft caught the attention of a judging panel, who named Millner Heritage's 2012 Little Iza wine the state's best and bestowed upon it the Minnesota's Governor's Cup. Though winery tours peek into the award-winning processes, guests can also sample the end product in guided tastings. Currently the Millner's produce more than a dozen Austrian and Hungarian Style wines, ranging from Dry whites and reds to semi-sweet ros? to dessert wines, sparkling wines, and ports.