The prairies southwest of St. Cloud are mostly known for corn and soybeans. But the growers at Hinterland Vineyards have turned those fertile fields into the incubators of award-winning wines, growing both white and red varietals to use in their house blends. Their Happy Creek Red was named Best Off-Dry Red at the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, and La Crescent, a semi-dry white, earned a Best of Class nod at the 2013 International Women's Wine Competition. At the on-site winery, guests can sample these and other vino varieties while nibbling appetizers or listening to live music on select nights of the week. Hinterland also serves microbrew beers for guests who prefer beverages made from browner, fizzier grapes instead.
Located just southwest of Green Lake, Big Kahuna Fun Park enchants guests with indoor and outdoor attractions including an outdoor miniature-golf course, where balls somersault down steep, faux-grass corridors packed with tricky breaks. Kids and adults can satisfy needs for speed at the go-kart track, and a slower-paced power-wheels course lets younger drivers prepare for the grown-up traffic jams looming in their futures. Guests can splash away the summer heat by ramming their inner tubes into other circular vessels at the bumper-tubes pool or take refuge from the sun in the park's indoor arcade, which also houses a Subway sandwich shop.
After 13 years as a skydiver, Joseph Johnson leapt into a new mission: to become the first franchised skydiving operation in the country. With two locations in two states under his belt so far, he aims to rise above his competitors by offering distinctive features such as a choice of altitudes (13,000, 18,000, or 24,000 feet) and pre-jump training that equips skydivers with the ability to deploy, steer, and land their own chute, even when they?re flying tandem with a licensed instructor. Planes can carry as many as 17 people in one trip, making it ideal for group outings and airborne performances by jazz orchestras, and helmet cams capture the audio and visuals of the entire flight.
A community staple since 1955, Glencoe Country Club weaves through trees and waterways to form an 18-hole, par 71 layout. Rated as the hardest hole on the course, the fourth hole puts golfers at the mercy of all of the course's obstacles at once: trees and sandtraps straddle the landing zone for tee shots, and two ponds?one behind, one on the left side of the hole?protect the green from invading drives and vikings that can't swim. Before rounds, golfers can prepare at the driving range or by grabbing some new gear at the pro shop.
Course at a Glance: