Holiday Gift Showcase 2008
Making a list and checking it twice? Don't forget to include these wonderfully unique (and wonderfully local) gift ideas.
1 BLACK NATIVITY—HEAR AGAIN THE CHRISTMAS STORY! Nov. 28 through Dec. 28. This inspiring gospel journey makes the perfect holiday gift! Order your tickets today. Penumbra Theatre, 270 Kent St., St. Paul. 651-224-3180. www.penumbratheatre.org
2 MINNESOTA ZOO MEMBERSHIPS What’s in your stocking? It’s time to replace the holiday fruit baskets, turkeys, and nuts. Zoo memberships make great gifts. From $40 - $105. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. 952-431-9200. www.mnzoo.org
3 THE ELF ON THE SHELF During the Christmas season, set this magical elf upon a shelf in your home. The elf will observe the children’s behavior, both good and bad, and report back to Santa each night ($29.95). This is sure to become a family tradition! General Store of Minnetonka, 14401 Highway 7, Minnetonka. 952-935-7131. www.generalstoreofminnetonka.com
4 MINNESOTA MONTHLY FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE Tickets to the 15th Annual Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience Feb. 26-March 1, 2009 are perfect gifts for the hard-to-buy-for wine enthusiasts in your life! ($65 in advance, $70 at the door). www.foodwineshow.com
5 NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY This holiday season, give your family the most selfless gift—life insurance from New York Life. It comes with 163 years of financial strength and ensures your family will always be taken care of. That’s the true spirit of giving. 51 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010. 866-NYL-4YOU. www.NewYorkLife.com/SelflessGift
6 PHIL THOMPSON’S “TWELVE SONGS OF CHRISTMAS” The talented romantic piano sensation Phil Thompson brings a new sound to old favorites such as “Silent Night,” “Deck the Halls,” and the creatively arranged “A Medley of Christmas” on his most recent CD, “Twelve Songs of Christmas” ($14.95). See Phil perform live at the Mall of America and other select venues this holiday season. Visit his website for the full 2008 Holiday Tour and Official Phil Thompson Music Store. www.philthompsonmusic.com
1 THE GRAND HAND GALLERY Give a work of art to wear—with warmth! Hand-felted merino wool and silk scarf by artist Jenne Giles from San Fransisco, California ($100 - $230). 619 Grand Ave., St. Paul. 651-312-1122. www.thegrandhand.com
2 FLIRT BOUTIQUE Shimmer powder puff filled with sparkling body powder. Pink, black, or white ($15). Mary Green ribbed silk knit cami and panty. Black or pink ($98). 1330 Grand Ave., St. Paul. 651-698-3692. www.flirtongrand.com
3 ROSEDALE CENTER GIFT CARDS Available now at Guest Services in denominations of $20 to $300. Finally, a plaid that goes with everything. 10 Rosedale Center, Roseville. 651-633-0872. www.myrosedale.com
4 CLAY COYOTE GALLERY Gifts for friends, for you, for your home. All handcrafted, all North American. Minnesota’s most varied, unique selection. Located in Hutchinson. Sculpture by Shelley Buonaiuto ($160). 17614 240th St., Hutchinson. 888-737-4014. www.claycoyote.com
5 SEASONS ON ST. CROIX GALLERY ”Wonder, the Snow Pony” is a playful, artful, delightful, six-inch handpainted ornament with glass/crystal beads and other embellishments ($275). Various original designs available by regional artist Berta Zimdars ($95-$375). 401 Second St., Hudson, Wis. 715-381-2906 www.seasonsonstcroix.com
6 DOS RIBERAS FABRIC NECKLACE Exclusive to the Walker Art Center Shop, this fabric necklace is from Dos Riberas of Buenos Aires, Argentina ($75). Find unique gifts from around the corner and around the world! Walker Art Center Shop, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. 612-375-7633. www.shop.walkerart.org
1 SILVERWARE CLOCK A piece of reclaimed silverware for each hour, attached to a reclaimed pot lid. Great in the kitchen or as a unique recycled gift ($68). Twin Cities Green, 2405 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls. 612-374-4581. www.twincitiesgreen.com
2 GIVE THE GIFT OF RELAXATION Give the gift of relaxation with a gift certificate from Ivy Spa Club. For every $100 gift certificate purchase, receive an additional $25 gift certificate free. 201 11th St. S., Mpls. (second floor of Hotel Ivy). 612-343-3131. www.ivyspaclub.com
3 MINNESOTA MONTHLY MAGAZINE Give 12 issues of Minnesota Monthly magazine for only $14.95. This regional lifestyle magazine is a great gift for all seasons and all reasons. *Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of the first issue. 1-800-933-4398. www.minnesotamonthly.com/winter
4 PLYMOUTH PLAYHOUSE Join the ladies for the holidays in the sequel Church Basement Ladies 2: A Second Helping! running now through October 2009. The perfect holiday treat for the whole family—gift certificates and original cast CDs make great stocking stuffers! 2705 Annapolis Lane N., Plymouth. 763-553-1600. Order tickets online at www.plymouthplayhouse.com
5 SUNDARA INN & SPA This relaxing, adults-only getaway was named one of the top 25 spas in America by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Guests can immerse themselves in the finest spa lifestyle accommodations, whether electing to stay in a suite or private villa. 920 Canyon Rd., Wisconsin Dells, Wis. 888-735-8181. www.sundaraspa.com
6 THE CLASSIC ROSEWOOD INN AND SPA IN THE HISTORIC HASTINGS—the place to hibernate! Double whirlpools, woodburning fireplaces, rocking chairs, amazing private breakfasts, and in-suite massages are the norm. What a gift! Buy two nights, the reward is a $500 gas certificate! 651-437-3297. www.classicrosewood.com
Sure, we all know there’s no place like home, but during certain times of the year—over the holidays especially—it’s a great time to be a tourist. From culture buffs in search of enlightenment, to adventure-seekers hoping to play in the powder, to those who simply want a cozy place to get away from it all, we feature the season’s best bets.
Designed exclusively for couples, Canoe Bay—the only prestigious Relais and Chateaux member in the Midwest—is a gorgeous, secluded retreat located in northwestern Wisconsin. Admire the beauty of the unspoiled 280-acre estate from your private deck, curl up with a good book or movie borrowed from the well-stocked Great Room/Library, or take in the sights and sounds of Mother Nature on miles of onsite trails. Once snow falls, explore the trails on cross-country skis or snowshoes. While you’re unwinding, why not treat yourself to an hour-long massage in the hotel’s spa, cuddle in front of your private fireplace, or relax in a two-person whirlpool? In the evening, head over to the lakeside dining room to enjoy a glass of wine (there are over 500 domestic and imported vintages to choose from) and an excellent four-course meal prepared by a talented chef. Lodging options include guest rooms, inn rooms, or cottages. The luxurious 3,500-square-foot Edgewood guesthouse features a wraparound deck, high ceilings, a 25-foot limestone fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake.
After a 12-year run, Triple Espresso is back for a limited holiday engagement at the Music Box Theatre at 14th and Nicollet in Minneapolis. This is the perfect holiday show. Ok, so it might not have anything to do with the holidays, but it’s all about having fun together! Families and friends laugh so hard they often embarrass themselves (and others). What other show includes hand shadow puppets, a gorilla in a music contest, and magic tricks?
Students, military and seniors receive $4 off all shows. Tickets for kids (17 and under) are half-off on Sundays. Coffee Break Matinees will be performed on Dec. 4, 12 and Jan. 8 at 1:30 p.m. Bring a group of 12 or more and get free coffee for everyone! Gift certificates are the perfect gift in that they do not require batteries and fit all sizes. Purchase gift certificates online at www.tripleespresso.com
Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, MN
Experience 2,000 years of Vatican art and history during the “Vatican Splendors from Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Swiss Guard” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center, produced by Evergreen Exhibitions. From the venerated relics of Saint Peter to items from when Pope Benedict XVI was elected, this exhibit comprises one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour North America. Many items have never before been on public view. From culture to history to art (Michelangelo, Bernini, and Giotto), explore how the Papacy has impacted—and been impacted—by the world throughout the centuries.
From the sights and sounds of the grand Basilica to a touchable cast of John Paul II’s hand, the exhibition is a multi-sensory experience.
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Even on a blustery day in Thunder Bay you’ll find some of the most comfortable skiing conditions—no wind (the park is sheltered by huge stands of evergreen trees) and plenty of sunshine. Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park, just 25 minutes from downtown Thunder Bay, is one of the best-kept skiing secrets in the region. The scenery along the trails is stunning, and the terrain is loved by all levels of skiers, from beginner to advanced. The trails are adjacent to one of the largest and most visited waterfalls in Ontario—Kakabeka Falls—also called the “Niagara of the North.” Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, with picturesque trails and some of the best snow and grooming in the region, is also a popular spot for skiers. Other unique Thunder Bay outdoor activities include ice climbing and ice racing.
For those of you who would rather stay indoors, there are museums featuring the life of Native Americans, European explorers, and French voyageurs, specialty shops and boutiques, and a wide variety of diverse restaurants.
Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center
Looking for an alternative to the here-comes-winter blahs? Arrowwood Resort, located just two hours from the Twin Cities in the city of Alexandria, is the perfect escape. Kids love the nightly bonfires, fun Camp Arrowwood Children’s Activities, swimming pool, and 38,000-square-foot indoor water park featuring four-story waterslides, a “Lazy River” inner tube ride, tropical whirlpool spa, lily pad water walk, basketball shoot out, children’s play fort with water blasters, and a 500-gallon splash bucket. When the snow hits, fun activities include ice fishing, ice-skating, broomball, sledding, skiing, snowmobile rentals and horse-drawn sleigh rides. You will love going out to eat at the on-site restaurants, relaxing in the whirlpool, and checking out Darling Reflections Spa—a full-service massage and treatment spa. Choose from guest rooms or suites—some featuring fireplaces, double whirlpool spas, lofts and kitchenettes—or townhomes with up to four bedrooms. Deluxe standard rooms are available at a discounted rate from Dec. 1 – Dec. 29.
Hennepin Theatre Trust
When the north wind rattles your windowpanes, a sure-fire way to forget about the plunging mercury is by catching a show at one of three beautifully restored historic theatres—the State, Orpheum, or Pantages—in the Hennepin Theatre District in Minneapolis. “We offer variety. Not only do we present Broadway tours, but we collaborate with local theater organizations such as Theater Latte’ Da and Cantus (All Is Calm), and present a wide variety of entertainment,” says Carl Lee, Hennepin Theatre Trust director of marketing and communications. “We also offer dining options through our nine restaurant partners—Palomino, Capital Grille, Solera, Bellanotte, Chambers Kitchen, Cosmos, Manhattan’s, Mission, and Seven.”This winter’s lineup includes Linda Eder Dec. 4, The Blenders Dec.
4-7, Lorie Line Dec. 6-13, Dan Wilson Dec. 13, All Is Calm Dec. 18-21, Mannheim Steamroller Dec. 19-20, Grease Dec. 30–Jan. 4, Frost/Nixon Jan. 6-11, Spring Awakening Jan 27–Feb. 1, Annie Feb. 12-14, and Fiddler on the Roof from Feb. 24-March 1. See a minimum of three shows to qualify to “Pick Your Own Package,” in which you can receive a discount and the chance to buy before the general public.
Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior
Nothing says “happy holidays” like fresh snow. You can slide on it, burrow in it, pack it, throw it, taste it, and wear it. And at Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior, you can float on it (snowshoeing), glide on it (cross-country skiing trails criss-cross the area), carve trails in it (downhill skiing or snowboarding is available at nearby Lutsen Mountains) or race your sled across it (snowmobiling). The resort, voted “Most Romantic Resort” by Minnesota Monthly magazine, offers outdoor movie nights on an expansive ice rink, complimentary ice skates, snowshoes, and cross-country skis, a year-round outdoor pool and hot tub overlooking Lake Superior (a highlight for many winter visitors), and family sleigh rides. Book a beautiful condo or suite on the shore of the big lake with options such as Jacuzzis, fireplaces, and balconies. Dine on fresh seafood in the award-winning Bluefin Grille. De-stress and rejuvenate at the on-site Bluefin Wellness Center, or head a half-mile south on Highway 61 to the new Superior Waters Spa at Surfside, located at Bluefin’s sister resort, Surfside on Lake Superior.
Cove Point Lodge
Beaver Bay, MN
Tucked along Lake Superior, secluded from the highway, the Scandinavian-style Cove Point Lodge is the ideal setting for a quiet winter getaway. Lore has it that Native Americans were attracted to Cove Point—the natural feature that later became the name for Cove Point Lodge—for spiritual reasons. It’s easy to see how that natural landmark, rising gently out of Lake Superior and facing due East, toward the sunrise, could be so significant to the first people in America since the area has the same sort of peaceful effect on today’s visitors. During the day, a popular pastime is heading up the road to Lutsen Mountains for skiing or snowboarding, or staying close to the lodge for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or snowmobiling along the North Shore’s well-groomed trails. After a day of enjoying the crisp winter air, return to the warm, cozy lodge to relax by the fire, enjoy a mug of cocoa, and de-thaw with a long soak in the hot tub. Evenings are topped off with a glass of wine and a fantastic dinner in the intimate dining room. Stay three consecutive nights for the price of two from Dec. 1 - Dec. 22, available Sunday through Thursday.
Locations in Hinckley and Mille Lacs, MN
Excitement runs high at Grand Casino Hinckley and Mille Lacs, and it has nothing to do with Santa Claus. Voted the “Best Players Club” seven years running, Grand Casino (both locations) has the newest and fastest slots, award-winning steakhouses, a Grand Arcade for teenagers, and special getaway packages combining gaming, dining, and spa services. December entertainment includes “A Tillis Family Christmas” Dec. 13 and “The Rockin Hollywoods” Dec. 31 at Grand Casino Mille Lacs, and at Grand Casino Hinckley, “Christmas with Aaron Neville and His Quintet” Dec. 7, Terry Fator, winner of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” on Dec. 20, and “Belladiva” on Dec. 31. Make a weekend of it and stay overnight at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs or Hinckley Hotels, attached to the casinos. While in Hinckely, stop by Tobies Restaurant & Bakery for one of their world-famous caramel rolls and the Hinckley Fire Museum to discover the area’s rich heritage. While in Mille Lacs, bring your skis or sled, the area is laced with miles of uninterrupted trails.
East Bay Suites
Grand Marais, MN
The phenomenal natural beauty of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains, small-town charm (pop. 1,171), and the “wilderness” feeling of clear starry nights, pure air, and wildlife sightings of moose, wolves, and bear make a visit to Grand Marais a must any time of the year. Winter, though, is especially quiet and serene in this village harbor, and the place to stay is East Bay Suites. The first “condo-tel” in the area, East Bay Suites is comprised of 31 individually owned condominium suites available for nightly rental, situated so close to Lake Superior you can watch the dramatic performances of the world’s largest freshwater lake from the warmth and comfort of a modern and fully-furnished lakeside condo. When the snow falls (and fall it does up North), complimentary transportation is offered to Lutsen Mountains, and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, dogsledding, and skijoring become popular recreation choices. If you’d rather stay indoors than brave the cold, take a class at the nearby North House Folk School, visit the historic Grand Marais Art Colony, or hit downtown Grand Marais for shopping and dining. Stay during the “Holiday Sweets” weekend of Dec. 12 – 14 and “bake up memories to last a lifetime.” East Bay Suites provides the fixins’, you provide the creative talent. And feel free to bring Fido, too. The suites are dog friendly (with authorization prior to arrival).
Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior
The frenzied holiday season is upon us and there’s no better place to relax than Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior. Cozy up with a book by the fireplace and enjoy a cup of cocoa, or—if you’re feeling more adventurous—get outside and explore the Great Outdoors. “Guests staying at the resort have an endless winter playground to experience,” says Bryan Hansel, activities director. “With hundreds of kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails nearby, the best ski hill—Lutsen Mountain—in the Midwest across the street, and miles and miles of snowshoe trails, there isn’t a dull moment.”
No matter how low the temperature drops, the lake never really freezes over, so you can sit and watch the Lake Superior waves roll in. On the best days, a light winter fog will rise off the lake, and at sunrise, the sky lights up in brilliant hues of yellow and purple.
Guest activities include free guided ski tours for both beginners and experienced skiers on the nearby Sugarbush Cross Country Ski System, guided snowshoe hikes to Oberg Mountain, along frozen river beds, and into canyons, Kids’ Pizza and Movie Night (parents often sneak off to a romantic dinner while the kids are watching the movie), four nights of live music each week, free door-to-door ski hill shuttle buses to Lutsen Mountains, and massage available through the WatersMeet spa facility. In December, guests who stay for two nights have the option of adding a third mid-week night for free.
Westin Edina Galleria
Work, holiday parties, shopping, baking, cleaning, get-togethers with out-of-town friends, shopping, more holiday parties, more baking, more cleaning. With so much to do, it can be hard to remember that the holidays are supposed to be about peace and joy. Take a break from the madness by staying at the new Westin Edina Galleria. The designers even “weatherproofed” the hotel with aboveground access between the hotel and Edina’s upscale Galleria shopping center and through a below-street level climate-controlled walkway, making it ultra convenient to finish any last-minute shopping without having to go outside. Regarded as a shopper’s nirvana with everything from national favorites to local boutiques, the upscale Galleria also offers a variety of restaurants for dinner or drinks. Once back at the hotel, indulge in the services of a day spa and large indoor pool, as well as plush Heavenly Beds, 37-inch plasma TVs, wireless Internet, and a custom shower and soaking tub. Luxury suites include a wet bar, living room, table for six, half bath, and separate sleeping area with a private bathroom.
McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant is conveniently located adjacent to the lobby. The hotel welcomes pets and even offers a Heavenly Dog Bed. Consider a stay at the Westin Edina Galleria a sanity-saving gift for yourself.