Stay and Play
Rather than booking a plane ticket and embarking on a long, expensive trip this summer, save time and money by staying close to home.
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Quick quiz: What has thousands of acres of cherry orchards, vineyards and farms, 300 miles of shoreline, more than 100 art galleries, studios and museums, over 50 beaches, 19 county parks (and excellent camping), 10 lighthouses, five state parks, plenty of outdoor recreation, an old-fashioned drive-in, a world class fishery, eclectic local cuisine (hint: think fish boils), and glorious waterfront sunsets? If you answered DOOR COUNTY, WIS., you are correct. As a result of the area’s numerous tourism-related amenities, Door County was named by Money magazine as one of the top 10 vacation destinations in North America, and lucky for you it’s less than a six-hour car ride away. Info: www.doorcounty.com
Family-oriented activities like swimming, camping, beach-combing, hiking, biking, canoeing, tennis, golfing, boating, exploring, and picnicking are often part of a vacation on MADELINE ISLAND, a short ferry ride from Bayfield to LaPointe, Wis. Along with wonderful beaches, the Island features a museum, golf course, gift shops, restaurants, two campgrounds, trails, a rec center, and a full-service marina. Info: www.madelineisland.com & www.madferry.com
CANOE BAY, located about two hours east of the Twin Cities, in Chetek, Wis., is the ideal prescription for relaxation and romance while the kids are away at camp. Secluded on three private lakes amidst acres of hardwood forest, the long days of summer provide ample time for canoeing, hiking, exploring the amazing gardens (visit on a Sunday morning to get master gardening secrets), and working up your appetite for exceptional food and wine. And while a visit to Canoe Bay puts every couple at a refreshing distance from the “real world,” the resort does offer free wi-fi in every building. Info: www.canoebay.com
It’s a hard-knock life for an orphan—until Daddy Warbucks sweeps her away. Take the kids to the award-winning Broadway musical blockbuster Annie at the CHILDREN'S THEATRE COMPANY, running April 12 - June 12, 2011. Info: email@example.com or 612-874-0400.
ST. PAUL SAINTS baseball is synonymous with leisurely summer afternoons. Watch the talented minor league team play excellent ball and enjoy lively between-inning entertainment like Sumo wrestling, human bowling, and wheelbarrow races. Tickets range from $5 (general admission) to $20 (box seats). Info: www.saintsbaseball.com
While visiting Marine on St. Croix, make sure to stop in at new BIKERY DU NORD, a combination bike/Nordic ski store, bakery (try the scones), and gourmet coffee shop. Spinning classes are offered in addition to bike repairs. Info: www.thebikerydunord.com
Scheduled to open in July 2011, the “Penguins of the African Coast” exhibit at the MINNESOTA ZOO is one of several projects planned over a five-year period in an effort to make the zoo one of the best in the world. See these amazing aquatic birds eye-to-eye, above and below water, in a replica of their wild habitat. Info: www.mnzoo.org/heartofthezoo
Whether you love watching remodeling shows on TV, you’re inspired by good architecture and design, or you’re curious to see what it’s like to live in luxury, you’ll enjoy touring the homes on the MIDWEST HOME LUXURY HOME TOUR June 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26, 2011. Info: www.twincitieshometour.com
The prairie meets the forest in the Alexandria area, where the glaciers carved their way through Minnesota thousands of years ago creating a perfect blend of lakes, wooded hills, and open prairie. This scenic backdrop of year-round beauty provides unlimited opportunities for recreation, tourism, business, history (the Runestone Museum houses the famous Kensington Runstone), culture, wine-tasting at Carlos Creek Winery, and shopping (the downtown area boasts a variety of affordable boutiques and antique shops). Stay at ARROWWOOD RESORT and bring the kids to the Big Splash Indoor Waterpark while you rejuvenate at Arrowwood’s Darling Reflections Spa. Play a round on Arrowwood’s scenic 18-hole course, unleash your inner cowgirl/boy on a horseback riding adventure, and round out your stay by roasting marshmallows by an evening bonfire. Info: www.arrowwoodresort.com
Another lodging option in the “Alec” area is HOLIDAY INN ALEXANDRIA, a full-service hotel with a spacious indoor recreation center including a swimming pool, whirlpool, wading pool, sauna, fitness center, game room, volleyball court, basketball, pool table and ping-pong. Info: www.hialexandria.com
If you know all the words to Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now,” “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” and “Look Away,” visit SHOOTING STAR CASINO and Event Center in Mahnomen (approximately 4.5 hours from the Twin Cities) to see Chicago in concert May 12. Come for a weekend of gaming action (complete with award-winning poker rooms), and enjoy golf at the Mahnomen Country Club, excellent restaurants, spa treatments at the Sereniitee Spa, a heated indoor pool, and deluxe accommodations. Go to www.starcasino.com and join Star Rewards, Shooting Star’s rewards program. The complimentary membership gives gamers all the perks they deserve. Depending on the level of play, members can receive discounted and complimentary hotel rooms, meals, limo service, and concert tickets. Info: www.starcasino.com