The snowy fields of Wisconsin
Cross-country skiing is just part of life on Palmquist Farm, said Chris Welsch in the Chicago Tribune. Owned and operated by a family with roots in Finland, this Brantwood, Wis., homestead may be the only ski resort “that is also, in the truest sense, a working farm.” For more than 100 years, guests and hosts alike have carved their way through Palmquist’s snowy grounds, whether for sport or just to get around the 800 acres. The “20 miles of smoothly groomed trails” aren’t particularly challenging, but gliding over the mild terrain does provide a pleasant opportunity “to move in rhythm through the silence of the season.” As the last bit of snow takes “on the shadowy blue of winter dusk,” the pine trees turn into “ink-brush silhouettes” in the “fading light.” Once night falls, it’s time to stop in “the two-story, wood-stove-heated sauna” and warm up before heading into the farmhouse kitchen to recharge with some home-cooked, “hearty rural fare.”
Oregon’s Pinot Noir country
Life in Yamhill County, Ore., still has the “feel of days gone by,” said Barbara Hernandez in The New York Times. But the food and wine are up-to-date. Located in the state’s northwest corner, not far from Portland, the region achieves a “nice balance” between the rural and the refined. Once identified by its steel, lumber, and farming industries, Yamhill’s “open hills” are now thriving wine country. Newly developed wineries and organic produce farms sit comfortably beside a crop of sophisticated restaurants. The local Pinot Noir, known for its “long velvety finishes and pencil-lead aroma,” has become the county’s main draw not just for ardent wine enthusiasts but also for budding vintners. The countryside “offers an abundance of acreage suitable for growing grapes,” and vintages from nearby Bella Vida Vineyards and Evergreen Vineyards are served almost everywhere in McMinnville, the county’s largest city.