Airlie Hills Farm’s harvest festival has its roots in the early spring, when staffers prepare the ground for the planting of thousands of pumpkin seeds. Once hot summer air transforms into crisp fall breezes and the pumpkins spring from the vine, the farm’s annual event begins. Aliens use their spaceship’s giant tweezers to pluck strategic stalks from the 5-acre cornfield and transform it into a tricky maze, before kids and adults attempt to navigate it along with hay mazes and an easier kiddie maze. Wee ones climb atop hay forts and pyramids, slide down a giant indoor hay slide, and pay a visit to the farm’s resident animals.
Each noncompetitive Curves facility invites female fitness-seekers to move through a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Shunning cumbersome weight stacks, the hydraulic gadgets adapt to each exerciser's body weight and fitness level to complement her individual abilities, subsequently decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. And because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing unsuspecting grapefruit. Experienced trainers are always nearby to help clients manage their machine maneuvering, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music includes cues to let women know when it's time to move on to the next station or break for an air viola solo.
Jesse Ramos began his boxing career in Mexico when he was just 16 years old. Starting from such an early age, he learned to love the sweet science as a means to discipline his mind and connect with his body. With 30 years of experience now under his coaching belt, his passion for boxing burns all the brighter. Since opening up in 1999, Ramos, along with his team of dedicated instructors, has helped others stoke their own fighting fires. At Victory Gym, the coaches offer classes for students of any age or experience level. Students as young as 8 can work through basic techniques and footwork and build their conditioning, eventually graduating to live sparring inside the gym's regulation ring. For those looking to tone up while they float like a butterfly, but are too terrified to associate with bees, instructors also offer Zumba cardio dance classes.
Tinted glass panes wrap around the rustic clubhouse of Spring Hill Country Club, permitting splendid views of the kempt lawn, misting fountains, and 18-hole golf course that encompass the grounds below. An advanced Rain Bird irrigation system keeps the 6,502-yard labyrinth in pristine shape year-round, and a short-game practice area, driving range, and PGA-certified instructors help preserve both swings and nine-irons' sense of identity. Members enjoy access to a fitness center with cardio and weightlifting machines, a sauna, and locker rooms, as well as access the cool waters of the club's Olympic-size outdoor pool. Plasma-screen TVs show live sports or golf-cart jousting at the casual Caddy Shack Pub, and the Player's Grille invites synchronized dining and chit-chat while clients take in quiet views of the club.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 72 course * Length of 6,502 yards from farthest tees * Course rating of 71.7 from farthest tees * Slope rating of 129 from farthest tees * Five tee options
It's been more than 95 years since the Bose family’s ancestors first tilled the earth. Today, the third generation is still working and living off the land, growing corn, beans, and squash to sell at their farm store. And as summer turns to fall, the family opens their farm to the public, welcoming them to get lost in a corn maze that twists and turns across 6 acres, with stalks that tower more than 10 feet tall. Outside the corny labyrinth, a vintage tractor pulls hayrides around the farm’s perimeter, affording views of the hay pyramid and a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, where the gourds can grow to weigh more than 65 pounds. The festivities continue from 10 a.m. till dusk, but guests can also reserve the maze at nighttime, when campfires toast marshmallows and light the way for scarecrows flying south for the winter.
In true democratic fashion, Evan Phipps, the owner of Mint Leaf Bar & Grill, left up the theme of his restaurant to the people of Jefferson. "They wanted a place to take their family,? he told the Albany Democrat-Herald last year. So he allotted half of his space to a family-friendly restaurant that serves grill food such as burgers and the other half to a bar with a pool table and a neon mint leaf blazing behind the counter. One of the highlights of the establishment is the housemade potato chips, which are plucked each morning from the branches of the potato-chip tree out back.