According to many Asheville residents, the best place to propose marriage is about a mile above the trees, with mountains in the background and a good grip on the ring. Such engagement flights might even lead to a midair wedding party comprising four colorful balloons all tethered together as they ferry well-wishers through the clouds. When the baskets touch down, a traditional champagne toast pays homage to the journey and the bond shared by its passengers.
Asheville Hot Air Balloons' pilots also helm more casual sunrise flights seven days a week. Each expedition takes them over Pisgah National Forest according to the whims of the breeze and the severity of the moon's allergies. The wind's unpredictable path ensures that the last leg of the trip is always exhilarating—"chasers" must tail and land the balloon in the nearest suitable space by securing ropes thrown from its basket. Spring, summer, and fall flights all arrest riders with their own brands of scenery, from woodland greenery to fiery tableaus of autumn leaves.
Kids Clubs, led by a former first-grade teacher, warms youngsters to the idea of learning through fun, highly interactive classes targeted at building specific skills, from reading comprehension to public interaction. Craft clubs and Lego-building classes inspire creativity and show students how to accomplish goals through projects. Other classes help students accurately complete their homework and combine elements of literature and theater to strengthen reading comprehension. Even babies can exercise their brains during sessions that strive to improve their motor skills and prepare them to ace the bar exam.
Grand Master Kevin Tiger Bang leans on more than 30 years of teaching experience and an extensive résumé of martial-arts triumphs when leading classes at Tiger Bang's Martial Arts Academy. When the grand master isn't running the show, classes are taught by other national and international champions. The school's programs include tae kwon do, kung fu, hap ki do, and the healing martial art tae moo do.
A gaggle of wild-eyed fourth graders half-gallop, half-stumble headlong toward the stoic, inflatable Obstacle Course 360. They army crawl through the air-filled tunnel, dodge or trammel pop-up hindrances, before scampering up the final 8” wall and careening down the slide to start all over again. Asheville Festivities LLC's other inflatables engage kids with a host of fun-scapes, such as a 14” slide, a 13”x13” bounce area, or a bounce area connected to a ball pit. Asheville Festivities' staff deliver, set up, and take down the rentables any time between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Ensuring a well-rounded workout for their clients, fitness gurus Lesli Andrews and Maria Weider made sure to jam-pack their expansive workout room—painted in cheerful lime green and bright-red hues— with an extensive lineup of cardio machines, strength-training equipment, and free weights. Their team of instructors helm cardio sessions in a designated spinning room, herding computerized bikes toward a painted skyline as well as lead an abundance of group fitness classes on hardwood floors in a private training studio. Throughout the week, they help seniors to build strength, flexibility, and endurance in the gym's Silver Sneakers fitness program. They also open their space to specialized teachers who teach a wide range of 6-week programs such as Piyo-Strength, Jung Kwon martial arts, Total Body Bootcamp, and more.
After workouts, the gym invites clients to unwind in steam rooms and saunas before enjoying a smoothie at the onsite cafe. As adults work out, childcare professionals look after youngsters in the kids’ area, involving them in engaging activities including a multitude of crafts, games, and in-depth character analyses of Green Eggs and Ham .
Celebrating five years under the current owners, Frame It to a T boasts a staff experience in a multitude of aesthetically driven fields—from visual art to interior design—but they specialize in conservation framing. The specialists expertly match jerseys, diplomas, photos, and artwork with acid-free mats and eye-catching frames. Ultraviolet-filter glass prevents sunlight from bleaching artwork or keepsakes, ensuring that prized childhood toys age as imperceptibly as a Twinkie. Those who do not already have artwork they wish to frame can peruse the shop’s selection of art and prints.