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Trained industry professionals at Asheville Performing Arts Academy cultivate creativity in fledgling scholars with weekly dance and drama classes. Patrons can enroll pint-size progenies in a semester of Kindermusik classes, introductory music courses designed to bolster their cognitive development and prepare them for potential careers as boat rowers and bus wheels. Designed for even younger tots, the school's Creative Arts Preschool program embraces dance, art, and drama to foster critical-thinking skills and boost confidence levels at an early age. Children may also opt to perfect their two-stepping abilities in a slew of classes—including ballet, Irish dance, and Broadway style—that cater to a variety of age groups and experience levels.

193 Charlotte Street
Asheville,
NC
US

As massage therapists and yoga instructors, Jesamine Mello and Jill Burynski are able to integrate both disciplines in their treatment plans. The duo performs Swedish massages, hot-stone massages, and Thai bodywork sessions, and blends these modalities together with integrative massage. During private yoga lessons, they teach basic sequences and fluid transitions, giving clients the tools they need to practice at home or while trapped in elevators.

79 Woodfin Place
Asheville,
NC
US

Each of YMCA of Western North Carolina's five branches and 19 childcare sites remains true to its lasting mission of physical and social enrichment for men, women, and kids of all ages. Staff members uphold the YMCA’s core values of honesty, caring, responsibility, and respect as they invest in their community’s children and strengthen family bonds critically weakened by overzealous games of Monopoly. They pump up adult fitness regimens with aquatic fitness and boot-camp classes, basketball courts, and personal-training sessions. They’ve also filled their fitness centers with free weights, cardio equipment, and weight machines. When they’re not helping adults trim down waistlines during cardio-dance and aerobics classes, staff members are getting back in touch with their inner children. They stimulate imagination, mental development, and growth as they lead more than 200 programs, including children’s day camps, after-school programs, and dance classes.

30 Woodfin Street
Asheville,
NC
US

Asheville changed drastically in the half-century following 1880. Railroad workers broke through the Appalachian Mountains' natural barrier and connected the city to the world, forever changing its culture and social zeitgeist. Though decades have passed, Brenda Seright Williams still feels the impact of this period, and the tour guide isn't content to let it fade into history. As it says on her website, she believes "the study of those who came before can inspire us to stretch our own limits."

Her Urban Trail walking tours not only explore the 19th century’s Gilded Age but also tiptoe through four other time periods, including the Frontier Period and the Age of String Cheese. Alternatively, Brenda shifts the spotlight to Asheville's pivotal female figures during the aptly named Herstory tours. However, neither of these excursions are cookie-cutter adventures. To weave her stories, Brenda has conducted more than 100 interviews and spent countless hours researching minute details and the correct pronunciation of the word "pioneer."

52 North Market Street
Asheville,
NC
US

Youngblood Bicycles' staff of avid cyclists fine-tune two-wheeled steeds with expert service and outfit riders in gear from pro brands, including Bell, Hincapie, Giro, and more. Veteran mechanics can call upon their bike-whispering skills to fix flats ($17), provide tune-ups ($65), or prevent bicycles that operate too well from becoming self-aware. Helpful pedal-pushers can also employ their passion for cycling to capably guide buyers through any purchase. A stylish logo jersey ($90) and pair of bib shorts ($110) by Hincapie keep riders sleek, aerodynamic, and in compliance with modesty laws, and a protective Bell Influx helmet ($65) shields your thoughts from divebombing carrier pigeons.

233 Merrimon Ave
Asheville,
NC
US

Seven years ago, some like-minded yogis met in a Denver park to practice yoga in the great outdoors. They didn't know that in the years to come, their numbers would swell to the hundreds?or that this tradition would become an anticipated event in 20 cities. In that moment, they just wanted to celebrate an atmosphere of unity in nature.

Today, Yoga Rocks the Park (Open Sky Marketing) meets on select Saturdays and Sundays in the spring and summer, drawing participants from locales such as Chicago, Phoenix, and San Diego. Though the movement's reach has yet to stop growing, all of its incarnations are staffed locally?area yoga teachers run the trademark 75-minute, all-levels class, and area pigeons act as the security team. At the same time, live musicians provide a soundtrack for the flowing series of poses, and local businesses within the community sell yoga- and wellness-related goods from a row of tents in the Wellness Vendor Village. Yogis of all ages are welcome. In fact, a class for kids keeps youngsters occupied while parents stretch in the sun.

121 College St
Asheville,
NC
US