Upscale French eatery Chef J Bistro takes its name from executive chef Jethro Joseph, who understands that fine dining can be relaxing rather than fussy. His cooking has received accolades from publications such as the Gulf Coast Times, which called his four-star gourmet fare “mouthwatering.” Chef J curates two seasonal menus replete with seafood, smoky pastas, and steak, among other dishes. His staff understands the importance of presenting entrees elegantly, supplementing them with artfully scattered greens or sandwiches made in the shape of Picasso’s Guernica.
World Gym is a no-nonsense fat-blasting factory outfitted with more than $250,000 in brand-new equipment, a friendly staff, and professional personal trainers. Spinning classes are offered daily, and with more than 50 new spinning bikes, presenting myriad opportunities to embark on imaginary bicycle rides through the sunlit streets of Paris circa 1953. Professional trainers, such as Cathy “Cat” Griffith, winner of several NPC Women’s Figure Championships, are available to help take exercise regimes up a notch, and more than 60 cardio machines, circuit equipment, and a garden of free weights round out the spacious interior. Childcare is available for grandparents whose children refuse to spot for them, and weekday hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. make sure that surly early worms and coffee-jitter night hawks have equal access to the bench press.
The art masters behind Vino's Picasso throw pretentions aside during each of their painting sessions, where artists of all skill levels gather to express their creativity and make new friends. As students arrive with their favorite drinks in tow, they settle in amid lime-green walls dotted with finished paintings. Local artists pass out all necessary supplies—such as acrylic paints, brushes, canvases, and easels—and begin a lesson on a particular painting while offering tips as pupils complete their masterpieces. In addition to their instructed sessions, Vino's also offers open paint sessions, classes for kids, and private parties for brides-to-be and spies who just want to learn about painting. While artists wait for their paint to dry, they can peruse the Starving Artist's gallery and bar, where limited production wine and craft beers bask in the glow of paintings produced by local artists. Students are welcome to purchase gifts, stock up on supplies, or lounge on the patio with a glass of wine and enjoy the free WiFi.
In more than 25 years of professional dancing experience, Sergio Moya has learned one thing: dancing is for everyone. With this philosophy, he leads a team of instructors who teach dancers of every stripe the fundamentals with simple, beginner steps or advanced toe-twirling techniques. The staff’s expertise ranges across the full physiokinetic spectrum, guiding dancers through private and social lessons in styles such as ballroom, rumba, foxtrot, waltz, and salsa.
The staff at Dlynne Designs helps patrons to create iridescent, eye-catching jewelry and keepsake items. The lesson calendar contains a variety of options and subjects, including a two-hour introductory course and private instruction. During the workshops, blossoming artisans learn techniques for cutting and fusing glass, skills useful for creating colorful works of art or combining glass eyes into larger, unusable glass eyes. Experienced teachers show pupils how to make pendants and jewelry in small-group or private-party settings, both of which allow students to bond with one another.
Since launching off from the shores of Fort Myers Beach in 1982, Paradise Parasail’s signature smiley-face parachutes have become an iconic image in the sky, now flying high above the waters of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Lake of the Ozarks. USCG-licensed captains navigate each of the company's boats as riders trail behind at heights of up to 500 feet. With feet flopping in the wind, thrill-seekers are free to wave to their friends, family, and nearby migratory birds. Parasailers can also pose for photos and videos captured by the company's onboard photographers.
To say that Captain Peter Williamson has been a scuba fanatic his whole life is somewhat untrue—he lived six whole years before even discovering what scuba diving was. A fan of the sport since the ripe old age of six and an avid diver since the age of 12, Captain Pete has attained three teaching certifications and a USCG 50-ton master’s license to captain a dive boat. When he’s not exploring coral or unpopular Atari game cartridges at the bottom of the ocean, he slings gear from all the major producers of scuba equipment in his dive shop.