Engines roar across a tire-lined track, where single and double go-karts speed through turns and on toward victory. Alongside a track for junior go-karts, this is only one of the attractions that greets visitors to The Zone. Baseballs soar across the batting cages' mesh big-top tent, and the mini-golf course dots its baize landscape with obstacles such as miniature barns or tiny warehouses filled with smaller replicas of the mini-golf course. Indoors, video games fill an arcade with a symphony of electronic beeps, while party rooms play host to shindigs with themes such as princesses and activities such as crafts.
As the keepers of their region's heritage, members of the Historical Society of Western Virginia know that best way to spread political traditions is through engaging public exhibits. That's why they operate two museums dedicated to Western Virginia's unique culture.
As a key battleground in the Civil War, West Virginia has no shortage of history for the curators at the History Museum of Western Virginia to draw upon. They leave no manuscript, periodical, or photograph unturned, using the museum's own vast library to build exhibits that celebrate formative moments in the Commonwealth's history. Sometimes, they go back even further. The museum's primary exhibit, Crossroads of History, interprets 10,000 years of heritage through artifacts such as Native American arrowheads, pottery, and the "Rawrenoke" beads that lend their name to the city of Roanoke.
At the O. Winston Link Museum, exhibits focus on more recent?and locomotive?history. Drawn from the collection of photographer Winston Link, the museum continues its namesake's quest to document and memorialize the bygone steam engines of the Norfolk and Western Railway. In addition to housing more than 300 images of these country-conquering machines, the museum also hosts temporary exhibits of other historically significant photos; recent shows featured a collection of Winston Link's work in the world of advertising, and lithographs from engine designer Raymond Loewy.
Like narrow, perfectly coiffed clearings, the fairways at Hunting Hills Country Club slide through the dense forest that covers the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 18-hole layout was unveiled in 1971, realizing the visions of tight, tree-lined shots and hilly traverses first pictured by architect Raymond F. Loving, Jr. The course's commitment to upkeep and aesthetics has never wavered over the ensuing four decades, and golfers today continue to contend with daunting drives and unsettling elevation swings.
These concerns leave foursomes thoroughly tuckered out by the 18th hole, at which point they might ask a caddy for a piggyback ride to the clubhouse for drinks and lunch.
When they're not swinging away on the golf course, members test their sports skills at the tennis facility's four lighted hard courts and four Har-Tru clay courts. They can then cool off in the swimming pool, which features an adjoining wading pool perfect for kids or pet turtles.
On the scenic Smith Mountain Lake, run-about motorboats and WaveRunners create arcing, white-capped wakes atop the water. Nearby, slower-moving pontoons host anglers and picnickers. The captains of each of these vessels owe their enjoyable day to the family-owned Hales Ford Marina & Boat Rentals, which loans its equipment to locals and visitors alike. In addition to pairing clients with the right boat, staffers also perform repairs and maintenance, including winterization for a variety of vehicles.
Fly solo to witness the aerial circus feats, or buy multiple Groupons and sit with friends, loved ones, or casual acquaintances. If you do want to sit with a group, you must buy all of your Groupons in the same transaction.
The three instructors at American Dance Centers have been teaching guests how to groove for more than 20 years?a timeframe that has only strengthened their belief in everyone's ability to dance. They usher students of all ages through group and private lessons on their studio's 1,400-square-foot floating floor, specializing in ballroom, Latin, and swing styles. Because their pupils share a common dedication to improvement, the teachers view the studio as a social space for dancers regardless of their individual skill levels or how many funky chickens they've eaten. In addition to classes, the staff hosts parties where amateurs and experts alike can benefit from casual practice. They bring aspiring performers to regional and national competitions and plan dance-themed getaways with other studios to resorts both nearby and overseas.