The face of the clock determines just what sort of gathering you'll find at La Residence. On Fridays at lunchtime, crepes leave the kitchen stuffed with sweet and savory fillings, from sriracha-spiced shrimp to bananas and chocolate. But as the sky darkens, a more classical air settles over the dining room. The fireplace begins to crackle, and patio lights flicker on above brick flooring. Chefs prep appetizers of baked brie and warm bruschetta?overtures to an innovative French supper. They fill crispy pot pies with fresh seafood while monitoring pink cuts of filet mignon. Every night finds them experimenting with a different risotto and fish, just as each season heralds a new menu, replete with ingredients from local farms.
Even when dusk has come and gone, the restaurant doesn't sleep. Four nights a week, it becomes a late-night cocktail lounge: Cafe LaRez. Guests sip on mojitos, mint juleps, and French 75s made with gin and champagne. A dance floor beckons to antsy feet, but sitting-room corners and a terrace by Rosemary Street provide space for quieter chats. On some evenings, the restaurant even hosts weddings, amplifying the romance of the occasion with its rose gardens and historical charm. Guests can also opt to dine in an enclosed patio and joy an evening under the stars.
The all-female clientele at Women's Only Workout sweats in solidarity during more than 15 types of fitness classes or individual workouts in the fully equipped gym. Members get 24-hour access to exercise machines, free weights, and gym facilities, as well as personal training, boot camp, or group fitness classes.
Nationally certified instructors push physiques through Pilates maneuvers atop floor mats, building core strength more effectively than a reinforced-concrete jerkin. Pedals whiz as legs strive to crest hills during spin sessions, and Zumba's Latin-infused dance steps shimmy off calories with a sassy cardio workout. In the candlelit yoga class, students arch into limb-lengthening tableaus to ramp up flexibility and cast more complicated shadow animals onto softly glowing walls. Other classes include step, total-body conditioning, and Nia—an adaptable variant of nonimpact aerobics that melds martial arts, dance, and yoga.
After earning more than 50 national awards for its beer since the 1990s, Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery turned its attention from microbrewing to microdistilling. At Top of the Hill Distillery, each batch begins with 100% organic soft red winter wheat from Scotland Neck, which distillers handcraft into a line of award-winning liquors. Those include one of the country's five wheat-based whiskeys, a sweet-tasting vodka, and a gin that packs subtle hints of vanilla, black pepper, and hazelnut. When they're not making libations, the Top of the Hill team lead tours through its USDA-certified organic distillery, which culminate in tastings of each spirit.
Founded by sports enthusiast and former adolescent Rick Hart, Jump Start Sports works to enrich pupils' childhoods by developing useful life skills through athletics. Qualified counselors employ their wealth of experience working with children to help campers learn teamwork and fair play as well as the fundamentals of fielding baseballs, scoring soccer goals, or synchronizing pom-pom work. A course structure built around age-appropriate activities, group play, and free electives ensures that students never get bored, and an 8:1 pupil-teacher ratio enables one-on-one assistance to young champions as they practice the graceful art of pitching or the scheming intrigue of free-agent contract negotiation.
Progression Climbing sends people scaling to new heights with its rock-climbing equipment and lessons. This bouldering gym seeks to help climbers of all abilities achieve their potential by focusing on freedom of movement, unencumbered by ropes and safety equipment. Its classes range from a beginners' clinic to a power endurance session designed to help climbers overcome obstacles.
A Franklin Street icon, the recently renovated Varsity Theatre has entertained audiences and cineastes for more than 50 years with screenings of current blockbusters, cult flicks, indie films, and classics. A vintage marquee beckons audiences to file into comfy seats as 35mm and digital projectors project movies onto screens. Along with regularly scheduled showings, The Varsity also holds special events such as film forums, dinner-and-movie specials, or interviews with John Wayne's neckerchief. Groups can rent out the theaters for birthday parties, corporate functions, or special events, with multiple media services and catering options available.