Classes in Charlottesville

Select Local Merchants

The subaquatic scholars at Dive Connections sate scuba sweet teeth with scuba gear, classes taught by experienced instructors, and seafaring travel adventures. With the individual scuba experience, set sail on the solo sea sojourn by viewing a DVD from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, which contains panoramic video seen through the diver's goggles and a full academic module, followed by a 45-minute orientation during which sea-legged trainers answer all questions. Then, don scuba gear and head to the pool for a one-hour underwater tango with buoyant fettuccini noodles and schools of cracker goldfish under the tutelage of the instructors. In addition, a $50 coupon is included toward a certification class if used within two weeks of your scuba experience. Call to sign up for the individual scuba experience during open-pool hours, usually held Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

909 Gardens Blvd

Most popular offering: Fused glass art and dish ware

Reservations/Appointments: Optional

Walk-ins Welcome: Yes

Good for Kids: Yes

Established: 2004

Staff Size: 2?10 people

Parking: Parking lot

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Pro Tip: Browse our website for ideas and inspiration. We recommend reservations for groups of 5 or more.

Q&A with Cara, Owner

What sets your business apart from your competition?

We are the only make-it-yourself glass studio in the Charlottesville area, and we offer a wider variety of projects and classes than any other in our vicinity. The glass art experience offers a hands-on exploration of glass art and allows complete creativity of design.

What was the inspiration for starting this business?

Mother-daughter team Maria and Cara started The Glass Palette nearly ten years ago. Maria has over 25 years in various glass art mediums, and Cara earned her BFA in Fine arts. The two discussed starting an art-related business for years until finally the inspiration for the Glass Palette hit them. With this studio, they could provide people of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to walk in and create something beautiful. They also offer classes for those wanting to learn advanced techniques and group parties and events for children and adults.

What is the best reaction you?ve ever gotten from a customer?

My favorite moment happened a couple of years ago, and I can still picture the little girl's face. Her mother brought her in for her first visit and they each decided to make a fused glass sun-catcher. As she was finishing her project she looked up and exclaimed, "Mommy, Thank you. This is the most fun I have had in my whole life. This is way better than painting pottery." She and her mom became regular customers.

What?s your favorite part about your job?

I am constantly inspired by the creativity I see in each individual project. So many of our customers walk in and say that they are not creative, or immediately put themselves down about their level of "talent." I love encouraging them to play and reassuring them that with the glass, one cannot go wrong. Some of the projects that get produced are really wonderful, and most importantly the customers had a great time making them. Almost every person is very pleasantly surprised to see how their project has come out once it has been fired in the kiln.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?

Everyone that comes in to make a glass project has access to a rainbow of colors to use when creating their designs, and the color and design choices are completely their own. We do not work from patterns or predetermined designs. Everyone at least 8 years old can use glass cutting tools to manipulate the glass pieces. We show each person the tools and techniques they need to create something wonderful.

1304 E Market St.

Signature service: Brain Training

Established: 2010

Reservations/Appointments: Required

Staff Size: 11?25 people

Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours

Pro Tip: Bring a positive attitude and a desire to improve your brain.

1441 Sachem Pl