A baseball takes flight. A batter readies his arms. Steady hands and eyes send balls sailing into the netting, whereas uncertain swings produce only a focused breeze. In All About Sports's 15 batting areas, batters calibrate their swings as they smack baseballs across a 50- to 65-foot space. Friends can roll balls into manually fed pitching machines and watch as they hop over makeshift home plates, meet the bat with a resounding crack, then slide dolefully back to their home at the base of a ball pit. Athletes may also work on fundamentals with available equipment including batting tees and pitching rubbers. All About Sports requires all batters to wear helmets to guard brainpans against loose baseballs.
The staff at LXXI boutique doesn't believe in saving style for special occasions. The shop’s eye-catching pieces add flair to everyday wardrobes, with a focus on providing casualwear and plenty of items to layer. Boots, sandals, and intricate belts polish off ensembles forged from piles of shirts, sweaters, and jeans folded on nearby tables. Handmade jewelry dangles from displays, and Circle E candles line shelves, waiting to freshen up homes, offices, and mothball factories. Shoppers cultivate their looks amidst the boutique's bold primary colors, track lighting, and pop art.
On a quest to spread their knowledge of tea’s health benefits, owners Larry and Tamara Rhoads have shared tea with more than 300,000 Teaoli customers. They choose loose-leaf teas from the world over—black Assam tea from Indian plantations, green blends from Japan and China, and exotic herbals from the White House’s lawn. The teas aren’t the only well-traveled items resting on Teaoli’s shelves. Making the trek from Modena and Tuscany, cold-pressed 100% extra-virgin olive oils and white and dark balsamic vinegars smuggle in flavors ranging from smooth and savory to fruity and sweet. All of the balsamics develop their flavors in barrels made of oak, chestnut, cherry, and ash, where they steep with ingredients such as dark chocolate, black cherry, and fig. All of these flavors can be sampled in-store as knowledgeable employees stand ready to answer questions and relay the health benefits and uses of tea, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Ladies Workout Express caters to female fitness goers with a trove of equipment designed specifically for women, plus a variety of relaxing amenities and energizing group classes. Hide-and-seek champion muscles can be coaxed from concealment with specialized circuit machines that utilize both strength and aerobic training. Each unit comes equipped with ten different resistance levels allowing for a wide range of challenges, and dual hydraulic systems work multiple muscle groups at once. Racers can prepare lower body branches for upcoming hamster wheel marathons with treadmills and stationary bikes or unwind after intense workouts by lounging in a tanning bed or the sauna. Zumba classes, which fuse Latin grooves with easy-to-follow dance steps, can help hip-shakers shed calories to the beat of a sultry soundtrack. Instructors demonstrate rhythmic dance moves as groups of promenading protégés follow along with swaying hips, swinging arms, and evaporating inhibitions.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.