With 23,000 square feet of dedicated fencing space between them, The Baltimore Fencing Center's two locations offer students plenty of room to practice lunges and polish parries. Presiding over all the action is owner and head coach Bin Lu, who once served as a member of the Chinese National and Olympic teams and as coach of the former. Today he passes along the knowledge he accumulated while competing at the highest levels to students of all experience levels?even those who have never picked up a foil or battled a level 3 mage. The center welcomes beginners of all ages through its Learn to Fence program, and routinely sends its qualified fencers to USFA National events.
?A lot of players look at the card and think because it?s short that they?re going to play their all-time best round of golf and end up spending a lot of time in the woods,? says head professional Joan Lovelace of the course at Fairway Hills Golf Club. The Ron Pritchard?designed course ?which stays neatly within the bounds of 6,158 yards?doesn?t just get its bite from the woodlands about which Lovelace warns. Water comes into play on 12 of the 18 holes, and the second fairway?s wicked dogleg right and stream-guarded bentgrass green costars with collarless shirts in many golfers? nightmares. The links wind down with a hope-inspiring 18th hole, where golfers with the right mix of skill and luck can make a birdie.
Adjacent to the course?s bermuda-grass fairways, the club?s practice facilities invite players to demolish buckets of balls at a turf range, cleat across a chipping area, or practice whipping a putter out of its holster and twirling it around their thumb. Lessons with the club?s PGA professionals are also available to help hone games.
Course at a Glance:
Deemed the 2006 Small Business of the Year by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, The Colosseum Gym helps men and women to reach new health heights by using a smorgasbord of machines and free weights or enlisting the nutritional counseling and powerlifting tips of a professional. With more than 24 certified personal trainers on staff, the gym strives to toughen physiques of all exercise experience levels through arduous yet rewarding programs, such as strength-and-conditioning workouts that involve surprise 3 a.m. sprints across local lake surfaces. Additionally, a full-time physical therapist can target strained appendages with rehabilitative moves and heat packs. The Colosseum Gym bolsters its community as well as its members, hosting nonprofit initiatives that have benefited the Special Olympics, cystic fibrosis research, and the Howard County School System.
Free weights, strength-training machines, and cardio equipment galore help guests at American Fitness Express get into physical shape. Instructors lead classes ranging from yoga to kickboxing to Zumba, and they even offer one-on-one attention during personal-training sessions. Added bonuses at the gym include private showers, WiFi, and childcare during select classes.
Husband-wife duo Julio and Lily Soto opened Azul 17 to celebrate not only Mexican cuisine, but to also embrace the culture through music, vibrant design, and a selection of more than 100 tequilas made with 100% blue agave. Their chefs all hail from Mexico and bring family recipes to the kitchen?including one chef's grandmother's recipe for black beans. It's ?old world style with updated presentation,? says manager Peter Bonohue. Peter has been in the restaurant business since he could legally work, and to him, Azul 17 has an especially fun atmosphere. ?I love tequila now,? he confessed.
While chefs simmer their signature mole sauce and servers add fresh lime juice to margaritas, guests recline atop white leather banquettes or modern chairs. Eyes dance with murals and shimmering blue-tile mosaics splashed against white walls. Those whites are illuminated with a multicolored neon glow as DJs spin club, house, and Mexican tunes starting at 10 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Thursdays at 8 p.m., guests can spice up their tired hokey-pokey routine with salsa lessons.
After absorbing core Pilates principles from Stott & Balanced Body, head instructor Fran gathered a crew of yoga, Pilates, and ACE–certified fitness masters to oversee the classes at Coreworks Fitness. Fran and her staff run two levels of mat classes, as well as two levels of reformer classes in a separate studio dedicated to the foundational apparatus. Students may also stretch their abilities on more advanced apparatuses, including the CoreAlign, which heightens the cardiovascular element of Pilates, as well as improves posture and balance. Coreworks Fitness is also an authorized Balanced Body University training center. The studio's academy equips aspiring instructors with pedagogical techniques and even extends its kinesthetic expertise to the performing arts, with body-aligning workshops for Irish dance instructors.