As a ballroom-dance teacher, Monica had already mastered the dance floor when she found out she was pregnant. Though the news meant she had to give up some of her larger responsibilities, she kept teaching up until a week before she gave birth and came back just eight weeks after, driven by her love of dance.
But her months of working during pregnancy had taught her something: dancing was social and active, which was “keeping her sane.” Not only did it improve her mood, the stimulation of dancing helped keep her child, Oscar, calm both in the womb and in his carrier. Spurred by her new experiences, Monica founded Mama Ballroom to share the joy of dancing with other expecting and brand-new moms. Monica’s one-hour classes impart basic steps and patterns in a variety of ballroom styles, allowing moms of any experience level to move to the music and ensure their baby’s popularity at kindergarten cocktail hours. Mama Ballroom incorporates elements of classical, Latin, and tango to teach students to sway to the sultry sounds of Sinatra, salsa, and merengue.
The sunny, green expanse of Gaston Farm is designed to be inviting place, whether for horses looking for a cozy stable or for students looking to learn the ways of the saddle. Riders make use of the ranch's indoor and outdoor arenas. During lessons catered to all experience levels, certified instructors start novices out with horsemanship fundamentals, encouraging them to advance their skills and eventually compete in any of the variety of shows the farm participates in regularly.
Nestled within 164 acres of mature pine trees and hardwood forest, the secluded golf course at Quail Ridge Country Club surrounds visitors in natural splendor. Course architect Mark Mungeam of Cornish, Silva, and Mungeam, Inc., designed the fairways to harmonize with the naturally rolling terrain, where occasional stone walls line the edges of what were once farmers? fields. After teeing off, players choose carefully among their bag?s fairway woods, long irons, and golf-ball-sized blowguns as they confront a first hole whose fairway unfurls over nearly 365 uphill yards. The course doesn?t let up after that?recently redesigned as a 9-hole, par 70 championship layout, it keeps golfers on their toes right up to the end of each round.
Off the course, players gain the skills needed to meet such challenges by frequenting the chipping area or practice putting green. During lessons held in these practice spots, head teaching pro John Carco harnesses more than 15 years of experience to help students eliminate slice and perfect their swing. The country club?s family center hosts a snack bar where golfers can fuel up for a round, stash their belongings in lockers, or build ball-driving muscles at the fitness center.
Just a hop and a skip from the family center, the club?s 3,200-square-foot outdoor pool entices visitors of all stripes with its widely varied facilities. Athletes zip down 75-foot swim lanes, parents and kids splash in a baby pool with zero-grade entry, and sunbathers bask on more than 4,500 square feet of deck. On four adjacent tennis courts, serves rebound off of Har-Tru clay surfaces, and windscreens keep out distracting breezes and lost pool-goers murmuring "Marco?" Additionally, Quail Ridge is currently offering FootGolf, a combination of golf and soccer.
Scott Ferguson may be a high-school math teacher, but he's also a serious history buff. He brings his passion for studying the greatest medieval and Renaissance swordsmen to his role as chief instructor at Swords of Chivalry. There, he instructs kids and adults in the finer points of swordplay as well as the history of weapons fighting, answering questions about why maces and morning stars were used in certain battles, and foam pool noodles in others. Students are closely monitored to ensure safety and to foster a respectful attitude toward combat.
The instructors at Elite Freestyle Karate believe that power isn't in the punch but in the person behind it. With a philosophy geared toward building character, they foster self-confidence and positive attitudes in each of their safe, fun karate and kickboxing classes. Children aged 3 and older learn valuable lessons in dealing with real-world challenges such as bullies and peer pressure.
Sandy Burr Country Club is a golf course in good company. It's among the nation's ever-dwindling stock of courses designed by Donald Ross, master architect of such notable courses as Pinehurst No. 2 and Inverness Club. The legendary designer unveiled the 18-holer in 1922, at the outset of the decade that would soon become known as the "Golden Era" of golf course design?due to the proliferation of course construction, not because stockbrokers refused to play with anything but golden clubs. Adding to the historical pedigree, professionals Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen played the course in the 20s and 30s, even participating in the 1935 Massachusetts Open. Golfers today walk in their large footprints as they take on the 6,550-yard course and its three water hazards, before retiring to the English Tudor-style clubhouse?a charming piece of history in its own right.