Since 1998, ProCamps Worldwide has bridged the gap between pro athletes and their fans with a variety of instructional youth camps and fantasy camps for adults. More than 100 professional and Olympic gold-medal athletes have lent their wisdom during camps conducted across the country. For instance, the NBA's leading scorer, Kevin Durant, dishes details on his skills at a camp in Oklahoma, and Super Bowl champion and Packers linebacker Clay Matthews teaches the careful choreography of backfield disruption in Wisconsin. At fantasy camps, John Calipari and Bill Self—the two coaches who squared off in 2012's NCAA title game—give campers tours of their programs' hallowed halls.
Nestled across 31 acres of scenic terrain, The Cave cuts radio-ready professional soundscapes with the assistance of 1,500-square-foot, 32-track recording facility and a lineup of talented in-house backup musicians. Artists can use up to 10 hours of studio time to record prized tracks, work through new ideas with Wild Oats' seasoned songsters, or prepare an audition disc for the 23rd annual Professional Tambourinists Convention. Though the finished product will depend on the goals and experience of each musician, well-prepared and focused artists may leave the studio with several fully mixed tracks in hand. Wild Oats accommodates solo performers or bands, but all group members must be able to fit in the space and keep time with a vuvuzela when required.
On the evening of November 30, 1864, the town of Franklin, Tennessee, bore witness to more than five hours of carnage as Confederate forces under the command of General John Bell Hood assaulted an entrenched corps of Federal troops led by General John M. Schofield. The heaviest fighting entailed a frontal attack on the Federal lines—incorporating about 20,000 soldiers on each side, or more soldiers than Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. General Hood hoped this attack would dislodge the Federal forces and that he would be able to eventually recapture Nashville.
Over the course of the next five hours, this charge resulted in a staggering number of casualties and General Schofield steadily withdrew his forces toward Nashville, leaving behind a battle-scarred town as well as a battered Confederate force. Today, the Battle of Franklin Trust allows visitors to learn more about this key battle by visiting and taking guided tours of several sites that played integral roles in the events that took place on and around November 30, 1864.
The Carter House served as the command post for General Jacob D. Cox, a Federal officer tasked with overseeing the construction of defensive positions as the Confederate forces advanced. These defenses were constructed within 300 feet of the home, and guests have the opportunity to explore the grounds as well as the home, including the basement where the Carter family and roughly two dozen civilians sought shelter from the battle being fought outside their doors.
One of those civilians was Albert Lotz, whose own home still stands 110 steps away from the Carter residence. The Lotz House bears its own battle scars, too, including a charred indentation in the wood flooring that was caused by an errant cannonball.
Located one mile away from the two houses, the McGavock family's Carnton Plantation also welcomes guests, providing them with tours of the site that served as the area's largest field hospital after the fighting ceased. The plantation features two acres of land that the McGavocks offered as the final burial site for approximately 1,500 Confederate soldiers who died at the Battle of Franklin, making it the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.
Fans of Mario Kart know Rainbow Road as a glow-in-the-dark racecourse in outer space. So do fans of ABC's The Bachelor, only theirs is located on earth and strewn with more celebrities than turtle shells. To them, it's the series of inflatable arches that flashed hypnotically around Juan Pablo and Kat as they hurtled through the Electric Run. Seth Rogen, Carmen Electra, and a pink-wigged Vanessa Hudgens have also been spotted among the global event's hordes of runners and walkers.
Rainbow Road is just one of many "lands" that make up Electric Run's luminescent 5K. Any given Electric Run course contains five to seven of these brightly lit zones, each decorated according to its theme with neon trees, hanging umbrellas, phosphorescent cacti, and cascading fountains. Each land also matches the surroundings with its own soundtrack: upbeat and energizing for the wilder areas, calming and melodic for the surreal ones. Once the sun sets, participants travel through them all at their preferred pace. Everyone arrives at the same final destination, however—a DJ-propelled after party that keeps the night illuminated until the thunderous ka-chunk of the sun's timecard.
J.T. Thompson gets pretty excited about his own little slice of American history. He serves as the executive director of the Lotz House Museum, a commemorative collection of memorabilia and actual damage from the Battle of Franklin, a Civil War conflict that raged on November 30, 1864. At his museum, the history hardly stays confined to display cases. Instead, it is in the very woodwork. "Today, visitors can still see the bloodstains on the floors from where cannonballs hitting the house came to rest," Mr. Thompson says, in the same breath as mentioning "what many in the antique world describe as the finest collection of American-made 1820-to-1860 antiques… in the Southeast!"
Perhaps more compelling than the gruesome imagery or literal relics of the era, however, is the story of the Lotz family themselves, a mother, father, and three children younger than 9. They survived the battle based on their wits, turning their home into a hospital in the wake of the conflict. While their house stands virtually unchanged to this day, their personal lives altered course in astounding ways, most noticeable in the well-documented journeys of the Lotz children.
When budding artists step into Uptown Art, inspiration swarms their minds. Within a lofty, open studio, paintings from past pupils line the walls and easels sit on long tables, waiting to host their next masterpiece. After selecting a theme from the schedule, adult painters tie on an apron, load up a palette with acrylic paints, and sip a BYO beverage for courage before searching within for their inner Picasso and the Lego they swallowed as a child. After two to three hours of socialization, discovery, and instructor guidance, students return home with a masterfully rendered landscape, an abstract still life, or an expressive butterfly. During kids' classes, wee ones gain inspiration and a helping hand from the friendly teachers. Daytime sessions focus on topics fitting for growing minds, such as painting a teddy bear or using shapes to express existential yearning.