For the past four decades, on certain frosty December days, guides have led visitors through the streets of Fredericksburg's historic district. Now in its 43rd year, the Annual Candlelight Tour still illuminates the centuries-old town's stately buildings with re-tellings of historical happenings and the soft glow of candlelight. On certain nights, after glimpsing the town as it was seen long before electricity or the invention of horseback riding, tour groups gather for a cocktail party.
The Annual Candlelight Tour introduces visitors to some of Fredericksburg's historic sites which have born witness to Colonial and Civil War history. At sites such as Kenmore Plantation, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, and the Mary Washington House, exhibits and costumed interpreters help keep the area's rich history alive. Fredericksburg and its surrounding towns also draw visitors with outdoor and artistic attractions ranging from historic trolley tours to theatrical performances.
LA Boxing offers fitness classes in boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. The proprietary style of the LA Boxing workout is a mixture of genuine fight training, engaging fitness, and stronger-than-Earth gravity. Quasi-boxers and martial artists burn from 800 to more than 1,000 calories during these total-body routines, which combine external inspiration and jukes, jabs, and kicks. Both men and women are welcome in the ring, where they'll learn new techniques and methods to blissfully break into a sweat in an energetic group setting. Gloves are provided during the month-long trial membership, as are a set of reusable pro-quality hand wraps and complimentary motivational mumbling from Mickey Goldmill (all three subject to availability).
Vertical Rock’s expansive, air-conditioned facility welcomes climbers ranging from novices to experts with routes suited to every level of ability. The climbing wall towers to more than 50 feet, crisscrossed by numerous lead-only and top-rope routes with difficulty grades falling between 5.5 and 5.13. A mighty arch of more than 125 feet spans the space, littered with treacherous horizontal hangs to entice advanced climbers as well as those who have been banned from the St. Louis Arch. First-timers can start out with open climbs, which include an expert’s assistance with putting on the harness, tying the safety knot, and belaying for three separate climbs. From there, committed climbers advance through the outfit’s lineup of expert-led classes, starting with basic safety skills and techniques in the Learning the Ropes intro course and running all the way up to advanced classes on crack climbing, functional movements, and escaping from prison.
Competition plays a peripheral role at Let’s Move Sportz. Coaches of the coed flag-football league, which welcomes kids aged 5–12, emphasize sportsmanship and camaraderie instead. Above all else, they aim to keep kids active and healthy, giving words of encouragement as budding athletes—clad in NFL flag-football jerseys—tackle the basics of noncontact football.
As the Potomac River flows in the distance, George Mason’s historical Georgian mansion overlooks sprawling fields, hiking trails, and a 250-year-old boxwood allée. A senior statesman, Mason laid the foundation for this site in 1755, building his new family home just yards away from the site of his grandfather’s house. Though the original 18th-century carriage roads, tree banks, and wide vistas have since disappeared, experts have reconstructed much of the property’s original splendor through archaeological digs; the written memoirs of George’s son, John; and the testimonials of kidnapped time travelers.
Today, trained guides lead guests on tours of the mansion, which features more than 50 pieces of art and furnishings detailing the life of the politician, his wife Ann, and their family. As guests learn about Mason’s role as the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and as an advocate of freedom of the press and religious tolerance, they walk through opulent halls and rooms designed in French modern, neoclassical, and Chinese styles. In addition to tours, the house and grounds host seasonal events such as an old-fashioned candlelit Christmas celebration, a spring kite festival, and an autumn séance to summon the Great Pumpkin.
As a child, Michael O’Daniel would sometimes spend his days among giant aircraft in a hangar as his father, a Pan Am pilot out of Miami, was at work. Michael found himself daydreaming about one day being able to fly; by 1980 he was a private pilot. Eventually he became taken with another form of flight—paragliding. He founded Powered Paragliding USA and over the years has spread his wings over Peru, Costa Rica, and he once completed a flight across the entire length of the Panama Canal.
A few years ago, Michael was joined at Powered Paragliding by Brian Goff, another pilot. Goff has hundreds of hours of flying experience; he's been behind the controls of everything from helicopters and airplanes to aerobatic planes and hot air balloons. Today, Michael and Brian man flights for clients of all experience levels. They can fly tandem with beginners, or train budding para-pilots on technique, safety, and how to switch lanes with birds. Expert flyers can take to the skies by purchasing their own paragliders and paramotors from the company.