Inside a spacious home office warmed by a crackling fire, Venus Salon and Day Spa's three-person team uses products from brand names such as Schwarzkopf and Bioelements to restore softness and glow to clients’ hair and skin. In the salon, stylist Amanda Smart draws upon more than 10 years of experience to fashion updos, condition tresses, or permanently or temporarily imbue hair with custom color.
Meanwhile, licensed aesthetician Andrea exfoliates bodies with chocolate cherry sugar scrubs and faces with diamond microdermabrasions. She can also treat men’s skin concerns, removing blackheads and uncaught baseballs from pores during custom facials. Licensed massage therapist Mark kneads muscles with four variations on massage, including prenatal and hot stone.
Certified instructors shepherd students through sweat-inducing and deep-stretching yoga classes at AM/PM Yoga Source’s newly remodeled studio. Students tote along their own yoga mats for 75-minute intermediate Vinyasa classes, where experienced yogis and yoginis journey through a flowing series of challenging poses, including solar self-esteem-boosting sun salutations. A gentle 75-minute Chair Yoga class encourages pupils to perform tension-alleviating postures while seated to relieve back pain and ease older practitioners into asanas. The studio’s flexible schedule boasts morning and evening class times to accommodate fitness-minded multitaskers and stiff-winged bats.
At Kathy's Cakes and Specialty Treats, artistic confectioners whip together an array of made-from-scratch sweets to sate cravings for classic or fruity tastes. Cupcake flavors include vanilla, chocolate, almond, and marble alongside colorful treats such as lemon, orange, and pineapple. Customers can choose to have their cupcakes filled in the middle with a dollop of strawberry cream, raspberry cream, whipped cream, or frosting that's as sweet and alluring as a chocolate-covered love letter. The three tables at Kathy's let partakers of dessert sit as they dip into their delicious rewards, and the nearby Oswego River makes for a relaxing place to fuse the cupcake-eating experience with a stroll, some fresh air, and a session of bare-footed water skiing.
Rather than focus on creating competition, the instructors at Iannuzzo's Karate & Kickboxing’s 8,000-square-foot facility take a more family-friendly route, eschewing enmity and keeping a positive frame of mind. This approach helps them train students as young as 4 years old in the art of karate. These all-ages classes focus on flexibility, coordination, and basic self-defense skills. Instructors also help adults obliterate calories and take out aggression against the punching bag that once spurned them in kickboxing classes set to up-tempo music. Instead of sparring, individuals undergo an ever-changing series of workouts with heavy bags, medicine balls, weights, and plyometrics. And the staff shows its theatrical side during children's birthday parties—giving martial-arts demonstrations, leading games, and slicing cakes using an authentic samurai sword.
A pirate ship, twisty slides, rope ladders, and a tire swing. These are just a few of the imagination-boosting play pieces furnishing KidzClub’s 6,000-square-foot indoor playground. Inside this safe environment, kids eight and under won’t find flashing lights, robotics, or computers that have learned to love. That’s because KidzClub steers clear of toys that minimize engagement by filling the interactive world with hands-on activities that include a mini gas station, a campground, a construction area, and peddle cars. While watching the little ones scamper or act on the stage, parents can sit at booths in the adjacent café and sip complimentary coffee while surfing the Net. Combining adventuresome play with nibbles such as chicken nuggets and pizza under one roof, KidzClub Indoor Play and Party Place also makes a great place for birthday parties.
When he was still a college student, Kevin Kretschmer answered an ad in the local newspaper for a whitewater-rafting guide on the rivers around Syracuse. More than 30 years later, he now owns the company and operates his river tours with the mission of giving others a chance to see the area's scenic beauty. His diverse team of guides—some schoolteachers, some farmers, some factory workers, and some college students—helps paddlers navigate rapids on three rivers while hunkered into six-person inflatable rafts. Together they navigate the calmer Class I and Class II waters of Letchworth State Park, the raging Class II and Class III rapids of the Salmon River, and the passive-aggressive Class III and Class IV segments of Cattaraugus Creek. Guides commence each trip far upstream, allowing rafters to find a rhythm before surmounting the rapids.