Fairway virtuosos can putt around in a rental cart for three rounds of golf on three of Prince William County's maintained golf gardens. Forest Greens Golf Club fills its ranks with an 18-hole, 72 par course marked by lush greenery, alleys of pine trees, and fewer blind spots than a Sherman tank missing its side mirrors. Built more than 50 years ago by a cadre of farmers, Prince William Golf Course greets sultans of the swing with 6,367 yards of pastoral playgrounds, boasting a traditional course amongst a countrified bucolic setting. Meanwhile, the General's Ridge Golf Course enfolds golfers in a warm oak-forest embrace and 6,651 yards of championship layout, as well as softly undulating hills patrolled by deer, fox, and confused hawks hatching nest-fulls of Titleists.
The adventure-seeking staff members of ThrillZOWN organize outdoors adventures at more than 100 locations nationwide, letting customers experience the waters, air, and land of America’s diverse regions. Seasoned guides lead adventurers on whitewater-rafting trips on inland rivers, and instructors conduct lessons in surfing and filling out life guards' paperwork at coastal beaches. Other guides help guests plunge to earth safely in tandem-skydiving and tandem-paragliding flights, while aeronauts sweep them through scenic country vistas during hot-air-balloon flights. On dry land, equestrians teach customers to think like a centaur on horseback trail rides, and professional stock-car drivers guide them in laps around a racetrack.
The Women's Club Fitness Center & Day Spa has brought women together for nearly a quarter century to develop strong bodies and radiant skin. Under the direction of owner Florence Auld, their all-female staff has grown from 15 to 55 professionals who have earned advanced degrees, certifications, and secret handshakes in their fields, including specialists in cardiac rehabilitation and myofascial-release massage. Meredith Chiapello draws from degrees in nutrition and health psychology to direct both the fitness-and-personal-training program and the group-exercise program. Before earning her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University, nutritionist Lucky Bennett fed her interest in women's health at the University of Washington, where she earned a degree in Women's Studies with a focus on women and medicine.
The staff welcomes new gym members by designing them a personalized workout regimen, then walking them through the correct use of strength and cardio equipment. More than 50 group classes add camaraderie to cardio or stretch-and-toning workouts, and childcare is available for a nominal fee to help mothers make friends their own age. Spa treatments focus on revealing fresh, smooth skin all over the body with topical treatments in tandem with pore-clearing sessions in the dry-rock sauna.
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.
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.
Bubbles rush from beneath the diving group’s masks—one of the only nearby signs of moving life—as they float beside the sunken submarine U-352. More than 70 years resting in 110 feet of North Carolinian coastal waters have transformed it into a reef of sorts—rife with small tropical marine life—but the unmistakable shapes of torpedo hatches, a conning tower, and the massive propeller give away its identity. Above and around the hollow hull float Blu Water Scuba’s instructors, guiding a detailed tour to the wreck, which is considered among the most unique wrecks to inhabit American waters.
The dive shop’s owners-cum-teachers regularly plan excursions from their base in D.C. to explore seldom-seen, deeply submerged portions of the Atlantic. To ensure that as many people as possible can share such amazing experiences, they offer basic certification courses in open-water diving as well as in a slew of advanced underwater skills, such as rescue diving. They start training sessions in enclosed spaces such as classrooms, local pools, and senators' private hot tubs, ultimately diving in outdoor locations such as the local Lake Millbrook flooded stone quarry, where they administer certification tests. Apart from full PADI certification, they also teach introductory diving skills in the safety of local pools.