Grove Station Farms' skilled instructors transform the casually riding-curious into ride-ready equestrians with technique and safety lessons on a stunning 65-acre plantation-style farm. During the one-hour horseback-riding session, experienced teachers guide herds of eager students through English riding techniques, including proper posture, balance, and balancing a tea set on one knee while ahorse. The spacious indoor arena protects classes from the elements as pony passengers of all ages and skill levels learn the grooming basics necessary to properly care for their hoofed charges and protect their vestigial wings from prying zoologists' eyes.
The Skate Place knows that one of the best ways to have fun is to strap wheels to your feet and fly across the floor. For 30 years, they've been providing families with a safe place to do just that, offering rental skates, birthday party packages that include pizza and drinks, and a calendar of special events such as teen nights.
With a focus on full-body training rather than muscle-isolating machines, Vaughn Bethell’s sprawling 12,000-square-foot gym eschews the traditional rows of high-tech equipment for functional gear such as giant tires, kicking bags, and training ropes. Of course, Bethell—a qualifying World Cup soccer player who has trained many pro-athletes-to-be—believes that the best piece of equipment is the human body itself. He relies on his bevy of fitness-related certifications to craft effective exercises that draw from the body’s own weight to create muscle-toning resistance. He uses these functional movements in a variety of services at his high-ceilinged studio, including athlete training, women’s boot camps, and personal-training sessions.
Bethell also prides himself on cultivating a welcoming nature in his gym, inviting guests to cool down in the lounges or showers before playing a round on the ping-pong tables or dead-lifting the communal computers.
Everyday Organic?s culinary wizards seek out chemical-, hormone-, and preservative-free ingredients from local farms to healthify mealtime with an organic menu that features light and fast eats alongside hearty sandwiches and salads. Starters encourage pre-entree nibbling on roasted-veggie dip, which perches atop pita wedges like a proud, amorphous bird of prey. Grilled, marinated tofu tumbles over tabbouleh salad, whereas provolone, muenster, and baby-swiss cheeses melt in unison inside a gourmet grilled cheese. Guests can wash down big bites with gulps of milk massaged from mature soybeans.
At the restaurant, a small service counter welcomes guests inside the cozy eatery, where chalkboards announce daily specials and sage-colored tables hover over cherry-wood chairs. White and beige walls soak up the sunlight that pours through a large storefront window, where budding local vegetables can watch their future careers unfold.
The wine pours freely and the beer bubbles over frosty pint glasses at Grape and Grains, a family-operated homebrew and wine retailer that couples an appreciation for fine craftsmanship with a DIY approach. Owners Kenny and Janel Anderson—enthusiastic experts in hops and wine, respectively—have combined their passions into an enterprise that is one part supply shop and one part educational hub. As Janel presides over the wine bar and teaches classes in wine making, Kenny leads excursions into the complex world of home brewing, showing off the various hop varieties of IPAs and the tears of ousted MPs that give English ales their signature bitterness. The couple share their zeal for spirits with all comers at least 21 years of age, granting members of Grape and Grains' beer and wine club a 10% discount and military vets a 20% discount on products and classes.
The flittering notes of flutes pipe through the doors of Musical Innovations, followed by the deep plucking of a string bass as novice musicians studiously master their instrument of choice. Students can try their hands at woodwinds, horns, percussion, and stringed instruments, renting music-making equipment from the shop if necessary. Led by accomplished musician and educational advocate Tracy Leenman, each one of the shop's employees holds a degree in music, and thus can yodel Beethoven's Ninth Symphony while leading shoppers through an inventory of sheet music and instruments that range from beginner models to professional quality, including custom flutes and specialty strings. Home-school programs take musical instruction on the road, and in-shop summer camp programs keep youngsters from practicing archery with violin bows.