For more than 20 years, Carrie Heller's life has been a balancing act between honing her circus talents and helping others. Today, the licensed clinical social worker, a founding member of the American Youth Circus Organization, blends therapy methods with big-top techniques at the Circus Arts Institute, benefiting children and adults alike with mind- and body-benefiting acrobatics that send students swinging, twirling, and laughing through the air.
Carrie and her team of instructors acquaint students with circus-performance fundamentals using the trapeze, tight wire, Spanish web, and juggling balls. They bolster core and upper-body strength during Circus Arts Fitness workouts, which have been featured on CNN for their exciting approach to toning. For students with special needs, such as sensory challenges or ADD, they host Circus Arts Therapy classes. These sessions channel playful and positive energy as small groups learn to navigate circus equipment, enhancing their confidence, social skills, and physical coordination in a much more natural way than going on a handstand speed date.
A woman arrives to pick up her new glasses and gasps audibly once she puts them on, amazed at how crisp and distinct objects suddenly become. According to the manager of The Landings Eye Care, this is the reaction that his crew strives for with every patient. During each eye exam, his wife and her staff strive to spend ample time with patients to understand their concerns and explain their ocular conditions. To this end, staff schedule appointments at least 45 minutes apart to give clients extra personal attention and ensure little-to-no waiting time, which is often spent doing eye-straining activities such as watching a basketball game on a cell phone or crying over the results of a basketball game. After the exam, patients are escorted to the fitting area, where a specialized crew gives the patient a tour of the myriad frame options lining the warm wood shelves, helping them select the most flattering options for their face shape. This team keeps updated on latest trends, meeting with vendors every two months to uncover the newest bestsellers.
Groves of oaks and georgia pines reflect off the glassy surface of strategically placed water hazards at Southbridge Golf Club?s 18-hole course, the grassy brainchild of renowned course architect Rees Jones. Soaring above the 6,922-yard layout, wayward golf balls may carom off of the dense population of timbers, nestle into the pillowy sands of deep bunkers, or sink into the abyss of ponds, streams, and lava pits that come into play on nearly every hole. Large greens await at the end of each hole, eager to befuddle golfers with breaking putts and a fast, well-maintained surface. An onsite driving range nurtures golfers relationships with their clubs, and a menu of fresh meat, seafood, and salad at the genteel diner of Vickery?s at Southbridge curbs hunger that may sap strength from drives or preempt post-round putter-jousting competitions.
Course at a Glance:
Designed by Rees Jones
18-hole, par 72 course
Length of 6,992 yards from the farthest tees
Course rating of 74.1 from the farthest tees
Slope rating of 134 from the farthest tees
Four tee options
To weather his career as a master sergeant and a decorated Special Forces combat veteran, Shihan Randy McElwee needed a solid grasp on combat maneuvers. Nowadays, the retired McElwee teaches the pragmatic self-defense skills that got him through battle at his martial-arts studio, American Black Belt Academy. The school specializes in the official hand-to-hand combat system of the US military: Gracie Brazilian jujitsu. The system’s standing and ground moves harness leverage to take on larger opponents as well as help participants neutralize surprise attacks. For a broader focus, students can opt for an integrated martial-arts fitness workout, which combines jujitsu with muay thai kickboxing and Japanese shotokan karate. Regardless of their specificity, all of the studio’s classes enhance focus, self-confidence, and courage when the laundry room’s light goes out.
At Formwell, owners Rami and Heather Odeh and Andy Berman keep their mission focused on personal training by seeking out credentialed trainers—including elite trainers who have worked at Formwell for at least five years and who possess a combination of a master’s degree in exercise science and advanced training certification. Throughout the indoor and outdoor facilities, they lead clients through tailored workouts that may incorporate traditional fitness equipment, such as free weights and cardio machines. They may also draw upon alternative exercises, such as lifts on Olympic rings, kettlebell swings, and tug-o-war with a horse.
Beyond personal training, Formwell’s team leads partner training and small-group classes, such as CrossFit, plus a weight-loss program that extends to nutritional education. Tiled bathrooms with showers let guests transition between work and the gym, and a children’s room entertains young ones with a television, DVD player, and video games.
Drawing on an arsenal of natural Aveda products and med-spa technology, the staff at Pure Skin and Body tackles tension and skin trouble with a variety of procedures. The salon specializes in a range of laser treatments, in which trained technicians wield focused beams of light to remove sun spots, dissolve multicolor tattoos, and prove to their parents that not only super villains use lasers for a living.
Aestheticians complement laser sessions with depilating waxing or threading treatments, organic or microdermabrasion facials, and permanent-makeup application. They can also help to augment health naturally with vitamin-supplement kits, which customize vitamin intake based on medical analysis to strengthen hair, skin, and nails like a doctor’s birthday wish. Carried on air rich with the scents of aromatherapy, slow sighs drift through the salon, emanating from patrons undergoing hot-stone massages.