Since 1956, Valley Mill Kayak School has trained countless kayakers, including the first kayaking recipients of Olympic medals, on the deep waters of the Potomac River. A former Olympian and four-time freestyle-kayaking world champion, Eric Jackson personally designs the school's lesson plans around modern whitewater-paddling techniques. Eric trains each of the school's American Canoe Association–certified instructors, who, in turn, dispense their knowledge to beginners and proficient paddlers alike.
Through a wealth of small classes, private lessons, and occasional clinics taught by Eric himself, pupils discover such skills as paddling and basic strokes, or attempting to work your kayak into rhythmic-gymnastics routines.
At Commotion, the instructors embrace a full spectrum of movement-based activities and exercises by offering three distinct pathways for students to pursue. The dance teachers welcome attendees of all ages, either introducing newcomers to the fundamental footwork of ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, and breakdancing, or helping advanced students master more complex skills. When it comes to Pilates, the instructors practice the slightly modernized Stott method as they lead mat classes as well as apparatus sessions, which use the Reformer to add gentle amounts of spring resistance to the various exercises. The fitness-oriented offerings encompass everything from Zumba and Piloxing to TRX suspension training and barre workouts, toning muscles and increasing cardiovascular health.
CEO Peter Harvey believes that a quality gym staff must demonstrate more than technical expertise. "Service doesn't only mean showing someone how to do an arm curl," he says. Certified personal trainers develop workouts that zero in on each person’s specific goals, giving clients the skills to pole-vault over impassable plateaus. By steadfastly refusing to hand out fish in favor of putting on master classes in fishing, they help clients become self-sufficient, educating them on fundamentals.
During these one-on-one sessions, and in solo workouts, guests set calories ablaze atop rows of continually updated equipment. Treadmills, recumbent bikes, and strength-training tools line the walls.
Members can also drop in for as many group classes as they can muster. Inside a separate studio, stationary cycles whir in time with galvanizing music, kickboxing strikes arc through the air, and barbells rise with each BodyPump rep. For more meditative practices, Pilates sessions and several types of yoga enhance flexibility and focus.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.
As summer turns to fall, the 200-year-old Nightmare Manor opens its doors to scare-seeking guests. Inside, actors portraying the spirits of the Manor's former residents who died in a tragic fire frighten explorers with detailed scenes and special effects as they transverse a series of rooms and surrounding property that would strike fear into the heart of any human, whether dead or undead. In addition to this macabre attraction, Nightmare Manor also houses an outdoor theater, bungee run, and bonfire.
Exercisers head to Snap Fitness's 24/7 fitness haven to work up a sweat on dozens of cardio and weight-training machines. With a 30-day membership, muscle constructors enjoy unlimited access to Snap’s facilities, from a room stocked with free weights and benches to a cardio theater area where 42-inch LCD TVs deck the walls. Newly minted members undergo a pair of one-hour personal-training sessions, during which they develop a custom fitness program under the tutelage of a certified conditioning guru. The global-access card allows members to carve scenic ridges into their physiques at any Snap Fitness center across the nation so that they don’t have to bench-press their cars while on road trips. This package also includes a free water bottle as well as a pair of two-week passes to dole out to family members, friends, or extremely motivated house pets.