Large windows allow natural light to flood Saratoga Karate's expansive dojo, where both kids and adults benefit from the instruction of certified teachers and black belts. Led by Shihan Patrick Hussey, who has 33 years of experience in traditional Japanese karate, these teachers demonstrate everything from discipline to proper form. In addition to the classes at his dojo, Shihan Hussey also caters to the community at large with his self-defense seminars.
Over the course of its 100-year history, Arthur Murray Dance Centers has grown to more than 280 studios worldwide. The Saratoga Springs location is run by Safwat Gerges, a master examiner and adjudicator who has spent more than 25 years working for Arthur Murray Dance Centers. His staff includes Ricardo Sopin and Iraida Volodina, both decorated dancers who specialize in working with beginner students and, wedding specialists Asha Adamczak, Miranda Eldridge, and Tristan Reiman work with wedding couples.
The studio’s elegant, old-world hardwood floor is surrounded by exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling arched windows. Courses divvy students up by skill set and teach the many formal and social styles comprising ballroom, swing, Latin, and disco.
There’s a fire in the field and only one way out. Unfortunately, that way is twisted and riddled with dead-ends. But at the end, past 5 acres of carved paths and corn-themed puzzles, past thousands of stalks of corn swaying in the wind, past delirious visions of poker-playing scarecrows, is a fire hose. Such is the theme of Ellms Family Farm’s interactive Hero Rush Amazing Maize maze, an obstacle that carries on pastoral autumn traditions with roughly 90 minutes of music and fun. Yet this maze is just one way that the Ellms family celebrates the changing season—it also serves up crispy apple-cider donuts, lobs wee ones into the air on the farm-favorite Jumping Pillow, and treats guests to a number of other themed activities it has developed over the years.
The farm’s history stretches back to 1984, when Chip and Sally Ellms planted their first batch of Christmas trees and began inviting visitors to stop by and admire the easy wind and downy flakes of winter. As the family grew, the farm kept pace, expanding to cover more than 200 acres and incorporate activities that help guests celebrate autumn as well. Throughout the harvest season, guests flock to the fields to play conductor or coal shoveler on the MooMooChooChoo train or pick out fresh pumpkins in the patch.
At Legion Training Center, a staff of professional judo artists, marines, and black belts help students of all ages boost their self-esteem, strengthen their bodies, and learn to defend themselves with martial-arts training across a variety of disciplines. The clean, sleek space combines the hard-hitting jujitsu, boxing, and muay-thai-kickboxing classes of a martial-arts studio with the rewarding self-improvement of a modern gym. Students tone muscles and burn fat with kettlebell and MMA yoga classes, or learn to fend off attackers or spar with worthy opponents with kickboxing, judo, and wrestling courses.
The instructors at Nataraja Center for Movement Arts specialize in niche, hard-to-find dance styles. Along with common fitness classes such as yoga and Pilates, they lead sessions in disciplines such as flamenco dance and tribal-fusion belly dance—an exotic blend of serpentine movements, athleticism, and three-dimensionality. Besides developing rhythm and coordination, classes can also help students improve their strength, muscle tone, and flexibility.
Like the bicycle cogs they frequently fine-tune, Plaine and Son’s highly trained staff works together to keep the business running smoothly. Plaine and Son has been expertly stocking and servicing bikes, skis, and snowboards since the 1960s. With cycles from brands such as Specialized and Trek and boards and skis from Atomic and Salomon, employees have a huge cache from which they help outdoor adventurers select the right gear based on riding styles or how many jet skis they plan to haul behind their bikes. Staffers also enlist the Specialized BG Fit Program and other fitting tools to pair riders with the right-size bikes. Once fitted, bikers can join in on Plaine and Son’s weekly group rides or enjoy free workshops in the store, which focus on biking basics such as how to mend a flat or jump the public pool blindfolded.