At the turn of the 20th century, the plantation that was to become Frightmare Manor was just a regular estate, owned by seemingly upstanding citizen Jeremiah Lexer. Lexer, however, turned out to be one of America's earliest and Tenessee's most prolific serial killer. More than 30 corpses were unearthed throughout the property and in its marshy backwoods--and even after Lexer took his own life, mysterious deaths continued to plague the plantation.
Nowadays, Frightmare Manor draws on this horrifying history with haunted houses recently featured in Hauntworld the Magazine and named the #1 Haunted Attraction in Eastern Tennessee by Knoxville News Media. The hair-raising events sprawl across 4.5 acres that house four attractions, including the mansion and its wooded grounds. As visitors explore, spooky special effects and actors create thrills scarier than many haunted houses' ghost-shaped wall decals.
The mixologists at ABC Bartending School divulge saloon secrets during certification-based and recreational bartending classes. During two-week certification courses, burgeoning bartenders mix classic and popular drinks while learning about alcohol laws, responsible liquor service, and stocking and inventory. Alternatively, an entertaining mixology course lets amateurs shake up drinks and take cover from projectile champagne corks behind an ornate bar with mirrors and gold trim. Once finished imparting their knowledge, the instructors set students up with ABC’s job-placement program, which puts certified graduates to work everywhere from restaurants and nightclubs to the zero-G sports bar where astronauts celebrate successful trips to the moon.
Trained industry professionals at Asheville Performing Arts Academy cultivate creativity in fledgling scholars with weekly dance and drama classes. Patrons can enroll pint-size progenies in a semester of Kindermusik classes, introductory music courses designed to bolster their cognitive development and prepare them for potential careers as boat rowers and bus wheels. Designed for even younger tots, the school's Creative Arts Preschool program embraces dance, art, and drama to foster critical-thinking skills and boost confidence levels at an early age. Children may also opt to perfect their two-stepping abilities in a slew of classes—including ballet, Irish dance, and Broadway style—that cater to a variety of age groups and experience levels.
In 2012, the Runaway Circus struck upon a brilliant idea—find an unused studio space to fix up and turn into a community art center dedicated to teaching and practicing acrobatics, juggling, comedy, and highly physical performance art. That dream became the Toy Boat Community Art Space, which today provides a home base for such acts as the jugglers Forty Fingers and a Missing Tooth and the mysterious Wendal Wandell, who conjures waves of applause with his feats of legerdemain. Those without a big-top passion project to work on at the gym-cum-art studio can participate in other upcoming events involving folk music acts, DJ sessions, goofy plays for young and old, and unpredictable comedy shows.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that valued personal growth over competition. Robin's program is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide, but he still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, teaching kids to progress the skills they need to build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer classes or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
Certified professional photographer Gene Taylor has fine-tuned his artistic vision while working in photojournalism and portrait photography for more than 30 years. During classes at Your Photo Safari, Gene introduces students to the photographic arts and the workings of DSLR cameras. Sessions begin in classroom settings, allowing students to get acquainted with camera basics as well as advanced features such as setting white balance and reducing blur. After learning how to navigate the multiple settings and buttons on their digital cameras, students traipse to area gardens to explore the natural world through their lenses. The hands-on experience allows students to take home artfully composed shots of plants bathed in natural light or trees planking over riverbanks in a bid for Internet fame.