At more than 1,000 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
The joint vision of husband and wife team Joseph and Diana Marks, Tarpon Springs Castle Winery transports visitors to Old-World Europe, where each bottle of wine is handcrafted, from the crush to the label. Modeled after an 1820 federal building, the winery's Italian style walled-in courtyard, fountains, and wrought-iron gazebo take visitors back in time, but then quickly send them forward again before they have time to un-invent electricity. Trips to the colorful tasting room give visitors a chance to sip wines that range from a clean, fruity blush to a dry, oaked cabernet sauvignon.
Under the tutelage of the highly experienced instructors at Metal Shop Music, fledgling strummers will glean useful guitar-playing how-tos during a pair of half-hour private sessions. Students bring their own electric or acoustic palettes on which to paint their musical pictures, and can explore any style, such as classical, Southern rock, or a capella. In the store's music room, beginners meet with local musician Matt Brown, who teaches modern pick style and methods for soothing your instrument when it gets stage fright. Intermediate to advanced scholars will study with chord-shredding master Kirk Andrews as he leads players through tutorials on how to play lead, increase their accuracy, and survive in the unfriendly wilderness of harmonic minor scales.
At Monster Mini Golf, putters navigate an eerie series of glowing greens that invert the sun-soaked cheer of conventional courses. Rimmed in black-lit, neon-green barriers, the 18 holes challenge the coordination of each mini golfer with winged monsters, scowling animated trees, creepy clowns, and opponents' shockingly dazzling smiles. Sheltered from searing rain and howling wind, each indoor course facilitates play around an array of neon gargoyles and animated props year-round. An in-house radio DJ station masks the sound of pounding hearts with haunting remixes and the latest releases. Golfers looking for additional glory can win prizes by participating in regular contests or playing at the onsite arcade.
Although mentions of martial arts often conjure images of skilled, dexterous fighters waging lightning-fast war upon one another, the disciplines themselves are far more concerned with peaceful confidence. That's what the instructors at Ingram's Karate instill in students young and old. Built upon John and Cindy Ingram's decades of training in Isshinryu karate, the dojo now guides students as young as 4 toward inner balance and physical fitness under the direction of the couple's daughter Sheri. In addition to personal enlightenment, students often find themselves on the winning side of tournaments on the state and national level.