As someone who grew up playing competitive sports, Michelle Gaine always understood the importance of therapeutic massage and proper physical training when striving to achieve peak performance and overall fitness. This fundamental understanding sank in even deeper after she was involved in a life-changing car accident. Over the course of 12 difficult months, a number of therapists helped her regain control over her body, ultimately inspiring her decision to spend the rest of her life assisting others in the same fashion. In 2000, she graduated from a clinical massage program, achieved an NC LMBT license, and became nationally certified in the art of massage therapy.
Rather than offering standardized treatments, Gaine draws from nine modalities to formulate custom massages. She eschews the one-size-fits-all philosophy found in some studios, pricing the use of any of her techniques based solely on the length of the session. This allows her to treat each patient in a manner that will reap the most benefits and address specific problems, such as chronic pain or a dray of back-burrowing squirrels. Yoga and qi gong instructors also help further Gaine's mission of restoration and healing with breath training, stretching, and meditative philosophies designed to help bodies align themselves from the inside out.
Part of the North Carolina Railway Museum, the New Hope Valley Railway shepherds passengers through pine forest aboard vintage diesel and steam-engine trains. Covered cars protect riders from the elements, while a historic open-air caboose allows them to recline in locomotive fashion as they enjoy the shade of the woods, the breeze of the wind, and the harmonious serenade of local wildlife choirs. Trains depart from and return to Bonsal Depot, where a gift shop awaits filled with keepsake merchandise and a display track showcases vintage railroad equipment.
Free to the public, the North Carolina Railway Museum houses historic railway artifacts including vintage trains from builders such as Vulcan Iron Works and General Electric. On select Saturdays and Sundays, the Railway lets passengers take control of diesel-electric or steam-engine trains to experience firsthand life as a conductor.
A fishing bobber quivers atop the water's surface and plunges swiftly downward to indicate a fish has taken the bait. At the other end of the line, a young girl takes hold of the rod as her family cheers her on. Greggofish Guide Service owner Greg Griffin forges memories like these, leading lighthearted family trips or aquatic excursions to catch specific species such as largemouth bass.
The captain welcomes groups aboard his Carolina Skiff?a 24-foot vessel with a T-top that offers shade and cover from fishes' spy satellites. Though an accomplished fisherman, Greg doesn't cast his own line during charters. Instead, he gives full attention to his passengers, helping them use provided supplies such as rods, reels, and bait. Greg also maintains an online tutorial page, where fledgling fishers can go for tips or to send fish e-vites to their next barbecue.
There's an artful touch in Jackie Green's baking hand. She's fond of the process, of finding the right ingredients and making cakes that crumble with Southern-style deliciousness. She's been baking since she was a young girl, and her family tradition taught her to eschew preservatives and hydrogenated oils to keep her recipes as flavorful as possible. Her specialty? Iced butter pound cake topped with pecans and a cream-cheese glaze. As the consummate small-business owner, Jackie blends managerial expertise with her baking talent; you might see her dispensing samples of her cupcakes, brownies, or cookies at local markets. This consistent professionalism helped Jackie earn the title of Best Bakery from the Holly Springs Sun in 2010.
Looking for a way to bring fresh, locally grown produce and antibiotic-free meats to consumers, founders Joseph and Vicky Allen and Chris Lewis corralled a cartload of local farmers to create Carolina Grown. After harvesting the hearty veggies, the staff members deliver handpicked comestibles directly to customers’ homes.
They also stock the residential kitchens of Carolinians with jams, nuts, herbs, fresh-caught seafood, and deli meats free of the nitrates and time cards associated with factory-farmed meat. In addition to supplying an abundance of fresh fare, Carolina Grown’s staff also educates consumers about sustainable living and the importance of eating locally through events such as farm tours.
TKO Fitness' instructors get along swimmingly, even though they all love to fight. They boast a range of expertise garnered in careers as professional boxers while earning black belts in tae kwon do, or studying exercise science in college. They use their experience to conduct kickboxing classes, which utilize over 20 heavy bags; mixed-martial-arts classes, which are held in a cage-walled arena; and traditional boxing lessons, hosted in their floor-mounted, standard-sized boxing ring. In addition to their pugilistic fitness activities, they host a gym's worth of equipment for more standard workouts, including kettlebells and TRX suspension harnesses.