Bob Wollam's life is in full bloom. Since 1989, the gardener has surrounded himself with 11 acres of fresh flowers, more than 80 varieties of trees, shrubs, and perennials, and a volunteer army of green-thumbed interns. And the plants aren't the only beauty to fill the grounds. A federal house dating back to 1819 features antique furnishings and was fully restored over Bob's first ten years on the farm. Guests are welcome to spend the night, and get full old-fashioned experience with fresh-baked goods from Bob's sister Karen, who lives next door, and eggs or career advice from the farm's chickens.
Hailed by The Washington Post and The Washingtonian, Mad Fox Brewing Company marries carefully brewed libations with toothsome cuisine served amid rich wooden décor and along a 63-foot-long bar. Mad Fox's succulent menu twists traditional pub fare into nuanced and hearty noshes. Patrons perched atop cushy leather barstools can tuck into entrees lovingly crafted with fresh ingredients that are often locally sourced. Inhale a breath of Louisiana with Shrimp & Grits, which blends smoked gouda and Cajun-spiced tomato fondue ($18) or savor the aquatic aromas wafting from the blackened tuna ($22), which ducks under cover of lemon-butter sauce so it may use potato straws to shoot spitballs at its rival entrees. Arriving in 11-inch and 16-inch, and gluten-free disk form, pizzas support toppings that include apple-wood-smoked bacon and black mission figs ($12+), and sandwiches nestle burgers ($10+) and herbivorous bundles ($8) in their bready embrace.
MoBu Kids, an indoor playground and classroom for kids that has been voted in the past ParentsConnect Parents' Picks Best Kids' Party Place and Best Indoor Playspace. During open play, youngsters scramble atop custom-designed foam playground equipment and roll around safe gymnastics flooring like Olympic-level tumbleweeds. They also test footholds in a rock-climbing wall and zoom down the slide of a petite tree house.
A more structured blend of learning and recreation characterizes small classes led by energetic instructors. Music and movement strengthens the link between notes and motion, bolstering language or motor and social skills according to age. Art-class masterpieces spring from the colorful depictions in a storybook, and ballet encourages dancers to forge creative steps, like the stubbed toe hop. Similar themes run through summer camps and private birthday parties.
The Intro to Photography class is produced by Monte Zucker Photographic Education (MZPE), which provides quality professional photographic instruction. More than 30,000 enthusiastic students of all levels have attended their photographic tours on three continents over the past seven years to learn how to combine the power of technical expertise and artistic vision to create beautiful photos and films. In addition to offering the tours, MZPE produces instructional books and DVDs, as well as teaching in-depth photo-master classes around the world. The 2002 United Nations Photographer of the Year, celebrated photographer and mentor Monte Zucker once stated, "I don’t photograph the world as it is. I photograph the world as I would like it to be." Continuing on in his memory, current instructor Bob Ray teaches with an entertaining, passionate presentation that focuses on learning immediately in class. The experience provides an aspiring photographer a comprehensive set of tools to reach his or her artistic potential.
While many yoga studios claim to nurture minds as well as bodies, few have a library to back it up. Bikram Yoga Falls Church's staff indeed stand by their holistic approach to health by lending out books from a growing library as well as offering 39 classes a week. The team of certified instructors take the Bikram hot-yoga approach for these classes, which emphasize proper alignment and stillness throughout a vigorous, fixed series of 26 postures cycled through twice over the course of 90 minutes. Instructors help students stretch a wide range of muscles while increasing strength and encouraging determination and self-control with complex stretches and balances. Their yoga studios are heated to 105 degrees to deepen each stretch and detoxify the body. Instead of exercising with you or wearing masks and exercising as you, the staff circle the room, helpfully providing corrections on proper alignment and motivational words.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.