Students at Fast Track High Performance Driving School don't need to prove that they can parallel park—they're more concerned about taking a turn at more than 100 miles per hour. Most of them have never even felt the rumble of a 600-horsepower engine before. After plenty of safety debriefing from expert instructors, however, they usually are no longer intimidated by its purr. They'll then hop into the vibrant shell of an ARCA-style stock car, a former racing vehicle that's still capable of rocketing down the track at a blur-inducing speed of 165 miles per hour.
Since 1989, the school has been fulfilling speed-demon fantasies with its courses and ride alongs at racetracks throughout the country. The staff meets with everyday fans and aspiring competitors alike to cover racing protocol, safety, and appropriate postrace dance moves. Depending on the depth of their lesson, pupils might take the wheel during a four-car passing exercise or simply sit back in the passenger seat as a professional flies through three–five laps.
The Dirty Hog’s mud-strewn obstacle course, designed by the U.S. Special Forces to emphasize teamwork and toughness, dares fearless competitors to get their hands filthy while barreling through 9–12 miles of grueling terrain that tests both wits and endurance. In order to prevail against the course's 20–25 physical and mental challenges, participants must scurry up dirt hills and stomp their way through a watered-down motocross track. Contestants will also have to flex their brains' biceps while solving puzzles that reward correct answers with easier paths and penalize incorrect answers with disciplinary parent-teacher conferences. Participants can only move on to the next checkpoint once everyone on their team has finished the current challenge; failure to complete challenges as a team can result in having to carry additional weight to the next checkpoint, such as bags of hog feed or granite statues of Jack LaLanne.
Since 2005, the award-winning Cypress Bend Vineyards has harnessed the rich flavors and antioxidants found in the muscadine grape. The wonder fruit has resulted in the creation of wine varietals including 13 Muscadine, one Cabernet Franc, and one Malbec. Cypress Bend's winemaker leads tours through the vineyards to detail each step of this process, from grape plucking and fermentation to monitoring each grape's 401K as it ages. The flourishing soil also plays home to live events throughout the year, such as Friday-night jazz or beach music concerts.