The wall of hand-painted tiles is likely the first thing you’ll notice when walking into Earth Arts of Long Beach’s sunlit studio. Like a tin man at a cardiologist’s office, it stands out, offering a colorful contrast to the shelves and shelves of unpainted porcelain cups, mugs, plates, and bowls. Each prismatic square offers a glimpse into the artistic world of each customer who’s passed through the shop. As a whole, they represent the studio’s mission to foster a vibrant community that celebrates artisans of all ages and skill levels.
Staffers are happy to guide customers through the pottery-painting process, supplying them with stencils, paints, and stamps to design their own patterns. In addition to pottery painting, the studio offers art classes, and utilizes the shop as a gallery space for visiting artists.
A team of friendly gurus runs each club. Fitness buffs of all buffness levels feel welcome in the fun and accommodating atmosphere at Washington Sports Clubs. During your two weeks, you get access to all the professional equipment, group exercise classes, locker rooms, and facility amenities offered (some group exercise classes require a reservation). Different clubs have on-site features such as pools, Pilates and yoga, babysitting services for a tag-along papoose, electricity, and more. Search for the club that suits your checklist here.
Nationally ranked lifeguard and co-founder Cliff Skudin has conquered the massive swells of Outer Reefs Hawaii and Nelscott Reef during professional competitions. His business partner and brother, Will, is a four-time contender in the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards. Their aquatic family history does not stop there, however. Among the ranks at Skudin Surf are three other amphibious Skudins—including a synchronized swimmer, a trained EMT, and a windsurfing dolphin—as well as a handful of instructors, lifeguards, and pro surfers who have been embraced by the family. Skudin Surf has been featured in a number of publications, including the New York Times.
Surfing, it seems, is much more than a mere sport to the Skudins. It’s also a free-spirited form of therapy. Brothers Cliff and Will launched the non-profit Surf For All to bring the sport to kids with autism, cerebral palsy, and visual impairment, among other disabilities. They also partner with Wounded Warriors to provide lessons to military members, and provided assistance with rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.
Blinking panels glow on the rank of file of cardio machines that stand like a robot army, ready to reshape humanity. Life Clubs' vast and luxurious facilities house fitness amenities such as a full-sized Pilates room with reformer machines, as well as hygienic touches such as hands-free water fountains that only respond to screaming. Light wooden lockers line the tile walls of changing rooms, which cushion feet with soft carpeting. Directly adjacent lay steam rooms that banish toxins from bodies with waves of heat.
While adults work out on the basketball court or in a group exercise class, children keep active in a kids' area with climbable indoor playsets. Once they sweat out the bad, guests restore themselves with good smoothies at a juice bar and paninis and salads at the Life Cafe.
Lock N Surf recognizes the difficulties of being a surfer in the city, carrying boards for blocks and trying to maneuver through crowded subway trains. The Lock N Surf staff makes their lives a little easier by offering 24-hour access to a private storage facility where clients can stow their boards and gear between trips to Rockaway Beach. Using an electronic key tag that's waterproof for wearing in the ocean, clients gain entrance to Lock N Surf facilities located just two blocks from the beach's only dedicated surf spot. After carving through waves, surfers can wash off in private showers and use Lock N Surf's cleaning equipment to hose off any sand or maps to Atlantis stuck to their boards.