As the Potomac River flows in the distance, George Mason’s historical Georgian mansion overlooks sprawling fields, hiking trails, and a 250-year-old boxwood allée. A senior statesman, Mason laid the foundation for this site in 1755, building his new family home just yards away from the site of his grandfather’s house. Though the original 18th-century carriage roads, tree banks, and wide vistas have since disappeared, experts have reconstructed much of the property’s original splendor through archaeological digs; the written memoirs of George’s son, John; and the testimonials of kidnapped time travelers.
Today, trained guides lead guests on tours of the mansion, which features more than 50 pieces of art and furnishings detailing the life of the politician, his wife Ann, and their family. As guests learn about Mason’s role as the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and as an advocate of freedom of the press and religious tolerance, they walk through opulent halls and rooms designed in French modern, neoclassical, and Chinese styles. In addition to tours, the house and grounds host seasonal events such as an old-fashioned candlelit Christmas celebration, a spring kite festival, and an autumn séance to summon the Great Pumpkin.
There's no question that Master Seum earned his title. Growing up in Thailand's Ubon province, he started training in muay thai at the tender age of 11. Martial arts became a way of life for him, leading him to pursue a professional fighting career in which he's won 70 out of 86 bouts without ever suffering a knockout loss. His impressive résumé and penchant for chocolate coins earned him the nickname Golden Boy and a ranking as the No. 5 contender in Northeast Thailand. He eventually came to the United States to teach, and after a few years of sharing his expertise at other gyms, he decided to start his own school: Seapeanong Thai Boxing.
Master Seum conducts beginner, intermediate, and fight team training with his co-founder, Emilio Gonzalez, a fighter known for his kicking power and old-school boxing skills. Will Merino, a three-stripe purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, helps students perfect their takedowns and ground-fighting skills, while cross-trainer Melanie Odria keeps bodies in fighting shape with a blend martial arts training and traditional exercise techniques.
Positivity. Simple as it sounds, it's a central pillar of the philosophy behind Life Champ Martial Arts. At each of the school's five locations, the warm, supportive atmosphere starts with the instructors. Sure, they pass along years of martial arts wisdom, but they also strive to help students?younger ones, especially?realize that having fun doesn't necessarily mean sitting in front of a TV, or arguing the legitimacy of the moon landing with an imaginary friend. Through programs for kids, teens, and even entire families, Life Champ's instructors lead students along a path that builds self-confidence and improves self-defense techniques. Instructors build on these same skills in extracurricular offerings, which include after-school programs, birthday parties, and week-long summer camps.
The Osprey’s Golf Club at Belmont Bay maintains a splendid, 5,577-yard, par 70 course that fosters fore-hollering fun for golfers of all abilities. Bordered to the east by the flowing waters of the Occoquan River, the Audubon-certified course pleases the senses with cool, riverside breezes, scenic tree lines, and flagsticks that hand out perfume samples. Experienced instructors stalk the Club’s verdant grounds, helping keep swing’s sharp with private and group lessons and imparting advice about golf equipment at the pro shop. Osprey’s Landing awaits golfers looking to unwind after a day at the links or treat high-performing sand wedges to a dinner date with a menu of fresh seafood, sandwiches, and other locally inspired fare.