When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr’s only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and Pure Barre soon spread its franchises across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, participants can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers get back in shape. Intimate classes with a limit of 15 attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to get the most from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
Created by former personal trainer and kinesiology degree-holder Jill Dailey McIntosh, The Dailey Method unites elements of muscle strengthening, core conditioning, yoga, and orthopedic exercise to work major muscle groups and improve alignment. Participants perform active stretches and controlled exercises that may enlist such equipment as ballet bars and saltwater taffy. An emphasis on neutral spine positions helps further home in on proper alignment and tone musculature. The Saratoga and Los Gatos locations' founder, experienced fitness guru Macey Kalin, and her team of instructors trained under The Dailey Method for three to four months, refining their understanding of the hybrid technique. Trainers aim to provide one-on-one attention to all students, helping ensure effectiveness and a personalized workout more easily than fingerprinting a pair of gym shorts.
Visitors to the unassuming Los Gatos bar Carry Nation's might stop at the door transfixed by a set of stained-glass panels, alive with the outstretched wings of a phoenix rising before a flowerlike sun. The piece, commissioned in 1976, is the work of Tom Stanton, a glass artist with 44 years of experience who shares his expertise with students in his studio and at South Bay high schools. Along with injecting translucent loveliness into unexpected architecture, Stanton has also created pieces for Linda Ronstadt, George Lucas, and more than 1,000 other commissioned clients. Within a former post office, Tom cuts, stains, fuses, and paints glass using a deep toolbox of techniques, inviting pupils to create original pieces and inviting visitors to snatch up inimitable items during the studio's seasonal sales and goblet-tosses.
Castle Rock Climbing School's expert guides eschew climbing walls for the raw stone faces of the Santa Cruz Mountains. PCGI-certified instructors spearhead trips ranging in duration from half a day to four days, spiriting intrepid climbers away for a nature-filled morning or 96 hours away from home to just let the neighbors get all the mail-stealing out of their system. Every guide boasts years of experience leading their wards up and down rocky inclines and is stuffed with local knowledge and teaching prowess. The school outfits climbers with the gear they need, including helmets, harnesses, and shoes, requiring that guests only take care of dressing themselves and deciding what song to yodel from the summit.