The non-profit New Jersey Fencing Alliance invites people to take a stab at a new hobby—literally. Across the 17,000-square-foot club, nationally- and internationally- recognized coaches teach students the fundamentals of fencing, emphasizing footwork, blade-work, and strategy, all within an environment that is relaxed, but competitive. Students, meanwhile, have a variety of avenues through which to learn, including private lessons, camps, and group classes, where they can practice safely with partners instead of jabbing at beehives at home. In beginner classes, students are taught the fencing fundamentals, with concentration on footwork, blade work, strategy, and technique.
At Viva Z Club, Z stands for Zumba. The dance fitness class that pairs easy-to-follow moves with Latin rhythms feels more like a night out on the town than a workout, like doing squats in a strobe-lit room. That's because it encourages students to sway, shimmy, and jump to catchy music as they also burn calories and tighten core muscles. And although Viva Z Club's main focus is Zumba, it's not the only class type offered. Barre-Lates blends a ballet barre workout with Pilates to strengthen and tone, and Nia creates a medley of martial arts, dance, and yoga for a gentle but effective workout.
Certified head trainer Carlos J. Sanchez leads boot campers through an invigorating regimen of diverse exercises in morning sessions scheduled every day of the week. In efficient 45-minute outdoor sessions (held five days a week) or one-hour indoor workouts held twice weekly, fitness fanatics can tighten soft midsections without missing family outings or full-contact backgammon competitions. In supportive group sessions, trainees work at their own pace through a mix of yoga, calisthenics, weight training, and cardiovascular work. Maplewood's muscle masters advise campers to wear loose-fitting or athletic clothing and athletic shoes and steel themselves to sprint through rain and brush away the branches of ingratiating trees.
With 70+ toppings available each day at Strawberry Fields Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt, the potential treat combinations seem almost endless. Items such as crumbled Heath bars, cookie dough, and strawberries make it hard to only choose a few, though limiting yourself is not required: the self-serve nature of Strawberry Fields makes it easy to customize each treat exactly how you like it. Beyond candy, popular toppings also include Ghirardelli sauces and healthier add-ins such as wheat germ and fresh fruit. Though the frozen yogurt flavors change daily, the menu often includes yogurt options such as cake batter or honey lavender tart. And though all these toppings were designed to crown the shop's frozen treats, they also serve another purpose: bakers here stuff them into custom frozen yogurt cakes. Strawberry Fields also offers their candies a la carte, along with smoothies, and other non-yogurt treats.
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A vibrant blue and purple mural dominates a large wall at Soul Terrific—a bright tribute to music splashed with saxophone players, keyboards, and loose notes spinning away into space. The scene isn't strictly musical, and if you look closer, you can easily spot steamed crab there, or a small drumstick here in the hands of a happy musician or concertgoer.
The image sums up Soul Terrific—a spirited scene that ultimately, is all about the food. In the kitchen, chefs fry catfish and chicken, sear New York strip steaks, and grill up pork chops. Each entrée arrives at diners' tables accompanied by a hearty helping of homemade cornbread and two house-made comfort food sides such as macaroni and cheese, collard greens, or Southern-style red rice. Tuesday through Thursdays see fresh chefs' specials, which range from oxtails and cabbage to barbecue ribs and coleslaw. After meals, diners can munch on homemade peach cobbler or double-chocolate cake any day they please, as long as their dentist isn't looking.