The 483-horsepower V8 engine roars in front of you as you shift gears, and the speedometer climbs over 150 miles per hour. Gliding down the straightaway, you grip the wheel of a Ferrari F430. You don't need to buy your own exotic car to experience this adrenaline rush: American Racing Experience connects visitors with a similar emprise on four major raceways across the United States. At scheduled times at the Motorspeedway in Atlanta, Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia, and Adams Mortorsports Park in Los Angeles, they brief drivers on the handling and controls of sleek Ferraris and V10 engine-powered, six-speed Lamborghini Gallardos. After preparing visitors for the upcoming track with a lap in a pace car, instructors slip into the passenger seat—letting their guests take the wheel for a driving experience more extreme than some TV show set on an island.
Heather O'Neill is a renaissance woman. She started her career as a mathematician, and then developed a strong interest in fitness after becoming a mother. She made a complete career change, racking up certifications and innumerable hours of exercise experience, before becoming the owner of South Pointe Fitness Club. Today, Heather oversees a variety of fitness services ranging from personal training to group fitness classes such as yoga, kickboxing, cycling, Pilates, and just lying on your back and staring at the ceiling fan sessions.
Sitting behind the wheel of a 32 Sodi RX7 kart has a way of making you feel like a professional stunt driver. Maybe it's zipping up your driver’s suit, or snapping on your helmet. Either way, at Summit Point Kart, all participants get the look they want and the safety orientation they need to cut turns like Andretti when they take on that piece of half-mile track known as the Washington Circuit.
Overhead, lights blaze down on the track’s 22 turns, so karters can race well into the evening or on that day after summer solstice when the sun is too partied out to get out of bed. Racers who get hooked can get themselves a yearly membership card, which discounts the price of racing credits. Little ones enamored with the track can enlist in a 4-hour kart school that builds confidence behind the wheel.
Pony Pastures instructs horse lovers in the ageless art of equestrianism, saddling up students of every experience level. Veteran instructor Mel Keeton tailors private lessons to individual goals, incorporating challenges, tips, and games to help novice riders and skilled stallion handlers alike refine their English-riding style. Learn to properly mount a mare or decode the heel-powered Morse code that propels ponies into trotting mode. Students of steedery can be tutored in the nuances of jumping, acquire subtle reining techniques, or simply gain confidence before the next office jousting match.
My Gym, which currently has more than 200 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 6 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches toddlers self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Champions, a class for kids aged 6 to 13, emphasizes the importance of using teamwork to master more complex sports skills and achieve group goals such as building a human pyramid to reach the cookie jar. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
Over her 15 years as a fitness instructor, Ananda Shala's owner, Aimee Firor McBride developed a special passion for yoga and Pilates. Her love of the practice led her to India, and into the studios of renowned teachers such as Shiva Rea during her more than 500 hours of teacher studies. She draws upon this experience as she helms a coterie of certified instructors who lead groups through classes and workshops. On hardwood floors flooded with natural sunlight, instructors guide students through Prana Flow Vinyasa yoga for all levels, hot yoga in an 80- to 90-degree room, and meditation classes.
In addition to yoga, instructors also teach Pilates, including mat classes, sessions that integrate weights and strength training, and machines that help lengthen and strengthen muscles. During private sessions they help students work on individual needs or master a specific technique such as folding laundry with their feet. Corporate workshops help business people soothe their minds during stressful situation, and special events such as yoga parties and classes for kids and teens explore yoga in a fun environment.
Ron Layman's decorative indoor-painting instruction harks back to thousands of years of artisans' decorative and faux-finishing techniques. Drawing from the colorful traditions of neoclassical plaster finishes and trompe l’oeil techniques, his methods build on the past while incorporating modern styles of glazing and color washing. His commissioned work can be seen in private homes and commercial locales, and when he's not imbuing work and living spaces with his talents, Ron teaches multiple-day workshops in The Faux School studio nestled in Frederick's historical district.
Drawing on 20 years of experience as a master painter with the North American Decorative Artist Association and boasting the ability to spell Michelangelo, Ron guides artists of all levels through basic and advanced home-design techniques, incorporating paint, textured finishes, and lime-based Venetian plasters, which add depth to plain walls and floors. Ron also helps his students to explore new approaches to home decoration, with lessons that help students to take control of their environments or take steps toward forming their own home-decorating businesses, regardless of prior artistic experience.