The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
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.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley includes 6 acres of lush gardens and a purpose-built museum facility designed by architect Michael Graves. Visitors can marvel at the exterior of the Glen Burnie Historic House as they explore the unique design and languid paths of the public gardens, which knit together the stately Grand Allée, the mini Hidden Garden, and a tranquil water garden that flooded the original garden of old chia pets. The museum showcases four main galleries, displaying Valley memorabilia, a Civil War exhibition, and a collections of miniature houses and rooms, paintings, furniture, and portraiture dating to the mid-eighteenth century to the formerly private collection of benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr.
Although paragliders are powered by the wind and Mother Nature's sneezes, East Coast PPG takes a modern approach to sending riders flying through the sky. To achieve this effect, each paraglider is attached to a Flat-Top paramotor, which sends solo and tandem riders soaring above picturesque shorelines and lush forests. The high-powered rides—which are built from the same gear the Red Bull team uses—also provide smooth landings and takeoffs while allowing riders to effortlessly navigate the skies like a majestic, gliding ostrich. When not focusing on creating memorable flying experiences for their clients, the East Coast PPG crew stays busy providing riders with hands-on training lessons, which are strongly rooted in safety.
This dedication to safety can also be seen in East Coast PPG's decision to retail their in-store selection of equipment, which ranges from reserve parachutes and paragliders to trikes and paramotors. This allows the company's expert team to match clients with the appropriate equipment—from such brands as Flat-Top, Sky Spare, and U-Turn—as well as ensure clients are thoroughly educated on proper usage and safety tips.
Say the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow—what would you do? How would you search for food and water without attracting the attention of a shambling mass? The instructors of Northern Virginia Tactical train people to defend themselves should they ever encounter a life-threatening situation, whether it be advancing zombies or an armed robber. With backgrounds spanning law enforcement to marine reconnaissance, they combine field experience in areas such as practical marksmanship, tactical medicine, and scout sniping with NRA training standards. Using this approach, they teach a suite of courses that covers basic through advanced training in both armed and unarmed self-defense. They also apply their expertise to developing products, including their own line of suppressors. Made of 100% titanium and formed over a genuine minotaur horn, these suppressors are lighter and cool faster than traditional ones, and a patent-pending Quick Attach system enhances ease of use for marksmen.
When a blue jay finds a partner, they stick with them for life. So it only makes sense that friends Jenny Thacker and Jessica Leatch—who describe themselves as "two peas in a pod"—named their business venture after the intensely loyal bird. Together, the duo plans all manner of weddings, their distinct personality traits complementing each other perfectly during the process. For example, Jenny taps into her meticulous organizational skills to bring each special day to fruition, all while Jessica's laid-back approach and suitcase full of stress balls set clients at ease. She also has an attention to detail that infuses weddings with vivacity, from multihued floral arrangements to live entertainment in the form of DJs and local bands.