Urban Tactical Defense Center’s diverse team of trainers includes lifelong martial artists, former military personnel, and current police officers. Within the 8,000-square-foot facility—with two sparring rooms and a gym—these trainers pass on the self-defense and fitness techniques they acquired during their demanding careers to students of all ages, covering everything from defense tactics to proper firearms training. They rely on myriad approaches to boost health and self-confidence levels, imparting combat techniques during martial-arts and unarmed-combat classes; fending off calories in Combat Fitness Bootcamp courses; and bulking up entire bodies in circuit-training sessions. They even sprinkle meditation techniques from Chinese qi gong in some of their programs.
Alternatively, the staff leads youngsters through its own original MANTIS curriculum (Manage Any Nasty Trouble in School), acquainting them with tactics for dealing with bullies, teaching them self-defense moves, and hopefully giving them the strength to lift 12 action figures at once.
Fledgling page-crafters and expert scrapbookers alike can find all their design needs amid the store’s large selection. Printed paper (64 cents to $1.99 per sheet) serves as a fluorescent canvas for the millions of memories begging to be released from cranium file cabinets and cemented onto album pages ($15.99 to $34.99). Bedazzle your favorite photos, love poems, and scrapple recipes with stickers and embellishments (99 cents to $5.79), or peruse the vast clearance aisles for items up to 75% off. The store’s extensive travel section lends itself to memorializing family vacations, cross-country road trips, or semesters abroad spent pirating off the coast of Australia.
Golf: Inside & Out’s resident golf guru David Geier offers a comprehensive approach to golf training, helping golfers on their path to mastering the technical, tactical, physical, and mental elements of the game. As players pulverize golf balls at the studio’s indoor hitting bays, the watchful instructor observes and analyzes each swing with video technology. Golf students benefit from watching a video of their swings in slow motion, helping them understand nuggets of corrective advice and sympathize with brutally compressed golf balls. Geier also teaches principles of course management, physical training, and the mental and emotional training necessary to execute golf shots on a subconscious level, a process which can incorporate hypnotherapy.
Golf: Inside & Out also helps aspiring Arnold Palmers refine their skills with advanced club-fitting services. The shop's high-tech module evaluates customers' putts and swings, then tailors a custom blueprint that helps determine correct shaft flex, launch angle, and grip size. The device can also clarify the most compatible ball for a particular club.
Craft Akron is devoted to providing space and education for local lovers of all things handmade and crafty, and its stitch series and sewing series give aspiring seamsters and seamstresses 12 different classes from which to choose. Take an intro to machine sewing course ($35, two hours) and finally discover that the classic household contraption has other applications than Kafkaesque torture and taking up space on the dining room table. If you're already familiar with a sewing machine, you can take it a step closer to self-awareness with an intermediate machine course ($45, three hours) and gain the confidence needed to create a garment composed entirely of buttonholes. A hand embroidery course ($35 plus a $5 pattern fee, two hours) cuts down on rages against machines by teaching students how to manually gussy and garnish with gusto.
In 1880, the final fasteners and sleepers on the Valley Railway were tightened into place. It wouldn’t be long before a billowing cloud of steam announced the arrival of the first train running through the Cuyahoga Valley, a territory that had served as a passageway for foot traffic for thousands of years. Over the next century, the railway contributed to the growth of commerce between Akron and Cleveland, changing ownership multiple times, and transforming from a freight train, into a passenger train, back to a freight train, and finally into a UFO.
Now celebrating its 41st year of passenger-rail service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad transports sightseers over the historic rails through 33,000 acres of land owned by the National Park Service. With a year-round roster of trips, including wine- and beer-tasting excursions, passengers can set forth on morning, afternoon, and evening journeys that sweep past meadowlands, pinery, and rivers and give glimpses of native wildlife, such as fox, deer, bobcat mascots, and owls.
Grape guru and oenophile Marianne Frantz, who holds a diploma from London's Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and who earned an Advanced Sommelier qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers, founded American Wine School in 2002. She and her school have gone on to shepherd more than 10,000 sippers through classes, tastings, and grape-lookalike contests. Marianne, along with her knowledgeable staff, impart their vino wisdom in classes that range from the basic Wine 101 to the more extensive WSET certification courses. The school's classes and special events have even spilled into seven different states, teaching tongues across the nation to swirl, sniff, and taste the adult beverages and analyze why drinking wine while doing taxes is a bad idea.