As a teenager, Sarah Heward suffered two herniated disks, which left her literally crawling out of bed throughout her teenage years until she was 30. Because her demands as a mother of three young children made it impossible to take time off for surgery, she sought an exercise modality to help heal her damaged back. Sarah found Pilates, which brought her fast relief from the years of pain. Now completely rehabilitated, she leads students of all fitness levels in finding physical wellness at her own studio in both small-group classes and private lessons.
The studio is lined with Pilates machines including reformers and springboards, designed to build patrons’ strength without adding bulk by utilizing the practitioner's own body weight as resistance. She also translates the exercises to mat-based routines, where students need nothing more than willing abdominals and their lucky spandex ascot to complete the full-body-toning regimen.
Blue Mountain Vineyards owners, Joe and Vickie, are pinot pioneers. Beginning with a 5-acre experiment in 1986, they discovered that the soil of the Lehigh Valley does a fine impression of French terrain, making it suitable for growing the grapes of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and other European varietals. Since then, they've expanded to a 50-acre plot, where they now produce wines that have won awards from the Fingerlake International Wine Competition and Appellation America.
Panoramic views of the Blue Mountains overlook scenic terraces at the vineyards, where grapes spring from soil that soldiers roamed during the Revolutionary War. Tastings, concerts, and other events fill the winery's glass-flanked deck, spilling onto an outdoor patio surrounded by ponds as tranquil as a silent lullaby. Visitors admire the vines during tours, and they can also adopt their favorites to preserve the vines' flavorful histories.
At Powerhouse Pilates, owners and instructors Annie and Victoria Maxwell lead exercisers through classes designed to strengthen and stabilize the core muscles, also known as the body's "powerhouse." Beyond traditional Pilates mat and reformer classes, the duo offers a handful of fitness sessions that put a more modern spin on the increasingly popular program. The Piloxing class—which has gained attention from NBC10 and Phillyburbs.com—keeps heart rates up by fusing together intervals of boxing, Pilates, and modern-dance moves. Standing barre classes, on the other hand, put the focus on balance and endurance by incorporating weights into a standing routine. Every class focuses on applying Pilates methods to everyday movements––a practice Powerhouse dubs "pre-habbing"––in order to train muscles to move properly and avoid injury.
Grandmaster Dennis Tosten founded the first Amerikick in 1967 and has since taught several champion fighters, police officers, and everyday students karate and self-defense. Today, the lauded chain teaches fitness classes inspired by martial arts, including cardio kickboxing in six states. Each location upholds a curriculum that blends Chinese and Japanese martial-arts styles—including kenpo and tae kwon do—with modern self-defense strategies, further updating traditional practices by eschewing uniforms and belts for casual workout gear. Having attained certification in teaching kickboxing from the National Association of Professional Martial Artists, Amerikick's seasoned instructors also each possess black belts in karate, a rank as difficult to attain as the snake charmer's belt of live cobras.
Philadelphia Rock Gyms challenges climbers of all skill levels with 2,000 square feet of climbing terrain, 1,500 square feet of bouldering plains, and more than 30 top ropes. Initiates to the vertical sport can get the hang of climbing basics during the gym’s variety of lessons, which impart skills such as proper technique, safety, and the ability to tell which rocks open a supervillain's secret lair. The gym also features a variety of team-building opportunities and private room rentals, as well as a pro shop that outfits patrons with the proper climbing equipment available for rent or purchase.
Skydive trips allows both beginner and seasoned divers a comprehensive and safe way to engage in free falls. Tandem dives allow first-timers to experience the thrill of a jump without special training or prior knowledge of species of stomach butterflies, and training programs ready aficionados for solo falls. A staff with decades of combined experience ensures a safe diving experience with bona fide instruction and equipment. The facilities include both indoor and outdoor observation areas for friends and family, as well as a picnic area jumpers often put to use after they've completed their adventure.