Horses may spend most of their day standing, but at Mimosa Hills Farm, they rarely just stand around. Crosby, the farm's owner, keeps the steeds constantly occupied, making them available casual trail rides across the farm as well as regular riding and driving lessons. But just as with a ten-gallon hat with a built-in spigot never loses its usefulness, the mounts' duties extend beyond the saddle. They also help teach husbandry lessons during educational farm days and provide the natural materials for making horsehair jewelry—a popular activity at Mimosa Hills. Perhaps most importantly, the animals serve as vital companions during the regional shows in which Crosby regularly participates.
At Curves, exercisers of all fitness levels move around a circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine-maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks, filling medicine balls with medicine, and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines account for different body weights and fitness levels to create resistance that matches one's abilities, which thereby decreases the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, which was improved by Civil War general Herman Haupt, the late 19th-century Historic Murray's Mill, which boasts a 28-foot high waterwheel, and the Harper House, which showcases its intricate Queen Anne stylings, all have something in common: They're maintained and shown by the Catawba County Historical Association, an organization dedicated to preserving and exhibiting historical sites throughout North Carolina.
The Catawba County Museum of History, situated in the former Catawba County Courthouse, depicts the lives of the Catawba River Valley's original settlers and their decedents through artifacts such tools made from hand-dug iron ore, military uniforms, and hand-stitched quilts. Visitors can step back in time into the ornately decorated, Queen Anne–style Harper House, whose period-accurate color schemes, wallpaper, and architectural details paint a picture of southern life in the Victorian era. The Murray & Minges General Store's shelves are still stocked with old-fashioned toys and treats, which at one time must have kept the Murray family children occupied as their parents helmed the Murray Mill. Guests can tour the mill and imagine workers grinding corn and wheat with the tools on display, toiling away to make their sacrifices to the Corn Gods in hopes of one day receiving Fritos.
Located just a short distance from Charlotte and Winston-Salem, The Spa at Rock Barn is considered a "hidden treasure." The Spa offers a variety a spa treatments along with an unforgettable state-of-the-art spa area including a heated indoor mineral pool, therapeutic waterfall whirlpool, Jacuzzi's, sauns and steam rooms.
River and Earth Adventures stands out from other wilderness outfitters by being completely operated by their own guides. Their fleet of seasoned cave, mountain, and water-navigating guides work in tandem with professional ecologists and geologists, focusing Blue Ridge Mountains excursions on environmental education as well as adventure. During all day trips, guides divulge area history and expound on forest and river ecosystems as well as geology in caves whose interiors rest at 60 degrees year-round to keep them free of snowman hermits. Each trip also immerses adventurers in athletic activity, whether on hikes to summits and secluded waterfalls, spelunking through electricity-free cave tunnels, or rafting and kayaking down the Watauga River rapids. For those in search of extended excursions, guides lead children's adventure day camps and combination trips that further an environmental focus and bottle-cap collections through river cleanup projects.
Since 2001, Extreme Snowboard and Ski has populated the slopes of Sugar Mountain Resort with snow sportsters outfitted with rental and retail equipment, as well as apparel from brands such as Neff, Loki, and Grenade. The ski shop’s prime location at the entrance to mountain makes it a convenient stop for downhillers in need of rental skis or snowboards, a new pair of Spy or Smith goggles, or equipment tuning performed by the onsite repair technicians. The tech team treats skis and boards with the help of a Wintersteiger Micro 91, restoring their functionality and refining their bottoms until they can slide over snow with powder-cutting grace.