At the turn of the 20th century, the plantation that was to become Frightmare Manor was just a regular estate, owned by seemingly upstanding citizen Jeremiah Lexer. Lexer, however, turned out to be one of America's earliest and Tenessee's most prolific serial killer. More than 30 corpses were unearthed throughout the property and in its marshy backwoods--and even after Lexer took his own life, mysterious deaths continued to plague the plantation.
Nowadays, Frightmare Manor draws on this horrifying history with haunted houses recently featured in Hauntworld the Magazine and named the #1 Haunted Attraction in Eastern Tennessee by Knoxville News Media. The hair-raising events sprawl across 4.5 acres that house four attractions, including the mansion and its wooded grounds. As visitors explore, spooky special effects and actors create thrills scarier than many haunted houses' ghost-shaped wall decals.
The trained chefs at Sushi Academy in Tennessee work to demystify the art of rolling, filling, and presenting sushi during two-hour classes. Using hands-on teaching techniques, they demonstrate how to cook Japanese rice to the proper consistency before bundling it inside a seaweed wrap with fresh fish, crisp veggies, and other natural ingredients. Students also learn to craft the more common inside-out rolls, in which rice covers the outside of seaweed wraps.
When lessons conclude, cylindrical slices don crowns of gari, wasabi, and soy sauce to create a presentable plate of sushi for classmates to chow down on. The academy also peddles a medley of sushi-making gear, such as rolling mats and rice paddles, so that students can continue to hone their craft at home or deal with laundry-day shirt shortages by swaddling their torsos in nori.
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Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
The pottery lining the shelves inside Mighty Mud almost looks like it could have come from an archaeological excavation. With glaze jobs that call to shabby-chic sensibilities or enhance they clay’s hand-worked grooves, each work would be at home either on a windowsill or in a museum. The fun begins when it comes time to make these pieces. Mighty Mud offers classes that teach students how to throw clay, operate a pottery wheel, and build figures by hand. Kids even get their own set of classes catered just to them, and group raku firings happen once a month when the firing process is turned into a group BYOB activity.
YMCA of East Tennessee holds fast to its three-fold mission: to encourage healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. Each of their five locations brims with cardio and weight equipment, as well as digital ActivTrax kiosks, which print out customized workout plans based on each guests' information. Instructors lead group fitness classes for adults and stacks of trench-coat-clad babies disguised as adults, offering sessions that range from kickboxing to water aerobics. In addition to specialized sessions for seniors, they also lead sports programs for kids, such as swimming, basketball, and karate, as well as host a youth-based leader's club.
The folks at YMCA of East Tennessee offer memberships to military families and host programs for kids who have dropped out of school or who have been suspended. Their scholarship program helps families send their kids to the YMCA's fun, safe, character-developing programs no matter their financial circumstances.
Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the fine arts, co-owners, operators, and artists Chriss W. Hardy and Christopher Hardy are the beating heart of The Painted Room. Together—and with a team of highly specialized painters—the two execute a multitude of projects, ranging from specialty faux finishes to murals of Abraham Lincoln sporting the flat-top 'fro he kept hidden under his stovepipe hat. At their studio, the artists teach oil-painting classes suited for beginners, creating a casual environment where students learn to wield oil paints while sipping on brought-along bottles of wine.