A log cabin sits huddled in the woods as breezes sway rolling grasses and flowerbeds across the 1,120 acres that surround it. A Federal-style mansion stands tall against the sky, its columns flanking a towering front door and presidential balcony. Carrying on a 200-year tradition, The Hermitage tells the story of the presidential family, its plantation's slave population, and the atmosphere of the time through 32 historic buildings and more than a dozen archaeological sites.
The mansion and visitor center boast 3,000 original objects and 800,000 archaeological artifacts on display, as well as 1,200 printed items, 3,000 photographs, and 800 manuscripts bearing the president's original handwriting and cappuccino stains. The mansion's Greek-revival woodwork and mantels frame original wallpaper, and glass cases hold Andrew Jackson's authentic glasses, slippers, top hats, swords, and canes. Inside the visitor center, the Jacksons' actual private carriage guards a hallway leading to collections of artifacts from the plantation's slave families and communities. Most items in the collections were purchased directly from the Jackson family, though many artifacts were uncovered in the late 1800s by the historic Ladies' Hermitage Association when they broke ground for a new Olympic-sized swimming pool.
On the outdoor grounds, trained guides usher visitors to the first Hermitage, a log cabin where the Jackson family lived while the mansion was being built, and Alfred's Cabin, the preserved 1840s quarters of the former groundskeeper. In the garden, winding trails take visitors past period plants and the Grecian-style tombs of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. The rest of The Hermitage's grounds contain a network of winding walking trails, as well as grassy areas and cabins where museum staffers host events, weddings, and birthday parties. Across the grounds, interpreters in authentic period dress direct visitors to the sites of historic events and often train grade-school students to do the same through the center's special school programs.
As a ballet dancer, David Gensheimer didn't need much help becoming lean, limber, and lithe. But when he found himself recovering from knee surgery, he knew he needed to find something that would keep him strong without compromising his healing process. In addition to physical therapy, he turned to Pilates and was won over by the sport's ability to strengthen core muscles and enhance flexibility. Though he was back to pirouetting in no time, David never lost the Pilates bug and went on to complete his Pilates training while serving as a company member with Ballet Austin and Nashville Ballet and dancing with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Stillpoint.
Today, when he's not busy dancing his way through guest performances around the country, David helms Simply Balanced where he helps others strengthen, rehabilitate, and challenge their bodies through Pilates and yoga classes. Students can also try Gyrotonic classes, which blend elements of gymnastics, yoga, dance, and tai chi, performed on a weight and pulley machine that engages the entire body. Beyond transforming the way visitors look, move, and feel about spandex shorts, the Simply Balanced studio also showers them with feel-good perks such as complimentary beverages, free parking, and access to a team of highly trained massage therapists.
After obtaining a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology, Kristen Nicole Hall seemed destined for a medical career. But after 14 years of competitive cheerleading and gymnastics, she couldn't shake the desire to share empowering, rhythmic routines with others—and an aerial-dance and flirty-fitness studio provided just the right venue to share her dream.
More than 15 classes are scheduled per week at Studio Goddess, including pole- and flirty fitness workouts that help participants bolster confidence and climb up trees quickly when confronted by a prowling wolf pack. Sessions such as Pole-Lates and Shake Your Abs blend dance and muscle-toning movements, and various pole-fitness levels progress students from basic spins to upside-down high-fives. Private pole parties teach small groups to twirl around the studio's 14-foot poles while celebrating special events or simply helping to "unleash the goddess" in each woman.
A mounted buffalo head eyes guests curiously as they swing through the french doors of Buffalo's Nashville, having climbed the stairs or ridden the elevator to the historical building's second floor. As patrons settle into studded leather barstools, bartenders take their orders for well drinks or domestic beers such as Bud, Miller Light, and Coors Light, and sports games play on 21 high-definition TV screens. Behind the scenes, the kitchen yields plates of burgers and sandwiches as well as wings dipped in a dozen mild to extra-hot sauces.
In between rounds of drinks, bouts of shuffleboard, darts, and billiards occupy glassless hands as spectators watch from atop a refurbished shoeshine station. Buffalo's Nashville also hosts special events and parties in a pair of private rooms overlooking the Cumberland River and the Titans' LP Field.
Make every T-shirt a muscle-T with today's Groupon for all the fitness you can handle: $59 gets you a one-month membership to The Delta (a $150 value) with no initiation fee for the duration of your Groupon. Your membership gets you unlimited access to group fitness classes (boot camp not included) and gym facilities. Purchase up to three Groupons for three months of membership—while everyone else gets soft in the middle passing eggnog and cookies this winter, you'll be drinking raw eggs for breakfast and snapping gingerbread men in half with the flex of a sculpted deltoid.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
At the age of three, an age when most kids are honing their recipe for Play-Doh spaghetti, Danika Miles was perfecting her dance moves. She competed with the River Cities Dance Company, minored in dance at Marshall University, and went on to earn an MBA so that she could share her passion with others. Finally, she founded BareFeet Studios, a facility with two dance spaces and sprung-wood floors. Within BareFeet, Danika and fellow instructors lead student—as young as three to adults—in dance forms such as ballet, hip-hop, and tap. They also offer open-level yoga, Zumba, Pilates, and fitness boot camps.
Students with years of experience can audition for BareFeet Studios' senior company, which performs at benefits, charity events, and conventions with other professional dance companies. The studio additionally hosts an annual spring concert, birthday parties, and private lessons.
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