Craig and Laura Decker seem to have a difficult time making up their minds. They also seem to have a knack for turning this indecisiveness into an advantage at every turn. When it came to opening their new business, for example, they briefly wondered whether it should feature a wine shop, a wine bar, or a gourmet bistro. Their solution? All three.
This spirit of inclusivity pervades The Wine Guy Bistro, where the Deckers pair seasonal wine varietals with globally inspired cuisine. Rather than choose between European elegance and New-American pizzazz, they settled on a compromise they describe as “Old World chic.” This label suits a menu that features small plates of housemade meatballs and bruschetta alongside assorted cheeses from around the world. The focus on small plates is in keeping with the Deckers’ have-it-all mentality and gives diners the option to sample several dishes without having to barter with adjacent tables.
With more than 15 locations nationwide, Wine and Canvas commissions accomplished artists to spread the joy of painting during informal painting classes. These talented brush wielders guide students of all abilities through a landscape, portrait, or abstract artwork via step-by-step instructions. Though each Wine and Canvas location is home to an art studio, the classes are taught in students’ living rooms or at local hot spots—many of which mix up tasty drink specials during classes. Instructors provide their artists-in-training with all the supplies they need to create eye-catching masterpieces, from paints and canvases to Ouija boards with a direct line to van Gogh. Though adult painting classes are Wine and Canvas’s bread and butter, they also help little ones unleash their creativity and satisfy their sweet tooth with Cookies and Canvas classes.
At RJ Fitness, founder Rachelle approaches fitness as a collective task, leading intensive group workouts that get her clients to exercise harder and push themselves further than they would on their own. During her Body-Sculpt Boot Camp sessions, participants are continuously engaged and pushed in a non-intimidating atmosphere. Besides interval training, strength training, and bodyweight exercises, the camp incorporates healthy eating plans from a certified nutritionist. This whole-lifestyle approach helps clients quickly burn away body fat, build muscle, and increase cardiovascular endurance, so they can quickly get into the best shape of their life. Rachelle also leads hour-long, calorie-blasting Zumba classes, where students burn fat to the varying beats of salsa, merengue, and international music. The simple dance moves are easy to follow, even with two left feet or two left brains, making the energizing routine appropriate for all skill levels.
Once the crowning holiday jewel of Shillito's Department store, the Santa's Workshop displays featured dozens of scenes with hundreds of animatronic elves going ceaselessly about their Christmas tasks. The exhibit drew as many as 100,000 visitors at its peak of popularity, only to be packed away in 1982 when the store went through a merger. They saw the light of day – and Christmas lights – once again in 2005, when Bill Spinnenweber acquired the collection at auction, with an eye toward fully restoring the machines to the pristine glory they enjoyed when created 50 years earlier. He got the community behind him, and they raised more than $22,000 to dust off cobwebs and restore motors. Now, the classic Christmas scenes of Shillito's Elves come to Newport on the Levee for new generations to enjoy.
Everything at Craftologies is meant to inspire—even its surroundings. The craft haven's aqua blue walls are dotted with handmade projects and the materials to craft new ones. Large tables welcome creatives to spread out with an abundance of craft supplies. Here, the instructors lead a variety of creativity-enhancing classes for both kids and adults in subjects such as jewelry-making, leather work, painting, sewing, and embroidery. In addition to classes, the instructors host craft-centered birthday parties, ladies' nights, and during drop-in craft sessions, guests can receive help with a project they are currently working on or choose one of the projects offered by Craftologies.
There's a good chance you've seen some of Robin Ewers's work, though you might not have realized it. A graduate of Antonelli College, the artist has painted murals for the Coney Island amusement park's pool area and Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria. More of her work hangs on the walls of local businesses, including her own. At Dogwood Art Studio, Ewers shares her passion and expertise with others during wine and paint parties. She supplies all the paint, brushes, and instruction people need to create their own works of art, which they can take home or use to get into exclusive artist-only pool parties.