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The echoes of hooves clopping against loose dirt carry across California Riding Academy’s expansive training arena, where founder and director Jessica Harrell can often be found jumping warmblood ponies over fences or leading lessons in various riding styles. Jessica helms a staff of experienced instructors and trainers who all specialize in one area, technique, or style of horse-riding; students can team up with resident cowgirl Joanne Morrison for lessons in the Western riding style or trot alongside silver medalist Teri Dosen and her dutch warmblood during dressage lessons. Though their combined experience adds up to more than 100 years, the instructors would be nowhere without their stable of well-trained horses and ponies, who carry themselves with poise and dignity through competitions, summer camps, and stagecoach robberies.
100 Ansel Ln., Barns 2 & 15
The extensive facilities of MVP Arena, which include indoor and outdoor fields, a basketball court, and batting cages, host visitors for an array of sports leagues and classes. Adults hone their skills in training classes and then unveil new maneuvers on one another during league games for basketball, flag football, and soccer. Bat wielders practice swing timing and charging the mound without fear of retaliation in the batting cages, where regulation pitching distance and a mural of the San Francisco Bay recreate the excitement of practicing in a big-league stadium. In addition, three of the cages feature virtual pitchers that help batters time ball delivery at different speeds or a random assortment of slow, medium, and fast.
696 E Trimble Rd., Suite 30
Saltwater runs through the veins of the passionate instructors at Spinnaker Sailing. Attuned to the winds and waves of the San Francisco Bay, they've taught aspiring sailors how to navigate the waters with lessons that emphasize both skill and safety. The team also maintains an affiliation with the American Sailing Association, upholding high training standards as they show all levels of sailors, including kids, how to captain watercraft from keelboats to coastal cruisers.
In addition to helping sailors obtain ASA certifications, Spinnaker Sailing oversees a sailing club, as well as coordinate local charters, skippered cruises, and sailing vacations to storied destinations such as Tahiti and Valhalla. The fleet, which includes 22- to 40-foot yachts, launches into the waters of San Francisco bay from Redwood City Marina.
451 Seaport Ct.
After buying the Exclamation Point's original location in Saratoga, owner Melanie Vancil moved the studio to Santa Clara, expanding the workshop's inventory of needlepoint and cross-stitch manuals, crochet threads, buttons, and hand-painted canvases. Needlepoint, originally developed in the 16th century to create beautiful cloth tapestries without bulky looms or expensive trained spiders, draws from a proud tradition of craftsmanship, decorating household objects such as pillows, chair backs, and rugs with patterns and pictures of colorful fiber. Students of all ages learn to master this ancient form of art, as well as machine sewing and crocheting, in fun, informative classes, creating beautiful fabric keepsakes of their very own.
1055 Monroe St.
Parents relaxing in front of the television are the last thing people expect to see at a child’s birthday party. However, Games2U’s coaches not only bring the fun to residences, they supervise it as well, letting parents dive into the activities themselves or catch up on episodes of Blue's Clues. High-octane competition livens up the bash when the backyard is turned into a temporary laser-tag arena, and gravity-testers crawl into the depths of a giant inflatable hamster ball. In Booger Wars, another interactive game, teams compete in pulling beanbag “boogers” from giant noses before tossing them at their opponents in a spin on dodgeball.
The centerpiece of Games2U’s offerings is the video-game theater, housed in the back of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, where serious gamers ensconce themselves in strobe-lit depths to compete at games such as Halo and Modern Warfare on Xbox. Alternatively, game play moves outside for interactive Wii games. The offerings include the likes of Just Dance and Mario Sports Mix, whose accessibility often brings together multiple family generations, much like chasing down a headless horseman together before dinner.
1137 Old Country Rd. , Suite 22
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