Atlantic Edge Dive Center's dive-masters might technically be classified as land mammals, but they spend enough time under water to earn the honorary title of amphibian. They spend days and nights teaching and leading dives, whether they're arming curious beginners with basic skills in one of their on-site swimming pools, or conducting open water certification tests off the coast. They go beyond simply certifying students for adventure: they provide rescue diving, dive master, and instructor training as well.
Their passion for the aquatic pastime draws them to all kinds of watery outposts. They lead excursions to the Florida keys to help rehabilitate the coral reefs surrounding the islands, and dive into the relatively calm waters of the tanks in the Baltimore National Aquarium, where they have a chance to see 53 species of fish feed in the secret underwater cafeteria.
Chesapeake Bay is 200 miles long, but that’s not the only reason it’s the United States’ largest estuary. The Bay also serpentines off into hundreds of rivers and creeks, accessible with South River Boat Rentals’ vessels. Seafarers explore the estuary’s fringes in the powerboats and sailboats, cruising past historic sites, such as Jamestown and Tangier Island. Alternatively, fishing parties set sail for piscatorial hot spots, casting from the boats’ decks. To teach newbies the ropes before they hit the water, the company’s team hosts sessions on boating basics, from steering to stopping at fish crossings.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.
The seasoned chefs at Waterman's Tavern outsmart hunger and thirst with an upscale pub menu showcasing more than 90 brews. Sweep meaty cravings under your lip curtains with the half-pound bison burger smothered in American cheese ($10.95) or try the tavern meat loaf, a medley of beef, veal, and pork glazed with a sauce as sweet and smoky as a candyland forest fire ($12.95). Hoppy delights, such as Sam Smith's Organic and Stella Artois ($2.25–$6), cleanse palates, and french baguettes and tortilla chips escort Waterman's crab dip with cheddar cheese ($12.95) into vacated belly hovels. Seal the meal with homemade bread pudding inundated with irish cream and vanilla, tossed with chocolate chips and crowned with whipped, spiked, and iced creams ($5.95).
Within each noncompetitive Curves facility, female fitness seekers are invited to move through a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic-resistance machines that are designed to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Shunning cumbersome weight stacks, the hydraulic gadgets adapt to each exerciser's body weight and fitness level to complement her individual abilities, subsequently decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. And because traditional lift-and-lower motions tend to create bulky muscles, Curves' machines promote push-and-pull movements to sculpt toned, lean muscles, perfect for crushing unsuspecting grapefruit. Experienced trainers are always nearby to help clients manage their machine maneuvering, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music includes cues to let women know when it's time to move on to the next station or break for an air viola solo. Customers who wish to continue their membership after the trial will need to pay an enrollment fee of $49 in addition to the monthly rate.
Compass Pointe Golf Courses—voted Baltimore's best public course in 2008 by Baltimore magazine—and Eisenhower Golf Course challenge golfers to put their games to the test. At Compass Pointe, club wielders can athletically traipse or drive across one of two 18-hole courses, where 800 acres of Maryland woodland scenically backdrop time-honored struggles for par. At Eisenhower, cup seekers can negotiate numerous creeks, swales, and federal highways over 18 beautifully manicured holes, pausing only to admire the forest landscape and repeat the word "bogey" until it loses all meaning.