A champagne toast signifies luxury, but Air Ventures provides an even more luxurious amenity—champagne toasts conducted while floating in midair. Customers sip from bottles of bubbly while on one of the company’s hot-air-balloon rides, which float over Chester County’s rolling hills, glistening lakes, and historic estates at either sunrise or sunset. The rainbow-hued balloon’s trips range from one-hour jaunts to flight packages with overnight inn stops. After their airborne adventures, passengers take home a souvenir picture of the balloon, which they can supplement with downloaded shots of their own tour.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Going against convention, the staff of Skydive Collegeville prioritize first-time jumpers over established divers. That's because their main focus is giving novices the best possible introduction to the sport, providing a laid-back atmosphere free from pressure or intimidation. During introductory lessons, their male and female certified tandem instructors walk clients through the basics of their jump on land before taking to the sky. Once they're harnessed into their parachute, the student and teacher duo both leap out of a plane for an exhilarating tandem free-fall, achieving speeds of up to 120 mph before leisurely drifting back to earth over suburban Collegeville. Guests can also request a record of their descent, which can be filmed with a camera on the instructor's wrist or captured by a videographer who skydives while simultaneously sitting in a director's chair.
Across five full days of action, kids young and semi-young will undergo a comprehensive camp curriculum chock-full of running, throwing, catching, blocking, teamworking, confidence building, high-fiving, and more. If desired, campers ages 11–14 with at least one year of tackle football experience may enroll in the accelerated-skills sections, which feature advanced lessons in the same non-contact environment. All campers are led by professional educators from the high-school and collegiate level, and each day's knowledge bowl soars even higher with visits from Eagles greats, ranging from Fred Barnett to the great Pete Retzlaff (Philadelphia Eagles players vary by camp location). By teaming up with experienced players and coaches, kids will be treated to comprehensive instruction that goes beyond purely mechanical skills.
Gateway Bodyworks owner Lisa Firey believes deeply in the power of holistic treatments, as she has seen remarkable results firsthand. When her beloved dog, Porter, came down with an immune disease, doctors attempted to treat the symptoms with Western medicine. She suspected the medicines were weakening Porter’s immune system, so she began to research alternative methods. Soon she was treating her dog with vitamin C, nasturtium, and dandelion root, as well as massage. This method reenergized Porter and prolonged his life. Impassioned by this discovery, Lisa went on to earn a degree in muscle therapy and is now pursuing a doctorate in natural health.
Today, Lisa employs a staff of 20 experts to practice holistic healing methods. Within her garage-turned-spa space, her team focuses on acupuncture, bodywork, and massage. During reflexology treatments, therapists push pressure points on the feet, relieving stress and removing stuck-on shoe inserts. Acupuncturists treat everything from fatigue to autoimmune disorders and suggest herbal remedies. Alternatively, massage therapists use the long, languid strokes of the Swedish modality, and can also alleviate pain related to sports injuries, pregnancy, and postpregnancy. To round out the center, Lisa also set up a yoga studio with classes such as Hatha, Mommy & Me, and Kundalini.
Attracting more than 170,000 art enthusiasts to its events in 2011, the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival showcases original work from hundreds of artisans showcasing everything from handcrafted pottery, sculpture, and metalwork to jewelry, fashion, décor, and photography. Audiences can witness art being made live during educational demonstrations as artisans sculpt clay, whittle wood, forge metals, and imbue baskets with the power of speech. Hungry crafters can also sniff out specialty food items to sample or purchase while dancing across the sprawling venue to live music.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.