When Cindy Kerr's 12-year-old son, Ryan, was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, she began making pillowcases for him to brighten his hospital room and his spirits. He was so cheered by the gift that she started creating pillowcases for other children staying in the oncology unit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Since its early days, Cindy Kerr's pillowcase project has grown into ConKerr Cancer, with a network of thousands of volunteers who make the pillowcases spread across North America and South Africa. ConKerr Cancer has created and delivered more than 600,000 pillowcases to children across the United States, Canada, South Africa and Great Britain in the past five years.
• For $35, you get a one-hour Swedish massage (a $70 value). • For $45, you get a seven-hour massage class (a $99 value). Classes are offered two Sundays a month: July 17 and 24, August 14 and 28, September 18 and 25, and October 2 and 16; additional classes may be added as needed. The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks imparts budding stress-soothers with the requisite repertoire of strokes to melt away muscular aches and pains. Already-achy backs can submit to the therapeutic effects of a one-hour Swedish massage at the hands of an Academy of Massage graduate student. The massage is fully customizable to each client's needs, targeting shoulder pangs, lower backaches, and other specific ailments such as ingrown porcupines.
For more than a decade, the dedicated staff members at Summit Fitness Club have strived to set their gym apart from other athletic facilities with their personal approach to fitness. The owners are regularly on site to oversee operations and offer words of encouragement, and general manager Grace Fiorilla—a longtime gym member and an instructor for the past four years—calls upon her personal experiences at the gym to keep guests engaged.
The team cares for youngsters in the childcare area and leads classes ranging from martial arts–inspired BodyCombat sessions to flowing Pilates classes. The renovated space is populated with large-screen plasma TVs and row after row of free weights and cardio equipment, including cross-trainers, elliptical machines, and spinning cycles with computer feedback. In the lounge area—which is decorated with vibrant orange walls and multicolored, 3-D artwork—guests can sip complimentary coffee to help them ease into the day from workouts inadvertently performed while sleepwalking.
After undergoing renovations in 2007, Jay Lanes Bowling emerged with 24 freshly resurfaced lanes, brand-new furniture, and electronic scoring monitors. Patrons slip into bright-orange and highlighter-yellow bowling shoes before hurling three-holed balls conveniently color-coded by weight—6 to 16 pounds—and body mass index. Jay Lanes Bowling also hosts Friday- and Saturday-night glow bowling and houses a pro shop with for-sale balls and shoes.
Schuylkill River Outdoors outfits guests with tubes and rafts before sending them off to take tranquil, relaxing jaunts downstream. Customers can choose from three different aquatic sojourns—a brief, one-hour float, a two- to three-hour trek, or a five-hour marathon—to complete at their leisure. During trips, tubers and rafters can take time out to wade in the shallow waters or invent backstories for the wild turkey, ducks, and bald eagles they may encounter along the way. Multiple islands populate the gently flowing waters of the Schuylkill River, providing a convenient spot for explorers to stop to picnic or skip rocks. Schuylkill River Outdoors recommends that customers bring along their own snacks and drinks, sunscreen, bathing suits, and a pair of water-friendly shoes as footwear is mandatory.
Owner and culinary mastermind of French Quarter Bistro, Mark Van Horn’s prerequisites for a good meal are simple: authenticity, home cooking, and a liberal dash of soul. This dedication to comfort cooking has earned the French Quarter Bistro a host of dedicated regulars as well as the Philly Hot List's award for Best Soul Food in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In the bustling kitchen, chefs whip up creole and Cajun eats using unique ingredients such as house roasted peppers, alligator sausage, and fried pickles. Along with their flavorful dishes, French Quarter Bistro also serves up a variety of entertainment throughout the week, including open mic nights with local singers and poets tired of the wrestling portion of poetry slams.