Dead Broke Farm's name derives not only from the cost of owning horses, but also from the terminology for teaching a horse to wear a saddle—known in the industry as “breaking a horse to ride.” Trainers stable “dead broke,” or thoroughly saddle-trained, horses, alongside more spirited animals on the 110-acre farm. They also house steeds saved through their horse-rescue program, with more than 70 of their mounts avoiding fates in slaughterhouses and other undesirable ends since 2004.
Horses show off their trotting chops during farm trail rides, carrying riders on explorations of the rolling hills and whispering creeks scattered across more than 10 miles of bridle trails cut through woods populated by deer, cranes, and other wildlife. Private rides allow for more personalized routes and can incorporate stops at scenic ponds for proposals or more challenging terrain for advanced riders. Instructors also schedule horseback-riding lessons, teaching balance through rides over undulating terrain rather than through exercises such as riding a horse that is riding a seesaw.
Melanie Dale?s passion for dance is infectious. After graduating college with a degree in ballet performance, she extended her repertoire by exploring partnership dancing. She has since seasoned her artistry with over 29 years of experience in ballroom and Latin styles, participating in international competitions and becoming a certified championship judge. Today, the former ballerina shares her love of dance with her pupils at her studio A Step to Gold International Ballroom. She welcomes tentative and experienced dancers alike, teaching them fancy footwork to debut at an upcoming party or wedding. Along with a full staff of professional dance instructors, she whisks students to their feet to execute dozens of styles including the beat-driven cha-cha, passionate tango, and elegant Viennese waltz. In addition to technique-centered classes, she offers dance-inspired workouts such as Zumba, which fuses Latin music with body-sculpting dance moves.
Sculpted through undulating, woodland terrain, Eagle Ridge Golf Club's par 71 course is a 6,904-yard testament to the inventive design of 1992 U.S. Open Champion Tom Kite, who made roughly two dozen trips to the site while crafting the layout. Multiple high-risk, high-reward shots manifest themselves throughout the round, creating a pin-hunting experience that—unlike trying to guess where the valet hid your car keys—challenges players without sacrificing fun. With many shots into elevated or downhill greens, the course places sound wedge and short-iron shots at a premium.
Before or after rounds, clubbers can warm up at the practice green or swing to their heart's content at the driving range, where practice balls paint racing stripes on themselves in anticipation of their trip into the clouds. To further promote score-shaving form, the club's pro shop peddles the latest in technologically enhanced golf gear, a PGA staffer offers lessons and clinics, and the dining facility fuels muscles for the next tape-measure drive.
Sparians Bowling Boutique & Bistro aims to elevate the traditional alley experience by creating a lounge-like environment suitable for a daytime family outing as well as a night out on the town. Comfortable, plush couches replace the hard plastic seats normally stationed behind lanes, giving visitors places to more easily kick back and relax in between frames. Black lights lend a midnight-worthy glow to the bowling areas, transforming each ball into a neon streak as it hurtles toward the pins. A perfect score is rarely the primary goal, though. Instead, Sparians encourages visitors of all skill levels to come and enjoy themselves in an environment determined to bring bowling alleys into the 21st century.
Beyond the lanes, the entertainment center features numerous opportunities for guests looking to pass a few hours. A separate upscale-sports-bar area helps quench thirsts with frosty beers or potent cocktails and serves hearty comfort foods such as crispy chicken wings, burgers, and stone-baked pizzas.
Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness first opened its 35,000-square-foot fitness centers in 1979, and the specialists have since maintained a commitment to helping their members lead healthier lifestyles. They work in partnership with hospitals and medical professionals to stay keen on current research, turning this information into personal-training programs and professional advice for members of all fitness levels. In addition to programs in fitness and recreation, health education, and nutrition, Healthtrax Fitness & Wellness offers more than 60 group fitness classes. Members can shake up their routines with group cycling, yoga, and Pilates sessions, or tune out the surrounding world while burning calories on TV-equipped cardio machines. Member amenities also include basketball courts and an aquatics center in addition to outlets for kids including a youth activities center and babysitting services for kids that are tired of pretending to be their mom's fanny pack as she works out.
Prolific course architect David Postlethwait sculpted Hedingham Golf Club's 18-hole course, artfully integrating the area's naturally undulating terrain, dense tree-lines, and rippling waterways into a seamless and scenic layout. Wooded areas loom at the edges of multiple fairways, forming natural boundaries that reach out twiggy arms to snag golf balls and plant them in the ground to one day bloom into argyle socks. Newly installed bermuda grass greens await at the end of every fairway; their smooth, slick surfaces ready to complicate putts with tricky breaks. Sequestered in the middle of the Hedingham Community near the scenic shores of the Neuse River, the club also encompasses an expansive practice facility, where players can warm up or enlist the expertise of one of the Club's resident instructors or immortal three-irons.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,529 yards * Course rating of 71.6 * Course slope of 124