Beneath the high ceilings of Cast Away's yarn shop, towering shelves overflow with bundles of color-coordinated wool, cashmere, and alpaca yarn. Cobblers' tool shelves, iron baby bathtubs, and even a dingy retired from its maritime duties catch the runoff, creating a homey space peppered with vibrant colors for a distinctly bohemian feel.
At the center of this antique bliss is a pair of vintage armchairs, where customers can recline and survey how-to books or familiarize themselves with the supplies for one of Cast Away's staff-taught classes. Though the calendar implies a steady buzz of activity, the shop's proprietor doesn't stop there. She regularly books notable authors and designers for workshops and special lessons that center around projects such as knitted afghan squares and lace vests that add old-timey charm to an outfit without forcing one to wear steel gauntlets.
Heloventure founders can say they've probably seen the Golden Gate Bridge from above more often than they've seen it from below. That's because in 2010, the aviation-loving duo joined their piloting experience and passion for flight with the purchase of an R44 Clipper helicopter, which they now use to give area tours, hands-on introductory flight-instruction, and even aerial support for professional and amateur photographers. Heloventure was born with that acquisition, with the duo respectively having 20 years of piloting experience and 10 years of hands-on mechanic experience and organizing lessons and instruction.
Since its start, the business has expanded from commercial flights to performing scenic tours by helicopter and airplane that grant stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Coast and Napa and Sonoma wine region, while Mt. St. Helena. Mt. Diablo. and Mt. Tamalpias rise high above the endless valleys. For passengers who want even more control in their sky travel, Heloventure's flight-instruction program grants its students ground instruction and flight time in either a Robinson R-44 chopper or in a fixed-wing airplane. As students learn to properly pilot their aircraft, they get a gleam of the forces that drive pilots to do what they do, and they learn the dangers of decorating one's home only from in-flight shopping magazines.
An experienced gymnastics instructor and fitness enthusiast, Gretchen Iniguez firmly believes a fit body leads to a happy life. The seasoned personal trainer discovered Pilates in 2005, instantly falling in love with the way it strengthened her core muscles, improved her flexibility, and uplifted her spirits. Gretchen would continue to train for years in the Pilates practices—including pre- and postnatal Pilates and Pilates for clients with scoliosis—before opening her own studio.
Within Lifestyle Pilates's sunny and spacious facility, Gretchen conducts Pilates classes for men and women of all athletic abilities. She guides students through lively strength-training exercises using a variety of equipment, including spring-loaded resistance machines, hand weights, and exercise balls. Gretchen strives to motivate her students by keeping workouts fresh and engaging, providing constant encouragement, and screaming onomatopoeias when it looks like they're getting tired.
Harnessing a background in both art and education, The Pottery Studio's owner aims to create a community gathering space where kids and adults can channel their individual creative urges into decorative or functional pottery, tiles, and mosaics. Amateur artists can grab provided brushes, dip them in eco-friendly and water-soluble paints, and then coat clay in any of more than 60 hues. Idea books are on hand to help aid in the design as one maneuvers stencils and sponges across mugs and plates, or kids and pets can learn to create a lasting impression without super-gluing themselves to the garage door by making clay hand- or footprints. Once ready, the professional staff dips each earthenware masterpiece into a clear glaze, fires it inside a kiln, and readies it to be picked up within one week. The pro potters also encourage each visiting artisan to bring coffee and snacks, and during evening hours, bottles of wine can tag along to refill adults' juice boxes.