San Francisco mayor and US senator James Duval Phelan built the Villa Montalvo in 1912 as a bastion of art, hosting such writers as Jack London and Edwin Markham in conversation-filled luncheons and creativity-fueling vacations. After his death, Phelan bequeathed the house and grounds to the public, asking that they continue its role as an incubator of inspiration. Today, the center hosts artist residencies, gallery exhibitions, and educational opportunities for visitors. Surrounding the wealth of culture, the 175-acre grounds include miles of hiking trails through woodlands densely populated with muses, a meticulously manicured Italianate garden, and a picnic-ready Great Lawn.
Jill Dailey McIntosh has always been intrigued by the human body and how it moves—so much so that she graduated in 1991 with a kinesiology degree and soon thereafter decided to open her own Pilates teaching studio. But it wasn't until years later that this curiosity would manifest itself in a single question: "How can one aggressively transform the shape of their body while still maintaining proper alignment of the spine?" Eventually Jill began to examine her diverse fitness background, pulling low-impact movements from ballet, Pilates, and even orthopedic-exercise routines to create the basis for her fitness style, The Dailey Method.
Now, more than a decade later, Dailey's fitness routine has ballooned into studios sprawled across more than 10 states and gained praise from Self, Allure, FitPregnancy, and InStyle magazines. Regardless of the location, instructors remain true to Jill's mission of offering a diverse series of exercises that focus on toning and lengthening the body while lengthening the spine and building strong core muscles.
The instructors at California Survival School impart decades of wilderness-survival know-how during outdoor, hands-on courses. Participants prepare themselves to live self sufficiently off the land using both modern and primitive techniques, which can come in handy when lost in the woods or the year 1412. During the Core Survival Skills Adventure Clinic, up to 30 students spend five hours learning to create fire using only sticks, build shelters with natural materials, purify water, and feed themselves off the land. The Ancient Artisans Workshop teaches novices how to fashion crude implements from scratch with materials found in nature, and how to use them while out in the wilderness. California Survival School also offers team-building workshops and private events.
When owners Kellie and Mike Ballard purchased the land for Savannah Chanelle Vineyards in 1996, they also inherited the plot of land's rich history. Originally cleared in 1901, it features a zinfandel vineyard that was planted in 1910 and a cabernet-franc vineyard that was planted in 1919, just to name a few. Today, the Ballards, winemaker Anthony Craig, and the staff rumba on the grapes to make an array of wines, including chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet franc, and zinfandel. Guests can sample the libations and take in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the vineyard's charming tasting room.
Ancient skills. Wild adventures. Deep connection. These three phrases describe WilderSkills's mission, but the center's hands-on programs for children put the words into action. Summer camps take youngsters away from screens and into the three-dimensional reality of the meadows and redwood groves of Savannah-Chanelle Vineyard, where instructors teach survival skills such as how to build a fire, how to construct a shelter, and how to distinguish ordinary animal tracks from celebrity animal autographs. Outdoor academics bring the natural experience to classroom learning by providing after-school sessions and lectures that take an interactive approach to science and ecology.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr’s only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and Pure Barre soon spread its franchises across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, participants can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers get back in shape. Intimate classes with a limit of 15 attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to get the most from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills.