On many mornings in 1930, surrounded by the chirping of birds, Pulitzer Prize-winning Dutch author Edward Bok could be found in his studio at the base of a 205-foot art-deco, neo-Gothic tower. Today, visitors to Bok Tower Gardens, a National Historic Landmark, can take in the sights and wander the more than 50 acres of meandering gardens sculpted by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.
Visitors roam through shaded clearings and child-friendly gardens filled with vine-covered arbors and butterfly- and bird-watching areas, such as the Window By The Pond observatory. Paths wind past cold-resistant and semi-tropical ferns, palms, and pines, and vibrant explosions of azaleas, camellias, and magnolias that caretakers lovingly re-paint each morning. Among the trees stands Pinewood Estate, a Mediterranean-style mansion that welcomes seasonal tour groups into its rooms. In the gift shop, visitors peruse mementos such as historical books and decorative, nature-themed jewelry. The gardens sprawl through the Pine Ridge Nature Preserve, where a 3/4-mile path lets visitors glimpse rare plants and endangered animals such as the indigo snake and gopher tortoise. Gardens staff protect these grounds from fire damage, preserve plantings by collecting seeds, and reintroduce native species by organizing singles’ mixers.
In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
Nicole Almeida has been dancing since she was two years old and competing since she was nine. As owner of the newly inaugurated Studio 6 Academy of Dance, Almeida seamlessly blends her competitive dance background with her fitness training experience and education in exercise science and nutrition to offer students a place to fuel their passions for dance and fitness. Almeida strives to instill self-confidence and discipline in students of all ages as she, along with her team of instructors, leads a variety of dance classes including hip-hop, jazz, and ballet. Fitness courses include Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and P.U.S.H. boot camp, which combines group-exercise classes with personal training.
Curves trades in competitive rows of workout equipment for a circle of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. During 30-minute circuit classes, trainees form a convivial circle as they rotate from machine to machine, timed by a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music. Health-minded toe-tappers can attend eight classes of the new Curves Circuit with Zumba Fitness, which mixes Zumba dance moves with resistance exercises to create a muscle-toning combo that's almost as fun as your Jane Fonda salsercise tapes.
Between them, Keith St. Onge and David Small hold all three current World Barefoot Water Ski records. Beyond their championship-caliber skills, they cement their positions as true ambassadors of the sport by training the next generation of barefooters at World Barefoot Center. Under the guidance of Keith and David’s personal coach, Gary "Swampy" Bouchard, the center’s instructors walk students through proper stances and basic techniques on dry land before taking small groups for trips skimming across Lake Conine and Lake Rochelle. The expert staff can easily recognize and correct weaknesses in form and recommend waterfront restaurants with loose requirements.
Ridgewood Lakes Golf Club brandishes the design of renowned architect Ted McAnlis, including sparkling white-sand bunkers and stunning vistas that run throughout, especially on Ridgewood's signature 15th hole. Here, elevated tee boxes overlook a sloped green nestled between greenside bunkers. A pond also glistens along the left side, making it the most visually stunning hole on the course and most sought after signature in Ridgewood's yearbook. To prepare for such scenic, yet demanding challenges, players can also utilize Ridgewood's amenities, including a full driving range, chipping and putting areas, and a fully stocked pro shop.
Course at a Glance: