With a mission to enable deaf-blind individuals to achieve their full potential, North Carolina Deaf-Blind Associates advocates for the rights and needs of its constituents through consumer advocacy and community-building events. John Washington and Sue Etheridge started the group as a consumer organization in 1983, but it expanded to offer annual conventions and retreats to help reduce the isolation that can result from living with communication obstacles. Conferences promote new technologies and advocate for individual rights, and the Camp Dogwood Deaf-Blind Weekend Retreat provides a much-needed space for deaf-blind adults to socialize, share stories, and participate in life-skills classes, sporting events and dances, and outings to local shopping centers or the lake.
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Stars Theater & Arts Center fosters self-confidence and life skills through arts education and dramatic performance. Theatrical director Cindy Verian writes and directs, making each show a family affair by having her husband and children share the responsibilities of set construction, choreography, and sound design. Along with staging performances of musicals and original shows, Stars Theater & Arts Center also holds youth classes and camps to develop performance and personal skills. Through positive self-expression, young thespians hone creative thinking, speaking skills, and self-confidence to boost their academic performance and prepare them for upcoming congressional speeches.
Classes and performances take full advantage of Stars Theater & Arts Center's facility, which includes a 1,600-square-foot ballroom, a dance studio, and a 120-seat theater. First-time visitors take in the exterior's castle-like design and faux drawbridge flanked by archers on the lookout for acid-penned critics.
Within Tag Ur It’s family-owned indoor play center, youngsters glide down slides, rock atop spring horses, and leap about in bounce houses. After emerging from the inflatable obstacle course, kids scamper off to the arcade to battle fictional opponents or challenge their less-pixilated playmates to rounds on the mini-golf course, bouts in the laser-tag arena, and bean-bag flinging at the corn-hole station. Along with open-play sessions, Tag Ur It accommodates guests with a trio of birthday-party packages where up 20 children can enjoy a two-hour party block.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Although the art of taekwondo may have origins thousands of years into Korea's past, Master Michael Wegmann and his wife Julia inject a modern approach at Vision Martial Arts. Together, they teach effective techniques to kids, women, and men, imparting equally valuable lessons in self-defense, exercise, and mental discipline. They run their six academies with help from a team of trained instructors, who all focus on developing mentor-like relationships with their students through personal attention and powerful speeches delivered atop school desks. At select locations, they also teach a form of kickboxing similar to krav maga.
Owner and vintner Dr. Lane Gregory and his staff of merry winemakers harvest their wine grapes from the fertile muscadine vines that flourish on Gregory Vineyards' 120 acres of lush farmland. The winery's Old-World tasting room and wood furniture lend a rustic atmosphere to samplings of cleverly named wines such as Sly Fox, Ruth Walton, or the dry white known as Bald Eagle. Like North Carolina's banana trees, the regional muscadine grape thrives from late August until early October, giving Dr. Gregory and company only a matter of weeks to harvest the tough-skinned fruit.
In addition to tastings, the handsome property plays host to weddings and other special events. And, on an average day, visitors may be spotted taking wine tours with Dr. Gregory, exploring the vineyards, or enjoying a sandwich at the on-site Grape Vine Deli.
The Adams family has farmed the land of Adams Vineyards for eight generations. Years ago, though, they replaced the leafy tobacco plants they'd grown for decades with fruit trees and twining muscadine grapevines. Quincy Adams leads tours of the winery where they where they use blueberries, peaches, apples, pears, and blackberries to make wine. Visitors can pair sips of those varietals with hors d'oeuvres such as Boar's Head cheese or chocolates handcrafted by Quincy's mother, Joyce. At the end of each summer, the family hosts a Grape Stomp Festival, where guests of all ages can participate in the timeless juicing method.