In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in Parents Magazine.
In the past 40 years, the Southern Litchfield Hills of northwestern Connecticut have seldom stood without an echo of laughter or music. That's because Woodbury Ski Area keeps them pulsing with skiers and snowboarders during winter months and warm-weather revelers and concertgoers throughout the summer. Tubing slides run down the hills throughout the summer, along with zorb balls—inflatable spheres that carry passengers to the bottom in 45 seconds.
Woodbury Ski Area's president Rod Taylor, who competed as a member of the U.S. Ski Team, maintains the facility with the same drive he used to become the national downhill ski champion and record holder for clearing 222 feet in the Glendale Jump contest. While helping to keep adrenaline levels high, Rod ensures the facility hosts more laid-back cultural events with concerts on the Woodbury stage. Past shows have featured legends including The Wailers, Fela Kuti, and UB40, as well as Muddy Waters, The Band, Bonnie Raitt, and Earl Scruggs.
Snap Fitness's around-the-clock gyms enable members to work on their physical well-being with a cornucopia of fitness equipment. With 24-hour access, members don't have to let The Man tell them when to help themselves to Snap's strength and cardio equipment, which features built-in TVs and other media diversions. For those who exercise during conventional hours, Snap's friendly, unintimidating atmosphere welcomes patrons of all ability levels, unlike schoolyard dodge-ball squads. Members also enjoy nationwide access to all Snap Fitness locations, ideal for working out while traveling. For a dose of custom advice, patrons can seek out a personal-training session with a certified coach, who helps them assess and address their fitness goals. Clients reap the benefit of individual attention as a personal trainer helps them tackle weight loss, prepare for an arm-wrestling competition, or unveil the mysteries of arcane cable-weight machines.
Marianne Chapin, owner of Kneading Hands Yoga for the past 10 years, takes a well-rounded approach to stress relief and wellness by marshalling years of yoga teaching experience. To help her run the studio, she has assembled a team of eight certified instructors who bring a wide range of skills to yoga classes. Available classes, all of which take place in a spacious and clean studio, include relaxing and meditative Hatha yoga, strength and stamina boosting hot-yoga sessions where temperatures of up to 98 degrees render muscles more pliable, and Pilates classes that build core strength and focus.
Backed by their intensive training and certification in venous-disease treatment, Dr. Alex Afshar and his team beautify skin and reduce discomfort with minimally invasive treatments. After one-on-one consultations, the medical professionals shrink varicose vascular tissue with laser or radiofrequency ablation, or help banish spider veins with sclerotherapy injections. In addition to promoting healthy veins, the staff at Vein Institute of Connecticut restores youthful tones to facial spaces with Juv?derm and Botox, and boosts the body's natural defenses against dust and eye-pokes with Latisse eyelash supplements.
More than 60 salon pros and their talented apprentices strive to perfect the art of hairdressing at Ricci’s Academy, and the salon-academy has been in business for more than 60 years. Under the guidance of skilled teachers, each with at least 13 years of experience, new-generation tress tamers snip strands to achieve clients' requested looks, from chin-length bobs to the multiterm shoulder-length layers made famous by FDR. A barbering program ensures scissor wielders can also trim with razors to keep men's cuts straight and neat.