Starry Night Bakery & Coffeehouse owner Shannon Clarke found a passion for baking delicious treats as a child, when she would whip up fresh blueberry muffins for her family in between watching Saturday morning cartoons. After kicking aside her desk job to chase her dreams, Clarke turned her passion into her livelihood by opening Starry Night Bakery & Coffeehouse. Her career change paid off. In addition to owning a thriving business, Shannon was also ask to compete on Season 3 of Food Network's popular show, Cupcake Wars against other top bakers from around the nation.
Visitors to the popular bakery can sample a rotating seasonal menu of cupcakes in classic flavors such as red velvet and chocolate chip, as well as inventive varieties, such as salted caramel apple or an espresso and chocolate ganache voodoo cake. The caf? also features streamlined, black-leather sofas, so customers can lounge as they sip chai and freshly ground espresso drinks, snack on cinnamon rolls, or fuel up with breakfast items such as cheddar biscuits stuffed with hickory bacon. And when she is not making hand held cakes, cookies, and savory fare, Shannon combines her skills as a graphic designer and baker to create customized wedding and birthday cakes.
Nestled in the rolling hills of Maryland's countryside, the Wakefield Valley Golf Club showcases three different nine-hole courses. Each course presents a unique set of challenges, with the green course showcasing lengthy par 5s and the white course challenging golfers with hilly terrain and water holes that lure errant shots and experimental scuba-tank golf bags. The gold course, meanwhile, sets up demanding tee shots into narrow fairways, as seen on its signature eighth hole, where water guards the green on all sides.
Golfers can warm up for rounds at the driving range and practice green or employ the swing-honing advice of PGA Professional Scott Magee, who teaches enough students to believe that he will find one who can pull a putter from a stone. Guests can also refuel rumbling stomachs with casual food and drinks at Fenby’s Restaurant.
Supper Thyme's goal is to de-stress the breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours by inviting visitors to craft hearty and nutritious meals beforehand. After perusing the monthly rotating menu, customers can select an assortment of calorie-conscious, family-friendly, or organically inspired dishes and schedule an appointment to come in and assemble the ingredients. Staff members then gather all of the necessary ingredients and utensils, ensuring that each meal can be assembled in as few as 10 minutes. In between portioning out servings, visitors can enjoy a snack while listening to music or chatting with fellow attendees in the shop’s casual, low-stress kitchen environment. The meals can remain safely frozen in homes' freezers, with easy-to-follow cooking instructions allowing customers to quickly thaw and cook entrees whenever they might need to feed families, guests, or a lost restaurant reviewer.
Top Flite Super Range golf balls hurtle toward laser-measured targets on Westminster Island Green’s lighted range, where players practice their drives from 50 hitting stations. Guests continue to enrich their golfing skills during lessons with PGA-certified golf instructors, summertime junior clinics (with 7:1 student-teacher ratios), and ladies or couples golf clinics held every other Thursday. Westminster Island Green also accommodates putters with a fully lit 18-hole miniature golf course, with island-themed landscaping and goldfish ponds. Alternatively, baseball buffs can watch their homers fly through an open-air batting park unobstructed by nets. There, pitching machines launch softballs at up to 60 mph and baseballs at up to 70 mph, while batters control the height of each pitch and the speed at which they spit out sunflower seeds.
Because Thrive! Group Fitness and Wellness focuses exclusively on personal instruction and group fitness classes, its instructors can focus on designing the most effective and engaging workouts possible. Atop bamboo flooring that's fortified with a cork-and-gel layer for a safer impact, instructors lead more than 15 classes, including barre, Zumba, and TRX suspension-training, which is designed to strengthen cores with a series of resistance-band exercises. They keep classes fun by incorporating a mix of yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and upbeat music during Cynergy. They believe, however, that working out is just one factor in the equation of overall wellness, offering nutritional workshops, massage therapy, and wellness coaching to maintain focus on the complete picture.
Underneath the same big, country sky that blankets Frederick County's dairy farms and horse ranches, the winery building at Elk Run Vineyards, built in 1756, overlooks rolling hills that were originally a land grant to Lord Baltimore from the King of England. Though this land has seen many uses, today Fred and Carol Wilson and Neill Bassford tend its soil to produce a range of Gold, Double Gold, and Best of Maryland award-winning wines such as cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and Cold Friday chardonnay. Winemakers craft these libations using a blend of contemporary equipment and Old-World winemaking techniques. They harvest grapes from plots planted in schist and shale soil designed to follow sustainable agricultural practices.