More than 120,000 species of trees, wildflowers, and native plants take root across The Holden Arboretum’s 3,600 acres of themed gardens and natural terrain. As birds chirp overhead and butterflies binge on nectar plants, visitors make their way across 12 gardens on guided tours or leisurely strolls. The most intrepid wanderers can spend a full day attempting to navigate more than 20 miles of trails that wind through a rhododendron garden, a mature beech-maple forest, and a waterfowl observation blind. Guides facilitate a more focused experience during forest explorations and home landscaping sessions, the latter of which demonstrate how to add a lifelike smile to topiary sculptures of the mailman. The arboretum also hosts numerous lecture series, youth programs, and special events such as Fridays in the Garden, where light refreshments accompany presentations or walks with horticultural experts.
For two days every August, the oak-shaded land around Lake Metroparks Farmpark becomes home to a celebration of regional arts and gourmand culture as visitors gather to attend the Vintage Ohio Wine Festival. Representatives from more than 15 Ohio wineries participate in the festivities, pouring samples of locally produced table wines and fruit wines to please virtually any palate.
The celebration isn't limited to the confines of a wine glass, though. Three separate stages host performances by live bands, giving attendees an opportunity to tap their toes while enjoying a snack of freshly roasted corn, barbecue ribs, or funnel cake from one of the restaurants with booths on the grounds. Additionally, the festival features local artisans selling everything from handmade jewelry to clothing, and chefs leading cooking classes so visitors can learn the best way to filet a wine grape.
Fitworks is home to a dedicated cadre of certified muscle architects who guide eager physiques through intense, small group workouts. Peruse the schedule before sampling a tension-undoing yoga class or a weekend-morning muscle-pump session, ideal for prepping for an underwater bench-press that will determine the office's next round of promotions. One-hour Zumba classes harness the rhythmic power of merengue, conga, belly dancing, and more to kill calories while resuscitating sleepy toes. After classes, students can freshen up or flex unused singing muscles in Fitworks' shower facilities.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
In addition to taking care of their humble horses, owners and experienced equestrians Michele and Randy Clark have been spreading the good word of horsemanship to riders of all abilities for the past 15 years. Semiprivate lessons allow the Clarks to give personalized attention and educate guests on grooming, tacking, and safe riding techniques in the Western or English discipline. With two barns, a 50'x80' indoor arena, and two pastures, students are welcome to hone their wrangling skills year-round.
Shakthi Paramasivam, the founder of Shakthi Unlimited, facilitates self-discovery by challenging participants to walk across a bed of hot coals. The 3.5-hour workshop begins with a primer on the history and safety of firewalking, which aims to shore up courage and increase feet's book smarts. Through introspective activities and discussions, the process helps reveal attendees' inner power and energy reserves to their barefooted selves. Prepared soles then get to test themselves by venturing across 10–20 feet of hot embers. The tangible challenge can serve as an emotional catalyst for attendees, who leave the event refreshed and ready to start tackling fears, goals, and anthracite quarterbacks.