Sylvia, the owner and operator of Ballroom Dance Center, draws on more than 15 years of ballroom-dance experience and her title as US Rising Star Latin Champion to teach students the graceful art of dance. She and her coterie of instructors lead a variety of programs based on students’ ambitions and desires, ranging from basic dance lessons for students who just want to learn the moves to gold packages that prepare hobbyists for performances and exhibitions. Sylvia solidifies steps during private lessons that focus on technique and styling and supplements these sessions with group lessons and practice parties that allow dancers to experience different partners and practice in a social setting.
Even from a distance, you can make out the dark pockets in the sandstone cliffs next to the seaside village of Matala on Crete’s southern shore. The cliff is riddled with ancient caves, some of which are large enough to shelter sleeping nooks. Nowadays, these caves are famous for being the 1960s refuge of wandering hippies such as Joni Mitchell, who sang about "scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon" in her song "Carey." Rick Sweitzer, the executive director of the adventure-tours company The Northwest Passage, fell in love with Crete during the same era as Mitchell and began designing tours to share the island's splendors. An eight-day kayaking trip explores Matala Bay and other hidden treasures along the Cretan coast. After five to six hours of paddling per day—which always includes a cappuccino break—you’ll feast on Greek specialties such as moussaka, beef stew, and stuffed grape leaves before settling into a cozy, family-run inn. Days 1–2: After catching your own flight to Heraklion International Airport on Crete's northern coast, look for a sign labeled "NWP" to meet up with staff. The trip starts with a tour of the nearby Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace that predates the Trojan War. Afterward, head on to Matala, where guides outfit you with a paddle, a life vest, and a spray skirt for basic sea-kayaking lessons in Matala Bay. Days 3–6: Each day, the group of 6–17 kayakers paddles between seaside inns and small restaurants known as tavernas, leaving plenty of free time for swimming and sunbathing. You’ll visit historic sites along the way, including Minoan ruins and Agios Pavlos, an 11th-century Byzantine chapel where St. Paul is said to have shipwrecked. Head inland to hike the Samariá Gorge, a national park filled with rare kri-kri goats. Other stops includes the coastal town of Chora Sfakia and an optional trek on the E4 European Long Distance trail, which runs west all the way to Spain.Days 7–8: The trip winds down in Loutro, a cluster of whitewashed houses accessible only via sea. On the final evening, guides will lead a sunset hike to the ruins of a Venetian fortress on top of a nearby ridge. The next morning, hop on a shuttle or hitch a lift with a passing dolphin back to Heraklion. If time allows, you can pop into the city's archeological museum before boarding your plane ride home.See the full itinerary for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
The six-week Baseline tennis program at Five Seasons Family Sports Club infuses beginners ages 18 and older with a passion for the game through energetic weekly lessons. Racket rockers learn from a team of experienced pros at both the Northbrook and Burr Ridge locations, each boasting climate-controlled indoor courts and adventurous outdoor courts completely at the mercy of the climate. Students harness basic footwork, forehand, backhand, and behind-the-back no-look slam dunks in a group setting. Social events let fellow net apprentices compare notes throughout the course, including a welcome reception, a member-appreciation party, and a graduation mixer. Any student not born with rackets for arms—or who simply doesn't own one—can borrow one from the club. Classes are generally held Monday through Thursday and on Saturday, with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions available; students should call the club of their choice for complete scheduling information and sweatband fashion tips.
Formerly known as the Frank Govern Memorial Golf Course, Evanston Wilmette Community Golf Course awakens the competitive spirit of golfers of all abilities with an 18-hole, par 60 executive layout. With a total distance of 4,000 yards, the fairway chain invites players to attack each hole from the tee box, as the bulk of the course's difficulty awaits in the form of challenging greens and scorecards that hypnotize anyone who attempts to read them. Trees also loom on the edges of most holes as the layout winds along the edge of the North Shore Channel. Requiring a considerably shorter playing time than its full-length counterparts, Evanston Wilmette's abridged links cater to workers squeezing in a quick, after-hours round or 9-irons trying to get in 18 before their date with a dashing pool cue.
The nine holes of Willow Hill Golf Course sprawl across 87 grassy acres before the scenic backdrop of the Chicago skyline. The par 35 course conjures up visions of the early days of golf with a Scottish links-style design winding for 2,895 yards through low rolling hills and dense rough, left high to punish errant shots and provide cover for napping golfers mid-game. Before or after a round, players can work on finesse around the greens at the 100-yard short-game practice area, or hone their hacks on the driving range, where all 40 stations mimic strokes off the fairway with grass hitting surfaces.
Course at a Glance: