While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Just a few steps from more than 22 miles of scenic trail-ways, West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co. provides tourists and locals with rentable bikes to explore the surrounding splendor. Stretching along Lake Apopka and through downtown Winter Garden, the path passes by boutiques, ice-cream shops, and historic destinations to jump off and explore by foot. Hourly and full-day rentals are available, and bikes can be delivered directly to any of the surrounding hotels. Those craving a more curated experience can sign up for guided tours, which traverse local trails, through populated downtown areas, and alleys filled with One Man's Treasure. Thanks to the range of bicycles offered, West Orange allows renters to get the right bike for hitting the trails or harmonizing to a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."
Meet Nannette. She's a former professional ballroom competitor with a slew of competition wins under her belt, but that's not as important as what she'll do for you. Alongside her staff of similarly talented dancers, Nannette cultivates a fun, inclusive, and laid back atmosphere while helping students perfect their ballroom footwork with classes in popular styles such as swing, waltz, tango, and cha-cha. Men, women, and even children learn how to twist and spin at all of Nannette's six locations, where guests can get exercise, relieve stress, and meet new dance-savvy people while having fun. The studio also offers private lessons in clients' homes or in their favorite supermarket aisles.
Certified as a Master Teaching Professional in 1999, Jim Cleary brings experience, an encyclopedic knowledge, and an eye for detail to the range or the course at Orange County National Golf Center. Here, he imparts par-hunting advice to golfers of all abilities. In nearly three decades as a golf instructor, Jim has soaked up swing tactics, mechanics tips, and strategic approaches from some of the game's most venerated coaches. He has tirelessly sought and devoured information that could improve a pupil's performance, like a caddy wiretapping greenskeepers for insider information. Golfers can glean technical tips in lessons conducted at the practice facilities or bolster their course management in playing lessons.
At A&J Cycles, certified mechanic Robert Gagne draws from more than 20 years of motorcycle-repair and custom-building experience to keep treasured two-wheelers of all models running smoothly and safely. He and his staff of motorcycle enthusiasts have a multitude of vital accessories at their disposal, from tires and seats to protective leather gear for men and women. In the garage, services such as engine overhauls, customizations, or routine tire and oil-change services are performed.
Since 1986, Windermere has welcomed sultans of swing to relax and hone their skills with friends and family in a sophisticated, yet relaxed country-club atmosphere. The course recently finished a complete cosmetic makeover, renovating the greens, bunkers, driving range, and clubhouse with fresh bermuda-grass seed. Originally designed by Ward Northrup, the 18-hole, par 72 championship course caters to handicaps of all levels with 6,558 yards of meticulously manicured fairways, making it one of the newest and most handsome semiprivate clubs in the area. Thirteen holes border lakes, and 63 strategically placed bunkers challenge experienced golfers and give amateurs multiple chances to supplement their income with hidden sand dollars.