Extreme athletes banded together to design Spartan Races' intense courses orchestrated over standardized distances, each strewn with natural and man-made obstacles to test mind-body fitness, resilience, stamina, and strength, designed to leave participants exhausted and exhilarated. In waves of 200, runners collect smudges and stains as they perform box jumps, haul heavy sandbags, and juke feral linebackers. Depending on where in the world they're participating, the course may be as short as 3 miles or, for extremely practiced athletes, as long as a full marathon.
Motivated by a passion for climbing and an understanding of how the sport enhances both mental and physical strength, the architects of Inner Peaks designed their gym to challenge climbers with 13,000 square feet of continuous, molded climbing walls boasting an altitude of 25 feet. With the addition of 50 rope stations, terrain for every skill level, a bouldering area, and training courses for ages 16 and older, they created a facility that fosters development of the skills needed to climb natural rocks or trim Lincoln's nose hairs on Mount Rushmore. The gym's team of expert climbers is headed by husband and wife owners, Doug Cosby and Page Lee, who both have many years of experience in sport climbing and climbing-gym management under their belts. The passionate staff is always dangling somewhere nearby ready to assist or offer instruction as burgeoning climbers scale an unparalleled lead cave, negotiate three long, aesthetic cracks, and maneuver around arches, roofs, and routes that are altered each week.
When rock-climbing couple Christy and Scott Thrift got engaged, Christy was dangling off the side of Stone Mountain. The same adventurous spirit that elevated their engagement informs their married life, which they spend running their wilderness guiding service, Thrifty Adventures. While some of the duo’s trips require previous outdoor experience, most welcome all participants, and range from ice climbing adventures to rock climbing and backpacking trips. Along the way, Scott and Christy teach safety basics, climbing techniques, and strategies for preserving natural surroundings, such as refraining from nibbling on the mountain.
Lisa Underwood is an artist of many and diverse talents, as her online portfolio attests. Her pieces range from three-dimensional sculptures to graphite drawings of colonial homes, the latter accomplished with such vivid detail that one begins to imagine the graphite families inside, sitting down to eat a graphite dinner and watch a scary graphite movie, such as Eraser. Mainstream Creative’s therapeutic workshops and seminars give Lisa a regular outlet through which to share her abilities with individual students and groups. In classes open to artists of all abilities, Lisa cycles through exercises that stimulate creativity, hone drawing techniques, and enhance students’ awareness of the world around them.
Four generations of the Wilson family have maintained Cotton Hills' sprawling homestead, which continues to yield cotton, wheat, timber, pumpkins, and other produce. Guided tours relax visitors with a 40-minute wagon ride through the twists and turns of a working farm and grant agricultural knowledge without the tedium of a scarecrow's memoirs. Patrons navigate the rustling halls of a corn maze and exchange greetings with barnyard animals in the crisp air. Visitors admire the farm?s 19th-century barns, which are steeped in pastoral history. Though not included in this Groupon, locally made ice cream and fresh produce from the adjoining market energize farm visitors more pleasantly than an early-morning phone call from a rooster.
Happy Hills Alpaca Farm celebrates all aspects of the furry alpaca, from its fleece to its general cuteness. The farm serves as a one-stop shop for people looking to purchase alpacas, pick up hypoallergenic alpaca-fleece socks or scarves, or simply watch and feed the animals. The farm holds regular events to better acquaint the public with these useful creatures, whose warm, soft, and durable coats form the basis of jewelry and clothing including baby products. Tours provide a close-up view of the alpacas and the fleece-spinning process, so visitors can learn more about sustainable farming.