Spanning more than 30 acres of scenic pasture on conservation land, Sycamore Stables offers horseback riding lessons for students of all skill levels. The highly trained and friendly staff of Sycamore Stables teaches hunter, jumper, and equitation riding and training. Equestrian novice and bronco-busting veterans alike can enjoy some horsetime with private lessons—each one-hour private lesson is packed with personalized, hands-on instruction for improving human-horse relations. Riding lessons allow people to connect with a majestic, intelligent animal, take part in three millennia of equestrianism, and appear much, much taller on a first date. Equine tutelage is offered in Sycamore Stable’s state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor riding arenas, allowing for year-round horseback access.
Hickory Ridge Golf Club’s dense tree lines create tunnels of narrow fairways intersected by a meandering creek that comes into play on at least nine of the course's 18 holes. Players immediately find themselves myriad obstacles on the first hole, a 509-yard par 5 with a lateral hazard running the length of the left side and an elevated green with an out-of-bounds area summoning errant shots beyond the pin. After the initial hole, birdie opportunities abound on the front nine so long as players control their shots off the tee, make wise club selections on approaches to the green, and avoid penalty strokes for chop blocking unsuspecting caddies.
More difficult challenges await on the back nine, including tricky par 4s on holes 12 and 14 and long par 3s on holes 15 and 17. Before finishing the round, golfers must conquer the par 4 18th hole, which requires a long layup on the second shot and often sends unfocused golfers on their way with a bogey and a Kick Me sign as they complete the round.
Course at a Glance:
The proprietor and chief guide behind Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, Marla BB, invites patrons to hitch their dreams of adventure onto the backs of her alaskan huskies for mushing, skijoring, and outdoor excursions in the Berkshires. Her hallmark attraction is mushing through both snowy hills and on dryland tracks—a unique offering for the region that has earned her attention from media outlets such as Mushing magazine and Animal Planet.
The skijoring and sled-dog school teaches novices how to captain a team of dogs either in a sled or on skis, which can give them give them a way to skip long ski-resort lift lines. Marla also leads day excursions through DAR State Forest, Chesterfield Gorge and Westfield River, and the Deerfield River Watershed, keeping bikers, hikers, kayakers, and bird watchers safe as she is a certified wilderness first responder and an expert in swift-water safety and rescue.
At Bikram Yoga Northampton, commitment and focus supersede the search for absolute perfection. So long as you are doing your best, instructors Audrey Liley and Jessika Brandley ask for nothing more. As they lead their students through the 26 asanas—or postures—of Bikram yoga, they provide helpful insights regarding the significance of each. At some point, they’ll likely explain that this specific progression of postures is intended to stretch muscles and promote the flow of blood to the body’s vital organs. Held in a classroom that’s heated to 105 degrees, these yoga classes may also facilitate the breakdown of glucose, fatty acids, and accidentally swallowed ice cubes.