Through open-water certifications and more specialized SSI scuba-diving courses at Northeast Scuba, aquatic wanderers of all experience levels explore New England waters and marine life. Their certified instructors often begin with introductory courses to immerse newcomers in the sport and give them the skills to nap in the bathtub. Specialty courses, such as wreck diving, night diving, and underwater photography, further immerse certified students in local underwater worlds. For those interested in teaching, the school also provides instructor training to SSI, TDI, and Shamu standards.
In addition to regular classes, dive instructors also organize group diving trips to local sites and far-flung waters, where on-staff underwater photographers document dives. Dive-shop staff members also rent or sell the requisite equipment for a range of underwater excursions from manufacturers such as DUI, Henderson, Akona, and Fourth Element and also repair and maintain components.
James Alexander Wilson, W.M. Wilson, and their brother-in-law George Reynolds traveled from Enniskillen, Ireland in 1884 to establish Wilson Farm. Once settled in Lexington, the trio bought 16 acres of land and rented nearby farmland to start harvesting a variety of produce. Since then, their farm has been passed down through the generations and undergone a number of expansions, with a farm stand built in 1952 and an 8,500-square-foot barn and 37,000-square-foot greenhouse built in 1996.
Today, the farm harvests more than 125 crops year-round, which range from asparagus to zucchini, and it also carries farm-fresh milk and eggs, freshly caught fish, and homemade baked goods. The garden center and open-air nursery flourish with flowers as fresh as a newborn in parachute pants, as well as vegetable starters and spring bulbs, planting containers, and fertilizers.
The Wine Shop of Reading prompts clients to ask themselves, "am I the next Sam Adams?" But not because they're helping found a nation, but because they're interested in brewing beer. Onsite, The Wine Shop staff works with visitors to not just sell them great beer, but show them how to craft a solid home brew with the skills, ingredients, and equipment to do so. Instructors also teach wine making, as well as bartending skills, which involves more than artfully draping a towel over one shoulder and coming up with punny cocktail names.
Italian immigrants Frank and Mary Napoli began a new life in America in 1898 when they purchased 40 acres of land to harvest vegetables, poultry, and eggs. With their three sons in tow, the Napolis began a pushcart delivery business that evolved into a produce stand dubbed Idylwilde. Nearly 90 years later, that small-town stand has blossomed into a booming grocery business run by a third generation of Napoli brothers. Together, the trio designed the current store, which was built in 1985 from 100 tons of ash and pine and includes a Dutch barn and greenhouse.
From beneath the wood rafters and high ceilings of Idylwilde's store, carts of fresh, seasonal produce such as cape cod cranberries, english peas, and squash glisten under the lights. The deli houses the farm's own freshly made turkey burgers and daily delivered Scottish salmon, as well as Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef and Boar's Head meats. In the bakery, fresh-baked breads and jumbo cookies fill the air with the sweet scent of the hearth. Joining Idylwilde's proprietary stash of goods are items from other well-known vendors, such as Hogan Brothers coffee and Silver Cloud Estates spices, as well as special dietary foods including gluten-free breads. The market also carries an extensive stock of craft beer and wines ready for pairing with gourmet New England cheeses from their enviable pantry.
Housed within the antiquated Amos Blanchard House and Barn Museum, the Andover Historical Society preserves artifacts and archival records from Andover’s storied 350-year history. Within the more-than-100-year-old building, visitors can experience what it was like to live as a middle-class family in the early 19th century or peruse the vast library archives. The society also hosts events within the community, including the seasonal Tree Time display and lectures on the town’s history.
Since 1958, George's Bakery has stocked everything necessary for a Mediterranean dinner party or an authentic Wednesday night. Crowding the shelves are specialty spices, fresh pita breads, olives, and all kinds of imported canned goods. Along with baklava and other pastries, the store sells hookahs and the flavored tobacco they need to survive.