Since its inception as a nonprofit organization in 1985, Community Rowing Inc. has guided more than 15,000 students in invigorating rowing sessions held on the Charles River. Their experienced staff of Olympians and coaches helps students to become familiar with industry-standard boats and rowing machines through comprehensive introductory lessons and extended handshakes with the rowing arms. After gleaning the skills necessary to properly use equipment, students gain access to locker rooms, training areas, and any additional courses on the Charles River. The full-body, calorie-burning workouts are available throughout the week, allowing students to learn essential techniques such as sweeping, sculling, and dealing peacefully with the water road rage of aggressive gondoliers.
In the early ?70s, Boston-area resident Mike Farny dreamed of creating affordable outdoor recreational activities for his community to enjoy. In May of 1973, Mike set up shop in the MDC Norumbega Police Substation of Newton/Auburndale and began realizing his dream. The location?directly next to the historic Totem Pole Ballroom?perfectly enabled the environmentally friendly practice of canoeing and kayaking. Mike's vision blossomed over the years to include four other locations, each offering rentals, tours, and instruction.
Today, on-staff guides lead tours of the Charles River and Boston Harbor to educate participants in ecosystem conservation, view the skyline and sunset, or explore historic structures. Select trips also include lunch to fuel participants as they navigate difficult waterways and jump through flaming hoops. To prepare customers entering the water for the first time, instructors coach riders of all levels in private or group lessons at the paddling school, which draws on more than 30 years of instructional tradition. Staffers can also equip boaters in the shop?where P&H and Bor?al kayaks hang alongside Tahoe paddleboards and Wenonah canoes, dreaming of one day being the inspiration for a traditional sea chantey. Crew members help clients choose their ride and accessories from these selections and others through free daily demonstrations.
The Urban Grape pushes the fermented philosophy that wine and beer drinkers should explore its vast variety of flavors without intimidation. The shop’s extensive lineup of red wines ranges from the dark-chocolate aromas of Charles Krug’s cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley ($24) to the full-bodied O.Fournier tempranillo from Spain ($16). Have the ideal white wine for a gorgeous afternoon firing nukes at incoming asteroids with the Ken Forrester chenin blanc from Stellenbosch ($10), boasting subtle grapefruit and green-apple notes. Beer buffs may blissfully quiver while looking at The Urban Grape’s selection of brews, including a 22 oz. Brew Dog Punk IPA from San Diego ($7). The store offers a number of other libations as well, from organic and biodynamic wines to a stellar array of sake. Drop by for The Urban Grape’s scheduled complimentary wine tastings every Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m.–7 p.m. and every Saturday from 1 p.m.–3 p.m. to introduce taste buds to up to 16 different types of wine.
At The Clayroom, an evening spent decorating bisque pottery pieces can spark conversation and unleash each guest's inner artist. Visitors hunker down next to one of the studio?s two working fireplaces and work on their selected pottery pieces. After choosing anything from coffee mugs or butter dishes to cereal bowls, painters brush on various colors to create their own pieces of art. The studio kicks open its doors for birthday parties and baby showers, and hosts weekly events as Pizza Night and Wine and Cheese Night.