The bright, modern ABSolutely Fit Center facility is staffed by a team of certified fitness professionals who keep themselves busy throughout the day by leading personal-training sessions and aerobics classes. The staff’s expert coaches oversee boxing and kickboxing-infused workouts, whereas its seasoned dance instructors guide students through forms and techniques in Latin, ballroom, and swing dancing classes. When they aren’t conducting classes, staffers stand by to offer clients assistance with the gym’s extensive selection of advanced exercise equipment, including free weights, rowing machines, and ellipticals.
Whale watching was a relatively new concept when John Fish's grandfather started giving tours. "We kind of originated it," Mr. Fish says. "Thirty years ago we were the only ones doing whale watching." As the company became more successful over the years, additional captains were brought on to cover the demand. Today, these crews continue to ferry groups into the habitats of several whale species, including humpback whales and sperm whales. Though the whales seen along Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch's journeys still breach and refuse to sign autographs, other things have changed over the years. Below deck, the current fleet's engines work to reduce emissions and provide a fume-free experience. Above deck, 360-degree viewing decks and modern technology help bring whales into sight. Onboard computers display large maps of where the aquatic mammals are known to swim, and GPS systems reroute boats around mermen constructing new reefs. In addition to illuminating the behavior of whales for passengers, the crew's wildlife experts point passengers toward other animals they spot along the way, such as white-sided dolphins and harbor seals. Though some variables are beyond their control, the crew members almost always spot whales and boasted a 98% success rate in 2009.
Wonder Mountain Family Fun Park sternly rebuffs boredom with two mini-golf courses and a challenging human maze. Adventurers can negotiate the twisting turns, dead ends, and elevated checkpoints of the Treasure Trap ($5/person for ages 5+) in less than 10 minutes to enter weekly drawings for cash and T-shirts or to outrun overzealous Pac-Men. Alternatively, opt for a round of mini golf ($10/adult; $8/senior or child ages 5–12) on one of two courses strewn with lush foliage, flowing waterfalls, and muttering streams. Send dimpled balls spinning across the Mountain Mania course, recently rebuilt with five new hole layouts, or test your mettle on the Nautical Nightmare course, whose challenging holes may be better suited for teens and adults than youngsters or those who depend on holes-in-one for life force.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
The Boathouse’s team of aquatic experts makes Casco Bay accessible to adventurers of all ages and skill levels by renting out and selling Riviera stand-up paddleboards, which boast a quick response, easy glide, and maneuverability. Their one-hour private paddleboarding lessons empower newcomers to gracefully propel themselves over calm, glassy waters using an oar or an uprooted stop sign. In addition to paddleboards, The Boathouse also sends thrill-seekers splashing through the bay with surf boards, Hobie Cat boats, and various water accessories, such as wetsuits and sailing shorts.
In the 1800s, windjammers and their mighty sails were a frequent sight up and down Maine's coast, where they would pull fish from the water and fill New England's insatiable need for goldfish crackers. By the 21st century, most had abandoned windjammers for engine-powered vessels—but not Hasket Derby Hildreth. A boat builder and mechanical engineer, Hildreth had a vision to re-create the windjammer's classic design on modern shores. Working with a friend who was a boat restorer, Hildreth and his team fashioned their own steel tools and built one of Portland's only engineless windjammers, which they affectionately christened Frances. Maine Sailing Adventures launched Frances in the fall of 2003. Though Hildreth has since passed away, his memory lives on through the legacy Frances continues to perpetuate with each voyage. Today, she can be found at Maine State Pier, where passengers board her shallow deck and sail out to enjoy Maine's scenic coasts without the noise or emissions typical of engine-powered boats. These trips stretch beyond standard tours, though. As they sail, the crew spins tails of Portland's maritime history, teaches passengers how to hoist the topsail, and transforms the boat into a floating classroom, where students can learn about lobster migration and how many wishes they can get from a starfish.