It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
Since 1967, BSSC has been bringing people together to hit, kick, dunk, and catch balls of all shapes and sizes. More than 45,000 players join its leagues every year to compete in 12 different sports that range from field hockey and basketball to soccer and kickball. Men?s, women?s, and coed options help every player find a team more enjoyable to play with than one exclusively made up of imaginary friends. The club helps members stay active and socialize with a variety of outdoor adventures and social events, including pub crawls.
The club also organizes longer jaunts, such as day and weekend ski trips that take groups to snowy slopes or more involved weekend and week-long trips that venture beyond state and even national boundaries. The club?s seasoned travel experts plan each detail, freeing travelers from the hassle of booking accommodations or figuring out if a country only accepts secrets as currency.
In 1967, a pair of rock climbers founded the first Eastern Mountain Sports store to share their passion for nature and provide the hard-to-find gear they used to explore its wildest depths. Since then, the outdoor-gear-and-apparel purveyor has expanded to encompass 69 retail locations and 11 outdoor-adventure schools between Maine and Virginia. Using input from their own climbing-school guides, they design, engineer, and test much of their own gear and apparel—often amid harsh conditions on Mount Washington Observatory’s wintry peak.
In each store and adventure school, a knowledgeable staff outfits customers for year-round camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and other outdoor expeditions. Bianchi, Jamis, and Marin bikes speed cyclists along paths, and multipurpose backpacks help adventurers keep their secret diaries safe from bears. Stores also stock men’s and women’s seasonal outdoor apparel and high-tech outdoors electronics such as altimeters, GPS tools, camping lanterns, and portable audio devices.
To ensure customers venture out with the proper gear, Eastern Mountain Sports also backs up services and products with a satisfaction guarantee. Upon request, they can replace products, adjust climbing gear, and perform maintenance on bikes, skis, and snowboards. Staff members may also recommend their favorite trails, climbs, and rivers, or help customers embark on international adventure tours conducted by Austin-Lehman Adventures.
East Coast Alpine keeps bikers cycling to the summit of their skill-mountain by tuning two-wheelers to peak condition. Technicians calibrate bikes for safety and a smooth ride by adjusting the brakes, front and rear derailleurs, and cables; physically checking the derailleur hanger, bottom bracket, crankset, hubs, rims, and tires; and testing the bike's gear-jerk reflex using a tiny hammer. Bikologists will also degrease and lubricate all moving, nonbiting parts before cleaning the nonmotorized carriage and truing the rims if needed. After performing the full inspection, the team can recommend further repairs to the owner or prescribe a treatment for handlebar acne.
Years before Dan and Maria founded DBC City Bike design, the duo resolved to reduce their dependence on gasoline. This resolution led the couple to Europe, where they hopped aboard Dutch bicycles that redefined how they thought about comfort on two-wheeled mounts. When Dan and Maria returned stateside, they began importing and selling these revolutionary rides through their new store, The Dutch Bicycle Company (The DBC). However, the hills, long-distance commutes, and stairs that define many American cities revealed many inconveniences in the unmodified Dutch model, so DBC added City Bike design to its name and they began building their custom Swifts, calibrated to handle the rigors of urban, bike-riding lifestyles. Today, the founding couple and their design staff build these bikes to order, modify existing rides, and provide tune-ups that, like prison-gang relay races, keep chains moving smoothly and swiftly.
With six distinct courses etched into the New England countryside, Sterling Golf Management promotes pin-hunting recreation for Boston-area golfers of all abilities. The longest and most difficult of the six, The Shattuck Golf Club's 18-hole course kicks off with a 409-yard par 4 where players hack their way toward a green that is visually wreathed by the rising red rocks of Mount Monadnock, setting the tone for a scenic, 6,764-yard round. Groves of trees ensconce the fairways and barter over carbon dioxide at Norwood Country Club's recently renovated course, a relatively flat layout characterized by smallish greens and flanked by a lighted driving range. The newest member to the Sterling Golf Management team is the Rockland course, where 18 par-3 holes wind between tall oaks for a picturesque par-54 round. Designed in 1921 in the Donald Ross tradition is the Maynard Golf Course, a picturesque par 70, 9-hole course with a full-service clubhouse. The same sylvan makeup returns at Newton Commonwealth's course, where lush tree lines cast shadows over a creek as it snakes across the fairways of seven holes. Rounding out the grassy sextet, Chelmsford's nine-hole course takes golfers careening across 2,467 yards of narrow fairways, placing straight drives or skilled golf ball pilots at a premium.