In 1946, Ellis D. Atwood began to build a sanctuary for one of America's most magnificent beasts: the railway train, which was then on the brink of extinction. He rescued equipment from short lines in Maine and laid tracks around his cranberry bogs, where they would cart his harvests and carry visitors on scenic tours. These daytrips became such a draw that Ellis decided to augment his plantation with carnival attractions and holiday light displays. The park borrowed his initials to form its name, Edaville, and today, more than 65 years since Ellis purchased the first of his rails, the park continues to welcome families who flock there for the classic rides, outings aboard the train, and panoramas of growing cranberries.
A looming Ferris wheel rewards guests of all ages with a view of Edaville's layout. From the Tilt-a-Whirl and Red Baron plane rides to the old carousel and souvenir general store, the surroundings comprise a whimsical escape designed with young children and their parents in mind. To complement the 1,300-acre cranberry plantation, the Cranberry World exhibit provides a glimpse of antique cars and cranberry-harvesting gear, enlightening visitors with historical narratives about the fruit. Ellis's Playhouse contains a ball pit, maze, and train tables, which enable youngsters to see what subways looked like before they got shy and burrowed into the earth. Fall and winter seasons transform the park into a sparkling venue for Christmas lights and visits with Santa, with select dates offering magical rides aboard a train designed after the Polar Express.
Trumpets blare over the fairgrounds. As the king and queen ride through town, peasants and shopkeepers all kneel immediately, verbalizing praise and respects to their liege lord. Meanwhile, a man in shorts stands amid the crouching peasants eating a turkey leg the size of his arm as his kids tumble off the Jacob's ladder across the dirt road. This is but a snapshot of the special moments at King Richard's Faire, a Renaissance festival that gathers period artisans, performers, and food merchants to celebrate the Age of Enlightenment along with visitors.
After a bit of practice throwing axes, visitors can stroll in optional costume to see fortunetellers, cobblers, and blacksmiths who have mastered ancient crafts. Knights ride to battle on the tourney field to win the king's and crowd's favor, and eight stages, a tournament field, and a mud pit bring in acts ranging from minstrels and jugglers to fire eaters and exotic animals.
Cape Cod Bay stretches out in all directions, its waters glittering under an azure sky. Here, razor bills, petrals, and shearwater circle over the cresting waves. Occasionally, a massive black flank breaks the surface, and a whale sprays a fountain of blow toward the sun. Such is the typical scene enjoyed by the passengers, U.S. Coast Guard?licensed captain, and crew aboard a Capt. John Boats tour.
Following more than six decades of tradition, the company's boats embark on whale-watching tours of Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank, passing landmarks such as Gurnet Light and Clark's Island on their quest to find local sea birds and marine life. All the while, on-board naturalists educate passengers about the local ecosystem. But Capt. John Boats' excursions aren't limited to observation?the boats also depart for private and group fishing trips ranging from just a few hours to multiple days. By dropping anchor or drifting with the tide, the captain teaches groups to ply the waters of local fishing grounds for seasonal catches.
Lighthouse keepers safely guide ships to shore through turbulent, rocky waters in total darkness. Navigating today’s sea of health and fitness information can be equally overwhelming, so the trainers at Lighthouse Fitness take on a similar role to their spiritual predecessors. They guide gym members to healthier lifestyles, working to remove some of the obstacles along the way. In addition to leading motivational group fitness classes such as yoga or cardio boxing, they provide complimentary personal-training sessions and childcare services, which free parents to hit the treadmill without duct-taping their toddlers to their backs.
They dedicate a huge portion of their space to their indoor rock-climbing structure, which boasts more than 300 routes wending across its colorfully speckled surface. Further helping clients look their best, they treat them to purely beauty-focused services with a tanning spa and a full-service hair salon.
Most physical confrontations involve a level of personal risk, but at Cartland of Cape Cod, fun-loving competitors let robotic Boxerjocks do the swinging. Safely tucked away in a cage of steel, operators trigger sidesteps with the thrust of a joystick and jabs with the punch of a button. The unusual attraction is just a taste of what the epicenter of family fun has to offer, from vintage Indy-style go-karts to colorful bumper boats and water-balloon slingshots. Visitors who want to keep dry can head to the 20-hole mini-golf course and batting cages, and can sate their hunger with chili, barbecue pork, and other meals, or a scoop of ice cream rather than laboring to befriend an iceberg.
Drawing on more than a decade of spinning experience, Jody Pugh captains a team of lively instructors at Just Ride!, an indoor cycling studio that was crowned one of Plymouth's best health clubs by the readers of WickedLocal.com in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The quality of the instructors is matched by the fleet of Keiser M3 bikes, each equipped to track cycling stats including revolutions per minute, distance, heart rate, and amount of baseball cards needed to make an authentic motorcycle noise. Atop the stationary two-wheelers, riders of all fitness levels pedal at their own pace during classes.