Those who follow Deerfield River westward from the Catamount State Forest to the Mohawk Trail State Forest travel through the hilly terrain of historic Charlemont. There, in 1989, the Berkshire Mountains and other geographical spoils caught the eyes of Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom—a medaling member of the US whitewater team and a public health nutritionist looking to make the outdoors more accessible. They built Zoar Outdoor on the river, establishing an 80-acre facility to be a base for ziplining, rock climbing, camping, and solar-powered lodging. Today, a staff of adventurers keeps that base running. They not only sell an arsenal of outdoor gear and continue those establishing activities, but also lead whitewater rafting and kayaking trips down their home river, slicing through the waves and rearranging a slew of fishes' living rooms along the way.
The commanding officers of Battlefield Massachusetts travel to area fields and forests with their gaming guns and lead players in simulations of their favorite video games in the great outdoors. Eschewing the black lights and tight confines of a traditional laser tag arena, they brief participants on missions before letting them loose in everyday games, corporate team-building sessions, or buck and hen parties.
When the Vitello family's golden retriever Bear was hit by a car on a New Hampshire road, they knew they had to save him. During his slow recuperation, they decided the best medicine would be the guidance, energy, and companionship of a younger dog. Though initially set on a pomeranian on their visit to a large kennel, they were instead drawn to the regal charms of an alaskan malamute—a natural sled dog. Today, the Vitellos house 25 dogs in their onsite kennel, and travels all over the U.S. and Canada to train and to compete with their sled dogs. They also share their sporting passion through a range of lessons, including one-on-one lessons for humans and furry friends alike, and clinics to serve canines and their human counterparts. During supervised, hands-on mushing lessons, instructors teach novice dog-team runners how to handle one of the kennel's furry residents or work with their own pets. In warm weather, they hold day camps and clinics to let guests explore the center's year-round sledding terrain, interact with resident sled dogs, and learn mushing fundamentals such as steering, stopping, and giving snowmen the right of way.
For more than 20 years, students of English riding have flocked to Four Winds Farm’s sprawling grounds, which encompass five paddocks, three spacious barns, and both indoor and outdoor riding venues. The licensed coaches impart the fundamentals of English riding during private and group sessions, which can help build confidence in novices perched atop gentle lesson horses or finesse the technique of show riders. Horse owners can also stable their steeds in the farm’s barn, thanks to a boarding program in which horses are fed and turned out daily to ensure that their muscle memories retain rider-friendly motions.