Stampin' & Scrappin' Time stuffs its store with neat rows of vibrant paper, stamps, craft supplies, and more while helping shoppers craft memorably charming handmade cards and scrapbooks. Peruse the vast inventory of colored and patterned paper ($.50–$1.99/sheet) to begin crafting tableaus of past family vacations, first days of school, and victorious backyard chinchilla races. Hero Arts wood and cling rubber stamps ($7.35–$15.35) and Memory Box wood stamps ($6.35–$11.35) sport letters, filigrees, shapes, and more, allowing crafty customers to dip them in colorful inks ($4.35–$9.35) and add instant flair to pencil sketches of Parisian pigeon parades. Decorate a newly purchased white Ferrari with pens, markers, and watercolor pencils ($3.35–$8.85) and garnish the resulting creation with a selection of stickers ($2.35–$5.35) to finally impress blasé preschoolers. The creative and amenable staff stays on hand to offer advice, suggestions, and tips and tricks.
Since Jim and Mike Amore opened Jet Cleaners in 1956, the place has become a rite of passage not only for Mike Amore Jr., who worked there as a teen and now represents the third generation of his family's business. The company's Facebook page fondly catalogs photos of staff through the decades, occasionally noting the growth of their careers and families, or marking their passing. The good feelings are mutual, as the community voted Jet Cleaners Elm City's Best Dry Cleaner and Tailor in 2011. Voting with their dollars, the Yale Repertory Theater and Yale Medical School entrust Amore and his team with their costumes and lab coats, a practice begun after hearing the school's dean relied on them to starch his upper lip. A light touch with these delicate materials extends to refreshing heirloom quilts and wedding gowns, as well as tailoring suits.
At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
Many consider scuba diving a hobby or fun activity to do on vacation, but for Capt. Saam, it has become a lifestyle. He learned to scuba-dive more than 35 years ago and has gone on to not only establish his namesake scuba school but also obtain a US Coast Guard master license, teach scuba diving in Hawaii, and make regular tropical-dive trips. All of his scuba-diving and maritime experiences have pooled into a vast reservoir of knowledge which he passes on to his scuba-school crew?all of whom are NAUI- and PADI-certified instructors and dive masters. Together they immerse students in aquatic classes??both group and private??modeled after those practiced by police and fire-department scuba teams. They keep group lessons small?no more than seven students per session?to ensure personalized instruction and each student's safety.
Students develop their passion and ability to explore subaquatic terrains while also learning survival skills. They learn procedures to calmly handle accidents during first aid and safety courses, train to become lifeguards, or master the art of prying a friend out of a whale?s baleen. Those looking to clock in more hours exploring the ocean can opt for a local dive charter, which ferries 18-25 scuba divers and snorkelers aboard Capt. Saam's boat the Silver Dolphin as it sets sail to a variety of diving locations, from Smith's Reef and Sheffield Island to Gwendolyn Steers Wreck.
Though Capt. Saam's is a scuba school first and foremost, the center also offers equipment rentals and tank fills at its full retail dive shop, tropical-dive trips to the Caribbean, and a ground aviation-training course that teaches students the basics of flight.
Under the leadership of manager Michael Shinsky, New Balance's professional fit specialists employ their expertise and iStep machine to fit runners, walkers, and athletes with an appropriate pair of New Balance shoes. Properly fitted footwear prevents blisters, strains, and comparisons to clowns. A selection of athletic apparel garbs active people from head to toe, encouraging support and free movement. The shop gives back to the community by raising money for charity, hosting road races, and accepting used footwear donations for Kids Helping Kids and Soles for Souls.
Jim, the owner and operator of Extreme Paintball, bought his first paintball marker––a Nelspot 007––more than 20 years ago. Shortly after discovering his passion, he toured the country on a National Professional Paintball League team, retiring after 11 years to open Extreme Paintball. Nowadays, Jim and his staff work to introduce new players to his preferred method of paintball: woodsball. Contrasting with bunker-based speedball, woodsball is played in the natural outdoors, such as in the woods or at the bottom of the ocean.
At Extreme Paintball, Jim's three vast courses are designed around different scenarios with thematic obstacles scattered throughout to enhance the experience. The tank course carries the scars of war as crashed planes and the wrecked husks of tanks litter the battlefield, and the Vietnam course is shrouded in the area's densest foliage, finally making use of all the artificial trees populating the region. Jim's team rotates the courses throughout the year to preserve the environment and create an ever-changing battlefield.