Quick, quick, slow. Quick, quick, slow. It seems that every dance lesson starts the same way. Students are told, "These are the steps," "Move to the beat," and "Never breakdance on wet cement." But unwilling to settle for the minimum, Seacoast Ballroom helps dancers see beyond getting their feet to move in the right direction. Its founder, Frederick Dunn, strives to inject dancers with grace and musical expression to help them feel dance for what it is—an art form. Its classes range in difficulty from beginner to competition level, and cover a variety of ballroom styles. Solo dancers or couples can strut through a tango, shimmy their hips in salsa, or effuse elegance through the Viennese waltz.
At Garland Stables, proprietor Chelsea Miller continues her grandmother's legacy of training, showing, and selling Morgan show horses, caring for a stable full of her own beautiful, healthy equines amid idyllic farmland and pasture. Here, riders learn proper and safe horsemanship on the ground and in the saddle during private lessons. Once they've mastered the basics, riders often embark on scenic horseback jaunts through the surrounding fields and riding trails. After riders depart for the day, horses relax in the comfort of spacious stalls with cozy matting and free cable.
Billed as Maine's highest and largest ropes course, the labyrinth of ropes, bridges, and catwalks challenges even the most confident aerialists. The ropes course is just one of more than 60 airborne activities. For something equally exciting, try the zipline tour. Six zip-wires long, the trek takes you through the treetops of breathtaking forests.
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.
Apple Hill Golf Club entices golfers of all abilities with a 27-hole tapestry weaved into rolling, New Hampshire woodlands. The club’s 18-hole course meanders across 6,184 yards of wide, bermuda grass fairways and bentgrass greens flanked by ponds that come into play on more than half of the holes. Those looking to hone their short game can tee it up on the nine-hole, par 3 course, an 800-yard layout that duffers can complete in an efficient 45 minutes, enabling them to squeeze in a session before dark or in time to drop off their 9-iron at soccer practice.
During the summer, PGA professional Steve Lundquist utilizes the multifaceted grounds to host a junior golf academy, which grants pupils free play on the par 3 course throughout the season. Along with a wide selection of clubs, balls, clothes, and shoes available for purchase, the club’s pro shop curbs appetites with fresh sandwiches, drinks, and hot dogs that can be braided together to form fully functional putters.
Championship Course at a Glance:
Originally sculpted into the New Hampshire countryside in 1889, Exeter Country Club's nine-hole course stretches across 2,801 yards for a par 35 layout. Wreathed by waterways flowing south from the Great Bay, the course cools off clubbers and hot-tempered carts with seaside breezes that waft across the greens. Though consisting mostly of straight-ahead fairways, the course forces players to adjust at the fifth hole, a 365-yard par 4 where golfers must bend drives around a dramatic 90-degree dogleg left obscured by dense tree lines. Exeter Country Club's on-site restaurant, Grill on the Hill, awaits at the end of the ninth green, serving up a menu of American fare to quench appetites after a day of dedicated pin-hunting and scorecard falsification.
Course at a Glance: