Tires squeal and a 15-horsepower engine hums as its driver cuts through a narrow turn, shaving fractions of a second off the lap. Below the track, a colorful golf ball winds through faux island trees, avoiding walls and stops on its way to an awaiting hole. It's another day at Tri-State Speedway, a multileveled family entertainment center littered with motorized fun for patrons of any age. The upstairs, 22,000-square-foot go-kart track hosts competitive races with karts calibrated for speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. A walk downstairs leads to the island-themed, 18-hole mini-golf course nestled among a large video-game arcade, bowling lanes, bumper cars, and billiard tables. When fun gives way to hunger, Drafters Sports Cafe's servers and cooks serve finger-friendly pub bites, ice-cold beer, and paper napkins fashioned from losing basketball brackets.
With fully automated and secured facilities, Casey Storage sings a roomy swan song for space-starved customers. Storage options and prices vary by facility but include spaces beginning at 5'x5' ($35+ a month) and running up to 10'x30' ($100–$189 a month), large enough to store a boat or medium-sized war elephant. Stuff stowers have a choice of drive-up access and temperature-controlled options, depending on the nature of their soon-to-be stashed goods, and facility employees will be happy to assist customers in choosing the right size space for their prized possessions. Check out the Auburn, Sturbridge, and Webster price listings for unit sizes and specifics.
Gift Chalet cheers up homesick Viking-Americans with an array of home, kitchen, and clothing products that stir memories of the homeland's snowy winters, hammer-wielding thunder gods, and majestic fjords. Honor the ancestors with a knit hat flying the Norwegian flag ($8.50) or a T-shirt proclaiming one's hatred of lutefisk ($18). The best-selling almond cake pan and recipe gives Danish dessert fans all the tools they need to bake a traditional treat and present it as a housewarming gift to the next home they pillage ($10). Otherwise, add a sense of fun to a gray cubicle with a Finns Have More Steam mousepad ($5) or ward off cowardly ballpoint-pen thieves with a Lommedalen troll Viking figurine brandishing a Swedish shield ($40). Gift Chalet also supplies all the necessary Christmas accouterments for an Ultima Thule–themed Yuletide, including Lucia candleholders ($40) and accessories. Fans of international footwear can apply their Groupon toward a pair of Dansko clogs ($110-$120).
Since 2000, Landscape Depot has transformed the landscape of Greater Boston backyard by backyard, supplying everything from fertile mulch and soil to stone pathways and fountains. Technicians help install walls, veneers, and stairs from both natural and engineered stone, and trucks haul yards of mulch straight to homes. The staff also holds regular do-it-yourself seminars, reviewing various projects so homeowners don't have to rely on the shoddy advice of garden gnomes.
Every spring and summer since 1985, the green thumbs at Everlast Nursery have helped transform neighborhood lawns into verdant backyard escapes. A vast cornucopia of plants and colorful blooms awaits to fill home containers, window boxes, and hangers, including a selection of “proven winner” annuals favored my most home gardeners in a recent taste test. A healthy selection of trees and shrubs is also available to help fill bare spots in home landscapes, as is a full range of gardening supplies that help ensure plants thrive in their homes.