In Connecticut’s northwest hills, summer blooms alongside the white-and-pink blossoms of its state flower, the mountain laurel. Cyclists in The Village Ride may just catch its faint fragrance as they churn along the country roads that slice through Litchfield County.
The three custom course routes vary by length to accommodate riders of any age and ability. No matter their route, cyclists wind past scenic towns and natural wonders such as lakes, rivers, and state forests. Elevation changes, which lie in wait at most every hill, offer an added heart-friendly challenge. The 25K route nears 700 feet, and the 100K route peaks at about 1,700 feet. After crossing the finish line at Ski Sundown, participants grab a catered lunch (available 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m.) or some brews from event sponsor Thomas Hooker Brewing Company while soaking in live entertainment.
Ride proceeds benefit The Village for Families & Children, a child-safety and family-resource organization. In 1809, The Village began its mission “to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children.” Now, more than 200 years later and helping some 7,000 children each year, the organization maintains that goal through foster services, academic and socialization care, parental-skills programs, and family-crisis prevention and management services.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars' multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 600 calories with each go-round.
The storied performers of Journey delight fans with powerful guitar, catchy hooks, and virtuosic singing. Lead singer Arnel Pineda's octave-smashing range combines with guitarist Neal Schon's monumental chords and the musical teamwork of Ross Valory's bass, Jonathan Cain's keyboard, and Deen Castronovo's drums, creating tuneful tapestries that inspire ears like a stirring soliloquy from a bald eagle. Touring in support of its new album, Eclipse, the band is able to draw upon an aural arsenal that includes hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin'," "Any Way You Want It," and "Faithfully." The power balladeers of Foreigner and Night Ranger supplement the sonic revelry with their own swelling melodies and heart-inflating emotion. The concert takes place at the open-air Comcast Theatre, with Groupon holders welcome to sit, stand, or mime anywhere on the expansive lawn. Chair and blanket policies vary from concert to concert, so guests should call ahead to determine what items can be toted along.
The Russian Lady's two locations, one in Hartford and one in New Haven, straddle the line between tradition and modernity. In the midst of Victorian wall sconces, orthodox church windows, heavy wooden doors, and neoclassical gilded gratings, guests dance to live music under the glow of neon lights. At both locations, a stone sculpture of Catherine the Great watches over the entrance and checks IDs as revelers peruse an extensive menu of red wines, single-malt scotches, and dozens of variations on a Russian staple: vodka. At the New Haven outpost, small plates from an internationally inspired tapas menu are paired with 40 draft beers, including eight local Connecticut brews.
Ancient Himalayan singing bowls and the calming tone of a gong envelop The Conduit Center’s space as individuals lie comfortably on pillows and blankets, letting the deep vibrations and soothing sounds lull them into a deep meditative state. These sound-meditation concerts are just one aspect of the center’s meditation services, which are designed to create a state of effortless relaxation for each participant. Guests can also opt for vibrational sound massage and singing-bowl sessions, both of which use vibration and sound to calm the entire body while boosting mental focus, helping the body heal while making ordinary soup bowls seem sadly inadequate.
In addition to meditation, the center conducts yoga, tai chi, and qigong classes that are both challenging and accessible to all levels of participants. Complimentary herbal teas, massage therapy, and individual or marriage counseling are also offered as part of the center's goals to create a tranquil environment where each individual can quell anxieties and start a personal journey of self-exploration.
A casual, family-friendly ambiance has been served as a complimentary side at Boston's since 1964, when founder Gus Agiortis established the very first location in Edmonton, Alberta. Today, more than 50 Boston's restaurants have spread across U.S. and Mexican borders, conquering appetites with fresh, carefully selected ingredients that must endure a scrupulous interview process before hitting plates. Behind the scenes, chefs transform hand-pressed, made-from-scratch dough into 18 varieties of gourmet pizzas. At tables, forks plunge through hunks of meat and creamy sauces that make up gourmet pastas, and inside each location's sports bar, fans root for favorite teams while struggling to corral boneless wings with their sauce-stained foam fingers.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.