Combining up-to-date teaching techniques with the age-old customs of martial arts, Northampton Karate offers students of all ages a focus on Okinawan Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu style karate for improving health, fitness, and confidence in a friendly atmosphere. Experienced instructors guide their apprentices on board breaking and beard-accumulating journeys to enhanced athletic performance and disciplined behavior. Tiny fighters can take their first roundhouse kicks with Northampton’s kids' classes (ages 5 to 11) and youth program (ages 12 to 15), and adults can bridge the generation gap through well-placed jabs with their respective classes. Check out the schedule to determine which class best fits the color of your karate girdle.
Partnered with a ground crew predominately made up of fellow pilots, Dick Guisto, Mike Florio, and Vinnie Melling harness their commercial-pilot expertise for each Aerostat Promotions flight. After a half-hour of balloon inflation and preparation, up to four guests join their pilot at sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset for an hour-long flight that affords aerial views of the Pioneer Valley’s breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and residential homes. Meanwhile, a chase team tracks the balloon from terra firma as it traverses approximately 10 miles of sky. Once visitors and their pilot rendezvous with the team, balloons are packed into a truck or twisted into to-scale elephant balloon animals before the group shares a champagne toast and appetizers.
Encompassed by tall, spindly trees, players hunker down in wooden castles and slink along fence posts hoping the crunch of leaves underfoot doesn’t give them away. Tense moments like these add up at Camelot Paintball where players trek four woodsball fields and three tournament fields kept under the watchful eyes of experienced refs. Before taking the fields, visitors can stop by the pro shop or shake the rust from trigger fingers at the fully netted shooting range. The battlegrounds are also available for birthday parties and team-building events.
The proprietor and chief guide behind Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, Marla BB, invites patrons to hitch their dreams of adventure onto the backs of her alaskan huskies for mushing, skijoring, and outdoor excursions in the Berkshires. Her hallmark attraction is mushing through both snowy hills and on dryland tracks—a unique offering for the region that has earned her attention from media outlets such as Mushing magazine and Animal Planet.
The skijoring and sled-dog school teaches novices how to captain a team of dogs either in a sled or on skis, which can give them give them a way to skip long ski-resort lift lines. Marla also leads day excursions through DAR State Forest, Chesterfield Gorge and Westfield River, and the Deerfield River Watershed, keeping bikers, hikers, kayakers, and bird watchers safe as she is a certified wilderness first responder and an expert in swift-water safety and rescue.
One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.