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.
During the day at World Sports Camp, professional head coaches and assistants of college-level athletes head up lessons in golf, basketball, tennis, and soccer. Campers also get the chance to participate in sports leagues with competitions throughout the week and a culminating championship. There is a 4:1 camper-to-instructor ratio, which helps to ensure that young athletes get the personal attention they require. Campers get to choose their level of involvement and which sports they want to focus on. Beginners and advanced mini-athletes alike will then play together, adhering to the rules of good sportsmanship and gravity. Check out a typical schedule for an overview of the daily activities.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
The whistles of flying paintballs and airsoft pellets fill the air whenever teams maneuver through Strategic Compound's 165 acres of wooded playing fields. In addition to towering trees, the terrain features a number of manmade structures, including bridges, bunkers, trenches, and a castle complete with crenellated ramparts. Trained referees monitor each showdown, ensuring that everyone enjoys a safe yet competitive experience. Strategic Compound also offers downloadable, smartphone-compatible software, which participants can use to pinpoint their exact location to give more accurate directions to teammates or lost pizza-delivery drivers.
Throughout summer and fall, Rolling Acres opens its gates to visitors young and old to enjoy adventures among its various attractions. Birthday parties, field trips, and family outings descend upon the farm to take part in seasonal activities, such as camps and water tag during the summer and hayrides in the fall.
Rolling Acres has also become known for its annual autumn corn mazes, which, in the past, have sent groups zigzagging through elephant-, lion-, and castle-shaped labyrinths. Nearby, bouncers can launch themselves skyward on a giant jumping pillow in attempt to touch the clouds or high-five a really tall imaginary friend.
Previously known as Mama Nirvana, Nirvana Yoga brims with daily classes for all skill levels, including open yoga, power Vinyasa, and calming basic sessions ideal for brand-new yogis. In the recently remodeled Easthampton studio, owner Ruth Anne Lundeberg draws on her background as a dancer, devoted student of Theravada Buddhism, and yoga practitioner with three decades of experience under her belt to helm a staff of seasoned instructors. The staff imparts yogic skills with a focus on safety that earned the studio the Best Place for Yoga title in the Valley Advocate?s 2013 readers' poll.