Sandy Burr Country Club is a golf course in good company. It's among the nation's ever-dwindling stock of courses designed by Donald Ross, master architect of such notable courses as Pinehurst No. 2 and Inverness Club. The legendary designer unveiled the 18-holer in 1922, at the outset of the decade that would soon become known as the "Golden Era" of golf course design—due to the proliferation of course construction, not because stockbrokers refused to play with anything but golden clubs. Adding to the historical pedigree, professionals Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen played the course in the 20s and 30s, even participating in the 1935 Massachusetts Open. Golfers today walk in their large footprints as they take on the 6,550-yard course and its three water hazards, before retiring to the English Tudor-style clubhouse—a charming piece of history in its own right.
Feeling the raw power of a Ferrari engine as you floor the pedal and steer down an empty road may seem like a fantasy to some?but it's a perfectly attainable adrenaline fix at The Motorsport Lab. The Lab's driving experts allow clients to slip behind the wheel of a Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, or other rare and exotic automobile for a once-in-a-lifetime ride.
After explaining the vehicle features and the proper safety protocols, staff members turn over the keys. Drivers can gain a feeling for the automobile's speed and cat-like agility while guiding it around a controlled autocross course for several laps. For a truly immersive experience, The Motorsport Lab occasionally rents out its sports cars for weekend-long escapes that let clients travel in style and become the object of envy at any drive-through dry cleaner.
With 160 driving range tees, 72 miniature golf holes, and 16 batting cages spread across its three locations, Golf Country provides ample opportunity for visitors to hone all aspects of their swings. Each driving range features overhead lights for practicing after the sun goes down for the evening, as well as a number of covered, heated tees that allow for practice when the sun goes down forever. The Easton and Saugus locations offer one 18-hole miniature golf course apiece, while the Middleton location showcases two courses. Nicknamed the Millpond Course and the Stone Bridge Course, Middleton’s miniature tracks meander through large flower beds, flowering trees, and ample water features.
Golfers prepare swings for their next pin-hunting expedition year-round at Fore Seasons Learning Center’s indoor and outdoor golf facilities. Whirring orbs race across the New England sky above the center’s 76-stall outdoor driving range, which features both natural grass and turf hitting mats as well as 18 covered and heated stalls, where golf devotees are safe from the elements of chill winters or perilous golf cart-size hail.
Inside the studio, aboutGolf simulators whisk clients away to digitally replicated versions of legendary courses, allowing them to hunt birdies amid the blustery seascape of St. Andrews or evade pixilated porpoises at Pebble Beach. PGA professional Joe Pustizzi roams the center’s grounds, divulging wisdom drawn from more than 30 years of experience and harnessing the simulators and other technological teaching aids to help clubbers on their path to lower scores and higher fives.
At Paradise Mini Golf, friends and families guide colorful golf balls through an 18-hole oasis of zigzagging putting greens and tropical obstacles. The course’s river exposes orbs to the treachery of a flowing stream on multiple holes, and a 35-foot-tall tree house gives local birds a chance to cheer on putt-putters or stock up on nourishing golf balls for winter's hibernation. After a round, golfers can stop by the koi pond and feed the fish at the feeding station or visit the ice-cream stand. Visitors looking to expand their golf game beyond the mini domain can drop by the Paradise Driving Range to hone lengthier swings.
In 1938, "The Long Island Expressway"?a vicious hurricane?plowed through John Hoenig's property in Thompson, Connecticut. His farm was destroyed, but when he decided to rebuild, he didn't rebuild the farm. Instead, he began clearing his land for the area's first 5/8-mile, high-banked racetrack. As soon as it opened, it was heralded as "the Indianapolis of the East." It was a destination for racecar drivers across the country.
In the more than 70 years since then, the track has blossomed into Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Today, it's one of the country's oldest tracks, besides that one high-banked crop circle from 1910. It plays host to three iconic racing events, including the World Series of Speedway Racing, and its modernized 5/8-mile oval now shares its space with a 1.7-mile road course. Even more exciting, neither track is just for pros. Civilians can try out the speedster lifestyle during driving school, or as part of the Driver's Club, which offers 30 days of members-only access to the track each year.