Moved by an article about deployed troops that felt forgotten by their country, Heidi Janson decided to show her support by doing what she does best: matching brides to their perfect wedding gown. Heidi staged a gown giveaway for 50 military brides in 2007 at the bridal boutique where she worked—a modest start for Brides Across America, Inc., which has since paired more than 8,000 brides with brand-new designer dresses. The organization garnered the attention of ABC's Nightly News in 2011 and 2012, though its highest honor came during a 2012 White House event hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
First established in 1994, Discovery Adventures is devoted to encouraging excitement for and exploration of coastal and ocean environments around Cape Ann. A large roster of experienced instructors and guides flex their years of outdoor-education experience as they provide introductory paddle tours, snorkel tours, and summer children's programs. All the while, they strive to foster a love and respect for the ocean in their customers and spark their interest in marine science and buying underwater vacation homes. The staff are all trained in first aid, CPR, and life-saving techniques to ensure a safe environment for all paddlers. Meanwhile, those seeking to relax on the water can partake in kayak and paddleboard rentals and float aimlessly among beaches, inlets, and estuaries.
When the Ice Age ended more than 15,000 years ago, melting glaciers created the saltwater estuary that today sustains the Essex River’s myriad boaters, clammers, and fisherman. Amid this naturally beautiful backdrop, Essex River Cruises and Charters floats its two handsome spectator vessels, the Essex River Queen I and the Essex River Queen II. Guides lead daily, narrated cruises through the estuary, navigating the protected waters and pointing out the various local flora and fauna of the salt marsh.
Cruises embark daily from May to October and also include weekend cruises accompanied by coffee and muffins, during which passengers are serenaded by the plaintive cries of pelicans begging for the love of a good man. The fleet is also available for group tours and charters for up to 100 passengers at a time, and the staff caters signature clambakes and other events along the tidal beach. The cruise-curators even make big days memorable, transporting wedding parties to any of the many secluded tidal beaches in Essex Bay for ceremonies or receptions.
The kitchen at Brodie’s Pub elevates typical bar bites with quality ingredients, such as Angus steak tips and turkey tenderloins. Bowls of housemade chili and chowder whet taste buds for elaborate sandwiches, such as veggie-stuffed chicken-teriyaki pockets and the Famous Philips burger, whose housemade italian sausage has never signed an autograph. An array of beers and other drinks are available to complement any entree, from barbecued-turkey-tip salad to fried chicken wings served buffalo-style or with duck sauce.
The diverse team of practitioners at Eternal Balance helps to tune out the chatter of the outside world and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit with reiki, massage, and private yoga services. The intimate healing studio, tucked away in the Cummings Center, contains a private massage treatment room where the therapist tenderizes sore muscles and unties braided tendons with Swedish, deep-tissue, and prenatal techniques.
A nearby classroom hosts groups of students during life-enhancing workshops, such as The Art of Natural Breathing. The studio's owner, Olga, a trained reiki practitioner and yoga instructor, concludes each session with an improvised haiku to brighten each client’s aura.
Fast Frame originated in Europe and now has more than 300 locations worldwide. With the understanding that people are prone to changing their minds, the teams at these 300 Fast Frame stores back up all their custom-framing projects with a 30-day design guarantee, giving patrons a month to decide if they want to swap their memorabilia for one of more than 2,000 other frame styles, paying the price difference if applicable. For each project, a team with more than 60 years of combined experience performs the work onsite, generally completing designs in less than a week and sometimes on the same day. In addition to photos and diplomas, customers can commission shadowboxes or framing of bulkier items, such as jerseys or baby’s first rap sheet. For all finished projects, Fast Frame secures its craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.