Situated on 24 acres of woods and meadows in central Massachusetts, Cornerstone Ranch allows riders to savor New England's breathtaking foliage year-round with lessons, camps, and rides through scenic terrain. Owner Sue Connell and her family prep their fleet of horses with exhaustive training and pesticide-free fly-control practices, making the steeds even safer to ride than Smokey the Bear. Sue steers horse-drawn sleighs during winter months and gangs astride steeds during warmer weather, leading fellow riders through a labyrinth of woodsy trails. She and an equally experienced instructor helm riding lessons for all levels year-round and fold the same principles into weeklong summer camps. The camps cater to beginner and advanced equestrians alike, teaching kids how to catch, lead, tie up, groom, and outfit horses with bridles and saddles before mounting and riding them into kid-sized sunsets. Daily schedules consist of two rides, including group excursions and trail jaunts. At week's end, equestrians flaunt their new skills at a horse show for friends and parents.
Dining at a Mexicali Fresh Mex Grill is a different experience in every city. While every location shares the same Guadalajara based menu—with plates of authentic enchiladas, fajita burgers, and flautas covered in ranchero cheese—the decor of their dining rooms varies from location to location. In Spencer, Massachusetts, diners gaze at warm-toned desert paintings and statues of running horses, whereas the Ware, Massachusetts, location treats the eyes to views of blue-tiled divides and potted plants. In Holden, Massachusetts, a look around the dining area gives customers views of brightly painted walls on which ponchos and hats are hung, simultaneously providing colorful scenery and ideas for repurposing their old swimming trunks at home.
An olive branch painting adorns the dining room wall at Oli's Italian Eatery, but it's likely those nearby are already feeling pretty peaceful. Or at the very least, content over a meal. The menu packs in everything from specialty pizzas and pastas to seafood and burgers made in the open kitchen for lunch and dinner. The drink list offers specialty cocktails like watermelon martinis and sangria, along with draft beers and glasses of wine.
Founded by a childbirth educator recently profiled in Worcester Mag, Mothers & Company’s natural-parenting community center supports expectant and new moms with relaxing yoga classes while its store supplies them with organic and natural baby products. The store's collection of cloth diapers, baby carriers and slings, pumps, and other accessories facilitates a natural and organic transition into parenthood. The store’s homeopathic, all-natural Hyland's Calms Forté sleep aid soothes parental nerves with chamomile, slipping them into restful sleep filled with dreams about even more sleep ($7.50); a pair of absorbent, washable Bummis training pants stretches with Lycra to fit around little legs and bellies as they trot toilet-ward ($11).
The Manor populates its eclectic menu with globally-inspired cuisine, from Greek and Italian fare to all-American steaks and burgers. Kick off comestible journeys or induce postmeal baa-ing with grilled Lollipop lamb chops served with mint jelly ($9.99). A platter of flaky spanakopita ($9.99) rolls to tables accompanied by a savory posse of rice, feta, tomato, and cucumbers, while Queen-cut prime rib ($14.99) is ushered to mouths flanked by baked-potato and coleslaw. Italian edibles include a rich lobster ravioli ($17.99), sautéed with portobello mushrooms in a pesto cream sauce over a bed of steamed spinach, and the American Cowboy burger ($8.59) is crowned with a 10-gallon hat of bacon, portobello, onions, and swiss cheese. The Manor also offers gluten-free preparations of certain items. With crisp white tablecloths, bright yellow walls, and a large fireplace, The Manor creates the ideal ambiance for dates, celebrations, or dated celebrations honoring the invention of the Pony Express.