Nestled on 55 acres brimming with evergreen trees and verdant fields, Integrity Equestrian Center's facilities cater to equestrians' every need, hosting activities ranging from lessons and camps to dressage competitions. Inside the main barn, the team of school horses whinnies in anticipation of rides across the wood-chipped trails or romps in the indoor arenas or outdoor ring, equipped with gates and fences for the age-old English sport of horse limbo. Whether helping advanced riders further their hunter-jumper skills or introducing beginners to the basics of horsemanship, the ranch's instructors—all experienced riders themselves—create a fun and positive learning environment during private or group lessons.
Climbers cling to the carefully placed hand grips, strategizing their way up the side of the rock-like cliff. They have come to Watertown to conquer the Central Rock Gym's 28,000 square feet of indoor mountains, climbing walls reaching 50' in height. The new Watertown location with temperature control and air-conditioning is one of Central Rock Gym's four indoor facilities spread throughout New England. At each, experts guide novice climbers through introductory classes or supervise more seasoned members scaling the walls' highest heights. Memberships unlock access to all four facilities, gear for the first month, and the use exercise equipment and weights. In addition to climbing and conditioning, members can also take advantage of fitness classes ranging from yoga and Pilates to Zumba and spin sessions. Gyms also welcome non-members, whether they're trying things out with a day pass or interested in events including birthday parties, summer camps, and corporate team-building breakouts.
Perhaps as a tribute to the timeless nature of the sword, the Worcester Fencing Club began as a small class held at the Higgins Armory Museum, a collection of arms and armor from medieval Europe and beyond. There, Doug Jacobs—a United States Fencing Association–certified instructor—began imparting his knowledge to a handful of students, giving them a small taste of the age-old sport that, over the years, had become unfairly associated with bullies popping balloons in the streets. Still, many of his students wished to extend their training, and—upon a suggestion of the mother of some of his students—Doug expanded his academy in 1998, forming the Worcester Fencing Club. Today, the school continues to draw fresh blood, introducing students of all ages and experience levels to modern- and Olympic-style fencing in classes still often taught by Doug himself.
A warm orange and red light illuminates Ritual, tinting its brick-accented walls and exotic statues an inviting ruby. Flickering candles and the glow of flat-screen televisions add to the romantic, yet contemporary atmosphere, where the trendy decor is rivaled only by an eye-catching menu of American-fusion cuisine. Globetrotting meals commence with small plates of chocolate-dipped applewood bacon or waygu beef, which diners sear over a hot rock or the grill they keep in their wallets. Chicken marsala and bacon-wrapped filet mignon represent a portion of the more traditional entrees, but dishes stretch as far as the bounds of the chef's imagination, including an award-winning seared duck breast double-coated with crushed cocoa beans and a hazelnut-chocolate demi-glace.
In 2006, the NHL's San Jose Sharks moved their eponymous AHL affiliate to Worcester. During their brief time in Central Massachusetts the Sharks have helped foster some of the game's best talent, highlighted by Stanley Cup champions and first-round draft picks. Nearly 40 players, including Claude Lemieux and Thomas Greiss, have donned the Worcester sweater before getting the call to clean out their lockers and playoff beards and head to San Jose. The team has even been represented on an international stage, as several former Sharks competed during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.