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.
Founded in 1924 as a vaudeville palace and movie house, The Strand Theatre harks back to the cinematic havens of yore with its homey auditorium space and vintage marquee. Groups enjoy recent releases and classic films while seated at tables, which grant unimpeded legroom and preclude fistfights over whose cup holder is whose. The tables are placed in a staggered and tiered arrangement that ensures every audience member has a clear sightline. The in-house restaurant shares a full-service menu of appetizers and entrees from the grill, as well as craft beer and wine, all of which can be enjoyed inside the theater.
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.
The elegant vaulted ceilings, intricate archways, and grand pipe organ in Mechanics Hall might evoke the atmosphere of an old-world manor, but its eclectic calendar of events is decidedly modern. The space’s finely calibrated acoustics show off the sounds of classical concerts, ballets, and popular music, and its near-perfect qualities have made it a favorite destination for recording.
When PYOP Studio, Inc founder Vaishali Patel learned she was pregnant, she seized the rare opportunity to put her pottery painting skills to a mischievous use. So she picked out a bisque platter, painted the words “You’re going to be a perfect daddy” on its surface, covered it with chocolates, and presented it to her husband while they were picnicking on a lake.
Now, the innovative potter strives to empower budding artists to create their own pottery keepsakes at PYOP Pottery. She provides customers with more than 200 bisque pieces and 50 vibrant paints to choose from, and even helps new parents assemble footprint artwork to preserve memories and prove the existence of feet to their future, segway-powered great-grandchildren. Though her studio encourages customer to explore their own creative potential, on-staff artists are happy to create custom pieces.
Climbers cling to a large steel building, strategizing their way up the side of the rock-like cliff. They have come to conquer Central Rock Climbing's 14,000 square feet of indoor mountains, climbing walls reaching 15–40 feet in height. Resident instructors and staff members stand by to offer guidance and expertise to novices as they strive to master the basics of belaying. The gym's members enjoy unlimited climbing as well as 3,500 square feet of bouldering and more than 60 climbing stations. Guests also hone their physiques with free weights, yoga, and Pilates classes. The staff furnishes gear rentals for those who don't have their own. To get to the top of the climbing walls, climbers are required to carry, at minimum, a harness, climbing ropes, and a clear yodeling voice.