Fun Time Lanes sends patrons back in time for candlestick bowling sessions that predate traditional tenpin rounds. After fitting feet into rental shoes, participants launch 3- to 6-pound balls down one of 20 polished lanes toward huddled masses of slim pins. Automatic scoring, ball returns, and cash prizes to pins that fall the fastest keep frames moving swiftly along. Glow bowl sessions awash vintage orbs and lanes in radiant neon hues every Saturday night during atomic bowl. During breaks, customers can stop fantasizing about marinating a duckpin and instead recharge at Fun Time Lanes' snack bar with bites of burgers, hot dogs, or chicken tenders.
Looking to put a new spin on a classic family activity, the minds behind Glowgolf decided to give the game a phosphorescent update. Incandescent courses place friends and family amid a tropical-fantasy golf world of neon orange, green, and violet surroundings. Players putt luminous orbs through vibrant treasure chests and glimmering windmills while negotiating tricky obstacles near walls portraying black-light-lit aquatic scenes. With more than 20 locations spread over 10 states, Glowgolf's fluorescent labyrinths challenge human players and traveling gnomes.
Many a 19th-century summer day, William Skinner would wipe his brow with a silk handkerchief and breathe in the sweet scent of wisteria vines. His wife, Sarah, had trained the vines to grow alongside their sprawling home, which he had built in 1874 with the profits from his silk-manufacturing business. He named it Wistariahurst in honor of his wife’s prized vines, which continued to grow even after the stately home passed down to the next generation of the Skinner family and, in 1959, to the city of Holyoke.
The wisteria vines have not stood the test of time alone. The home's elaborate woodwork, original leather wall coverings, and elegant columns have also remained intact. Every week, the docents at Wistariahurst Museum lead tours across the historical estate, elaborating on the Skinner family's history and showcasing collections of architectural prints and silk textiles from the family's manufacturing business. In addition to tours, staff members regularly offer workshops that teach Girl Scouts about such Victorian-era pastimes as knitting and playing parlor games with the ghosts in the attic.
In the warmer months, Wistariahurst’s immaculately manicured gardens play host to a wide variety of events. Concerts and lectures remain open to the public, and private rentals allow guests to hold weddings or play ill-advised games of hide-and-seek in the minotaur labyrinth.
As host to league battles between both the American Poolplayers Association (APA) and the North American Poolshooters Association (NAPA), Ivory Billiards Lounge takes its playing conditions very seriously, and has since 1945. Professional standard Simonis cloth covers keep balls rolling to their intended trajectory, and meticulous leveling ensures fair gameplay. Casual players learning the ropes or a reincarnated Minnesota Fats can rack 'em up on their expansive selection of pool pulpits, including 10 7-foot tables, nine 9-footers, and a rare 5'x10' table that was smuggled down a beanstalk. Gambling fans can get their kicks on Keno and Mass Lottery games, while of-age adults savor more than 30 flavors of vodka and a quintet of draft beers. Ivory Billiards Lounge is open seven days a week, and keeps night owls entertained until 2 a.m. every evening.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
A member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League since 2008, the Blue Sox incubates top college players while they stay fresh and limber between seasons in the NCAA. Partially funded by Major League Baseball, the league consists of 10 teams across six New England states, all competing in a summer of hardball that begins in June and concludes with the playoffs in August, just before players trade in baseballs for rubber-band balls and return to school. Originally founded in 1997 as the Concord Quarry Dogs, the Blue Sox wield homefield advantage at Mackenzie Stadium, a venue that can seat more than 4,000 fans or 30 anti-T-shirt missile silos.