An FAA-approved helicopter-flight tour operator, North Andover Flight Academy employs five licensed instructors with combined flight and teaching experience that numbers in the thousands of hours. Fledgling aviators can begin their aeronautical journeys at Lawrence and Marlboro Airports, which serve as home bases for services that range from tours and photography flights to full pilot-certification courses and agricultural applications. The team commands a fleet of six Robinson helicopters, including one R44 and five R22s, and keeps Robinson factory-trained mechanics on staff to ensure their safe operation and to ice down their blades after particularly vigorous training flights.
North Ridge Mountain Guides founder Jamie Leahy first fell in love with scaling peaks while tackling the heights of Mount Washington. The AMGA Certified Single-Pitch Instructor has since defied gravity on inclines of ice and rock around the United States and in Ecuador, summiting peaks of more than 19,000 feet to touch the sky and harvest his crops of clouds by following a simple philosophy: climb hard, climb safe. This mantra guides his approach to teaching the ins and outs of belaying and rappelling and steers the expeditions he leads up the less-traveled routes of Mount Monadnock. He also shares the art of ice climbing with pupils during introductory courses that delve into subjects such as crampon placement, swinging an ice axe, and how to read the ice, which often obscures its messages in Wingdings fonts.
The tours from New England Wicked Scary aren't just a canned recitation of facts—they're a quest to find evidence of another realm. Tour-goers join the investigators as they explore an ever-changing roster of haunted sites in New England, from old barns and cemeteries to haunted homesteads and mansions. They arm themselves with cameras and ghost-hunting equipment, which they use to find beings or spectral figures not visible to the human eye. In addition, the lead investigator, who is sensitive to paranormal vibes, feels out otherworldly presences so guests have a better chance of spotting something extraordinary.
Crab Apple Whitewater sends adventure seekers on river-bound thrill rides daily from early April through mid-October using inflatable kayaks for Class I–II rapids and larger group rafts for Class II–IV rapids. Crab Apple Whitewater charts routes through the Berkshire Mountains on rivers such as the Deerfield, making use of natural flows and daily dam releases in order to control the challenge for kayakers and rafters of all skill levels. Trips are consistent due to dam control, but vary based on interpretations of fortunes found in the guide’s tea leaves the night before. All adventurers strap on provided helmets and life jackets and attend a safety lecture prior to casting off.
Amy LaBelle has come a long way since she made her first batch of blueberry wine in her Boston apartment. She's taken classes in the Wine and Viticulture program at UC Davis in California and added cranberry, apple, peach, and 23 other varieties of other fruit and grape wine to her repertoire. Her first bottles were so popular that they sold out at local shops and farmers' markets. This was also when Amy began collecting her numerous awards. But her biggest achievement was opening her eponymous winery in a new state-of-the-art facility in late 2012.
Today, Amy and her husband Cesar Arboleda continue to run the winemaking process. Besides production equipment, their facility houses a sleek tasting room where guests can sample wines such as the bold Red Alchemy, the maple-finished Granite State Apple, and the signature Dry Apple. The bottles pair perfectly with dishes at Bistro at LaBelle Winery, which serves French-style cuisine in a warm, family-friendly setting. And visitors who find themselves inspired by Amy's can-do spirit can purchase items from The Winemaker's Kitchen, a line of culinary products that includes wine-infused jellies and wine-infused cooking wines such as the Jalapeno Cooking Wine and Sweet Onion Cooking Wine.
Visitors to Mel's Funway Park can try their hand at two 18-hole mini-golf courses before speeding and swinging their way through the go-kart track and batting cages, which feature a replica of Fenway's Green Monster and slow- and fast-pitch machines that can reach speeds of up to 85 mph. Inside, a laser plex hosts games of laser tag, while other visitors attempt the laser maze, a web of 36 lasers that participants must avoid to keep from triggering the alarm and receive their cat-burglar certification. Funway Park has also partnered with Naticook Fish & Grill to recharge empty body batteries.