On an airplane, there are windows, roaring engines, and strangers trying to make small talk. But imagine if all that was gone. Imagine if it was just you, the wind, and the miracle of flight. That's the experience afforded by Green Mountain Ballooning, which floats passengers high above Vermont's rolling hillsides, sparkling rivers, and sleepy towns. Some days, when conditions are right, rides soar to thousands of feet in the air. They also dip low enough for passengers to converse with people on the ground, or snag a package from their mailman. Eventually, flights drift back to earth, where a celebratory champagne toast awaits.
Most sports require specialized gear, and rock climbing is no exception. In addition to climbing shoes, rock climbers wear a harness attached to a rope. At Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center, belay classes show first-timers that this rope is a safety feature and not meant for playing double dutch with a giant. Once climbers have these skills under their belts, they may challenge themselves by ascending walls up to 40 feet tall or venturing inside a bouldering cave, though not before making sure it's free of hermit trolls.
The One Drum Festival delights listeners with percussion circles and performances capturing the rhythms of the Middle East, West Africa, Brazil, and Japan. This one-day, family-friendly event bottles a swirling storm of meter and movement including interactive workshops where drummers, singers, and dancers of all skills levels can share their creative influences. Todd Roach will lead budding bangers in Middle Eastern hand-drum techniques from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before Stuart Paton demonstrates the taiko drum, a Japanese instrument played with two wooden sticks or two sausage links carved into wooden sticks. Other events on the schedule hypnotize crowds throughout the day, including a concert at 6 p.m. featuring workshop instructors and special guests and community drum circles. Visitors can bring their own drum or borrow one of the many instruments on hand to tap Jimmy Carter's memoirs in Morse code.
Rivers Northeast Adventures offers a deluge of summer activities along tranquil and feisty rivers in the picturesque Vermont countryside. The three-hour self-guided kayak trip lets riders glide along the currents of the Connecticut River or paddle around a nearby lake while gazing at the area's dense foliage and vast number of barges that carry sacks of rice. Adventurers are shuttled to and from their watery destinations and supplied with single or tandem kayaks, gear, and a quick intro to kayak navigation. Half-day whitewater-rafting trips on Sumners Falls or in the White River afford family-friendly or adrenaline-surging swells that entertain more effectively than watching a child tickle a horse. The Sumners Falls run sprints over Class III rapids and ends in a stomach-twisting drop, and the White River bounces between Class II rapids and stretches of flat water perfect for swimming. During the summer, bring along a friend or Mediterranean oarsman for a half-day float, captained by a seasoned, friendly guide.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.