Whitewater Challengers' certified guides steer paddlers as young as 5 across the skipping surf of the Poconos’ Lehigh River Gorge, the Black River Canyon, and the Adirondacks’ Hudson, Moose, and Salmon rivers. In the rafting industry since 1975, the guides have collectively traveled more than 16 million miles of rapids. They chart courses that satisfy a range of experience levels, from beginning jaunts down gentle rapids to advanced battles through coursing foam and wicked currents.
The crew’s ultimate goal is to make rafting a fun adventure, which means that they take care of the business end, providing all safety equipment, transportation to launch points, and lessons for novices. When not on the water, the outdoors-loving crew also organizes mountain-biking and camping trips in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
Lake George Steamboat Company's fleet of cruise ships?which range from a charming paddlewheel to a 107-year-old steel-hulled vessel?regularly set sail on scenic Lake George, nicknamed the "Queen of American Lakes." What passengers see, however, depends on the cruise. A moonlight cruise ferries them beneath the stars, whereas a fireworks cruise grants breathtaking views of fireworks displays. Sightseeing cruises chug along the shoreline, passing by the Adirondacks and slipping between the small islands known as the Narrows after the boat sucks in a large breath. Throughout the tour, a knowledgeable captain expounds on the history and ecology of Lake George.
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.
Nestled along the sandy shores of a spring-fed lake, Peters Pond RV Resort keeps campers comfortable with well-maintained campsites trumpeting a slew of amenities. Campers stow the bungalow-on-wheels or pop a tent at one of the resort’s many sites, keeping creature comforts flowing with hook-ups for necessities, including water, electricity, and fondue. Occupy sunshine-drenched days fishing the stocked lake, hiking nearby trails, or parading about the two beaches, or settle vacation quarrels with old-fashioned rounds of bocce ball, badminton, or horseshoes. Wash away the musk of strenuous hikes or the memories of losing at hot potato with the resort’s hot showers and laundry machines. The modern facilities also anchor campers to civilization, with cable hookups, a free WiFi hotspot, and hourly news updates beamed to each mind via the camp’s resident medium.
Rock of Ages is named after its signature rock: granite, one of the most ancient types of stone on earth. In the company's quarries, which scatter the globe, workers extract high-quality granite, raw material that craftsmen then carve into structures from mausoleums to monuments.
Smith Quarry in Vermont doubles as an educational center. During quarry tours, groups see the stonecutters in action, wielding sandblasters and cranes capable of lifting 250 tons?equivalent to 450,000 pints of ice cream or 487,000 pints of ice cream with all the nuts picked out. There's even an outdoor granite bowling lane, which visitors can try for free, as well as on-site sculptures working with diamond-tipped saws and laser equipment.
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.