Due to improper training or seemingly aggressive appearances, some dog breeds have bad reputations. At Northeast K-9 Academy, however, the trained and dedicated staffers see past stereotypes and offer grooming, boarding, and training services to dogs regardless of their size, breed, or questionable musical tastes. Inside the three spacious indoor playrooms, pooches can explore, romp, and nap. Outside, a fenced-in stone play area provides dogs with fresh air and room to run while keeping their paws and coats clean.
Nestled in a spacious corner of the historic Sterling Cider Mill, The Clay Dog Studio inspires and equips all levels of artists to mold and polish self-made and artist-produced masterpieces. Paint your own original classmates can work solo, painting large detailed creations ($30) or invite friends to colorize intermediate ($15) figurines. Pieces are forged from clay that, like Saint Helen's childhood sandbox, consists primarily of volcanic ash. Mini Project classes instruct artistic twosomes in crafting take-home projects including holiday napkin rings or ornaments. During four-session classes, instructors oversee projects from concept to completion, covering basics such as sculpting form, overlays, paint finishing, and tasteful ways to fill end tables with something other than a series of smaller and smaller end tables.
Sweet Meadow Farm is not just a kid-friendly equestrian center. Sure, their experienced instructors lead private and group horseback-riding lessons year-round, but the farm also houses an interactive barnyard zoo. Their menagerie of domestic and exotic animals ranges from miniature horses and potbelly pigs to peacocks and kangaroos. Sweet Meadow Farm hosts birthday parties, too, during which kids can meet new critter friends inside the air-conditioned barn and make up secret handshakes that do not require opposable thumbs.
Fresh Trails Pet Sitting offers an alternative to sterile kennel care for your furriest family members. A fully licensed and insured pet-care provider can pop in for a short visit during work hours, or stay overnight for ample playtime and exercise. Clients may also solicit the company for a specialty pet taxi, ideal for trips to the vet, the park, or to a postman's home for conflict resolution.
Feng Shui embraces the culinary traditions of both China and Japan while updating its menu seasonally, garnering praise from the Boston Business Journal and New England Cable News for its extensive selection. Stir-fried orders of chicken, beef, and seafood arrive laden with ginger or signature sauces, and sushi chefs roll maki with traditional tuna and salmon or such innovative combinations as strawberry and wasabi aioli. At some locations, the dining rooms include tabletop hibachi-style grills where chefs, like Shakespeare as a toddler, put on food-based shows, flipping, dicing, and sizzling Angus-certified beef in cholesterol-free rice-bran oils that are rich in vitamin E.
Run by an American Boarding Kennel Association–certified staff and supervised by a veterinary hospital, Valley inn for Pets creates an atmosphere of "guilt-free boarding," letting pet owners travel with confidence as they check in on four-legged friends with live feeds from webcams. Themed Destination rooms with radiant-heat floors send canine companions on mental vacations to Africa, Hawaii, Fenway Park, or other locales, with animal-theme films eliciting happy tail wags. The staff can administer medications and pamper pups with an array of à la carte services, including bedtime tuck-ins and late-night games of poker. Feline boarders cozy into Lucite-fronted condos that face into the bustling lobby. Staffers clean and disinfect each condo in the morning, allowing cats to stretch their legs prior to the afternoon's 20-minute playtime session. In addition to boarding services, the Valley inn offers daycare to keep canines entertained while their owners toil at work.