White pines, hemlocks, and white birches flourish on the 140 acres of New England countryside that golf-course architect Ted Manning—a Robert Trent Jones protégé—and US Women’s Open champ Mary Mills sculpted into a championship golf course for Townsend Ridge Country Club. Golfers can leave breadcrumb trails to find their way back as they swing through the forested links, hitting over the stream that splits the 3rd hole’s ryegrass fairway before heading uphill on a 474-yard, par-5 12th hole. The course’s signature par-4 14th hole demands a cautious approach, as balls that land past the pin find themselves rolling down a steep slope. At last, with the clubhouse in sight, golfers finish up at the 18th by launching their balls over a pond to land on a double green shared with hole 9.
Although it’s a daily-fee course, Townsend Ridge creates the feel of a private club with a driving range hemmed by 35 hitting stations and a pro shop that hosts two swing simulators. These let players keep in shape during wintery months by tackling digital recreations of the links at Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. For more structured practice sessions, golfers can join lessons and get professional answers as to what’s the best grip for hitting out of the sand and what kind of bird lays golf balls.
Course at a Glance:
Andy’s Sport Shop draws upon four generations of expertise in peddling and maintaining gear for skiers, snowboarders, and scuba divers. During the winter seasons, the staff buffs and waxes snowboards and skis, reducing friction that can melt the snow surface and limit traction while careening downhill. The shop also stocks aqua-ready gear, including scuba fins and weight belts, which provide a useful dive-descent alternative to cement shoes. Outfitted explorers can enroll in a vast offering of scuba courses to pursue sundry certifications ranging from open-water diving to wreck diving to ice diving.
First laid out in 1926 by influential course architect Donald Ross, whose 413-course resumé includes Pinehurst No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort, Winchendon School Golf Club’s 18-hole course stretches over 5,512 yards of tree-dotted New England countryside. The par 70 layout remains true to its original design, with narrow fairways cut through thick curtains of trees that part intermittently to reveal scenic views of Mount Monadnock and squirrels changing clothes. Small, undulating greens await at the end of each hole, offering a slick blend of bent and poa grass that presents more challenging putts than golfers may expect upon their first visit. Golfers can prepare for their rounds with a bite at the onsite bar and grill or by loading up on golf balls at the pro shop, which sells an array of golf equipment and apparel emblazoned with the Winchendon School Golf Club logo or pictures of clients’ favorite mini-golf obstacle.Course at a Glance:
North Ridge Mountain Guides founder Jamie Leahy first fell in love with scaling peaks while tackling the heights of Mount Washington. The Professional Climbing Instructors' Association–certified guru 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.
Schartner Farms has a history that stretches even longer than its annual corn maze. After immigrating to the United States in 1902, the Schartner family settled in Bolton and opened a farm. For the next century, multiple generations of the family milked cows and filled the soil with seeds to grow fruits, vegetables, and cheeseburgers. The farm became something of a local landmark, and in 2006, the town of Bolton and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts designated it an Agricultural Preservation Restriction Farm.
Today, the fourth generation of Schartners runs the farm. Aside from the signature corn maze, they invite visitors to pick apples, ride ponies, and relax on hayrides, which wind past the property's forests, fields, and ponds.