Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
High above the Atlantic’s lapping waves, helmeted figures scale vertical rock walls. Undaunted, they surmount challenging obstacles and overhangs, building anchors and belaying while learning technical skills from a beginning level. They feel safe with the knowledge that they’re being overseen by American Mountain Guide Association or Professional Climbing Instructors Association-accredited climbers. Director Jon Tierney––who also boasts an international guiding license from the IFMGA––leads Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School’s faculty of experienced guides as they usher first-time and experienced explorers up majestic rock faces, snow-covered cliffs, and frozen waterfalls. Company guides frequently showcase their comfort in varied terrain as well, having applied their climbing skills on film sets to set up safety rigging for Shutter Island.
Guides provide mentorship during multi-day mountaineering trips to distant mountains, and lead day trips to share pivotal climbing skills that help students scale a range of icy and rocky conditions. In an array of advanced or basic classes, they instruct pupils on principles of anchoring, top roping, belaying, and sport or lead climbing—imbuing them with the skills to scale mountainsides or be the first to reach the top of a wedding cake. Instructors also teach students mid-climb rescues, such as how to deal with medical issues and make improvised ascents, or metamorphosize into an instructor.
At Glazey Days, shelves upon shelves of unembellished ceramic pieces await colorful brushstrokes to help them reach their aesthetic potential. The robust collection ranges from bowls, plates, and mugs to picture frames and vases. Free to follow their own creative instincts, the shop's visitors personalize and decorate chosen pieces using an arsenal of painting tools, such as stencils, brushes, and sponges. Afterward, the Glazey Days staff finalizes the process by firing and glazing finished pieces and has them ready for pickup within a week. For further inspiration, Glazey Days keeps its selection stocked with themed pieces for different seasons and holidays and hosts special events, such as couples nights and BYOB nights.
In 1967, a pair of rock climbers founded the first Eastern Mountain Sports store to share their passion for nature and provide the hard-to-find gear they used to explore its wildest depths. Since then, the outdoor-gear-and-apparel purveyor has expanded to encompass 69 retail locations and 11 outdoor-adventure schools between Maine and Virginia. Using input from their own climbing-school guides, they design, engineer, and test much of their own gear and apparel—often amid harsh conditions on Mount Washington Observatory’s wintry peak.
In each store and adventure school, a knowledgeable staff outfits customers for year-round camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and other outdoor expeditions. Bianchi, Jamis, and Marin bikes speed cyclists along paths, and multipurpose backpacks help adventurers keep their secret diaries safe from bears. Stores also stock men’s and women’s seasonal outdoor apparel and high-tech outdoors electronics such as altimeters, GPS tools, camping lanterns, and portable audio devices.
To ensure customers venture out with the proper gear, Eastern Mountain Sports also backs up services and products with a satisfaction guarantee. Upon request, they can replace products, adjust climbing gear, and perform maintenance on bikes, skis, and snowboards. Staff members may also recommend their favorite trails, climbs, and rivers, or help customers embark on international adventure tours conducted by Austin-Lehman Adventures.
For more than half a century, Mill Stores has dispensed an enormous array of high quality, ready-to-finish wood furniture and accents to enhance homestead comfort. As a factory-finished solid-oak rocker ($249.99) supports reclining spines, a three-step stool ($19.77), crafted from solid eastern white pine, aids customers in accessing difficult to reach shelves filled with stashes of candy and bacon fat. Stockpile bottles of grapey goodness in a solid wood Tuscany wine box ($39.99) or artfully arrange CDs and DVDs in the sliding separators of a solid pine rack ($23.99). A shingled-roof doghouse ($179.99) shelters canines in safe, cozy pine, and a cast-stone scroll birdbath ($49.88) cleanses neighboring loons and fallen airplane peanuts in its stylish cement surface. Shoppers unable to find their desired décor in stock can request customized designs, which Mill Stores crafts in two weeks or less.
A network of 40 trails, including and six gladed trails, cut through the 249 acres at Shawnee Peak, which offers 98% snowmaking coverage. Slopes range from beginners to experts-only, with names such as Fat and Happy, Poacher's Paradise, and The Vain. The mountain also features three terrain parks—one of which is designed for children—brimming with air-bestowing features such as box jumps and the newly added BigAirBag. The five lifts that service these slopes run late into the evening for night skiing, which keeps 19 trails open and sometimes culminates in moon-lit ski races and whispered discussions about which famed 1924 skier is haunting the bathroom.
A more than 75-year-old ski school prepares visitors of all ages to tackle the mountain's slopes, while day-care providers watch over future skiers. In classes suited to adventurers as young as four years old, professionally trained instructors guide small groups of skiers and riders through basic to advanced techniques of skiing and snowboarding. Throughout each season, the resort hosts a variety of activities and events.