Intent on combining the recreational comfort of an outdoors ropes course with the comfort of an indoor facility, the structural engineer behind Soarin' Indoors designed a traditional aerial adventure park that isn't subject to the whims of inclement weather. Two separate courses fill the 12,000-square-foot space, including one built 2.5 feet off the ground and the other towering 12 feet in the air. Each route consists of a series of challenges?including wobbling rope bridges, high wires, trapezes, cargo nets, and zip lines?which can be overcome with a combination of problem-solving skills, balance, and stamina. Although youngsters and newcomers might want to try the lower course first, each route was designed to be accessible for first-time visitors as well as experienced climbers. The danger of falling is minimized by the harnesses guests wear, which are attached to overhead safety lines with two auto-locking carabiners, turning any slips into a fall of inches as opposed to feet. As further proof of their dedication to safety, trained guides will routinely walk the course grounds and offer tips, guidance, and stock investment advice to anyone in need.
Visitors never have to wait in line to workout at Cardio Express—each of the six clubs boasts a ton of Cybex strength-training machinery, an arsenal of free weights, and more than 80 pieces of cardio equipment affixed with personal 15-inch television screens. Compassionate instructors imbue gym visits with a human element as well, leading classes such as Core Fusion, Total Tone circuit training, and spinning sessions at the Southington, Vernon, and Manchester locations. Each year, the staff members carry the same motivational energy they use in their studios to recruit members and friends for the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour. Cardio Express has raised a grand total of nearly $400,000, and it also acts as title sponsor for the 2012 benefit.
New England Ski & Scuba's staff touts many years of experience, training, and personal enjoyment in the realm of winter and water sports, making the shop a trustworthy source for gear and general know-how. Inside, visitors navigate through an extensive selection of new and used equipment, apparel, and accessories from the industry's leading brands. To ensure it remains on the cutting-edge of product development, the shop communicates directly with most of those manufacturers through an intricate system of yodeling. The shop also offers repairs, tune-ups, and classes.
Muvement is as much a gym as it is a physical-fitness lab. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Michael Houle and Jill Houle, who holds a BS in nutritional science, team up to invest clients with practical workout regimens and an intimate knowledge of how the body works on a physiological level. Before new clients lift their first weight at the studio, a personal trainer consults with them about their exercise and health history and runs physical assessments and lab tests to identify potential obstacles related to the immune, digestive, hormonal, and detoxification systems. Next, Jill draws on her background as a professional nutritionist to recommend a diet suited to the client’s unique metabolism, and explains how the body breaks down calories and nutrients. Even their fitness regimens take a holistic approach. Whether in group or personal-training sessions, functional movements using resistance bands, TRX suspension, and kettlebells incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints into each exercise, building a physique more balanced than two eggs riding a seesaw during the spring equinox.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with other classmates as the instructors assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Within Stone Age Rock Gym's indoor facility, 4,500 square feet of textured climbing walls help visitors ascend to new heights. Bouldering, 32-foot lead routes, and top-rope climbing areas await gym guests, surrounding them in technicolor handholds that creep up the walls at challenging angles. Elsewhere, a simulated ice-climbing wall absorbs the blows of axes, and a gear shop preps climbers to ascend walls with the dexterity of Spiderman.
A staff of certified guides lead classes that teach students as young as 6 the fundamental skills needed to ascend simulated peaks. Alternatively, the experts head up guided climbing trips to sites across the state. They help eager climbers scale the 30-foot Wolf Rock in Mansfield Hollow and reach the Sasquatch hugs awaiting them atop Ragged Mountain's 120-foot cliff.