Despite its seemingly short length of 2,668 yards from the back tees, Minnechaug Golf Course keeps rounds interesting by packing a cornocopia of hazards into a 9-hole layout. Players confront an onslaught of elevation changes, dogleg turns, and trees that won’t respond to verbal commands throughout the par 35 course. And the degree of difficultry truly ramps up on the par 3 eighth, which invites players to unsheathe their 9-iron or pitching wedge, take stock of the prevailing winds, and send tee shots flying toward an island green that rests on the other side of a 126-yard water hazard.
Since 1980, the America East Men's and Women's Championship has pitted conference foes against each other to savagely battle for bracket positioning over the course of several days. This year’s tournament will see defending men’s champions Boston University staving off as of yet-to-be-decided opponents, with senior guard Darryl Partin strapping tiny pogo sticks to his sneakers in hopes of adding to his average of 19.8 points per game. The Hartford Hawks women’s squad protects its title behind the charge of freshman guard Amber Bepko, who garnered a career-high 18 points in the victorious game against UMBC on February 19. During the championship’s first round on March 1, teams attempt to out-dunk their competition for placement in the quarterfinals on March 2–3. Victors of the quarterfinals compete during a semifinal tilt on March 4, which determines which team will host its respective championship game and Indiana Jones marathon the following weekend.
The first Funny Bone location opened in 1982 and has spread infectious laughter ever since. Established stars such as Drew Carey and Jerry Seinfeld have graced the clubs’ stages, as well as up-and-coming talents with fresh faces, fresh routines, and that fresh pine scent. The venue also plays host to a full-service bar, where patrons may steep their sorrows in calming brews, then ingest them triumphantly.
A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.
The Russian Lady's two locations, one in Hartford and one in New Haven, straddle the line between tradition and modernity. In the midst of Victorian wall sconces, orthodox church windows, heavy wooden doors, and neoclassical gilded gratings, guests dance to live music under the glow of neon lights. At both locations, a stone sculpture of Catherine the Great watches over the entrance and checks IDs as revelers peruse an extensive menu of red wines, single-malt scotches, and dozens of variations on a Russian staple: vodka. At the New Haven outpost, small plates from an internationally inspired tapas menu are paired with 40 draft beers, including eight local Connecticut brews.
At Matt's Outback Paintball, players orchestrate tactical, technicolor strikes against rival teams in classic paintball, speedball, and x-ball games. Pigment warriors aged 10 and up stalk through 17 acres of woods, camping out in four two-story forts and unleashing an artful attack on unsuspecting enemies and the occasional disoriented bird watcher. Patrons can undertake a diversity of paintball games on both indoor and outdoor battlegrounds, including a tire field, a seven-man speedball field, and two fields for x-ball––a game in which teams vie to bring a flag from the center of the field to the opponents' starting station. Chest protectors and masks keep paintball platoon members safe from direct contact with the colorful ammunition, and extra ammo may be purchased (not covered by today's Groupon) to prevent chromatic commandos from desperately defending themselves with handfuls of crushed blueberries.
At Spare Time, balls hurtle down smooth, polished lanes as LCD screens keep track of scores and shimmering party lights illuminate the faces of determined bowlers. After lacing up some slide-enabling shoes and clearing the gutters of deciduous pins, bowlers set their sights on toppling 10-pin clusters. Carpets bedecked with psychedelic swirls lead to shelves stocked with neon-colored balls, which proffer their pin-busting talents to bowlers of various sizes. Fingers can warm up by mashing buttons in an arcade full of entrancing video games or bench-pressing french fries at the onsite grill and pub.