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, and relax on hayrides, which wind past the property's forests, fields, and ponds.
Michael Donofrio, the founder and lead guide of Vertical World Adventures, maneuvers his limbs up vertical surfaces of all shapes and sizes. Since 1996, he has guided thousands of people on ice, rock, and mountaineering trips to destinations as close as Crow Hill in Leominster State Forest and as remote as the far-flung mountains of the American West. No matter the theme or location of the exhibition, Michael and his team of seasoned guides have successfully guided outdoor adventure trips for people of all ages and experience levels.
In addition to plotting trips and staying safe, guides also make sure that their charges have the skills to surmount even the craggiest cliffs through a full slate of climbing classes. Scaled for all experience levels, classes focus on overcoming challenges and improving communication skills. Popular courses include Basic Mountaineering, Learn to Ice Climb Locally, and Self-Rescue Skills, which imparts techniques for escaping the belay and using prusiks to ascend the rope.
When slender tree trunks don't offer enough protection, paintballers dive behind barrels, inch along behind rough-hewn wooden barricades, or crouch behind a dense pile of sticks. These are the barriers that ALLSTARR Paintball's playing field offers paintball warriors as they battle for supremacy. As soon as they don the necessary protective gear and grab a paintball marker, competitors can get out on the field and start splatting the field—and their opponents—with color.
Even for the experienced zipliner, Alpine Adventures' zaplines present a challenge. They're part of the three-hour Super Skyrider tour, and bear only a superficial resemblance to sister ziplines. Instead of zooming in a straight line, you have to painstakingly navigate your way across, step by step or handstand by handstand. But don't fret: only two of the nine ziplines are zaplines. The other seven, including the Skyrider and TreeTop tours, allow adventurers to hitch up and zoom off at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Slightly closer to sea level, Thrillsville Aerial Park promises additional wind-in-your-hair activities. Tube down a huge ramp and launch straight into the cushy BigAirBag, scale a cargo net, or whip along a smaller zipline and pretend you're a giant. Alternatively, off-road nature tours take place in six-wheel-drive, custom-built Pinzgauer vehicles, which scale the rocky Barron Mountain in any weather with up to 11 riders strapped in safely. During these exploits, guides fire off facts in between the music that pumps through an overhead stereo system.
Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, the staff of climbing instructors at Boston Rock Gym teach torsos how to ascend altitudes with indoor-, outdoor-, and youth-climbing activities. The savvy instructors lead the way around the facility’s more than 40 ropes, which set the stage for both group and private indoor lessons, as well as open climbing sessions in which self-guided climbers reach for neon-colored handgrips while being supported by auto-belay devices. Outdoors, students learn to navigate nature’s authentic slabs during lessons and clinics that start with the basics and graduate up to advanced ice-climb maneuvers. Additionally, the facility’s youth programs cater to smaller grips and aim to boost self-confidence while preparing children for the physical-fitness portion of the SAT.
Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.
These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing fitness rooms full of hang boards and pull-up bars to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.
The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi?no surprise given the center's newly launched Active Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather to launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork.