The YMCA keeps residents healthy and engaged in more than 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, but it traces its American origins to the streets of 19th-century Boston. Here, Thomas Valentine Sullivan carried on the mission started in London by George Williams: providing affordable recreation and residence to young men from cities and country towns alike. Over the last century and change, the organization's mission changed to keep pace with the evolving times; today, the YMCA of Greater Boston welcomes anyone interested in furthering the causes of "youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility."
This modern mission combines the Y's signature programming with new initiatives designed to keep citizens one step ahead of an ever-changing world. Members stay fit and active with everything from organized sports and fitness classes to lifeguard, CPR, and first aid lessons. But the Y's developmental programs go far beyond bodily strength; their enrichment and leadership courses equip youths with the confidence needed to take charge in their everyday lives, and ESL classes help newcomers to English embark on the next step of their linguistic lives.
For 40 years of her life, Lisa Lavoie went without a single urge to perform muscle-toning spins on every chrome pole she came across. Now, she can't imagine a life where she doesn't artfully maneuver around a smooth metallic post on a regular basis. Once she discovered the intense yet fun exercise form in 2009, she fell in love with it and opened her own studio less than four years later. Today, Lavoie dedicates herself to eliminating pole dancing's negative stigma and exposing it as the artistic strength-training workout that it truly is. With help from a team of certified instructors, she leads rigorous, one-hour classes that aim to build confidence levels, upper-body strength, and core muscles. In addition to leading pole fitness classes, instructors helm other out-of-the-box fitness classes, including aerial silks and belly-dancing classes.
The Histrionic Academy follows the enduring footprints of America's first steps, bringing to life the iconic men, women, and events that helped forge the United States into existence during the Revolutionary era. Throughout the extended, 90-minute Tour the Freedom Trail walking tour, groups weave across the first 1.2 miles of Boston's Freedom Trail behind the proverbial torches held by guides dressed in colonial garb. Up to 16 of the city's historical landmarks along the tour's route act as links to the past, enabling tour takers to see the actual locations where Paul Revere famously hung out and memorized the horse alphabet.
In addition to Freedom Trail adventures, The Histrionic Academy also swings open its vault of knowledge during school field trips and a variety of other tours. The Plymouth Night tour raises hairs by shuffling visitors through haunted locales beneath the eerie glow of the moon while hunting for ghosts and ghouls in their paranormal hangouts, learning about the dark shadows cast by the city on a hill and the proper safety gear needed for attempting to climb to the moral high ground. The Salem's 1692 tour relives the hysteria of witch hunts by sailing through city streets atop gas-powered brooms.
Harbor Queen Cruises' namesake cruise boat Harbor Queen slices through the sparkling waters of Narragansett Bay during daytime jaunts or evening soirees. Passengers can take to the high seas for dining and drinks during dinner or brunch cruises, or wander the two climate-controlled decks during cocktail parties. Harbor Queen Cruises makes parties memorable with the help of an onboard chef, who crafts buffet-style meals and New England–style clambakes, and a complimentary parrot for every guest’s shoulder.
• For $12, you get two adult historical-tour tickets (a $25 value). • For $25, you get four family historical-tour tickets (up to a $50 value). The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast and Museum's tour guides weave a tale of intrigue at the haunted scene of an infamous unsolved murder, garnering recognition as one of MSNBC’s top 10 haunted homes in the United States and on The Huffington Post’s list of the world's creepiest places. Built in 1845, the Greek revival home has been restored to better approximate its appearance on August 4, 1892, when wealthy businessman Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were mysteriously murdered, perhaps by Andrew's youngest daughter Lizzie. Meander through haunted hallways on a one-hour tour of the bed and breakfast while shouting out trivia questions to entice helpful ghosts from hiding spots. Brave visitors can ascend creaky stairs to the third floor, where the ghosts of two children and a former caretaker are said to entertain themselves by flicking light switches on and off, and mischievously scrawling visitors’ ATM pin numbers on walls. Tours depart on the hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
As its name implies, Modern Barre offers a contemporary take on the rejuvenating workout regimen originally designed by a professional ballet dancer in the 1950s. This refined approach still uses the dance-inspired orthopedic stretches and ballet barre-assisted exercises, but Modern Barre's instructors introduce elements of Pilates and yoga to create a balanced, full-body workout that lengthens and strengthens muscles without placing undue stress on joints. Though each of the studio's teachers possesses classical dance training, students can perform the gentle body-weight and light resistance exercises, even if they don't have previous dance experience or even own a nutcracker. For a slightly different approach, the instructors also lead HIIT classes as well as cardio-based barre sessions, which introduce more aerobic activity into the standard workout regimen.