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.
At Escape Aerial Arts, students learn how to combine the grace of dance and gymnastics while defying gravity. The studio's five poles and suspended aerial silks provide an alternative to typical conditioning and strength-training workouts. As students spin, climb, and dangle inches or feet above the ground, they are using their muscles without putting undue strain on their joints. Instructors lead a variety of classes ranging from beginners' sessions that introduce the fundamentals to more advanced sessions that emphasize the aspects of performing on the pole or aerial silks.
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.
Green Planet Kids, tucked away in the independent shopping mecca of Newton Highlands, brings an old-fashioned sensibility to eco-friendly toys and nontoxic art supplies. Sunlight spills across the two-story confines, where personable service collides with fun, educational toys and hands-on art classes. Under the supervision of professional instructors, youngsters create a flurry of art projects in the form of paper-bead jewelry, watercolor paintings, and tissue-paper flowers, which are ideal for attracting tissue-paper hummingbirds.
The concept behind Samba Steak & Sushi House started to take shape in the early 20th century, when Japanese immigrants in Brazil and Peru began mixing local culinary influences with food from home. Simple, health-conscious Japanese cooking techniques mixed with spicier South American flavors, producing dishes seen in Samba's menu of wild-caught seafood, locally sourced produce, and organic sushi rice.
Hibachi chefs roast lobster tails, calamari, and sirloin steak on tabletop grills while diners watch this time-honored practice. In contrast, the sushi chefs incorporate more fusion elements by packing nontraditional ingredients into the specialty maki, such as coconut flakes, marinated red onions, and melted mozzarella cheese.
The hibachi grills' occasional bursts of flame complement the high-ceilinged dining room's predominantly orange- and red-hued walls and the glowing eyes of the head chef. To keep this space full beyond mealtimes, the restaurant also hosts regular events, including DJ performances, karaoke nights, and sushi-making classes.