With three haunted houses, a spooky hayride, and a bustling carnival, Witch’s Woods is a Halloween theme park that rises from the mist for only one month a year. Ferried along by a sputtering tractor, Haunted Hayride passengers cower for 20 grueling minutes as they are assailed from all sides by zombies, werewolves, ghouls, and cows trying to nibble the hay. At the end of the ride, three paths lead to additional attractions, including Castle Morbid, in which medieval spirits chase interlopers through the halls and into the depths of the keep, where it becomes increasingly apparent that the weapons that once kept intruders out are now employed to keep them in. Nightmare Mansion is inhabited by a cursed family whose eternal life has left them as withered husks driven insane with rage at visitors who still possess the ability to die. The final path leads to the 3-D Keeper’s Crypt, where the undead shamble and scream as they pursue their prey, and where the walls themselves seem to be closing in.
A creepy carnival awaits survivors with rides, games, and more attractions. The Horror wood Chamber of Chills puts favorite Halloween and horror-movie characters on display, including such icons as Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger, and Mary Shelley’s original version of Shrek. Meanwhile, the Jack O’ Lantern Jamboree displays rows upon rows of professional carved pumpkins, eerily glowing at self-guided passersby.
With a former Oakland Athletic and two ex-minor leaguers on staff, Baseball Unlimited Training Center is a safe haven to help young hitters, pitchers, and fielders take their skills to the next level. The 7,500-square-foot facility houses five separate hitting and pitching tunnels extending to 65 feet in length, suitable for practicing all baseball or softball pitches, except for spitballs or cannonballs. The center hosts ballplayers ranging from little leaguers to college players, who can each take part in camps and clinics or practice individually through batting-cage rentals in 30-minute allotments.
At Pro-Fitness Plus, a professional staff of trainers and nutritionists help clients of all ages and fitness levels achieve their desired results, whether they’re looking to tone up, stay healthy, or slim down. Members can take advantage of more than 350 pieces of equipment ranging from 110-pound dumbbells to recumbent bikes, treadmills, and cross-trainers. The 46,000-square-foot space also features a full outdoor basketball court, 50-inch plasma TVs, and locker rooms equipped with saunas for steaming healthy bowls of broccoli.
Dads have a lot of important jobs: mowing the lawn; killing spiders; bribing the principal. But when three Boston-area dads put their heads together in 2012, they discovered a new paternal duty: creating a 9,000-square-foot entertainment facility where families can retreat for good, old-fashioned fun. Set beside the banks of the Shawsheen River, Merrimack Valley Pavilion's "Tiki Island" miniature golf course weaves putters through a paradise complete with palm trees, bamboo huts, a cave waterfall, and geysers that spray higher than a caddy jumps when spooked by his own shadow. Inside, a multi-level laser tag arena pulses with light as players navigate its tricky jungle setup, and an on-site sports café lets visitors load up on pizza, frozen yogurt, and 25 different flavors of ice cream.
The staff at Greater Boston Running Company—the Northeast operation of the national and online retailer Running Company—hopes customers are not misled by the name. They’ll custom fit everyone for shoes that support their pursuits, whether they be marathoners, CrossFitters, or a nurse who has to stand all day. The process starts with talking to guests about their average workout or day, followed by a meticulous measuring of their feet. Staffers then have guests walk, jog, or run on a treadmill equipped with slow-motion-capture software, which lets guests see things such as how their arches react when striking and lifting from the ground. Armed with this wealth of information, Greater Boston Running Company’s team can narrow the expansive shoe stock down to just a few recommendations.
Beyond an armory of footwear, Greater Boston Running Company stocks athletic apparel and accessories from brands such as New Balance, Garmin, and SmartWool. This gear is matched by a wealth of educational resources, both online and at the store level. Regularly posted web articles cover topics from how the seasons impact nutritional needs to how rubbing your body in bacon attracts wild animals and boosts your desire to run.
At individual locations, each store’s staff works with local running clubs, high-school teams, and charities—making them especially adept at pointing runners toward fellow runners and trainers who will help them reach their goals.
Founded in 1924 as a vaudeville palace and movie house, The Strand Theatre harks back to the cinematic havens of yore with its homey auditorium space and vintage marquee. Groups enjoy recent releases and classic films while seated at tables, which grant unimpeded legroom and preclude fistfights over whose cup holder is whose. The tables are placed in a staggered and tiered arrangement that ensures every audience member has a clear sightline. The in-house restaurant shares a full-service menu of appetizers and entrees from the grill, as well as craft beer and wine, all of which can be enjoyed inside the theater.
Overhead lights are illuminated as the sun dips lower on the horizon, casting a glow across duos engaged in baseline rallies that echo across Weston Racquet Club’s eight outdoor courts. Every day, the club’s staffers set up meetings like this between players of similar abilities—staff unconditionally guarantees a suitable partner for individuals any time they are looking for a match. Carefully selected pairs then take to indoor or outdoor courts, which feature cushiony surfaces ideal for players with tender knees or cowardly socks. Members can continue to hone their skills during one of the 30 complimentary tennis clinics offered per week.
Housed inside a restored country mansion originally built in 1858, the clubhouse winds back the clock with an art-deco-inspired interior reminiscent of a 1930s tennis club. After a day on the courts, guests can unwind in the 45,000-gallon heated pool or soothe their aching tennis ear in the hot tub. Weston Racquet Clubs’ 40-Love Café aids in refueling by serving a menu of sandwiches, salads, and tapas.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.