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.
Despite being housed in a former chocolate factory, Milton Hill Sport & Spa is more dedicated to burning calories than consuming them. By adopting a holistic approach to health, Milton Hill encourages its members to exercise regularly and practice nutritious eating habits—and it has the resources to back up this approach. Personal training sessions focus on lifestyle and health goals, as opposed to just building muscle or the ability to tolerate sweatbands. Nutritional counseling is tailored to each participant to include vitamins, minerals, and healthy food plans. And spa services, such as massages and facials, help destress members and boost their overall health and wellness.
Lorenz Island Kuisine’s roots are immediately visible on its ceiling, where a Jamaican flag proudly hangs. A few more steps inside the warmly lit eatery and more roots begin to show. There’s the orange walls with green trim, and the smell of Jamaican food wafting from the open kitchen. There, the kitchen staff cooks curry goat and plates crispy, brown pieces of jerk chicken. Other dishes include oxtail, plantains, rice and beans, beef patties encased in flaky crust, and almond cake made with rum and topped with icing. Many of the dishes double as loveable characters in the eatery’s recipe book.
Working alongside her husband Joe, Horseplay Stables co-owner Terry Hoy draws upon her more than 25 years of equestrian riding and training to help students realize their full riding potential. The pair also relies on help from an extensive team of licensed instructors and volunteers. At Horseplay Stables, students can master the basics of several horseback-riding styles, including huntseat, jumping, classical dressage, or western pleasure.
It didn’t take long for Robert Bennet Forbes to make a name for himself. He was made a captain by the age of 20, and he quickly amassed wealth and influence as a China Trade Merchant. And despite becoming one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, Captain Forbes still found time to design ships, write, and build an estate that would make Scrooge McDuck molt with envy. Along with his brother John, the Captain commissioned a Greek Revival mansion to be built in 1883. The house was intended for their mother, but over the decades, it would become home to many members of the entrepreneurial family—who collected four generations worth of paintings, artifacts, and various artwork.
Perched atop Milton Hill, the mansion—now a National Historic Landmark called the Forbes House Museum—transports visitors back to key moments in American history. In one part of the house lies memorabilia focused on President Lincoln and the Civil War, collected by the Captain's granddaughter Mary Bowditch Forbes. Her passion for that time period was so strong, she even had a replica of Lincoln's birthplace built on the museum's grounds. Other rooms showcase the valuable Chinese exports collected by the Captain. Sitting atop a table of Cantonese marble and hand-carved rosewood is the crown jewel of this collection, the Election Bowl, a porcelain vessel adorned with two Forbes family crests and two depictions of Scottish castles. In addition to tours, the mansion also hosts various cultural events, including a monthly roundtable discussion on the Civil War.
Equipment: Hoist, LateralX, Keiser, LifeFitness, Precor, Arc Trainer, StepMill
Students should bring: Optional: bottle of water, towel, change of sneakers
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 25+ people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: Yes
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: No
Parking: Free street parking
Fitness Unlimited's owners boast more than seven top brands of workout equipment and 28 unique fitness classes on a mere two floors, dedicating every square inch to women's fitness. They invite members to chart their own course toward fitness with solo workouts on the gym floor or one-on-one personal training, or they can take one of more than 80 group classes held each week. Classes cover everything from yoga and barre workouts to full-on strength and endurance training for those preparing for the annual Grand Piano Shoulder Press Grand Prix. The gym's program advisor notes that this variety is key to helping members achieve success. "Frequently throughout the year we have fitness challenges that our members really enjoy," the advisor says. "They feel that it keeps them motivated and encourages them to try new things."
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