In the early ?70s, Boston-area resident Mike Farny dreamed of creating affordable outdoor recreational activities for his community to enjoy. In May of 1973, Mike set up shop in the MDC Norumbega Police Substation of Newton/Auburndale and began realizing his dream. The location?directly next to the historic Totem Pole Ballroom?perfectly enabled the environmentally friendly practice of canoeing and kayaking. Mike's vision blossomed over the years to include four other locations, each offering rentals, tours, and instruction.
Today, on-staff guides lead tours of the Charles River and Boston Harbor to educate participants in ecosystem conservation, view the skyline and sunset, or explore historic structures. Select trips also include lunch to fuel participants as they navigate difficult waterways and jump through flaming hoops. To prepare customers entering the water for the first time, instructors coach riders of all levels in private or group lessons at the paddling school, which draws on more than 30 years of instructional tradition. Staffers can also equip boaters in the shop?where P&H and Bor?al kayaks hang alongside Tahoe paddleboards and Wenonah canoes, dreaming of one day being the inspiration for a traditional sea chantey. Crew members help clients choose their ride and accessories from these selections and others through free daily demonstrations.
Looking to put a new spin on a classic family activity, the minds behind Glowgolf decided to give the game a phosphorescent update. Incandescent courses place friends and family amid a tropical-fantasy golf world of neon orange, green, and violet surroundings. Players putt luminous orbs through vibrant treasure chests and glimmering windmills while negotiating tricky obstacles near walls portraying black-light-lit aquatic scenes. With more than 20 locations spread over 10 states, Glowgolf's fluorescent labyrinths challenge human players and traveling gnomes.
With over 15 million students trained since their founding in 1968, Villari's Martial Arts Centers continue to train pugnacious pugilists young and old using techniques crafted by Grandmaster Fred Villari. Developed as a fusion of classic Eastern fighting styles, Villari's exclusive Shaolin Kempo Karate combines the graceful energy of Shaolin, the quick, explosive blows of kempo and karate, and the grappling of Chin Na to provide combatants with a varied, effective self-defense system. Children gain strength and discipline in youth classes, while adult classes leave grown-ups ready to handle anything from dojo defense to tense lunchroom stand-offs over the day's last apple bran muffin.
When Malcolm and Mandy Sim welcomed two children into the world, the veterans of both the animation and theme-park industries visited numerous indoor play centers in Los Angeles, hoping to find the one that best suited their kids. Nothing quite clicked, however, which inspired the parents to call upon their entertainment backgrounds and develop their own indoor facility. Since relocating to the Boston area, the Sims have opened Jam Time, where youngsters ages 3 months to 6 years can surmount climbing structures, leap about in a bounce house, or shop in a pretend grocery market before whipping up faux soufflés in the playhouse kitchen. Classroom sessions further engage tykes with art projects, science classes, and princess-etiquette lessons, where young ladies learn to detect whether evil witches have booby-trapped their science projects. Soft play toys engage visiting toddlers and infants, while adults surf free WiFi, sip gourmet coffee, or enjoy a treat from the organic snack bar.
One of the most enjoyable ways to experience different cultures is by exploring their cuisines, and at Maxwells 148, guests can zoom around the globe with bites from an international menu. Executive Chef Mitchell Maxwell sees to it. More than just a passive admirer of the Asian and Italian foods that stand out on the Zagat-rated menu, the experienced kitchen master has trained in the lands from which these cuisines originate. His passion for Asian food has taken him to Honolulu, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore—he spent time in a kitchen in each of those locations. And his love of Italian fare dovetailed neatly with his pan-Asian education when he learned how to cook in the style of the Friuli region of Italy with chefs who hailed from there, but who were in Hawaii with Maxwell.
The results of Chef Maxwell’s globetrotting education are palpable in the flavors of appetizers such as Maine lobster or Hudson Valley foie gras. Or, they emerge from a pasta dish of Cantonese noodles with shrimp or linguini siciliana with cauliflower. His house specialties include classic chicken marsala, gnocchi ai aragosta, and kaffir-lime seared scallops.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.