Banner Country Club's 18-hole public course rolls across 6,015 yards of Connecticut countryside, challenging golfers of all stripes with diverse, player-friendly terrain. The course's emerald corridors roam through a combination of open pastures and tree-lined areas, letting golfers unsheathe muscular drivers on forgiving holes before forcing them to whisper words of confidence to timid long irons when aiming through arboreal alleys. The picturesque par 72 invites aces to hunt birdies across its relatively short layout, while offering a training ground for club-toting cadets still trying to perfect their swing or wield modified canes as golf clubs.
Armed with certifications from the celebrated yoga guru, Bikram Choudhury, Bikram Yoga Glastonbury's band of yoga instructors guides students of all abilities through the 26-posture practice. Students begin the 90-minute workout with a deep-breathing exercise before moving into a sequence of standing and seated postures designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Balmy temperatures help students sink into deep stretches, eliminate harmful toxins from the body, and keep confrontational snowmen at bay. Though challenging, students of all experience and fitness levels can tailor the poses to meet their needs, with the idea that through dedicated practice, students may see a decrease in weight, improved sleep, and greater flexibility.
As the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, the Rock Cats clubhouse is baseball's equivalent of an arboretum, blossoming in the summer with big-league-ready talent while nurturing future pros, a laundry list of baseball all-stars that has previously included Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, David Ortiz, and Torii Hunter. Following the frenetic lead of Rocky, a full roster of mascots entices eyes with various forms of family-friendly entertainment throughout each game. An extra dose of off-the-field entertainment can also be savored inside the ballpark's Fun Zone, where fans test their skills by smacking baseballs in a homerun derby, throwing fastballs with speed pitch, or swinging an oversize hot dog to prepare for the day when professional baseball decides all bats must be meat-based.
Founded by American Mountain Guides Association–certified instructor Matt Shove, Ragged Mountain Guides teaches its climbing pupils the techniques and tools needed to scale the natural terrain of the Traprock region. Rock-climbing adventures illuminate how to handle rope and repel down mountain cliffs even when their escalators are broken. As seasonal temperatures drop, guides turn their attention to ice and alpine climbing, which challenges mountaineers to swing their axe and scale vertical ice. Students master increasingly advanced techniques until they can tackle cliffs on their own, and the most dedicated climbers can enroll in guide-certification programs. Matt Shove's expertise has also been tapped by organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard, and he regularly repels into the offices of Climberism magazine to contribute articles.
A full quarter mile of outdoor track snakes across the grass, sending racers on an adrenaline-fueled grudge match of hairpin turns, pedal-pushing straightaways, and close finishes. A speedy fleet of go-karts sends drivers flying down the track in vehicles such as the swift 9-horsepower Interceptor, or the two-seater Tornado, which allows children to ride alongside their parents to learn proper three-point turn technique. An on-track scoreboard displays racers’ lap times with accuracy up to a 1,000th of a second, and printed results enshrine automotive achievements and bragging rights for display. Inside, a beeping, blinking arcade pits gamers head-to-head in pro-racing simulators, bouts of Guitar Hero, or rousing tournaments of air hockey.
When traversing Oak Meadow Farm’s 52 verdant acres, one is struck by sweeping views of nearby produce farms. Students contribute to this idyllic pastoral scene as they learn the basics of riding in either indoor or outdoor rings. Head trainer Mark Rarick and assistant trainer Amy Kriwitsky bring their individual experiences, such as Mark’s stint in show jumping in England and Amy’s bachelor’s degree in animal science, to teaching beginners how to tack and nay effectively. Their efforts have earned them praise in publications such as Today’s Equestrian and Chronicle of the Horse.