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 Boréal 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.
With six distinct courses etched into the New England countryside, Sterling Golf Management promotes pin-hunting recreation for Boston-area golfers of all abilities. The longest and most difficult of the six, The Shattuck Golf Club's 18-hole course kicks off with a 409-yard par 4 where players hack their way toward a green that is visually wreathed by the rising red rocks of Mount Monadnock, setting the tone for a scenic, 6,764-yard round. Groves of trees ensconce the fairways and barter over carbon dioxide at Norwood Country Club's recently renovated course, a relatively flat layout characterized by smallish greens and flanked by a lighted driving range. The newest member to the Sterling Golf Management team is the Rockland course, where 18 par-3 holes wind between tall oaks for a picturesque par-54 round. Designed in 1921 in the Donald Ross tradition is the Maynard Golf Course, a picturesque par 70, 9-hole course with a full-service clubhouse. The same sylvan makeup returns at Newton Commonwealth's course, where lush tree lines cast shadows over a creek as it snakes across the fairways of seven holes. Rounding out the grassy sextet, Chelmsford's nine-hole course takes golfers careening across 2,467 yards of narrow fairways, placing straight drives or skilled golf ball pilots at a premium.
A team of some of the most seasoned yoga teachers in the Untied States from various yoga styles shepherds students through sequences that range from gentle flow to physically demanding poses in classes that draw from Hatha, Vinyasa, and heated traditions. Every aspect of Down Under Yoga's design sprung from the minds of practicing yogis. Their students created the layout for the many-windowed, earth-toned studio, created the art and photography on the walls and bonsai trees.
They also serve up side dishes of Pilates, world dance, and Gyrokinesis, in which participants perform flowing, circular movements using a chair and mat, with the seamless flow allowing it to be done by all clients, including senior citizens and those with disabilities. In workshops, teachers and guest instructors discuss specialized topics, such as the role yoga plays in building core strength or ameliorating back pain. Ensuring that their moral compass points due north, Down Under Yoga refuses to sell overpriced apparel or environmentally damaging water bottles, or to accept corporate money to promote products.
Husband-and-wife team and Prana Power Yoga cofounders Philippe and Taylor Wells foster an environment in which clients can explore holistic wellness through yoga, intensive workshops, and events. Instructors at each heated studio locations roll out the welcome yoga mats, encouraging students of all interests and skill levels, from mothers-to-be to veteran sun saluters, to build strong bodies and peaceful minds in a judgment-free environment. During athletic Vinyasa-style yoga classes, certified instructors crank up temperatures as high as 99 degrees before taking mat mavens through a sequence of sweaty postures linked with mindful breathing exercises designed to boost lung capacity to Sting-like levels. Meanwhile, visitors in search of a transformative experience can attend one of the studio's workshops or events, which range from juice cleanses to destination yoga retreats in Nayarit, Mexico.
Whether training one-on-one or leading small-group classes, the trainers at Vitality Personal Fitness Inc. give everyone individualized attention. A cap of eight students per class ensures close supervision as participants swing kettlebells, lift weights, and pull against TRX resistance bands during functional-training exercises. The practicality of these movements effectively enhances not only strength but also agility and balance—skills valued in numerous sports and physical activities.
The trainers’ commitment to wellness expands beyond their clients to encompass the entire planet. Whenever possible, they ride their bikes to the eco-friendly building where they recycle, compost, and use a water-filtration system instead of plastic bottles or coal-powered drinking fountains. To encourage their clients to go green, they offer a $20 gift certificate to members who walk to the studio 10 times.
In 1973, Mike Farny had a vision: to bring affordable outdoor recreation to the residents of metropolitan Boston. Opening the Charles River Canoe Service that year, Farny became an instrumental voice in efforts to clean up the river, encouraging people to canoe, kayak, and sweep up the dirt on the riverbanks. The next year, he persuaded the Leo J. Martin Golf Course to transform its greens and fairways into a sprawling landscape for cross-country skiing alongside the Charles, allowing the public to enjoy recreation on the river even when its waters had frozen. A 15-kilometer system of trails makes use of natural snowfall and offers skiers a chance to change up their routes. Even when flakes refuse to fall, a state-of-the-art artificial-snow system shoots powder over a 2.5-kilometer loop, which rests beneath lights to allow night skiing before guests return to the cozy snack shop for hot cocoa and a bite to eat.