Ritual and ceremony are a big part of horseback riding, according to Jessica Martinelli, the owner and head instructor at J.L.M. Equestrian. "It's more than just getting on and going," she says. "There's a lot of care involved too." Jessica, who's been riding since the age of 6, teaches students how to properly brush, tack, and saddle a horse during lessons.
Once their steeds are prepped, students climb aboard one of the farm's team of 11 horses, which includes Rodney, a dark-brown gelding who flips his friendly tail during most of a week's 35 lessons. In the saddle, beginners learn balance and control under staff supervision. They?ll learn to take the reins in the 100'x200' outdoor riding arena, where they practice using their legs and feet to control and communicate with the horse. More advanced riders practice jumps.
Sometimes the first few lessons snowball into a genuine passion. Jessica herself saw her initial interest blossom into a lifelong love highlighted by competitions with the US equestrian team and an appearance at Madison Square Garden during the National Horse Show. For those students looking to get more involved, Jessica offers camps, and some students go on to compete in regional competitions or the state's interscholastic riding program.
At Town Hall Lanes, 32 glossy lanes await the rolling of palm-sized bowling balls towards the short, squat duckpins. Scores are kept by an automatic system, rather than old-school methods by hand and deliberate lies, and on Friday and Saturday nights, the lights turn low for cosmic bowling. Between games, players find refreshment at the lounge or arrange for a bowling party to celebrate birthdays or special events.
At Mulligan's Island Golf & Entertainment, 60 covered hitting stalls look out onto 11 acres of target areas, a sprawling configuration that helped earn the facility a spot on Golf Range Magazine's 2011 list of top 100 ranges. Golfers can use the driving range's 20 heated stalls to practice during off-season months without worrying about cooler temperatures stiffening their swings, or they can invest in lessons that use digital teaching methods such as computerized swing analysis to lower handicaps. A USGA-rated course tests participants with nine holes of regulation-size golf, while an 18-hole pitch-and-putt short course and two mini-golf courses help golfers calibrate aspects of their short game. The practice mecca also tests swings at 10 batting cages that feed baseballs and softballs at adjustable speeds to suit both little leaguers and professionals fishing for compliments.
Legion Bowl & Billiards preserves retro entertainment with 18 duckpin bowling lanes, eight tournament-sized billiards tables, and ticket-spewing arcade games. The alley’s streamlined design hearkens to the tailfins of a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air or the cover art of a mid-century sci-fi novel. Traditional scoring projectors lend to the classic ambiance at the lanes, which fill with the clatter of scattering pins.
Television screens in the pool hall broadcast live coverage of New England sports teams, and the spitfire rasp of electric guitars occasionally cuts through from live musicians at the adjoining Legion Pub. The kitchen staff fires selections from a menu of burgers and grilled pizzas, which pair with draft beers or cocktails. On the alley’s outdoor deck, guests click together glasses or toss rocks at poets attracted by the breezy summer evenings.
Opened in 1924, Park Theatre was a major hub of Cranston's cultural scene for nearly 80 years. But in 2002, the projectors were shut off, the doors were locked, and the silver screens were melted down for cutlery. That closure was not to last, however. In 2009, Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung oversaw the grand re-opening, which introduced brand-new features such as a deeper stage, nearly 1,000 plush red seats, and the Stage Door Restaurant and Lounge.