Each year, the banks of the Saugatuck River transform from a serene New England retreat to a raucous Southern street fair during the annual two-day Blues, Views & BBQ Festival. The syncopated chords of live blues performers waft through the air as visitors nosh on barbecue, jerk chicken, and other down-home favorites supplied by local eateries. Visitors can showcase their own culinary skills by helming grills during barbecue competitions, or highlight their stomachs’ capacity without undergoing embarrassing public x-rays during pie- and rib-eating contests. Carnival-style entertainment rounds out the festivities, ranging from a mechanical bull to inflatables for tots.
In 1858, textile merchant Robert Bruce became the owner of the building that houses the museum named after him, and he ensured he would be the last one. Shortly before his death in 1909 and after a half-century inhabiting the house, he deeded his home to the town of Greenwich, as long as it would become a museum focused on art and science. In 2012, the museum celebrated its centennial year with a special exhibit of recent and promised gifts to the permanent collection.
With more than 15,000 art and science items, the Bruce Museum continues to live out Robert Bruce's mission, with a series of permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as a series of lectures and events such as occasional movie nights. A few miles away, its Seaside Center educates visitors on ecological issues at Long Island Sound.
Stretched in front of a black-lit backdrop of the New York City skyline, the neon-speckled bowling lanes at Spins Bowl entertain guests with bowling bouts inside the expansive Grand Prix New York facility. Brightly colored bowling balls barrel down the center’s 19 lanes and explode against pin formations, which echo into the lounge's plush seating area. Bowlers compare scores on their lanes’ large LCD projection screens while cheering strikes over beverages and American-style dishes from Fuel, the onsite restaurant and bar. In addition to its 12 public lanes, the bowling alley hosts private events, children’s birthday parties, and hamster-ball crash tests on seven VIP lanes.
Jenks Productions has been handling the nuts and bolts of consumer trade shows for 33 years. Partnering with local and national businesses, Jenks specializes in home, bridal, and pet shows, which fill sprawling spaces with vendors eager to share their wares and visitors looking for inspiration. The services that Jenks Productions provides are extensive, as the team can do everything from onsite event management and budget planning to marketing efforts such as developing newsletters, logos, and jingles that rhyme the words “impending nuptials.”
Stepping Stones Museum for Children encourages kids to learn through play with permanent and traveling exhibits tailored to different age levels and activities designed to develop growing brains. The museum was founded in 2000 in order to give kids a place to let their imaginations soar while participating in an interdisciplinary mix of subjects, such as art, culture, literacy, and string theory. Because children learn best by doing, the museum's interactive activities are perfect for improving cognitive function.
Creativity and problem-solving skills improve in the massive courtyard—a gigantic open-air tent that hosts an oversized checkerboard and big blue-foam building blocks—as well as in the kiln-equipped art studio. A community garden teaches little ones about butterflies and edible plants, and Healthyville employs more than 50 hands-on activities and computer games to educate kids about nutrition, the body, and why you shouldn't eat fake fruit.
Typically, you can only see Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and Yankee Stadium in less than an hour while leafing through a stack of New York postcards. However, Zip Aviation confounds expectations, whisking tourists over those landmarks and more on one of three helicopter tours in 12–30 minutes. Helmed by a team of pilots with an impeccable safety record, the tours grant passengers a bird’s-eye view of the city aboard either their AStar or Bell helicopters, which have never once caused sea sickness. The aviation company complements its sightseeing excursions with an array of other transit services, including private charters and special-event transportation options.