The proprietor and chief guide behind Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, Marla BB, invites patrons to hitch their dreams of adventure onto the backs of her alaskan huskies for mushing, skijoring, and outdoor excursions in the Berkshires. Her hallmark attraction is mushing through both snowy hills and on dryland tracks—a unique offering for the region that has earned her attention from media outlets such as Mushing magazine and Animal Planet.
The skijoring and sled-dog school teaches novices how to captain a team of dogs either in a sled or on skis, which can give them give them a way to skip long ski-resort lift lines. Marla also leads day excursions through DAR State Forest, Chesterfield Gorge and Westfield River, and the Deerfield River Watershed, keeping bikers, hikers, kayakers, and bird watchers safe as she is a certified wilderness first responder and an expert in swift-water safety and rescue.
For two decades, New Century Theatre has provoked thoughtful postshow discussions with a mix of new works and fresh renditions of familiar classics. "Distracted," a new play by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, Lisa Loomer, follows the parents, teachers, and doctors of a rambunctious 9-year-old boy as they try to determine whether he has ADHD. By turns hilarious and poignant, the action unfolds within Smith College's Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, a performance hall built in 1964 and recently renovated to add modern comforts and chase Banquo's ghost from the wings.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
Partnered with a ground crew predominately made up of fellow pilots, Dick Guisto, Mike Florio, and Vinnie Melling harness their commercial-pilot expertise for each Aerostat Promotions flight. After a half-hour of balloon inflation and preparation, up to four guests join their pilot at sunrise or 2.5 hours before sunset for an hour-long flight that affords aerial views of the Pioneer Valley’s breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and residential homes. Meanwhile, a chase team tracks the balloon from terra firma as it traverses approximately 10 miles of sky. Once visitors and their pilot rendezvous with the team, balloons are packed into a truck or twisted into to-scale elephant balloon animals before the group shares a champagne toast and appetizers.
From their kitchen stations on the second story of the Bay State Hotel, the chefs at Mulino's Restaurant plate up hearty portions of sophisticated Italian cuisine. Piled-high plates showcase tender linguine, spaghetti, and fettuccine clinging to gorgonzola cream sauce, italian sausages, veggies, and julienned strips of chicken. The aromas of wine-coated salmon and grilled beef tenderloin also fight for the attention of diners who are taking their time with their wine, served by the glass, bottle, or through a penne noodle. Desserts such as crème brûlée and tiramisu sweetly seal the meal.
When first-time potters step into The Celadon Studio, it may feel a bit like they're entering Wonderland, where none of the objects seem to make sense. Shortly thereafter, however, one of the 10 resident artists shows them the ropes. With the artist's help, novices are soon using the five Pacifica GT potter’s wheels, slab roller, electric kiln, plaster bats, and 15 studio glazes to fashion unique creations out of stoneware and domestic porcelain.