The crew at Reel Mania Charters customizes fishing trips for anglers of all abilities. As tunes blast from iPods and drinks emerge from coolers, groups cast out lines and reel in fish that range from flounder and porgy to striped bass and sea bass. After a full day of fishing and watching the sun glisten off rolling waves, coolers transport fish home for eating, trophy mounting, or displaying to neighbors to prove that the ocean exists.
A crack rings out from the jousting arena as armored knights clash in the pursuit of honor, while sword-swallowers thrill crowds with their death-defying art, jesters spin windy jokes, and townspeople in 15th-century garb roam the grounds tearing into turkey legs with their teeth. The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hosts these medieval-theme blowouts every year, including the Robin Hood Spring Festival and King Arthur’s Fall Harvest Faire. Under the themed umbrella of each gathering, actors caper about a constructed medieval village, engaging in Old English–flavored conversation and clapping games with fair-goers. In a tented marketplace, vendors sell beaded crafts, art, and tyrannical-king repellent alongside stands serving mead, beer, and other satisfying sundries. Although the shows and events vary at each fair, past spectacles have included archery displays, pub sing-alongs, and costume parades.
Before helming Paddle Board RI, John Andel was working as an IT consultant, itching to hop onto his board as the hours crept by each day. An erstwhile surfer, scuba diver, and spear fisher, John had encountered standup paddleboarding while visiting Costa Rica and fell in love with the aquatic pastime faster than two cupids in an archer's duel. "You get a whole different perspective,” he says of standing up on the board. “Sometimes you can see 20 feet down into the water.”
Drawn to the sport’s flexibility, John has engineered a diverse selection of tours, including the full-moon paddle, the business’s most popular tour, which takes groups out on quiet waters to gaze up at the glowing orb and stake out real estate for the moon colonies of the future. Another tour, the Tuckered Dog, invites pooches to hop on board with their owners at a dog-friendly pond. Paddle Board RI also offers classes from introductory lessons to less traditional options, such as paddleboard yoga taught by a certified yoga instructor, meditative sunrise sessions, and muscle-sculpting workout classes.
Although his business has taken off, Andel still leads the vast majority of the tours: at the heart of the venture still beats his own passion for being out on the water and sharing his love of paddleboarding with others. “We’re not just a rental company,” he says. “We’re about enjoying the water.”
Jim Scoggins first felt the rocking of a ship's deck in the 1950s on the rolling waters of Lake Champlain. Though he traveled south and found himself in healthcare administration for the next few decades, he never lost the passion for sailing—and eventually returned to New England to conquer more waves in the 1980s. With Sail the Sounds LLC established at three local ports, Captain Jim now uses his original sailing craft, an O'Day 39, as part of his training and charter fleet. He and his wife, Teresa, helm an ASA-certified training center, charter service, and cruising club to set guests out on the sparkling waters of Mystic River and Mystic Harbor. Captains pilot three Hunter yachts for chartered trips, as well as six Hunter 240 sailboats for captain rentals, sailing-club events, and classes teaching technique for keelboats, coastal navigation, and safely chartering parties of water-fearing cats.
Since 1962, the experienced and USPA-certified instructors at Connecticut Parachutists, Inc have helped new and experienced skydivers foster a love for skydiving. Two miles above the plush green landing area, the professionals harness themselves to novice divers for tandem jumps, and then leap from the bellies of prop planes as spectators and envious penguins look on from an open landing area. The instructors can also help their students obtain skydiving certification, learn to perform accelerated free falls, and make solo dives.
In addition to training new cloud kickers, Connecticut Parachutists, Inc also accommodates seasoned skydivers with facilities for members. Their turbine Twin Otter elevates members for as many jumps as possible, and a clubhouse helps jumpers wind down with a shower and video debriefing area. The skydiving haven also plays host to special events such as jump nights and Q&As with famous parachutes.
Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, the Boss Ice Arena opens its doors to college athletic teams, amateur ice skaters, and budding hockey enthusiasts. Operated in conjunction with the University of Rhode Island, the facility hosts the university’s men’s and women’s hockey games, as well as intramural sports, public skating sessions, and hockey-centric camps and clinics for youngsters aged 6 to 18. The arena also features an ice-skating instructional program for both children and adults, public hockey sessions, and caters to events such as birthday parties. On game days, up to 2,500 fans fill the arena with a deafening howls and as they cheer on their nationally ranked teams, and on non-game days, non-professional skaters practice their elaborate post-goal dances before stopping into the on-site pro shop to stock up on gear or pet the store’s mascot, Jack the dog.
A comprehensive guide to attractions and things to do.