Westfield Water Sports and Wilderness Experiences—a kayak, SUP, camping, and scuba gear shop as well as a camping store and adventure emporium—dispatches a staff of certifiable adventure-seekers to lead sojourners into the great outdoors with scuba classes, kayak classes, dive and non-dive world travel, and rock-climbing excursions. An all-around outdoorsman, camp director T. Scott Cook leans on his doctorate of Leadership Development in Adventure Education to develop nature excursions, including far-flung trips where groups snorkel in the Cayman Islands or evolve gills in the Galapagos. Back home, the summer camp’s elaborate ropes course builds teamwork between coworkers, and caving adventures allow guests to delve into mysterious depths or apartment swap with a black bear.
Red Rock Grill and Bar's chefs seek out seasonal ingredients, whenever possible, from local sources to craft homegrown favorites and American comfort foods. Using fresh meats and produce, they braise pot roast in a blend of Guinness and smoked jalapeños, make marinara sauce in-house, and infuse macaroni 'n' cheese with fresh lobster. At the bar, a selection of microbrews and cocktails keep patrons spacing out their mugs of ice water. Beyond the menu, Red Rock entertains visitors by hosting regular performances from live musicians and loaning out canoes and kayaks with which to explore the nearby waters through Good to Go Kayak Rentals.
Few fitness organizations would place as much importance on a potluck as a pushup, but Friends in Motion is different. Instead of creating weight-loss programs that consist of strict drills and dieting, the staff designs plans that are built on a foundation of support and social interactions. Though it might seem cliché, the effectiveness is no joke. Team members bond with their teammates during interactive classes and outdoor team-building activities, increasing the chances that they'll return for more calorie-burning workouts.
Still River Outfitters, Inc’s expert guides lead scenic tours through the Bay State's assortment of rivers and national parks. During kayak adventures, the guides shepherd crews along the Concord, Sudbury, Charles, and Assabet Rivers, pointing out blue-winged teal ducks in Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and feral battle reenactors grazing in Minute Man National Historic Park. On dry land, guides summon outdoor enthusiasts for hiking and snowshoeing adventures, teaching tour-goers how to navigate the land and properly use hiking equipment. Their trips usually include a snack to keep passengers fueled throughout the excursion or provide a handy toll for bridge trolls.
Those who follow Deerfield River westward from the Catamount State Forest to the Mohawk Trail State Forest travel through the hilly terrain of historic Charlemont. There, in 1989, the Berkshire Mountains and other geographical spoils caught the eyes of Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom—a medaling member of the US whitewater team and a public health nutritionist looking to make the outdoors more accessible. They built Zoar Outdoor on the river, establishing an 80-acre facility to be a base for ziplining, rock climbing, camping, and solar-powered lodging. Today, a staff of adventurers keeps that base running. They not only sell an arsenal of outdoor gear and continue those establishing activities, but also lead whitewater rafting and kayaking trips down their home river, slicing through the waves and rearranging a slew of fishes' living rooms along the way.
From their home base in the Warren Building, officials of the Wellesley Recreation Department fine-tune a year-round roster of sports leagues and community classes. Adults master crafts that range from pottery throwing to Capoeira, a blend of Brazilian martial arts and dance. Kids channel their creativity into painting courses or the Star Wars: Jedi Training class, which often includes creating a recycled droid and lightsaber lessons with retired stormtroopers. All of the programs are self-supporting, so directors charge reasonable fees and divvy up the money among materials, instructors' salaries, and other necessary expenses.
During the summer, throngs of people advance on Morses Pond, an ocean lookalike complete with a sandy beach, water slide, and volleyball nets, and kids aged 5–12 fend off boredom with summer day camps. Meanwhile, the lights of Hunnewell Tennis Court blaze into the evening hours, allowing athletes to face off after dark when the sun is taking its nap.
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. Team members also organize paddlers with sufficient experience to compete in Run on the Charles, an annual canoe and kayak race down the river. Staffers can also equip boaters in the shop—where Tiderace 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 from this selection of new rides and accessories through free daily demonstrations.