At each bowling center, balls hurtle down smooth, polished lanes as LCD screens keep track of scores and shimmering party lights illuminate the faces of determined bowlers. After lacing up some slide-enabling shoes and clearing the gutters of deciduous pins, bowlers set their sights on toppling 10-pin clusters. Carpets bedecked with psychedelic swirls lead to shelves stocked with neon-colored balls, which proffer their pin-busting talents to bowlers of various sizes. Fingers can warm up by mashing buttons in an arcade full of entrancing video games or bench-pressing french fries at the onsite grill and pub.
With three floors of interactive exhibits, Imagine Nation keeps tykes aged 2–10 and their parents engaged for hours of synapse-firing fun. Tunnels filled with natural decor await youngsters in the museum's indoor jungle-themed playscape, where they can shake excess energy out of their bounding legs in preparation for naptime or hibernation season. In the ESPN center, kids can pretend to be sportscasters as they sit behind the desk of a model TV set, replete with real equipment from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
The museum also boasts a health exhibit in which children can don hospital attire and explore a model newborn nursery and an operation table, ideal for parents trying to nudge their child toward a career as a hypochondriac. After whippersnapper's minds have been blown learning about the cosmos at the space exhibit, they can unwind with drinks and snacks at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which winds the clock back to the 1940s with the help of a player piano.
Hornet Marine President David Hartmann got his taste for boat design from his father, Hal, an engineer who helped create the smooth-riding deep-vee hull now included on each Hornet 17 speedboat. Today, the 17-foot seacrafts zip through the water with help from Mercury MerCruiser engines, each carrying up to five passengers perched on custom upholstery. Hornet Marine invites landlubbers on factory tours and test drives at its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, where a staff of nautical experts also keep ships shipshape with oil changes, detailing, and other boat-maintenance services.
Pequabuck Golf Club traces its origins back to 1902, when it welcomed its first fairway explorers as a 5-hole course. After surviving the putter shortage of the Great Depression, the verdant grounds underwent a massive redesign by renowned golf-course architect and author Geoffrey St. John Cornish, who dreamt up more than 200 courses and was reincarnated as a golf cart now free to graze the land.
Under Cornish’s talented eye, Pequabuck became an 18-hole course that incorporates the rustic beauty of nature as its challenging terrain. The course takes golfers on a tee-to-green journey across its mature pine forest, over the Bristol Reservoir that runs through its fairways, and past the railroad tracks that drop off vagabond caddies on two fairways.
After conquering the 18th hole, golfers can head to the clubhouse for casual fare and drinks at The Pequabuck Pub, which features an outdoor patio with views overlooking the course.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 69 course * Length of 6,015 yards * Course rating of 70.2 * Slope rating of 118 * See the scorecard
American Clock & Watch Museum’s staff and visitors never have to worry about keeping track of time. Inside a Federal-style home originally built in 1801, curators display more than 1,500 clocks and watches from a collection of more than 5,500, making it one of the largest in the world behind the legion of wristwatches glued together to form Big Ben. Guest curators showcase timepieces from different eras and manufacturers, from antique clocks to art deco accessories made in the Jazz era. Visitors can admire clock maintenance in action on the first and third Friday of each month when the “Ol’ Cranks” wind more than 70 of the museum's historic items. Visitors can also learn more about their own antique treasures by consulting with the museum staff during scheduled evaluation events.
The floor-to-ceiling windows at Wicked Stick Tavern allow in plenty of natural light while displaying expansive views of Pine Valley Golf Course. As diners watch golfers send balls across the green from within pure white and forest green rooms, they can slice into center-cut pork chops stuffed with apples and sausages or twirl fresh strands of linguini around their forks, content with the knowledge that everything on the menu is made in-house from scratch. The restaurant also remains open during the off-season, entertaining guests with a row of flat-screen televisions and live music on some nights.