In the 1920s, Thomas Lamb was the man to see if you were planning to build a theater. The designer of everything from the Orpheum in Boston to Madison Square Garden in New York, his designs fanned the flames of vaudeville and inspired so much admiration in silent-film stars that they almost spoke. So when theater impresario Sylvester Z. Poli decided to built his Palace Theater, he turned to the best. Lamb designed the Palace in a Second Renaissance Revival style, mixing Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Federal motifs into the grand lobby and domed auditorium. With such a regal foundation, Poli couldn't keep his wallet closed when decorating, and spent $1 million dressing the Theater for a king. And so well outfitted, the Theater had a good run, operating with force until 1987. Then the lights on the marquee went out, staying dark for the next 18 years. But with such undeniable beauty, it couldn't stay dark forever. A three-year, $30 million restoration and expansion brought the Palace into the 21st century, turning it into a 90,000-square-foot historical landmark. Yet now, as in the 1920s, the Theater's mission remains the same: to serve as an artistic, cultural, educational, and economic catalyst for the community.
Apple Cinemas shows plenty of Hollywood blockbusters but the team curates a lineup of lesser-known flicks, too. As they munch their freshly-popped popcorn, patrons can watch independent movies and international films, all more dynamic than early British documentaries about porridge-making. The theater is also family-friendly, with birthday party packages that include tickets and concessions for each guest.
A three-day lineup stocked with jazz legends and emerging talents blasts through more time signatures than a clock’s checkbook to usher in the 16th incarnation of the Litchfield Jazz Festival. The Springs Center stage kicks off Friday with genre luminaries The Clayton Brothers, whose silky sounds light a fire under the crowd that fellow Grammy nominees Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stoke with brassy flares. Saturday hosts a veritable who’s-who of mind-blowing musicians with NEA Jazz Master grant winner Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band blasting buttery sounds after a Ray Charles tribute featuring Davell Crawford belts harmonies more memorable than “Happy Birthday” sung in Klingon. A collection of performers worthy of a Gatsbyan soiree closes out the festival on Sunday, with a hip-swinging finale from Jimmy Heath.
At each Jump!Zone locale nationwide, children aged 2–12 race through themed play areas, bounce on inflatables, and fly down giant slides. Boys and girls can become airborne in SpongeBob SquarePants and Atlantis-themed bouncers or slide near the vigilant figure of Batman, which, as in real life, is 16 feet tall and filled with air. Kids 18 months and older can tackle a multi-level play-zone maze, and the whole family can blast away in the ball-o-city ball-shooting arena. Meanwhile, Jump!Zone's interactive arcade caters to older children and teens who'd rather game than bounce.
Tots with aspirations to be firefighters slide into a bouncy fire truck, and hopeful time travelers acquaint themselves with their future by examining prehistory in the Jurassic Adventure. Pintsize play timers can dispatch their financial stresses in the Toddler Zone. While the kids play, their adult counterparts can enjoy complimentary coffee, relax in the café, use Jump!Zone's free WiFi and computer, and finally have time to recite the periodic table of elements in peace. Check the schedule for open-play hours.
Winding Trails Cross Country Ski Center works to preserve natural woodlands and waterways around the Farmington area, hosting recreational activities that foster a love of the outdoors. In addition to renting out ski equipment to visitors eager to ski over scenic forest trails,
the group runs outdoor adventure programs, day camps for ages 3-13, and swim lessons.
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars' multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 600 calories with each go-round.