Back Country Excursions founder Cliff Krolick set up his mountain-biking base camp in 1991 with the aim of guiding adventurists on low-environmental-impact tours along the 26-mile network of trails spread across the White Mountains' foothills. The trails, accessible with one-day or annual passes, traverse terrain suitable for both novice and advanced riders, from a gently rolling double track to harrowing technical descents peppered with slaloms and tree spring noose traps set by territorial squirrels. Cliff and his crew of savvy cyclists guide multi-day biking tours through the wilderness and set up camp for overnight trips in their mountain lodge or screened-in backcountry yurt. To ensure that the environment stays pristine for future generations, Cliff donates a portion of annual profits to a variety of local environmental causes.
Chunky's Cinema Pub has been mixing the polished glimmer of modern technology with the gauzy glow of yesteryear for almost two decades. Eight screens mingle first-run blockbusters with themed throwback classics catering to children of the ’50s or ’80s. There, in the glow of the previews, is another testament to the melding of time—a contemporary dinner-and-a-movie setup brings with it the nostalgia of old-school drive-ins. Instead of traditional cinema chairs, individual cushy Lincoln Continental surround communal dinner tables, and the seats roll and recline to let guests maximize their comfort and customize their sightlines as they catch the onscreen action and pretend to be backseat drivers. At their tables, American pub snacks and entrées from the extensive menu spread out, combining movies with burgers, quesadillas, and steak tips.
While the theater blends old with new, Chunky's Bio Truck zooms into the future with a gas tank full of the 100% trans-fat-free canola oil used for cooking in the kitchen. The bio-fuel reduces the truck's greenhouse emissions and helps to decrease its carbon footprint, spreading an eco-conscious message to the community.
Built between 1858 and 1860 as a summer home for hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Moore, the Victoria Mansion continues to dazzle visitors more than 150 years later with its Italian villa-style low-pitched roofs and soaring architecture made from locally sourced Connecticut brownstone. After a hurricane swept through the region in 1938 and badly damaged the mansion, it was scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt as a gas station until a retired educator, Dr. William Holmes, rescued the property. He turned it over to the Society of Maine Women of Achievement, which now operates it as an historic house museum and National Historic Landmark.
Conservation efforts have gradually restored the mansion’s brownstone front steps, balusters, and decorative carved finials; the Islamic-inspired paintings in its Turkish Room; and the Pompeian-style painted walls of its preserved mid-19th-century water closet. Elsewhere, palatial gilded surfaces and stained glass add color to the interior, juxtaposed by modern conveniences such as hot and cold running water, central heating, and robot janitors.
Paramotor Tours sends adventurers skyward on the wings of motor-powered paragliders. Nationally certified pilots adhere strictly to FAA safety regulations as they strap in for tandem flights, lifting thrill seekers to heights of up to 8,000 feet. To help ensure smooth takeoffs and landings, each glider boasts several safety features, including reserve parachutes, GPS navigation, and a pause button. Adventurers who wish to pilot their own glider can sign up for a solo-flying course, available on select days.
Film buffs across six states stare wide-eyed at large cinema screens, losing themselves in first-run Hollywood movies and the smell of fresh, buttery kernels within Your Neighborhood Theatre's 17 locations. Though all theaters prioritize comfortable seating, old-fashioned friendly service, and high-stakes preshow trivia slideshows, each location encompasses its own distinct charm, be it through arthouse décor, 3-D screens, or Rhode Island's vintage 1950's drive-in setting.
Within both MetroRock locations, visitors ascend via bouldering walls and rope-climbing walls or take to aerobic exercise machines and fitness equipment to build strength. With this setup available to climbers of all skill levels, the founders of the climbing arenas achieved their goal of creating a community where scalers can congregate, share their passions, and hone their climbing skills.
During indoor and outdoor classes, instructors create lessons that help each climber reach their goals. Indoor courses help instill students with basic climbing skills, rescue techniques, or the brute strength needed for bouldering or to intimidate mountains out of their lunch money. Outdoors, American Mountain Guide Association and Single Pitch–certified instructors teach alpinists skills that include how to secure top-rope anchors and how to climb ice or scale for sport. The centers' founders and their teams also organize climbing-centric programming that includes youth climbing teams and team-building events that challenge groups while forming bonds.