From their kitchen stations on the second story of the Bay State Hotel, the chefs at Mulino's Restaurant plate up hearty portions of sophisticated Italian cuisine. Piled-high plates showcase tender linguine, spaghetti, and fettuccine clinging to gorgonzola cream sauce, italian sausages, veggies, and julienned strips of chicken. The aromas of wine-coated salmon and grilled beef tenderloin also fight for the attention of diners who are taking their time with their wine, served by the glass, bottle, or through a penne noodle. Desserts such as crème brûlée and tiramisu sweetly seal the meal.
The University Club’s New England roots are evident not just in its creamy, New England-style clam chowder, but in its very building. Nestled in two colonial-era farmhouses, one of which is the oldest, most wrinkly house in Amherst, the eatery is a venerable institution to the history of Massachusetts. The Boltwood-Stockbridge house contains the Daniel Chester French room, named for the Lincoln Memorial Statue sculptor who lived there as a child, and the Tory room, where nine loyalists hid during the American Revolution.
Today, the loyalists have given way to diners feasting on fare that changes with the seasons. Dinners consist of upscale proteins such as new york strip steak, braised lamb shank, and pan-seared salmon complemented by a farmer’s-market risotto loaded with fresh local produce. Alternatively, lunchtime visitors—or diners sampling the bar’s lighter fare menu—can nosh on a Black Angus burger or a jalapeño crab-cake po' boy.
A night of dinner, drinks, and dancing doesn't always have to involve three different destinations. At Shish Restaurant & Lounge, visitors can do all three, seamlessly. While they cozy up on a leather sofa, the wait staff ferries Middle-Eastern cuisine such as small plates of baba ghanoush and grape leaves as well as flatbreads decorated with lamb, hallumi, and olives. From the bar, servers transport nine signature cocktails, flutes of seven types of champagne, and draft and bottled beers to lounging diners as they watch other cut a rug on the giant dance floor. Whether visiting on swing-dance Wednesdays, Latin Thursdays, or DJ-party Fridays, there is always something to watch.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
Adventure Racing enchants fun-seekers with a sprawling mini-metropolis of indoor and outdoor attractions. Drivers execute turns and passes around the indoor and outdoor go-kart tracks, which offer single karts for solo racers and tandem conveyances so adults can teach young passengers to flout traffic laws. Towering Star Wars figures lurk in the darkened passageways of a three-story laser-tag arena, where teams of up to 12 people test their marksmanship as they navigate between phosphorescent walls.
Inside Adventure Racing's indoor bumper-car arena, drivers steer circular vehicles on a constant collision course with their fellow vessels. The fun center's climbing wall tests the strength of grappling hands, and more technical tests of dexterity await at Adventure Racing's paintball shooting range, arcade, and knitting circle.:m]]
Touted as a top music festival by Rolling Stone magazine, Mountain Jam packs more than 50 bands on four stages and 15,000 music spectators in a lush, natural amphitheater nestled in the Catskill Mountains. The ear-pleasing lineup for the 7th-annual festival boasts headliners My Morning Jacket, Southern-rock jam band Gov't Mule, and the eclectic sounds of Michael Franti & Spearhead. While this Groupon is not valid for camping or lodging costs, out-of-towners can camp or sleep in the great indoors in a dizzying array of nearby hotels, lodges, and ski chalets. The health-conscious festival, partially produced by guitar legend Warren Haynes, distracts unruly mouths from asking fellow concert-goers uncomfortable personal questions with a jellybean jar of organic and vegan eats.