It's not unusual to walk into Robinson Music Inc. and hear the deep growl of a bassoon or the sweet notes of a violin. Fueled by a common love of chords, this music store invests itself in its customers with lessons in private studios and instrument rentals and repairs. Students can learn under the tutelage of professional musicians from the New England Conservatory of Music or the Berklee College of Music, who teach piano, guitar, and voice techniques or help subjects prepare for auditions in the shower showtunes industry. The music-minded staff can also replace strings, re-hair bows, re-tune pianos, and restore woodwinds.
When PYOP Studio, Inc founder Vaishali Patel learned she was pregnant, she seized the rare opportunity to put her pottery painting skills to a mischievous use. So she picked out a bisque platter, painted the words “You’re going to be a perfect daddy” on its surface, covered it with chocolates, and presented it to her husband while they were picnicking on a lake.
Now, the innovative potter strives to empower budding artists to create their own pottery keepsakes at PYOP Pottery. She provides customers with more than 200 bisque pieces and 50 vibrant paints to choose from, and even helps new parents assemble footprint artwork to preserve memories and prove the existence of feet to their future, segway-powered great-grandchildren. Though her studio encourages customer to explore their own creative potential, on-staff artists are happy to create custom pieces.
At Westborough Massage, licensed massage therapists transport clients to the peaks of relaxation courtesy of custom sessions that blend elements of multiple modalities. Drawing from a range of techniques such as classic Swedish, deep-tissue, and trigger-point therapy, the therapist tailors treatments to clients' trouble areas, recovery routine, and number of ears. Clients allow the calm to course through their bodies as skilled hands manipulate muscles to combat back stiffness and knots with targeted rhythmic strokes. After the massage, clients may emerge walking taller as they bask in their newfound body that no longer suffers from excess fatigue, anxiety, or strains resulting from repeated attempts to high-five the Statue of Liberty.
Annie's Book Stop of Worcester fills its shelves with new and pre-read tomes for adults and children alike. Though the inventory constantly changes as books are bought or exchanged for store credit, popular titles include classics by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Evelyn Waugh, and Madeleine L'Engle, which Annie's stocks alongside gifts and toys. The shop also hosts special events such as readings by local authors and poetry nights.
Tatnuck Bead Company instructs bead lovers and handicrafters in the fine art of beading, teaching new bling-stringing skills and techniques. Experienced instructors work with newbies and master bedazzlers alike, offering tips, hints, and clever jewelling tricks to keep necklaces and bracelets looking professional. Aim both eyes at the schedule and select a class such as TBC-101 Intro to Beading. During this first-timers' session, students construct an uncomplicated pair of earrings, string a bracelet with beading wire, and learn how to attach a clasp, which keeps wristlaces safely away from greedy sidewalks. Beaders can also try the Intro to Wirework session—which covers the how-tos of designing a bracelet-and-earrings set as well as the fundamentals of wire wrapping—or miniaturize their crafting fun with the Intro to Seed Bead Stitches class, where students learn to make a simple cuff bracelet.
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).