On an airplane, there are windows, roaring engines, and strangers trying to make small talk. But imagine if all that was gone. Imagine if it was just you, the wind, and the miracle of flight. That's the experience afforded by Green Mountain Ballooning, which floats passengers high above Vermont's rolling hillsides, sparkling rivers, and sleepy towns. Some days, when conditions are right, rides soar to thousands of feet in the air. They also dip low enough for passengers to converse with people on the ground, or snag a package from their mailman. Eventually, flights drift back to earth, where a celebratory champagne toast awaits.
The ember of Nick Coppola's fervor for fishing began years ago. While Nick studied biology in college, this passion bloomed into a full-blown vocation as he spent summers scouring the rivers of Southwest Montana. Since those early moments wading in the tides, Nick has become a New York State–licensed guide, continuing to catch trophy salmon, steelhead trout, brown trout, and runaway goldfish as the head of Slickwater Adventures.
Throughout two seasons each year, Coppola and his staff lead anglers of all levels into some of the East Coast's most picturesque habitats, including the Ausable River during summer months and the eastern Lake Ontario tributaries during winter. No matter the location, Coppola encourages participants to customize each adventure to their specific goals, whether they are honing existing skills, learning basic techniques, or luring in trophy catches with tricks and well-timed eyewinks.
When dusk falls, the opening credits roll at Randall Drive-In Theatre. Families and family pets pull into parking spots, rain or shine, to enjoy double or triple features of current blockbusters. The films play Friday through Sunday, and a single ticket, which is free for kids younger than 5, grants patrons admission to the entire double or triple feature.
Since 1983, the seasoned river guides of Wild Waters Outdoor Center have been leading whitewater-rafting expeditions down the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers. The outfitter also leads overnight rafting trips in which paddlers spend the day cruising the river and the night camping out beneath the stars and renaming the constellations after past winners of American Idol.
Among numerous other accolades, Smugglers' Notch was named one of the 10 Best East Coast Resorts by SKI Magazine for its impressive thousand-acres of terrain and its tremendous family-friendly resort village. Three mountains providing a vertical drop of 2,610 feet dare skiers and snowboarders to cut into their powdery snow packs. All levels of pole cats can trek the more than 27 miles of trails. Beginners can glide on gently groomed hills and experts can disappear into the Black Hole, a rare triple-black-diamond route. The downhill professors at Snow Sport University coach students in the ways of balance, speed, and outmaneuvering paparazzi on bobsleds. The resort's snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling keep winter warriors' agendas packed.
When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.
More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.