Winding Trails 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.
Star Hill is expansive, but its staff strives to keep the environment unintimidating. Beneath the white dome lies 105,000 square feet of fields, courts, and tracks, which host sporting clinics and league games throughout the year. Alongside, the main facility's 30,000 square feet house a 25-yard swimming and diving pool, a fitness center with top-of-the-line cardio and weight machines and free weights, and group fitness rooms. Personal training for kids and adults can focus on anything from getting in shape to targeted sports fitness or even triathlon training. After a run around the quarter-mile track, a skip on the treadmill, or taking in a field-hockey game, members can take advantage of the arcade or enjoy dinner at the caf? on the outdoor patio.
Real Warrior Entertainment Wrestling assembles New England's fiercest showmen to take the ring for high-flying displays of strength and grappling grit. The RWE's stable of wrestlers includes ring warriors "The Brand New Bad" Todd Hanson, "First Class" Vladimir Joseph, and Mike Bennett. In addition to head-to-head contests, the RWE stars also face off in tag-team matches, during which two-person teams square off and first-time fans wonder when they're going to sing "Whoomp There It Is."
In 1938, "The Long Island Expressway"—a vicious hurricane—plowed through John Hoenig's property in Thompson, Connecticut. His farm was destroyed, but when he decided to rebuild, he didn't rebuild the farm. Instead, he began clearing his land for the area's first 5/8-mile, high-banked racetrack. As soon as it opened, it was heralded as "the Indianapolis of the East." It was a destination for racecar drivers across the country.
In the more than 70 years since then, the track has blossomed into Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Today, it's one of the country's oldest tracks, besides that one high-banked crop circle from 1910. It plays host to three iconic racing events, including the World Series of Speedway Racing, and its modernized 5/8-mile oval now shares its space with a 1.7-mile road course. Even more exciting, neither track is just for pros. Civilians can try out the speedster lifestyle during driving school, or as part of the Driver's Club, which offers 30 days of members-only access to the track each year.
A member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League since 2008, the Blue Sox incubates top college players while they stay fresh and limber between seasons in the NCAA. Partially funded by Major League Baseball, the league consists of 10 teams across six New England states, all competing in a summer of hardball that begins in June and concludes with the playoffs in August, just before players trade in baseballs for rubber-band balls and return to school. Originally founded in 1997 as the Concord Quarry Dogs, the Blue Sox wield homefield advantage at Mackenzie Stadium, a venue that can seat more than 4,000 fans or 30 anti-T-shirt missile silos.
In 2006, the NHL's San Jose Sharks moved their eponymous AHL affiliate to Worcester. During their brief time in Central Massachusetts the Sharks have helped foster some of the game's best talent, highlighted by Stanley Cup champions and first-round draft picks. Nearly 40 players, including Claude Lemieux and Thomas Greiss, have donned the Worcester sweater before getting the call to clean out their lockers and playoff beards and head to San Jose. The team has even been represented on an international stage, as several former Sharks competed during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.