Greenwood Trails Camp?s owner and director Owen Langbart firmly believes that all kids?especially today?s generation of cell-phone addicts and video gamers?need the quintessential camp experience. With more than 100 wooded acres at the foothills of the Berkshires and a staff of friendly counselors that specializes in orienting first-time campers, his one-, two-, four-, and six-week camps aim to do just that. Winding paths and hiking trails lead young guests aged 7?16 to the many amenities that cover the grounds, including a larger-than-Olympic-size swimming pool, an indoor climbing wall, a water trampoline, a batting cage, and a pottery studio. These same paths lead to the cozy cabins that house up to 12 campers and two counselors with all of the comforts of home: electricity, bathrooms, showers with hot and cold running water, and an old man in a recliner who won?t let go of the remote even if he falls asleep.
Regardless of age, Greenwood Trails lets campers choose the activities in which they?d like to take part in daily, such as pottery, photography, or outdoor cooking. Participants also engage in cabin activities that encourage bonding among bunkmates, such as swimming together in the lake or joining in an untieable human knot.
Joe Sassu runs the Paul Mitchell focus salon Sassu Cuts, where he strives to develop the feel and style of a New York City hair salon. He and his newest staffer, Abby Ayala, also do their level best to create NYC-inspired hairstyles, performing an array of beauty services. Abby?s background includes second place in her field at SkillsUSA, a competition among thousands of students from Connecticut?s technical schools. Amid exposed brick and in front of stylist stations that resemble large modern toolboxes, they cut new ?dos, correct faltering color, wax away unwanted hairs, and perform bridal services, such as convincing a groom to get the first haircut of his life.
Mount Southington Ski Area sprung from a dream. In the 1960s, its rolling mountainside contained not ski trails, but dairy cows, most of whom couldn't even snowboard. But then new owners bought the dairy farm with the hopes of creating their own slopes. In 1964, the park officially opened, launching 50 years of athletic achievements and family memories.
Today, an old red barn?converted into a ski shop and caf??echoes the mountain's past. Outside, the park's 51 acres are covered with snow, thanks to the combined efforts of Mother Nature and artificial snowmakers. Four chair lifts, a handle tow, and two carpet lifts ferry visitors up this mountainside, where they can soar down 14 different trails during the day or under the night's twinkling stars. The snowy routes come in three levels of difficulty, and young skiers can learn the basics at The Glacier training area. Snowboarders can face the rails, boxes, and other exciting elements sprawl across two terrain parks. PSIA-certified instructors are on standby for advanced lessons, and athletes of all ages can rent equipment from the rental department. Mount Southington Ski Area is located off I-84 exit 30.
Since its founding in 1980, Sun & Ski Sports has remained true to its philosophy: “do a few things, but do them better than anybody else.” The shop stocks equipment in five categories of extreme and outdoor activities, including camping, skating, running, bicycling, and water and snow sports. It specializes in these to ensure its merchandise maintains a high standard of quality, and its employees are knowledgeable participants in the sports their department represents.
Bikers can drop off their steeds for tune-ups from certified mechanics who put all brands through the rigors of a 12-point inspection, checking chains and adjusting wobbly pedals and malfunctioning spoke-card motors. While waiting, curious eyes might linger on a North Face two-person tent, a Blackburn Airtower bicycle pump, or a vast selection of shoes from brands such as New Balance and Asics. Men and women can traipse nearly barefoot in the park with Vibram FiveFingers, which offer minimal structural encumbrances for a more natural stride, or cast their feet aside for the new-wheeled prowess that comes with a Fuji SL-1 LE Ultegra performance road bike.
Jim, the owner and operator of Extreme Paintball, bought his first paintball marker––a Nelspot 007––more than 20 years ago. Shortly after discovering his passion, he toured the country on a National Professional Paintball League team, retiring after 11 years to open Extreme Paintball. Nowadays, Jim and his staff work to introduce new players to his preferred method of paintball: woodsball. Contrasting with bunker-based speedball, woodsball is played in the natural outdoors, such as in the woods or at the bottom of the ocean.
At Extreme Paintball, Jim's three vast courses are designed around different scenarios with thematic obstacles scattered throughout to enhance the experience. The tank course carries the scars of war as crashed planes and the wrecked husks of tanks litter the battlefield, and the Vietnam course is shrouded in the area's densest foliage, finally making use of all the artificial trees populating the region. Jim's team rotates the courses throughout the year to preserve the environment and create an ever-changing battlefield.
For more than 50 years, the Wolfs have run Bloomfield Bicycle & Repair Shop, outfitting cyclists with the bikes best suited to their customers’ needs such as Schwinn mountain and Jamis street bikes. They can even pair up couples with tandem bikes and the pedal-weary with electric bikes. Besides slipping cyclists into bike shoes, gloves, and vests, they also mend and maintain all kinds of bikes, from traditional two-wheelers to electric bikes and scooters.