With three haunted houses, a spooky hayride, and a bustling carnival, Witch?s Woods is a Halloween theme park that rises from the mist for only one month a year. Ferried along by a sputtering tractor, Haunted Hayride passengers cower for 14 grueling minutes as they are assailed from all sides by zombies, werewolves, and ghouls. At the end of the ride, three paths lead to additional attractions, including Castle Morbid, in which medieval spirits chase interlopers through the halls and into the depths of the deep, where it becomes increasingly apparent that the weapons that once kept intruders out are now employed to keep them in. Nightmare Mansion is inhabited by a cursed family whose eternal life has left them as withered husks driven insane with rage at visitors who still possess the ability to die. The final path leads to the 3-D Keeper?s Crypt, where the undead shamble and scream as they pursue their prey, and where the walls themselves seem to be closing in.
A creepy carnival awaits survivors with rides, games, and more attractions. The Horrorwood Chamber of Chills puts favorite Halloween and horror-movie characters on display, including such icons as Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger, and Mary Shelley?s original version of Shrek. Meanwhile, the Jack O? Lantern Jamboree displays rows upon rows of professional carved pumpkins, eerily glowing at self-guided passersby.
When Nashoba Valley Ski opened in 1964, its lack of modern equipment meant that most of the time guests just had to hope for a good snowfall. In the decades since, however, the resort has gained mastery over the winter landscape. Snow-blowers spray their glittery clouds onto 17 trails ranging from beginner to expert, where skiers and snowboarders carve around sharp turns, navigate shaded glades, and look for fresh tracks left by wild Thoreaus. Four high-speed lifts run from the lodge and restaurant to the top of these slopes, and provide easy access to the mountain's two terrain parks. Suited to riders of varying experience levels, both parks encourage air-catching with features such as large boxes and rails. Recognizing that not all visitors enjoy strapping boards to their feet, Nashoba Valley Ski offers another kind of winter-time fun: a tubing park spread across 18 grooved lanes and serviced by four tow lifts.
One Stop Fun grants children and parents alike a lighthearted escape from the rigors of daily tasks and chores with a multicolored jungle gym, kid-sized climbing wall, and entertaining pool area. A three-story indoor playground's plastic tubes fill with toddlers and oversized bank transfers traveling between a collection of ball pits and bouncy bridges. Inside another room, primary-colored handholds protrude from a graphite-hued climbing wall that lets children safely explore its 40-foot surface with a maximum height of 8 feet. The fun center also lends out its facilities for birthday parties and other gatherings. For more organized activity, USAG-certified gymnastics instructors teach tumbling as part of a programs portfolio that also instills coordination and discipline with karate and dance classes. As children play and learn, adult chaperones can lunch at the snack bar or take advantage of conveniences such as complimentary WiFi for staying in touch and a changing area for concealing the secret identities of super children.
For more than 18 years, the licensed practitioners at Harvard Therapeutic Massage have relaxed and healed patients suffering from stress, injury, and chronic pain. Each member of the team specializes in relaxation massage and pain relief therapy. The former uses oils and lotions with a combination of gliding, kneading, and stretching all over the body to help muscles unwind and put minds at ease, while the latter sees therapists focusing on trigger points, helping blood flow to contracted areas in order to bring relief to the surrounding nerves. Select members of the team are also specialized in styles of treatment such as hot stone massage, reiki, and pre-natal massage, which helps bring relief to expectant mothers and unborn babies tired of sitting in the same position for weeks on end.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
As visitors step into the balmy gardens of The Butterfly Place, they may feel as though they are ?walking into a floating garden . . . as if they are being carried as well.? That was the experience of a Wicked Local writer who visited the seasonal indoor sanctuary, which houses both local butterflies and tropical species culled from around the world. As the butterflies freely wing about the sanctuary, koi fish swim through serene ponds along the winding pathway, and quail waddle and moonwalk through myriad species of colorful flora. Those who find that watching the butterflies sip nectar incites their own hunger can take a break at the outdoor picnic area and nibble on any snacks they may have brought along.