In 1973, Mike Farny had a vision: to bring affordable outdoor recreation to the residents of metropolitan Boston. Opening the Charles River Canoe Service that year, Farny became an instrumental voice in efforts to clean up the river, encouraging people to canoe, kayak, and sweep up the dirt on the riverbanks. The next year, he persuaded the Leo J. Martin Golf Course to transform its greens and fairways into a sprawling landscape for cross-country skiing alongside the Charles, allowing the public to enjoy recreation on the river even when its waters had frozen. A 15-kilometer system of trails makes use of natural snowfall and offers skiers a chance to change up their routes. Even when flakes refuse to fall, a state-of-the-art artificial-snow system shoots powder over a 2.5-kilometer loop, which rests beneath lights to allow night skiing before guests return to the cozy snack shop for hot cocoa and a bite to eat.
All Tuned Up prepares skis and snowboards for the slopes with custom grinding and waxing treatments. First, an experienced technician inspects the equipment, checking for any minor damage or pine branches stuck to the tip and determining the ideal adjustments. Next, a professional-grade stone-grinding machine flattens the base and engraves one of more than 15 preprogrammed patterns. Designed to help the ski or board glide easier based on current snow conditions, markings range from coarse grinds for navigating wet, heavy courses to a Cosby-sweater motif for boogie dancing through the slalom gates. A ceramic disk completes the base-beveling process, adjusting angles and edges so they carve through surfaces more easily and react to turns promptly and safely. Lastly, All Tuned Up's technicians apply PFC-free Purl wax stolen from a mountain beehive and melt it into place with infrared light. Depending on the amount of service required, tune-ups are usually ready for pickup within 24–48 hours.
Since 1965, the family-run Ski Haus has kept customers coming back by adhering to the family motto: “Make sure we keep a fun environment and give everybody a fair deal. They get a ton of stuff for their money and we stay in business for a long time." Patrons can still expect the same low prices and see the same friendly staffers’ faces year after year while shopping for winter gear.
Racks stocked with apparel by brands such as The North Face and Marmot, skis and snowboards by brands such as Atomic and K2, and a team of skilled technicians have earned Ski Haus accolades from Ski magazine, SnowSports Industries America, and New England Winter Sports Representatives, Inc. During tune-ups, technicians polish skis, stone-grind ski edges, apply hot wax, and repair bases damaged by treacherous slopes and sharp snowman noses.
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.
A year-round recreational destination, Ski Ward offers skiing, snowboarding, a terrain park, lessons, rental equipment and snowtubing in the winter and tubing, a ski and snowboard park and ice cream in the summer. It's also the perfect place for group and corporate outings and birthday parties.
Gray-hulled naval ships sit stoically by weathered docks, as sailboats and yachts dart to and fro in graceful traffic. The tide ebbs and flows around islands, piers, and against harbor walls under the Boston skyline. Hestia Cruises' four ships glide among this nautical throng, carving wakes across the busy waters on seasonal cruises in the morning, afternoon, at sunset, or under the light of the moon. As the classic 1948 motor yacht Full Moon rumbles through the water, on-board tour guides divulge facts about harbor history and point out ideal landmarks to photograph. The ship's open decks host passengers for sightseeing tours, and its staff also guides morning cruises with massage services or yoga classes, evening voyages with wine and whiskey tastings, and photo-shoot cruises.
Captains also ferry visitors past harbor sights on an EPA-acclaimed private catamaran or the 32-foot Catalina sailboat Hestia, where passengers can help pull lines, unfurl the main sail, and make a mix-tape of sea shanties. They also pilot a rigid inflatable boat—built to Navy Seal specifications—for adventures to far ends of the harbor at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The speedy craft lies low to the water, letting passengers feel the harbor's salty spray while hunched securely on saddle-style jockey seats.