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.
Though most fairways and greens lie dormant during the winter chill, Rod's Golf Improvement Center's spring to life year-round. Here, golfers can land birdies and pars during rounds at famous courses vividly replicated by three golf simulators. Golfers can also fine-tune their game at driving nets or the practice putting green, which allows them to stop carefully trimming their home's carpets with scissors.
PGA-certified pro Rod Van Guilder oversees the entire operation, and zeroes in on helping golfers sharpen their skills during lessons and club-fitting services. For those looking to upgrade their gear, the center sells golf equipment and repairs broken clubs.
True to their name, the instructors at Inspirations Dance Academy aim to share their passion for dance with everyone who enters their studio. They welcome in dancers of all levels, hosting classes ranging from tumbling for tots to advanced ballet for teens and adults. Group classes teach techniques associated with jazz, ballet, and hip-hop, along with special styles such as poms. Summer intensives entertain youngsters with dance- and craft-filled days, while older students concentrate on honing their skills before flapping their pointe shoes and flying south for the winter.
With six distinct courses etched into the New England countryside, Sterling Golf Management promotes pin-hunting recreation for Boston-area golfers of all abilities. The longest and most difficult of the six, The Shattuck Golf Club's 18-hole course kicks off with a 409-yard par 4 where players hack their way toward a green that is visually wreathed by the rising red rocks of Mount Monadnock, setting the tone for a scenic, 6,764-yard round. Groves of trees ensconce the fairways and barter over carbon dioxide at Norwood Country Club's recently renovated course, a relatively flat layout characterized by smallish greens and flanked by a lighted driving range. The newest member to the Sterling Golf Management team is the Rockland course, where 18 par-3 holes wind between tall oaks for a picturesque par-54 round. Designed in 1921 in the Donald Ross tradition is the Maynard Golf Course, a picturesque par 70, 9-hole course with a full-service clubhouse. The same sylvan makeup returns at Newton Commonwealth's course, where lush tree lines cast shadows over a creek as it snakes across the fairways of seven holes. Rounding out the grassy sextet, Chelmsford's nine-hole course takes golfers careening across 2,467 yards of narrow fairways, placing straight drives or skilled golf ball pilots at a premium.
Nestled within 164 acres of mature pine trees and hardwood forest, the secluded golf course at Quail Ridge Country Club surrounds visitors in natural splendor. Course architect Mark Mungeam of Cornish, Silva, and Mungeam, Inc., designed the fairways to harmonize with the naturally rolling terrain, where occasional stone walls line the edges of what were once farmers’ fields. After teeing off, players choose carefully among their bag’s fairway woods, long irons, and golf-ball-sized blowguns as they confront a number-one handicap first hole whose fairway unfurls over nearly 600 uphill yards. The course doesn’t let up, keeping golfers on their toes right up to the end of each round.
Off the course, players gain the skills needed to meet such challenges by frequenting the chipping area or practice putting green. During lessons held in these practice spots, head teaching pro John Carco harnesses more than 15 years of experience to help students eliminate slice and perfect their swing. The country club’s family center hosts a snack bar where golfers can fuel up for a round, stash their belongings in lockers, or build ball-driving muscles at the fitness center.
Just a hop and a skip from the family center, the club’s 3,200-square-foot outdoor pool entices visitors of all stripes with its widely varied facilities. Athletes zip down 75-foot swim lanes, parents and kids splash in a baby pool with zero-grade entry, and sunbathers bask on more than 4,500 square feet of deck. On four adjacent tennis courts, serves rebound off of Har-Tru clay surfaces, and windscreens keep out distracting breezes and lost pool-goers murmuring "Marco?"
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 66 course * Length of 5,426 yards * Course rating of 67.9 * Slope rating of 122 * See the scorecard * See the course layout and hole details * Five tee options
Scott Ferguson may be a high-school math teacher, but he's also a serious history buff. He brings his passion for studying the greatest medieval and Renaissance swordsmen to his role as chief instructor at Swords of Chivalry. There, he instructs kids and adults in the finer points of swordplay as well as the history of weapons fighting, answering questions about why maces and morning stars were used in certain battles, and foam pool noodles in others. Students are closely monitored to ensure safety and to foster a respectful attitude toward combat.