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.
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.
PGA-certified professional golf instructor Keith Everett has spent 12 years teaching beginner and advanced clubbers, currently mentoring within the meandering creeks and colorful foliage of Farmington Woods. With a philosophy that mistakes are rooted at the setup of each tee, Keith schools orb-clobbering students on the game's fundamentals prior to recommending changes to their swings. An evaluation of the trainee's clubs is followed by a computer-aided analysis of the student's swing from different angles, played back to the pupil. Following a review of the evidence, Keith recommends necessary changes to irons, woods, and swing technique. Throughout the process, Keith encourages players to stretch their reconfigured wings by practicing on the putting green, chipping area, driving range, on the course itself, and anywhere other than on top of the hood of their boss’s BMW.
Play It Again Sports bedecks kids and adults with high-end, wallet-friendly athletic armor so they can kick, swing, punt, and take exception to referee calls with gusto. New inventory arrives regularly, and the knowledgeable staff leads quality-seeking shoppers to the top brands that line the spacious shelves, including TaylorMade, Nike, Adidas, Easton, and more. As temperatures fall, the sports mongers assist winter enthusiasts in replacing equipment damaged during slip ‘n’ slide experimentation, offering snow tubes ($14.99), figure and hockey skates ($19.99+), and snowboard helmets ($36.99). Skate sharpening ($4–$8) ensures effective ice slicing, while the snowboard and ski service keeps powderheads gliding with a careful cleaning, full hot-wax treatment, and inspection ($30). Play It Again Sports also stocks a complete line of gear for warmer-weather sports, such as football, soccer, and skateboarding. Otherwise, customers can get started with a collection of workout accessories so that they're prepared to play any sports that appear in their dreams.
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 café—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.