A climber slowly ascends a steep rockface, supporting all his weight on the smallest of footholds. Ignoring the heights, he searches for another place to grasp, finding purchase on an oval stone. His final step to the top rewards him with the thrilling satisfaction of beating the beastly incline and views of children running across the floor.
Carabiner's Indoor Climbing rock gym, one of the tallest in New England, brings the sport of rock scaling to urban residents. Walls that range from 15- to 65-feet tall grant visitors of all skill levels climbing routes that strengthen muscles, improve body awareness, and serve as a training ground for the NYPD’s Spider-Man division.
Certified climbers start visitors on their paths to climbing autonomy with personal belay classes that cover basics and safety tips. The gyms also offer a full-schedule of fitness classes, including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, pole dancing, martial arts, and family fitness classes.
To help women achieve their fitness goals, the certified personal trainers at Get In Shape For Women focus on four areas: weight training, cardio training, nutrition, and accountability. In small group sessions, trainers modify exercises to suit up to four ladies' fitness levels, beginning by calibrating strength-training sessions—such as free weights, lunges, and squats—to each client's abilities while still ensuring they are challenging themselves. Then comes high-intensity cardio interval-training sessions in which trainers encourage exercisers to achieve optimal results on the treadmill or elliptical.
The trainers supplement the group workouts with nutritional planning centered around the concept of eating six small, balanced meals six days a week. They set aside the seventh day as a "free day" for a bit of indulgence, be it eating a favorite sweet or lusting openly after bacon. To hold their women accountable, trainers talk nutrition on the floor during scheduled appointments, and the ladies' progress toward reaching their goals is measured by trainers each week.
South Kingstown is the newest location opening in 2013 of Rock Spot Climbing’s multiple locations, where colorful footholds and route markers sprawl along artificial rocks create diverse climbing surfaces for every major discipline. Dozens of top-rope stations challenge climbers to scale the wall in safety, whether belayed by a human companion or hooked up to an auto-belay unit that reduces the risk of conversation. Meanwhile, others eschew ropes in order to tackle bouldering routes—low-altitude obstacles littered with arches, steep faces, and caves—and lead climbers set their own anchors as they scale the wall. The climbing courses vary for all skill levels, ranging from sheer faces with ample handholds to cliffs for expert climbers and lemmings. Cardio machines let athletes warm up or cool down between climbs, and instructors lead afterschool classes to teach kids the art of competitive climbing.
Even for the experienced zipliner, Alpine Adventures' zaplines present a challenge. They're part of the three-hour Super Skyrider tour, and bear only a superficial resemblance to sister ziplines. Instead of zooming in a straight line, you have to painstakingly navigate your way across, step by step or handstand by handstand. But don't fret: only two of the nine ziplines are zaplines. The other seven, including the Skyrider and TreeTop tours, allow adventurers to hitch up and zoom off at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Slightly closer to sea level, Thrillsville Aerial Park promises additional wind-in-your-hair activities. Tube down a huge ramp and launch straight into the cushy BigAirBag, scale a cargo net, or whip along a smaller zipline and pretend you're a giant. Alternatively, off-road nature tours take place in six-wheel-drive, custom-built Pinzgauer vehicles, which scale the rocky Barron Mountain in any weather with up to 11 riders strapped in safely. During these exploits, guides fire off facts in between the music that pumps through an overhead stereo system.
Towering 22 feet in the air, the main bouldering wall at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville stretches 140 feet across, leaving plenty of room for climbers to make their ascents. The wall is part of the facility's 28,000 square feet of climbable surfaces, which include a shorter bouldering area plus a 50-foot-high atrium complete with top-roping and lead-climbing routes.
These impressive features explain why Brooklyn Boulders Somerville has earned such glowing press, though that's not the whole story. The rest of the 40,000-square-foot center houses everything from climbing fitness rooms full of hang boards and pull-up bars to a yoga studio situated beneath a skylight. Other amenities include a weight room, a space dedicated to cardio equipment, and saunas for relaxing after a tough workout session.
The sauna isn't the only place to kick back at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. The entire space is equipped with free WiFi—no surprise given the center's newly launched Active Collaborative Workspace, where groups gather launch start-ups, finish work, or get cranking on school projects in a setting that's about as far from "cramped conference room" as it gets. Elsewhere, pop-up shops spotlight locally made clothes and wares, and a gallery showcases rotating artwork.
Monadnock Glass Arts was shaped under the finely wrought fingertips of owner and flameworker Eric Duyette, who breathes more than a decade of experience into every blown sculpture, vase, and bulb. Classes introduce students to the art of basic glass blowing with private instruction in focused projects such as working with Pyrex borosilicate glass, making glass marbles or pendants, shaping sea-life sculptures, or creating full-scale models of flaming bath beads. Two torch workstations dominate the intimate studio environment where Duyette instructs with an emphasis on safety and proper ventilation and equipment use.