Zip lines originally were invented for just two functions: sneaking hamburgers over the Berlin Wall and zazzing up presidential entrances to State of the Union addresses. Soar through the House Chamber with today's Groupon: for $20, you get four zip-line rides at Mark's Tree Farm in Colchester and Hebron (a $46 value).
Taking a break from herding Christmas trees and wrangling firewood, the family of foresters at Mark's Tree Farm breaks out the rope and pulleys for thrilling weekend flights through the woods. After strapping into a harness, riders zip along a 600-foot line at speeds of up to 30 mph, taking in blurry views of the surrounding trees while racing hummingbirds to hanging feeders filled with Gatorade. Groupon holders can take four solo flights or divvy up rides between up to four adventure-seekers. Because Mark's Tree Farm is a member of the Association for Challenge Course Technology, the course meets all national standards for installation, operation, and inspection. Guests who aren't ready to leave once the ride is over can climb a spiral staircase to have lunch in a tree on the grounds or debate nut-hoarding techniques with passing squirrels.
Mark's Tree Farm
Although its name does hint at the long, sharp-scented ranks of Christmas trees, Mark's Tree Farm acts as a gateway to many more of nature's marvels. In tribute to the powers of Mother Earth, Mark grows the trees without the use of any chemicals. The expert stargazer also invites groups to follow his laser pointer and the aim of his telescope during astronomy tours on the farm's enclosed viewing space.
Among the whispering leaves, the sharp tang of evergreen boughs mixes with the aromas of hickory and apple wood in the cooling air. Mark lubricates all of his cutting tools, which slice chips and chunks for smoking meats with canola oil, rather than petroleum-based lubricants that can carry carcinogens. He also packages firewood in custom lengths to fit in different stoves and underwhelming time capsules.