Tires squeal and a 15-horsepower engine hums as its driver cuts through a narrow turn, shaving fractions of a second off the lap. Below the track, a colorful golf ball winds through faux island trees, avoiding walls and stops on its way to an awaiting hole. It's another day at Tri-State Speedway, a multileveled family entertainment center littered with motorized fun for patrons of any age. The upstairs, 22,000-square-foot go-kart track hosts competitive races with karts calibrated for speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. A walk downstairs leads to the island-themed, 18-hole mini-golf course nestled among a large video-game arcade, bowling lanes, bumper cars, and billiard tables. When fun gives way to hunger, Drafters Sports Cafe's servers and cooks serve finger-friendly pub bites, ice-cold beer, and paper napkins fashioned from losing basketball brackets.
Every spring and summer since 1985, the green thumbs at Everlast Nursery have helped transform neighborhood lawns into verdant backyard escapes. A vast cornucopia of plants and colorful blooms awaits to fill home containers, window boxes, and hangers, including a selection of “proven winner” annuals favored my most home gardeners in a recent taste test. A healthy selection of trees and shrubs is also available to help fill bare spots in home landscapes, as is a full range of gardening supplies that help ensure plants thrive in their homes.
In the mid 1960s, Murray and Ida Rotman gave the family name to their growing furniture and carpeting business, confident that it would hold employees accountable and remind them to interact with customers as one community member to another. Throughout multiple expansions and a change from the "7 Stores on 5 Floors Under 1 Roof" slogan to "New England's Largest Furniture and Carpet Store," the Rotman family has stayed true to its promise of treating people with honesty and respect. According to Furniture Today, the National Home Furnishings Association named the company a Retailer of the Year in 2011, remarking on its "outstanding customer service and involvement in community services and activities." To that end, the Rotmans have helped raise $1 million for the local Walk for the Homeless, and cofounded a furniture-exchange program that allows customers to donate their gently used furniture to a family in need.
The award-winning business owes its success not only to a commitment to core values, but to an eye-popping assortment of furniture, mattresses, and televisions—all arranged in curated displays that inspire home-decorating ideas and make people believe they’re in a house built for a hundred families. The helpful staff measures and installs carpeting or flooring and fleshes out creative plans with the design-a-room service: a free in-home consultation with a computerized analysis. The store also stays ahead of the latest industry trends and innovations, offering, for example, pieces from Paula Deen’s furniture line and budget-friendly clearance deals in a space known as the Attic.
Opening its doors in 1782, Elwood Adams Hardware honors its long hammer-peddling heritage by stocking general hardware, supplies, and hard-to-find tools. Shoppers can nab toolbox necessities such as a 100-piece screwdriver bit set ($16.99) or Nashua all-weather duct tape ($6.89), a must-have for hushing overly chatty androids. Knowledgeable staff of industry experts can help carpenters choose high-caliber lumber cutters, including a 12-inch high-tension hacksaw ($23.99), or cheerfully supply homeowners with a Weller 40-watt soldering iron ($20.99). Skip shopping bags by tossing purchases into a bucket wrapped with a LeatherCraft tools and parts caddy ($23.99), a handsome carryall that fits snugly over five-gallon buckets for easy toting or a romantic picnic in a construction pit.
Aesthetician Joanne Duval has seen her share of skin problems. Her 17 years of experience has taken her through the cosmetic-plastic-surgery and corrective-makeup fields to Sims Premier Fitness Spa, where she smoothes complexions with a range of skin treatments. Her signature service, body wraps, nurtures bodies by sloughing off dead skin cells and infusing the skin with moisture-rich ingredients designed to slow the aging process.