In 1973, Mike Farny had a vision: to bring affordable outdoor recreation to the residents of metropolitan Boston. Opening the Charles River Canoe Service that year, Farny became an instrumental voice in efforts to clean up the river, encouraging people to canoe, kayak, and sweep up the dirt on the riverbanks. The next year, he persuaded the Leo J. Martin Golf Course to transform its greens and fairways into a sprawling landscape for cross-country skiing alongside the Charles, allowing the public to enjoy recreation on the river even when its waters had frozen. A 15-kilometer system of trails makes use of natural snowfall and offers skiers a chance to change up their routes. Even when flakes refuse to fall, a state-of-the-art artificial-snow system shoots powder over a 2.5-kilometer loop, which rests beneath lights to allow night skiing before guests return to the cozy snack shop for hot cocoa and a bite to eat.
Normally when you plan a family vacation, you have to choose between the great outdoors and a great amusement park. But at Cranmore Mountain, you enjoy both. Because this family-friendly park is built around the 1,200-foot incline of its namesake peak, most of its thrilling summer activities double as sightseeing tours. On the mountain coaster, for instance, pairs control the speed of their two-person car on a 3,700-foot track that snakes through the forested landscape. Chairlift rides give groups views of Cranmore, Mount Washington, and the North Conway hillside, and ropes courses get climbers up into the trees.
Come winter, the park transforms into a ski resort with trails and glades for all ability levels.
By the Numbers: Blue Hills Ski Area
1776—the year it’s officially named Great Blue Hill
1935—the year it opened as a ski area
1949—when rope tows were added
1963—the year the lodge and a double chair lift was built
635 feet: the elevation at highest point
25-mile views from the summit
1 terrain park
3 black diamond runs
Motorcoaches shuttle groups of skiers and riders to day, midweek, or weekend ski trips organized by New England Action Sports. In addition to scheduling transportation and lodging both local and international group excursions, the staff also provides ski-equipment rentals as well as tune-ups for clients who wish to bring their own skiing gear.
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For 44 years, adventurers and outdoor athletes have emerged from Country Ski and Sport armored in quality apparel and equipped with sturdy vessels, poised to conquer mountains, rivers, and bike paths. The Stenson family, which founded the sportsman's haven in 1970, shares the clientele's passion for outdoor excursions, and staff three facilities with a team of knowledgeable employees boasting more than 225 collective years of industry experience. The friendly staff draws upon outdoor know-how to match customers with pairs of skis, snowboards, kayaks, or bikes that suit their needs and size. Adventure-appropriate apparel from North Face or Under Armour keeps bodies warm while they're slaloming down slopes or luging to work. To help customers prepare for the sporting seasons, technicians also repair and tune up skis, snowboards, and bicycles, and offer seasonal leasing options for snow equipment.