Your Dad has everything he needs, and he insists he wants nothing for Father’s Day. We all know that’s not going to happen. Dear old Dad deserves something. Skip the neck ties and power tools; instead give him an adventure he’ll really enjoy. We’ve sleuthed out some fun ones.
Rev it up
Put your Dad in the driver’s seat of a souped-up Ferrari and you’ll earn major brownie points. The Exotic Driving Experience at the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut is three laps of wild, swerving, sliding fun (860-923-2280, www.thompsonspeedway.com, special Father’s Day pricing starting at $82). Dad has a choice of driving a red Ferrari (the most popular pick), a Lamborghini Gallardo or a Nissan Skyline GT-R. He’ll make sharp left and right turns around an agility course, while the instructor seated on the passenger side, eggs him on: Don’t slow down on the curve! Push it! The car can handle it! Go, go, go! “People love it and often come back to try the other cars,” says Jenny Tyrrell-Hoenig, director of marketing. “They drive the Ferrari and then they test the Lamborghini. It’s pretty cool to be able to drive both and compare the feel on the road.”
If your Dad has a serious need for speed, he may prefer the American Muscle Car Experience (Father’s Day pricing starting at $149). He’ll get about a half-hour or so of precision-driving instructions, before climbing behind the wheel of a cream-of-the-crop Corvette Z06. Cheer him on as he whips around the 1.7-mile race course, reaching speeds up to 130 miles per hour.
Thompson Speedway also offers an Extreme Racing Experience on a NASCAR banked oval track Father’s Day pricing starting at $99). “It’s an experience of a lifetime for NASCAR fans,” says Tyrrell-Hoenig. “They get to drive a stock car, which is usually inaccessible to the public.”
Now, make Dad promise to never again bring up the time you backed the car into the side of the garage.
Root for the home team
Bet your Dad was the first person to take you out to the ball game and buy you peanuts and cracker jacks (and a Fenway dog). It’s time to pay him back big time. Book the Fenway Park Suite at Hotel Commonwealth, decked out with an original scoreboard, a coffee table signed by Red Sox players, and a balcony with views of the Green Monster (866-784-4000, www.hotelcommonwealth.com). And, because your baseball-loving Dad is worth it, splurge for the Can You Believe It or Top Dawg Tonight package. The Can You Believe It package ($2,995, with a portion to be donated to Red Sox Foundation) includes a meet-and-greet and private recording session with legendary announcer Joe Castiglione, accommodations in the Fenway Park Suite, and two Red Sox tickets in the State Street Pavilion Club. He’ll get to keep his play-by-play recording with Castiglione (and play it again and again for family and friends; oh well, didn’t he listen to your endless knock-knock jokes?)
The Top Dawg Tonight package includes a VIP visit to the announcer booth for autographs and photos with Jerry Remy, the all-star second baseman, Hall of Famer, and famous Red Sox announcer. Dad will also get overnight accommodations, two game tickets, breakfast for two and souvenir “RemDawg” baseball caps ($1,499).
Hoist a pint
If your Dad is a major beer geek he probably already knows that Vermont is hop head central. The Green Mountain state has the second most craft breweries per capita in the nation (right behind Oregon), and is home to the “holy trinity” of craft beer makers: The Alchemist, Hill Farmstead and Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Get your malts-mad Dad to the Hotel Vermont in Burlington (802-651-0080, www.hotelvt.com, rooms start at $249), offering guided beer tours and its own beer concierge, who can tell Dad where and when to score a rare four-pack of Heady Topper to take home, or to find the best seasonal drafts on tap. There are frequent beer tastings in the hotel’s cocktail lounge, including a Saturday evening happy hour with a specialty curated draft offering, and special beer-paired dinners.
“We love all aspects of Vermont’s beer culture, from the people and landscapes that make up our world-renowned breweries, to the hazy IPAs, wild ales, and crisp lagers,” says beer concierge Matt Canning. “There’s no where better to drink beer than Vermont in the summer and fall, and we like to share that.”
Bike and Brew tours are offered on weekends throughout the summer and include tastings at four top breweries in south Burlington ($50). The two-night Hotel Vermont Beer Exploration package ($260) includes a five-course, beer-paired dinner at Juniper restaurant, a day-ong tour through the Green Mountains with a stop at Hill Farmstead Brewery (rated best brewery in the world by RateBeer), lunch at Thorn Hill Farm, and visits to Lost Nation Brewery, Blackback Pub, and The Craft Beer Cellar. Maybe Dad will even bring home a growler or two for you.
Rough and rugged
A weekend of outdoor adventure in the northern Maine woods is perfect for your thrill-seeking, outdoorsy Dad. Tell him you’ve booked a private cabin with water views at the award-winning New England Outdoor Center on Millinocket Lake, where the great outdoors beckons (800-766-7238, www.neoc.com, starting at $291). The Center offers a slew of activities and guided programs. Of course, he’ll want to go white-water rafting. Opt for the big one: a daylong, ride-’em cowboy trip on the roily Penobscot River, with a riverside barbecue lunch ($89-$129). A variety of rafting trips are also offered on the Dead River and Kennebec River.
Make sure Dad brings his hiking boots; the resort sits at the foot of Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park and is surrounded by miles of trails. Guests also have the opportunity to take guided fishing trips on nearby rivers and lakes (starting at $150 for three people) and moose and wildlife tours in a van or aboard a pontoon boat (three-hour tours $43-$53). Kayaks and canoes are available for paddling the lake, and there are lawn games, fire pits and picnic areas, along with a full-service restaurant.
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.