Angler's Oasis
By Benjamin Tice Smith

(Business 2.0) – Autumn leaves, blue skies, and smallmouth bass: just another day at the office for employees at Orvis, the 149-year-old outdoor apparel and equipment manufacturer. Nestled at the foot of Vermont's Green Mountains, Orvis headquarters boasts a pond stocked with bass and brook trout. Staff members get their hooks wet with a lending library of the company's latest high-tech fishing gear. Consider it research: When catalog copywriter Eric Rickstad needs the perfect phrase to describe fishing tackle, he simply grabs some rods and steps outside.

Workers can also spend lunch breaks hiking or biking miles of winding trails on the company's 37 acres of land or the neighboring 317-acre nature preserve. During winter, cross-country skis take the place of bikes, while the icy pond plays host to lunchtime hockey games. "Some companies invent an image," Rickstad says. "We definitely live it." Few cubicles feel this close to the great outdoors.