Strapping on a jetpack to hover above the water doesn't sound like usually family vacation stuff. But they got that going on and a bunch more at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with its new “Family Island Adventure” package, aimed at entertaining the whole clan.
The resort's adventure center staff recommends and books family oriented activities, including the island's first water-propelled jetpack experience, where guests get suspended in air 10 feet above water, giving them the experience of defying gravity. Water sports include stand-up paddle boarding lessons for the whole family; swimming with turtles at Buck Island; and taking a night kayaking tour in clear-bottom kayaks ringed with LED lights. And new for this season is night paddle boarding, with special boards lit from beneath.
There's also a shark encounter at Coral World Marine Park, where guests get up close and personal without cages or barriers. And if the kids just want to hang in the water, the resort has four pools, including a new splash pool for younger ones, and there's always the beach.
The package starts at $224 per night, per room, and includes a $200 activity credit at the adventure center. For information, and booking, visit www.frenchmansreefmarriott.com, or call 800-228-9290, and use promotion code ZJL. You've got plenty of time to decided: The package is good through Aug. 31, 2014.
If you've never had johnny cakes, you don't know what you're missing. The little crispy treats are made with stone-ground corn meal, boiling water (sometimes milk), a little bit of sugar and salt, and then poured onto a hot griddle for frying. Plop some butter atop, slather it with real maple syrup and you're good to go.
They hail the johnny cake (derived from "journey cake" in colonial times, when they were made and packed for long trips) at the annual Johnny Cake Festival Oct. 19 and 20, which also celebrates fall, down at Kenyon's Grist Mill in the Usquepaugh village of South Kingstown, R.I. Admission is $3 per person, children under five free, and you can get free samples of said johnny cakes (Kenyon's is an ancient mill that still grinds its own meal), sweets, craft beer, wine and more. There will be more than 125 participants at this year's festival, including farmers, artisans and restaurateurs, along with live music and animals, historians and demonstraters of old-world skills. The event benefits the Jonnycake Center, R.I. Breast Cancer Coalition and more than 20 other nonprofits.
Visit www.johnnycakefestival.com for information. And bring your appetite, johnny cakes are addictive.
Ever wanted to swim with the manatees? You have a chance to with two winter packages at the Plantation on Crystal River in Florida, said to be the only place in North America where you can legally swim and interact with the sea cows in the wild. The breed found at Crystal River is the West Indian manatee.
at $224 for two people, the one-night swim package includes a room,
manatee snorkeling tour for two, equipment included, breakfast for
two and a welcome bag with plush manatee toy, manatee facts and
interaction guidelines. The tour is guided, and leaves from the
The resort also offers a swim-and-dive package starting at $448 for two people, which gives the manatee package, a second night's lodging, and a guided tour for two on Rainbow River. Manatee tours are offered year-round at the resort, but in winter, guests are far more likely to see them. During prime manatee-viewing season, usually Oct. 1-March 31, guests can see and interact with up to 350 of the gently lumbering beasts as they play, eat and socialize with each other.
For information, visit www.plantationoncrystalriver.com or call 800-632-6262.
The government may be shut down, but New England foliage is still wide open for business. We were surprised to see how much color was spreading across the Berkshire Hills in mid-September. And on a research trip up the coast yesterday, we were treated to a show in southern Maine along the Maine turnpike, as the photo above shows. To keep track of how the foliage is spreading in the Pine Tree state, visit the Maine's Official Fall Foliage website.
Listening to music through earphones while running isn't unusual. Having a live band play that music for you while you run might be. But that's the set up for the 3rd annual Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon on Sept. 29, which features live, local bands each mile of the 13.1-mile journey through city streets and neighborhoods.
Running start at the State House, and the course winds through historic Benefit Street and past the Roger Williams National Memorial as well as three of the city's universities. It also goes for several miles along the Seekonk River waterfront and India Point Park, before winding back to the finish. As runners cross the line, they can hang out and relax with the band, Atlas Genius, at a post-race concert.
New this year is the “Mini Marathon,” a timed, three-mile intro to distance running. The weekend kicks off Sept. 28 with a free health and fitness expo at the Rhode Island Convention Center. For all information and to register, visit www.runrocknroll.com/providence
Another sign summer is drawing to a close: NewportFILM is holding its last outdoor film screening for the summer with the documentary “Diner En Blanc,” a film about the famous secret pop-up white dinner parties that started in Parish 25 years ago. The event is being held Sept. 5 at the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown, R.I., with two options for participating. The first is a “white” cocktail party with wines by Jonathan Edwards Winery at the sanctuary's Paradise Farmhouse, with live music by brother-sister duo, Honey Hollow, followed by the screening. Cost is $30 per person and runs 6-7 p.m. The second option is showing up for the film at 7:15 p.m., with free admission, though there is a $5 suggested donation.
If you opt for option one, all-white attire is encouraged, in keeping with the film's theme. Director Jennifer Ash Rudick will be on hand at the cocktail party and a post-film Q&A. If you go, you're free to bring your own food, though there will be food available for purchase.
The film is about the pop-up parties, where more than 13,000 people, dressed elaborately in white, show up for the pop-up dinners, positioning 4,000 tables, miles of linen and crystal and laying out sterling silver and food. According to the promotion, “they eat, drink and dance until midnight when they depart as swiftly as they arrived.” The documentary shows the evolution, orchestration and challenges of organizing what is said to be the world's largest dinner.
The new itinerary “provides a multitude of ideas on how to enjoy a day outdoors” in the area, said Pam Sullivan, marketing coordinatorfor New Hampshire Grand, the official visitor info source for northern New Hampshire. Check it all out at www.nhgrand.com
By Matt Juul/Boston.com Correspondent
The Mount Washington Observatory will offer guided tours Sept. 13 and 20 exploring the northeast’s tallest peak after traveling America’s steepest railroad tracks on the historic Cog Railway.
The tour will also include a behind-the-scenes look at the observatory’s famed mountaintop weather station, informal educational sessions, as well as plenty of photo opportunities.FULL ENTRY
Newport is known for old stuff, such as the oldest continuing tavern, lending library, synagogue and Fourth of July celebration. But each year, more new comes to Newport, and this year is no exception.
The Doris Duke Monument Foundation between Thames Street and Trinity Church unveils a $3.5 million revitalization of Queen Anne Square, designed by Maya Lin. Entitled “The Meeting Room,” the installation includes three shallow foundations to illustrate the history of the property and provide community gathering spots. The project will bring more green space, seating, trees and lighting to Queen Anne Square. It is intended to honor the memory of Doris Duke, who championed Newport’s historic preservation. Check it out at www.ddmf.org
The old, elegant mansion of Newport have added thing, including the Elms with a new audio tour which includes new information about recent restoration projects in the house and servant life. In addition, Mandarin translations of the audio tours at The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House and Rosecliff will be added as Chinese-speaking visitors are the fastest growing segment of foreign visitors to the mansions. The 2013 costume exhibition at Rosecliff features 20th century highlights from the Newport Preservation Society's collection, and highlights designer pieces by Chanel, Givenchy and Halston. The exhibition runs through November 22. Visit www.newportmansions.org for information
For the adventurous, there is a new Fort Adams zip line, where you can strap in and dive off walls of the fort, North America’s largest coastal fortress, on the 430-foot-long zip line. You start at 50 feet up, sail over the fort’s complex and land on the ground. You can go solo or with a friend on a tandem zip line. Visit www.fortadams.org for info.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame exhibit, “Tennis and Hollywood,” showcases the popularity of the sport of tennis with Hollywood’s elite. A social sport that initially catered to an upscale crowd, tennis became a natural pastime for many big screen stars in the early 1900s. Legends including Alice Marble and Frank Parker were known to share their expertise by giving lessons to stars including Dinah Shore, Charlton Heston, Dustin Hoffman, Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin. The exhibit will be displayed for one year.
Also, the hall will host the first and only viewing of “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, which proved to be an event that created heightened awareness for gender equality, in honor of its 40th anniversary. King will be present at the special screening on July 14 to introduce the broadcast footage and then discuss her memories of key moments in the match, what the match meant to her personally, and reflect on its lasting impact. Check both hall events out at www.tennisfame.com
The International Yacht Restoration School and Museum of Yachting 2013 exhibition features a diverse collection of Newport yachting and coastal scenes including artwork in various mediums from the 19th century to today. Exhibition opens June 1. Check out www.iyrs.edu for information.
The Newport Dinner Train introduces The Ice Cream Train, a family-friendly experience aboard Rhode Island’s only moving ice cream parlor. During this scenic ride, families get entertainment aboard air-conditioned rail cars as the they travel along the coast while having soft-serve ice cream or sundaes. The train departs Thursdays through Saturdays from the Newport Train Depot, 19 America's Cup Avenue. For information, visit www.newportdinnertrain.com/docs/schedule.htm
Samuel Whitehorne House, a museum of 18th- and early 19th-century Newport and Rhode Island furniture, will feature a new exhibit this year of high chests including one on loan from the Ott family of Providence. For information, visit www.newportrestoration.org/visit/whitehorne
The inaugural Newport Sharkfest Swim will take place Sept. 28 along the waterfront beginning at the harbormaster’s dock at Perotti Park, proceeding past anchored sailboats on the right side of the swimming channel, and continuing for a total 1500 meters to finish on the beach at King Park. This event is for experienced open-water swimmers only. For info, visit www.sharkfestswim.com
As to new lodging, check out the Crow’s Nest Newport, with new lodging at Seamen’s Church Institute, a non-profit with a mission to service those connected to the sea, in its National Register historic building. The space is remodeled and includes 10 guest rooms in the heart of the waterfront. For information, visit www.crowsnestnewport.com
There’s also a new transportation option this year as the Block Island Ferry introduces seasonal high-speed ferry service from Newport to Block Island starting the end of June. Travel time between the two ports will take about one hour on a hi-speed aluminum catamaran ferry, to run several times a day. Visit www.blockislandferry.com for information.
For information on all Newport offerings, visit www.discovernewport.org
Check out the latest outdoor gear and put it to the test for free at the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, at the base of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington. The lodge, run by the Appalachian Mountain Club, just opened an outdoor gear demo center for lodge guests, enabling them to try out Lowa boots, Leki hiking poles, Osprey backpacks, and Hillsound traction devices, which fit over boots and help keep you upright on slick trails. Equipment is available in all adult sizes, and in children’s sizes for boots and poles. Find something you like and you can get a discount to purchase the same or similar items at the AMC’s Pinkham Notch visitors center. Demo gear is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 603-466-2727, www.outdoors.org/pinkham
Contortionists, jugglers, acrobats and more can be found in Boston at Faneuil Hall Marketplace's first Street Theater Festival Oct. 20-21. Scheduled to appear are Alakazam, aka "The Human Knot," who puts on what is billed as a self-contained freak show as he twists his body into pretzel shapes. Wacky Chad is scheduled to be there as well, a guy who does comedy with tricks and pogo-stick stunts, who has bounced on programs like 'America's Got Talent" and "Live with Regis & Kelly." Also on hand will be magician/juggler/comic/mind reader/fire eater Lucky Bob, and Jason Escape who lives up to his name by wriggling out of constraints, a Houdiniesque display of magic that features him wrapped in 75 feet of rope and hung by his ankles by audience members.
The two-day festival runs 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is free to all. Check out the full listing of events at www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/info/streetperformers
Lawrence Millman's newest book, Hiking to Siberia: Curious Tales of Travel and Travelers, came out on Tuesday. Published by a tiny Buffalo press called sunnyoutside, it's a modest compendium of 20 essays about the joys and vicissitudes of travel (which, he notes, shares an etymology with ''travail''). It's small enough to tuck in a backpack to read a tale each night before crawling into a sleeping bag – or to lay by the bedside to encourage dreams of far-off places and the strange characters who inhabit the margins of the world. As Millman writes of himself, ''If a wrong turn can be made, I will find a way, God or his absence willing, to make it....''
We wouldn't have it any other way.
It might be a rainy weekend, but a little drizzle isn't putting a damper on the foliage in central Massachusetts, as we discovered on Friday driving around in the towns just east of the Quabbin Reservoir. In fact, this llama seemed to think the foliage looked good enough to eat, as he pruned some low-hanging limbs.
Photo by Patricia Harris for the Boston Globe
Affinia Manhattan in New York City is offering a "Miracle on 31st Street" holiday package, Nov. 1 through Feb. 26, with rates starting at $209 per night. The hotel is located at 7th Avenue and 31st Street, and the package includes a VIP ice-skating package for two at Bryant Park; 10-percent off your tab at Celsius Restaurant at Bryant Park; a free bottle of wine; 20 percent off holiday dinner at Niles NYC Restaurant and Bar at the hotel; a Macy's 10-percent off savings pass; two winter "rescue kits" with lip balm, ear warmers, hand sanitizer and hand warmers; and an in-room DVD of the classic film, "Miracle on 34th Street."
Affinia Manhattan recently underwent a $25 million redesign with Rockwell Group, transforming the historic, pre-war property into what hotel officials called an urban retreat. Check it all out at www.affinia.com/miracle, or call 866-246-2203 and mention promotion code 31st.
I've probably driven up and down Memorial Drive in Newport a million times, and have long heard of the upscale Chanler at Cliff Walk, but never put two and two together and realized the Chanler was so close to Cliff Walk. OK, so it's smack dab on Cliff Walk, but my reason for not knowing that is a big one: It is completely hidden behind a giant hedge, affording it remarkable privacy and quiet despite being steps away from one of Newport's busiest streets. Set back on a cobblestoned drive, it is a magnificent building, loaded with charm, elegance and a pretty neat history: Built in 1865 as a summer home for New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler and his wife, Margaret Astor Ward, it was the first mansion built on Cliff Walk and hosted the likes of President Theodore Roosevelt and poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was later a museum and then a girls' school before becoming a hotel in the 1940s.
We had the occasion to stay there one night and got the Empire Room; each of the 14 mansion rooms in the main building are decorated and named for an historical period based on the furniture design and architecture of that time, themed from Gothic to English Tudor to Greek Revival. One of the many beauties of this place is no two rooms are alike. And throughout, some of the furnishings from the Chanler Museum are sprinkled throughout. There are also three separate garden villas and three ocean villas.
Our Empire Room in the mansion was gorgeous, on a corner facing Easton's Beach and Cliff Walk. The room had a sizable living room with a two-person Jacuzzi on the far wall, which doesn't exactly befit the historical period on which the room is based, but was a very relaxing respite after a long stroll on Cliff Walk. Here, for an extra cost, a butler will come in while you're at dinner, run the bath and leave rose petals strewn about, and lighted candles surrounding the tub set in a mirrored alcove. A more romantic setting we could not imagine.
The fireplace mantel is of antique slate, taken from a mansion in Michigan and painted to look like granite. Empire decor, inn officials said, often used a faux treatment of materials to look like granite or marble. Several antique tiles with figures on them in ochre and lime green are embedded into the mantel, making it more unique and interesting. The room itself is unique; being on the corner, the ceiling height varies from corner to center, from around six feet to more than eight, with a stained-glass skylight in the ceiling. The room's feel is decidedly Victorian but with modern touches such as a triple-head shower in the gold-hued granite bathroom, and iHome docking station.
The main culinary draw is the Spiced Pear, a restaurant with incredible ocean views, some of the best in Newport, and cuisine to match. Give the Spiced Pear martini a shot, with Absolut pear vodka, Amaretto DiSaronno, pear nectar, cinnamon and lemon juice. We also had local chilled oysters, wild burgundy escargot, Narragansett Bay striped bass and the menu's highest priced item, the exquisite butter-poached Maine lobster for $42, worth every melt-in-mouth cent. Before and/or after a meal like that, a long jaunt down nearby Cliff Walk is almost a necessity. Or you could wait until the next day, because breakfast here is insane, too; check out the salmon and goat cheese omelet.
We retired to the bar of hand-rubbed mahogany for a nightcap before heading back to the room where that rose-petal strewn tub awaited, and got more proof of how renowned the Chanler is: The following weekend, it would be closed to the public, privately booked for the wedding of the creator of the Facebook logo. And yes, Mark Zuckerberg was scheduled to attend.
Newport used to go to sleep in the off season, but no more. At the Chanler, a fall two-night special ($425 per night) includes full breakfast, a bottle of Spiced Pear sparkling wine, two tickets to a Newport mansion of your choice, and one, three-course meal for two in the Spiced Pear. Wait until winter and you can get the two-night "A Chanler Christmas," ($375 per weekday night, $430 per weekend night), available Nov. 28-Dec. 29 which gets you the same as the fall special, minus the bottle of wine; instead you get a minted Chanler Christmas ornament. All prices include room taxes, food taxes and dinner gratuity. And if you want to check out other parts of the city, you can get a free ride any place in Newport, up until 11 p.m., first come, first served. Check it out at www.thechanler.com
All that behind a hedge? I have to start paying attention where I'm going.
So the Nantucket Project seems a good fit, it running Oct. 5-8, a veritable think tank which brings together big-brained types from many disciplines, such as writer and businessman Jack Abramoff; CNN political analyst David Gergen; Eric Schmidt, Google chairman; Henry Louis Gates, Harvard professor of black culture; John Abele, founder of Boston Scientific; and Doug Melton, founder of the Harvard/MIT Broad Center for Stem Cell Research. For full information and ticket pricing, visit www.nantucketproject.com/#blank
The Nantucket Project is one of a few cool things happening on Nantucket in the off season, a time with still lots of sun but lower temperatures and prices. For cheaper fall stays, check out the "Hot Dates, Cool Rates" program. Nantucket Island Resorts is offering discounted fall nightly rates, including at places like Jared Coffin House, with rooms going for $125. Check it out at www.nantucketislandresorts.com/hotdates.php
There are a lot of great restaurants on the island, and many are showing their stuff during the Nantucket Restaurant Week Sept. 24-30, including Topper's at the Wauwinet, home of a notable butter-poached lobster, and Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant, known for its duck confit Bolognese. Visit www.nantucketrestaurantweek.com/ for complete information.
The 10th annual Cranberry Festival is scheduled for Oct. 6, when the Milestone Cranberry Bog and Nantucket Conservation Foundation host a festival celebrating the island's historic bogs. Events include cranberry foods of all stripe, bog tours, hay rides, and sheep-shearing workshops. Check www.nantucketconservation.org/page.php?section=3&page=cranberry_festival for more info.
And rounding out the season, the Brant Point Grill offers a New England Thanksgiving and on that morning, the island hosts the 11th Annual Turkey Plunge on Children's Beach. For information on all, visit www.nantucketislandresorts.com or call 800-475-2637.
General admission is $8 for adults, and you can book your own hot-air balloon rides as well. For all ticket prices and information, including where to find lodging, visit www.balloonfiesta.com
Photo credit: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and photographer Cindy Petrehn
The 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend features Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch; the 20th annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction held at a new venue, Chateau St. Jean; the new Sonoma Starlight Supper Club at Francis Ford Coppola Winery; and various small, exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at locations throughout Sonoma's wine country.
Proceeds from the weekend support Sonoma County non-profit organizations; to date, more than $10 million has been donated directly to Sonoma non-profits by the local wine community.
Ticket prices range from $85 to $500 per person. Presenting sponsor, Visa Signature, is offering its cardholders even perks and savings. For reservations and information visit www.sonomawinecountryweekend.com
Angel Fire Resort, in the southern Rockies of New Mexico, has opened a multi-station zipline tour at the summit of the resort's ski mountain, which includes one blazing-fast component that has you going downhill, strapped belly down into a safety harnesses and blasting head first down the mountain. The Angel Fire Zipline Adventure Tour is the first of its kind in New Mexico, resort officials said. Another signature segment of the tour includes a tandem zipline, where you shoot down the mountain, above the forest floor some 50 stories, on a 1,600-foot tandem zipline.
The three- to four-hour adventure, costing $89 per person, starts at the 10,600-foot summit (which dwarfs the northeast's highest peak, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, with its comparatively scant 6,288 feet), though a tamer version is available for those with young families.
The zipline tour is part of the resort's new Summit Adventure Center, an activity park at the top of the ski mountain, which includes Eurobungie, mountain biking, disc golf, horseshoes and hiking. Check out the video of the head-first ride on YouTube and all that other stuff that may seem pretty laid back compared to ziplining. For all resort info, check out www.angelfireresort.com and check out some pretty hairy rides at
The nonprofit Boston Harbor Island Alliance offers summer tours of Boston Light, located in Boston Harbor on Little Brewster Island, a three-hour trip that includes a boat cruise with a 45-minute narrated tour of the harbor islands, with info on two other historic sites, Long Island Head Light and The Graves Light. Docking at Little Brewster Island, tour takers can meet with the Boston Light keeper (it is the last and only lighthouse to have a US Coast Guard light keeper), and get an up close look at the light's Fresnel lens, the only Fresnel still in use. Pack a lunch, enjoy the view of Boston and make an event out of it.
The tour runs through Sept. 30, Friday to Sunday, leaving the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cost is $39 for adults, $29 for children 3 to 11, and $35 for college students, seniors and military personnel with valid ID. Tickets are available at www.brownpapertickets.com. For more information, visit www.bostonharborislands.org
Alan Claude, a Maine artist best known for his Lighthouse Travel Poster Collection (some of which have appeared on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"), has come out with a new poster, this one of Boston Light, a limited-edition print that shows the lighthouse bathed by a rising sun, the Boston skyline behind it, and a plane flying in the distant sky.
"The city's skyline proclaims its modern present and the soaring airplane signifies its bright future," said Claude, whose posters are evocative of European travel posters of the 1930s. "So it's a lighthouse travel poster but also a poster about Boston and civic pride."
Claude photographed the lighthouse one dawn, setting off from a friend's house in Hull to capture the moment, which he later turned into a work of art via pencil sketching and then redrawing on computer. His Boston Light poster sells for $65 and can be bought at the National Park Service visitors' center in Faneuil hall, or at www.alanclaude.com Claude has donated prints to the American Lighthouse Foundation and other lighthouse preservation groups in New England.
Boston Light is the first and oldest lighthouse in the country, first built in 1716 but destroyed by retreating British soldiers during the siege of Boston in 1776. It was rebuilt in 1783, and still stands.
Summer nights are the best, with cool breezes, bright moonlight, star-studded skies and just a peaceful easy feeling. Oh, and things that make noises in the dark that can make you jump out of your skin if you don't know what they are. Which is what the good folks at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island are counting on with a summer program of nocturnal events designed to explore, embrace and explain things that go bump in the night.
"When we venture out on the wildlife refuges at night, we seek out those mysterious noises and movements," said Audubon naturalist Kim Calcagno. "Part of each walk is simply getting used to walking in the dark. The more you learn about what you see and hear, the more comfortable you become in the darkness and the more you can enjoy the peacefulness, cool air and array of night sounds."
The evening events include:
Aug. 3, bats at Eppley Wildlife Refuge, West Kingston, a night walk through the refuge to learn about the flapping creatures of the night.
Aug. 10, family night exploration at Fisherville Brook, Exeter, where kids and their parents engage in games and activities that explain the night vision of creatures like bats, deer and coyotes, and have some s'mores later.
Aug. 29, family hike night at Fort Nature Refuge in North Smithfield, where participants (ages 8 and up only, it involves a nearly two-mile hike) listen for animal sounds and test their night vision.
Aug. 31, a full-moon kayak paddle at Hundred Acre Cove in Barrington (ages 16 and up), a quintessential salt marsh with osprey and terrapin turtle nesting sites, where great blue herons and snowy egrets are often seen, and where participants can get out and see the cages of the turtle nests.
All programs are $12 for non-members of Audubon ($6 for kids) and $8 for members ($4 for kids), except for the moonlight paddle, which is $65 for non-members and $55 for members (all equipment included). Registration is required for all programs by calling 401-949-5454 ext. 3041 or emailing email@example.com. A free download of all Audubon activities is available at www.asri.org
"We want people to discover the night and find wonder and delight in what is around them," Calcagno said. "In the end, we hope to introduce and share with people the same enjoyment of the wilds at night that our naturalists possess. It's a wonderful time to explore."
The festival is the main fundraiser for the Wakefield Rotary Club, which has raised more than $1 million since it began. All proceeds from the event are donated to charities, club officials said. For a complete list of events and more information visit www.southcountyballoonfest.com
Photo by Laurie Ramaker
For a complete listing and ticket prices, visit www.infofestival.com
From one man -- Leon Leonwood Bean -- came an eventual $1.4-billion empire. And now a party to celebrate it all.
In honor of its centennial, L.L. Bean is hosting a 100th Anniversary Hometown Celebration on Main Street in Freeport, Maine, from July 4-7, a four-day event that includes free daily concerts in L.L. Bean's Discovery Park, the 35th Annual L.L. Bean 10K Road Race, family friendly outdoor activities and more. The event ends with a fireworks display.
Fun stuff along the way: Freeport Fourth of July parade, featuring the L.L. Bean Bootmobile; free Outdoor Discovery School demos, including kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding; appearances by Red Sox legendary shortstop Rico Petrocelli, Wally the Green Monster and the Sox World Series trophies; a Muddy Bean Boots ice cream sampling, a flavor created by Gifford's for the anniversary; outdoor games with Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Seth Westcott; music from Chris Isaak and Jo Dee Messina; farmer's market; free concerts by regional artists; and all-day street festivals with local crafts, food and live entertainment.
Bean started his company in 1912, a one-man operation catering to those lovers of the great outdoors, starting with the waterproof "Bean Boot," which remains an iconic symbol of the company. L.L. Bean still makes the boot -- and a lot of other things, outdoorsy and fashionable.
For a complete schedule and more information, visit www.llbean.com