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Travel

Here, there, and everywhere

From theatrical tours to outdoor dining items

HERE

TOUR GIVES HARVARD VISITORS THE INSIDE SCOOP

Harvard University students lead theatrical tours that highlight the university’s history and notable sites, including the Johnston Gate, John Harvard statue, Widener Library, and Memorial Church. The 70-minute Hahvahd Tour, as it’s called, starts at the Cambridge Information Booth on Massachusetts Avenue (outside the T station) and ends at The Harvard Shop on JFK Street, covering just under a mile on a wheelchair-accessible route. Learn about famous Harvardians, and what it’s like to live and study on this storied campus. Tours run daily through November for up to seven people; group tours also available. Reserve online for $9.95 adults, $8.50 seniors and students, $7 children age 12 and under, or pay $10 for walk-up booking. 877-455-8747, Ext. 2. www.harvardtour.com

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Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum

EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTS NANTUCKET’S LIFESAVING HERITAGE

Visit the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum and you can hop aboard a replica surfboat, get a feel for rowing a boat, and learn about maritime lifesaving practices past and present. The museum has launched Throw Out the Lifeline, an interactive exhibit on view through Oct. 13. See a colorful mural (detail inset above) by local artist David Lazarus with images and descriptions of Nantucket’s lifesaving practices and procedures. Also see historical lifesaving artifacts, test your knowledge of lifesaving and maritime trivia, and watch four related videos. Outside, children can play on breeches buoys that have been turned into swings. Tickets: $6 adults, $4 ages 5-17, free under 5. 508-228-1885, www.eganmaritime.org

THERE

BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN THE HEART OF VEGAS

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Las Vegas’s first stand-alone boutique hotel just opened on The Strip. The Cromwell has 188 rooms, a casino, a restaurant run by Italian-born chef Giada De Laurentiis, who hosts a Food Network show, a rooftop day club and nightclub led by famed restaurateur and film producer Victor Drai, and one of the only indoor-outdoor rooftop venues on The Strip. The hotel, which underwent a $185 million renovation this year, also offers 19 suites that range from 723 to 2,250 square feet, have views of The Strip, full-size fridges. wet bars, and, in some cases, come with a pool table or pinball machine. Pet-friendly rooms and suites are available. Rates start at $179 for rooms, $829 for suites. 844-426-2766, www.thecromwell.com

Duke’s OceanFest

WAIKIKI’S BIGGESTWATER SPORTS FESTIVAL

Pay tribute to one of Hawaii’s greatest athletes, Duke Kahanamoku, during Duke’s OceanFest, a nine-day ocean sports festival on Oahu, Aug. 16-24. The Waikiki event includes a one-mile ocean swim, beachfront luau, Wounded Warrior canoe regatta, and competitions in surfing, stand-up paddling (pictured below), surfboard water polo, and lifeguarding. Most competitions take place near Queen’s Surf on Waikiki. Kahanamoku, a water sports legend, won six Olympic medals including three gold medals in swimming, is known as the father of surfing, was a champion paddler, and once rescued eight people on his surfboard. The festival supports a public nonprofit that offers athletic grants and college scholarships to Hawaii residents competing in water sports and volleyball. www.dukesoceanfest.com

WASHINGTON STATE CONNECTS ITS NEW TRAVEL HOT LINE

Washington State has opened a new visitor call center to answer travelers’ questions and better plan their trips to the Evergreen State. Find out where to sleep in Seattle or how to hike Mount Rainier, access the San Juan Islands, or find some of the area’s top wineries, for instance. The Experience WA Call Center, launched by the Washington Tourism Alliance, is open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Staff can answer questions, take orders for the Washington State Visitors’ Guide, and refer travelers to specific travel resources and organizations for additional info. 800-544-1800, tourisminfo@watourismalliance.com

EVERYWHERE

LaunchPad

A PORTABLE BLANKET FOR LAYING OUT ANYWHERE

Sling the LaunchPad over your shoulder and take it on your adventures. This 58-by-70-inch double-layered ground cloth works great as a portable blanket for picnics, beach outings, festivals, and other travel stops. It has a waterproof rip-stop nylon bottom so you can lay it on wet grass or sand and stay dry, and a fleece top that’s comfy to sprawl on. It works well as a blanket or wrap for your hammock and easily fits four people — but packs up to a 14-by-18-inch size (pictured above). Comes with a detachable shoulder strap for easy portability. $84.95. 828-252-7808, www
.eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com

PRACTICAL ITEMS FOR OUTDOOR DINING

Travelers who spend their summer days or holidays on outdoor adventures may appreciate the Starboard Collection’s new Carina tabletop line. Vermont-based Aimee Marti, an avid sailor, designed this clever collection of dinnerware for boaters and outdoor enthusiasts. The bowls, plates, serving bowl, tray, and appetizer set have non-slip bases and curved edges for reducing the likelihood of tipping and spilling, and the bowls and plates fit together to save space and for easy transport. Best of all, the products are made from BPA-free recycled materials and totally shatterproof. Sold at Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill in Boston (www.blackstonesbeaconhill.com) or online. $36-$59. 802-503-1205, www.starboardcollection.com

Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at travelwriter@karib.us/

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