Peek inside the Gardner museum
You can’t visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum right now, but you can discover hidden treasures and untold stories from the museum’s archives and collection. A new weekly blog, which has launched during the museum’s temporary closure, includes illuminating stories from curators, conservators, and art experts. It offers a deeper dive into the museum’s extensive collection (which has 20,000 objects), including some unique and fascinating works. Learn about the Minton teacup with gold embossed “Isabella” letters that Gardner commissioned, and the archival material commemorating Gardner’s attendance at the 1897 unveiling of the Civil War Memorialto Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment. The blog features original text, audio, and video, such as a high-energy performance of a Spanish-style dance that was inspired by the museum’s John Singer Sargent work, “El Jaleo.” Look for the blog on the museum’s website, www.gardnermuseum.org/blog.
Plan your winter adventures now
Summer is almost officially here, but it’s time to start planning for winter. Save on your Pats Peak season pass by putting $49 down now and then paying the remaining balance in three installments between August and October. You won’t pay any fees or interest and you have until July 5 to take advantage of this promotion. Passes range from the Midweek Season Pass for $279 ($49 down and three installments of $76.67 due Aug. 1, Sept. 1, and Oct. 1) to the Adult Powder Pass Club Season Pass for $539 ($49 down and three installments of $163.33), which includes unlimited skiing, snowboarding, and tubing (morning tubing only), 50 percent off midweek skiing at Waterville Valley, and 20 percent off cafeteria food, seasonal locker rental, and purchases in the Finish Line Ski and Board Shop. All passes also include significant discounts on ticket prices at Ragged Mountain, Jay Peak, Killington, Pico, Ski Butternut, and Dartmouth Skiway. Children get an unlimited season pass for a $30 processing fee. www.patspeak.com/Tickets-Passes/Season-Passes.aspx.
How to get a passport from home
Get your passport renewed or get your US Passport Card through the new ItsEasy Passport App, which lets you fill out paperwork, take photos, and submit your application without leaving home. The app — available on iOS or Android devices, or on the website Itseasy.com — guides you through the renewal process. It e-mails you the proper paperwork, has a useful tool for taking passport photos using your phone, and provides a US Postal Service label so you can mail your application and supporting documentation from home. The app includes free US Passport photos, trackable shipping (in both directions), future reminders before your next passport expires, and even a feature for reporting a lost or stolen government-issued document. It costs $34.95 per passport or REAL ID-complaint passport card (not including the government fee); travelers need a REAL ID to travel domestically beginning October 2021. As a Department of State-registered expediting agency for more than 40 years, ItsEasy can also help you obtain an expedited US Passport for emergency situations, defined as “serious illness, injury or death of an immediate family member,” and offers 24-hour support year-round. Caveat: To renew a passport for children under 16, you’ll still need to go to a passport “acceptance agent,” found at select post offices and courthouses. www.itseasy.com.
Stay dry while exploring
Getting out for neighborhood strolls and exploration close to home (while social distancing and following other safety protocols) proves crucial during this time — regardless of the weather. Throw on Outdoor Research’s new Helium rain jacket and pants — or tuck them in a purse or fanny pack (yes, they’re that small) — so you can handle the weather wherever you go. Outdoor Research uses a Pertex fabric with diamond-shaped filaments that lock together to create tear-resistant waterproof garments that are ridiculously lightweight and packable. The 2.5-layer 30-denier ripstop fabric sheds water easily, blocks wind, and packs down small, making the jacket and pants ideal for backcountry adventures to local jaunts. The pants have a partial zipper on the legs that make them easier to put on and remove, while the jacket has an adjustable hood and a chest pocket that doubles as a stuff sack. Available in men’s and women’s versions. $159 jacket, $119 pants. www.outdoorresearch.com.
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at email@example.com.