Time to revisit this museum
The Discovery Museum in Acton reopens July 28 and will be free for all visitors, meaning you can wander through at your own pace and not feel obligated to linger longer than necessary. The museum’s Free To Play program extends through Aug. 23. Check out the Discovery Treehouse, a 550-square-foot treehouse reachable by a walkway; Discovery Woods, where you’ll find a rain garden, beaver lodges, a nest swing, and a climbing net; and Adventure Hill, which has boulders for climbing and scrambling, a slide, and a fort. Don’t miss the new da Vinci moveable bridge, the first in a series of Leonardo da Vinci-designed outdoor exhibits that will be installed onsite this summer. Leave time for lawn games and exploring trails on neighboring Great Hill Conservation Land. Take note: You must wear a mask inside the museum, get tickets in advance, and follow one-way traffic flow inside the building. 978-264-4200, www.discoveryacton.org
Read all about New England
Longtime Boston Globe contributor Steve Jermanok took advantage of his unintended Covid sabbatical to publish a book with more than 700 stories he has written for the Globe, Yankee Magazine, Men’s Journal, and more. Discover 12 country inns where you can get pampered, 10 classic New England hikes, eight summer drives, six hidden art gems, and some of the region’s top lobster and clam shacks in “New England in a Nutshell,” now available through Amazon and local bookstores, such as Brookline Booksmith. Jermanok plans to use half the book’s proceeds to benefit the one-of-a-kind businesses he has highlighted in his stories — and to benefit you. Purchase a book and e-mail email@example.com to be entered into a raffle. If you win, you may get a gift card for dinner at the restaurant that invented the fried clam, a bike ride around Portland with Summer Feet Cycling, a membership to the Peabody Essex Museum, or a getaway to Bar Harbor’s Saltair Inn. www.amazon.com/-/e/B089VTTJBX
Travel the East Coast by train
Need to travel down the East Coast? Skip the rental car (or driving your own vehicle) and jump on a train. Amtrak, which runs affordable and relatively quick service between Boston and Washington, D.C., has incorporated safety measures and extended no-change-fee offers through Aug. 31. Travel from Boston to New York ($29/$59), Philadelphia ($29/$69), and Washington, D.C. ($49/$69) on the company’s regular Northwest Regional service or its Acela high-speed service. Book now through July 31 for travel through Sept. 12. Amtrak has reportedly limited bookings to allow for physical distancing and boosted its cleaning protocols. All cars have WiFi and electrical outlets at seats, while the Acela first class service includes complimentary food and beverages. 800-872-7245, www.amtrak.com/routes
Website helps you find safe hotels
Looking to stay in a hotel soon, but worried about your health safety? Tripadvisor has launched a new Travel Safe tool that lets you find out what steps hotels and restaurants are taking to help keep visitors safe. For instance, the tool includes health and safety checklists (such as sanitation procedures, mask-wearing guidelines, and social-distancing policies) that are provided by hotels and restaurants; a new search filter that helps you find properties that follow these strict procedures; and invaluable traveler reviews in which previous visitors weigh in on their experiences. When you search for hotels in Boston, for instance, you will see a “Covid 19” filter. Check the box underneath that says, “Properties taking safety measures” and you will get a list of hotels that have outlined their Covid-related safety protocols. That way, you can see which hotel is sanitizing all linens in a high-temperature wash, for instance, and regularly cleaning the common areas. www.tripadvisor.com/travel-safe.
Fend off the sharks with this
Hot summer days may draw you to the beach, but strap on a Sharkbanz for peace of mind when you take a dip. Sharks have a unique and powerful electrical sense called “electroreception.” This device uses magnetic technology to cause a highly unpleasant sensation that causes sharks to turn away — it doesn’t hurt, but it’s like someone shining a bright light in your face in the dark. The Sharkbanz has been tested on predatory shark species by marine biologists. To use it, just strap the watch-like device to your wrist or ankle (or both) and head into the water to paddle, surf, or swim. It works for anyone 5 and older and all stages of cool: Even Barack Obama was spotted wearing a Sharkbanz while paddleboarding in Hawaii. www.sharkbanz.com
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.