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A virtual shuck off, artists on Cape Ann, and planting trees to offset flights

Travel news you can use.

Liz Ventura shucks an oyster.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff



The 20th Wellfleet OysterFest may have been canceled due to COVID concerns, but you can still cheer for your favorite shucker this year at the first-ever Virtual All-Star Shuck Off. In the spirit of the Shucking-Show-Must-Go-On, the local nonprofit Wellfleet Promotion and Tasting organization ( will broadcast a two-hour shucking extravaganza with cooking tips from celebrity chef hosts Ming Tsai, Jamie Bissonette, and Elle Simone Scott; music events filmed in scenic Wellfleet locales; two short films about the town’s deep history as the heart of America’s oyster-growing community; and more. The online gala will culminate with a reimagining of the festival’s most popular event — the oyster shucking competition — showcasing 10 legendary shuckers from the past 19 years going head to head for the ultimate crown: Wellfleet’s all-time greatest, best of the best, all-star oyster shucker. Mark your calendars for the event, streamed online at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17, from the Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater. Free.

Creativity abounds over Columbus Day weekend as the Cape Ann Artisans debut their 37th annual Fall Open Studios tour with new COVID-safe parameters.Handout



Creativity abounds over Columbus Day weekend as the Cape Ann Artisans debut their 37th annual Fall Open Studios tour with new COVID-safe parameters. (Oct. 10-11; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) The 11 participating artists' work, created during the intimacy of quarantine, spans a wide selection of genres including ceramics, painting, sculpture, fiber arts, jewelry, and more. Simply download a printable map of the self-guided tour, and begin planning your trip in the striking landscapes of Gloucester and Rockport. The map lists each artist’s contact info; appointments are encouraged and given priority. Visitors are expected to wear facial coverings, practice social distancing, and use hand sanitizer, which will be available at each studio. Weather permitting, artists will take advantage of their outdoor spaces to offer a waiting area and additional exhibition space.


Conrad Punta de Mita in Mexico.Handout



Those looking for a stylish (and warm) winter getaway may want to consider Conrad Punta de Mita, the second Conrad property in Mexico on Riviera Nayarit. This new-build hotel, located 20 miles from Puerto Vallarta’s international airport, has just debuted with 324 guest rooms and suites all boasting views of the Pacific Ocean, with suites and villas offering large patios, plunge pools, freestanding soaking tubs, and outdoor showers. Amenities include four restaurant and three bar concepts, three expansive pools, a long stretch of sandy beach, access to the Litibu Golf Course, outdoor fitness lawn for yoga and stretching, and more. In celebration of the resort’s opening, travelers booking four nights or more can take advantage of the Hola Conrad Package, which includes luxury round-trip airport transfers, $100 resort credit, and access to Conrad Spa’s wet areas. Package rates from $349.


It’s not too late to get out on the water this fall. The Annapolis Waterfront, a member of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, has recently opened after comprehensive multimillion-dollar renovations. The only property on the Annapolis waterfront, the hotel boasts 150 guest rooms in a contemporary-meets-coastal style, including ocean hues of blues, grays, and tans complemented by natural material and furnishings designed to evoke a feeling of a vintage seafaring vessel. The hotel is also home to Pusser’s Caribbean Grille, a waterfront favorite regional restaurant and bar. Speaking of vintage vessels, the Sail the Chesapeake package includes an excursion for up to six guests aboard a wooden, 74-foot schooner courtesy of Schooner Woodwind Annapolis Sailing Cruises. The two-hour tour includes views of the Annapolis waterfront, Naval Academy, and a cruise on Chesapeake Bay. Available through October, weather permitting. Party of two from $329; party of six from $987. Rooms without package from $159 week days; $259 weekends. 888-773-0786,




We may not be flying much these days, but those concerned about levels of global CO2 emissions rising when travel resumes may want to check out a new search engine designed to mitigate air travel’s adverse impact on the environment. FlyBARBARA, a green travel portal, invests its profit from flight tickets on planting an average of seven trees for every flight ticket sold with no additional cost for the customer. In addition to making air-travel environment-friendly, it also connects popular flight and hotel search engines so that travelers have all their travel-related needs in one place.

CREST has launched the 2020 Impact Tourism Handbook. Impact tourism generates support for local community projects.Handout


The Center for Responsible Travel, a policy-oriented research organization, is dedicated to increasing the positive global impact of responsible tourism. Its mission to promote responsible policies and practices — so that local communities may thrive and steward their cultural resources and biodiversity — is an ongoing commitment and goal. To share its learnings, CREST has launched the 2020 Impact Tourism Handbook, available in a free, digital format. Not just giving or collecting loose change for charity, impact tourism generates support for local community projects via partnerships with tourism companies and visitors. The handbook delves into innovative ways such work is materializing around the globe with examples and case studies from businesses, NGOs, and destinations including brands like andBeyond, Pack for a Purpose, Six Senses, and World Wildlife Fund.



Necee Regis can be reached at