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Acting lessons from home, East Coast biking adventures, and a smart helmet

Travel news (and gadgets) you can use.

Bike through 12 states on a new guided tour that follows alongside a major section of the Appalachian Trail (as close as it can).


Take acting lessons from home

Learn how to command a room, empathize with others, interpret emotions, and tell a great story — all qualities that make for great performances — during acting classes through Providence’s Trinity Repertory Company. The group runs virtual acting classes for ages kindergarten through 12th grade, and for adults. Take Beginning Acting Feb. 3-March 24 ($250, 18 and older), a Virtual Play Reading and Discussion Group ($60, 16 and older), and an Intro to Acting April 5-May 24 ($250, 18 and older), when you’ll strengthen voice, movement, and character development skills. How to use their bodies, voice, and imagination while acting. Check the website in a few weeks for a list of kids classes, which will run Jan. 26 to March 9 for kindergarden-1st grade and grades 2-4 ($75 per session).



An East Coast biking adventure

Bike through 12 states on a new guided tour that follows alongside a major section of the Appalachian Trail (as close as it can). Ride and Seek’s 28-day cycling tour from Maine to North Carolina will be offered in two stages — from Bethel, Maine, to Gettysburg, Penn., and Gettysburg to Cherokee, N.C. — and cover 1,377 miles total. Cyclists can ride through the longest linear park in the United States (the Blue Ridge Parkway), past Maryland’s apple orchards, by Civil War sites, across the mighty Hudson River, and along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, which is considered one of the country’s top scenic bike routes. And, of course, you’ll get to explore the Maine wilderness and rural backroads of New Hampshire and Vermont. The tour runs May 30-June 26, with prices ranging from $5,590 to $11,200 per person, based on double occupancy in boutique inns and lodges. Price includes everything except airfare, bike rental, and insurance.

Plan a Costa Rica getaway


When it’s time to get away, head for the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, which promises a secluded stay in private villas and estate homes (newly available this year) that overlook a stunning coastline. Prieta Bay Residences include 20 different options in buildings that boasts green roofs made from local materials. Each unit has three to five bedrooms, gourmet kitchens, large outdoor terraces with built-in barbecues, and access to the resort’s members’ club, which offers fitness classes, outdoor activities, and community events for all ages. Grab your friends and book a future trip for $4,135 per night, which includes a $250 pantry stocking credit, a round-trip airport transfer, and two evening and snack delivery services during your stay.

Sena’s new X1S Smart Cycling Helmet. Handout


Chat with friends, from a distance

Stay connected to your riding buddy whether biking on rural roads or pedaling through the city with Sena’s new X1S Smart Cycling Helmet. Download the Sena app, pair your phone with one helmet using Bluetooth, and then sync the second helmet with the first (or up to three other Sena Bluetooth-enabled helmets) and you can chat back and forth in normal voices and be heard — no more shouting over a shoulder. The helmet has Sena’s new oval design that’s geared to fit more head shapes. It comes with built-in speakers and a microphone that lets you easily talk with other riders up to half a mile away, listen to music without drowning out the sounds of cars and other important noises around you, or even chat on the phone. You don’t need a cell connection to talk with other Sena helmet users, so it’s no problem if you go off the grid—the helmets sync together using Bluetooth technology. The X1S also offers great ventilation and a padded interior. The only downside: It only comes in medium (55-59 cm) and large (58-63cm) so it won’t work for smaller heads. $109.


Blundstone celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, marking the milestone with a new men’s and women’s Chelsea boot.Handout

A forever footwear gift

Give a pair of Blundstone boots (to yourself or someone else) and it will be the holiday gift remembered forever because these boots never die — in fact, they get better as they break in. Blundstone celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, marking the milestone with a new men’s and women’s Chelsea boot and still offering the Original #500 boots that put the company on the map. The workhorse boots — made of weatherproof oiled leather and a cushioned midsole to absorb shock — fit comfortably out of the box and work great for travel: They can climb a volcano by day and pair with a skirt or pants for a night out. They also slip on and off easily for passing through airport security or kicking back on an airplane (don’t worry, it will happen again soon enough). Two new styles — the women’s #1960 nubuck heeled boots and men’s lace-up Heritage boots — also work great for dressier occasions but come with the same durability as the company’s 95 or so other styles. $189.95 (Original #500), $199.95 (women’s heeled), $204.95 (150th anniversary Chelsea), $344.95 (men’s Heritage).



Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at