Film fest celebrates people of color
Watch narrative and documentary features, shorts, and animated and youth films during RoxFilm, New England’s largest film festival celebrating people of color. The in-person event takes place June 23 through June 29 and includes screenings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston Public Library’s Roxbury Branch, and other local venues, plus panel discussions, networking opportunities, and Q&A sessions with filmmakers. The virtual event runs June 27 to July 2 and gives viewers access to all online films. Don’t miss “Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story, a biopic on the life of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, her bond with Dr. Martin Luther King, and her impact on the civil rights movement, and the New England premiere of “Triggered Life,” an award-winning film directed by Boston local John Adekoje and starring Keith Mascoll. Tickets start at $15 for the in-person pass and $50 for the virtual pass. www.roxfilmfest.com.
Explore new gardens and a sunflower maze
Sunflowers signify happiness, optimism, and peace — all qualities we should embrace these days. On July 30, the Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vt., opens its Sunflower House, a floral labyrinth with more than 100 varieties of sunflowers. Stroll through thousands of blooms ranging from 18 inches to 14 feet tall in a maze-like structure (peak season mid-August with flowers blooming through September). In the meantime, visit the property’s new Billings Farmstead Gardens, opening June 24, which features five distinct gardens — the heirloom, permaculture, chef’s, pollinator, and herb gardens — that form one cohesive space with pathways, arches, trellises, and tunnels. During July and August, the farm hosts Mindful Mondays for guests interested in meditative experiences and Foodie Fridays, with culinary demonstrations and interactive programs with farm-fresh seasonal ingredients. Entrance fee: free for ages 3 and younger to $17 for ages 16 and older. https://billingsfarm.org.
Bike the Olympic Peninsula
Pedal by temperate rain forests, rugged coastline, the world’s longest natural sand spit, and the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountain Range on a new cycling tour with Escape Adventures. The six-day road biking trip on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula takes riders from Discovery Bay at the southern end of Puget Sound 323 miles to the dense and mossy Hoh Rain Forest on the peninsula’s western end. Along the way, bikers can summit Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve), look for orcas and gray whales off the coast, take a dip in the crystal-blue waters of Lake Crescent, and visit a community that’s home to the local Quileute tribe. Trips run from July through September. Prices start at $3,499 per person based on double occupancy. https://escapeadventures.com.
A new Lake Placid hotel
Stay at a new Scandinavian-inspired boutique hotel in the heart of the Adirondacks. Eastwind Lake Placid opens July 11, offering easy access to downtown Lake Placid and Adirondack Park, the country’s largest National Historic Landmark (covering more area than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, and Glacier national parks combined). The property sits on 2.8 acres along the Chubb River and offers 26 accommodations, including luxury cabins, a vintage library, a sauna, a communal fire pit, bike and skate rentals, and (coming late summer) a pool. Enjoy live music on the weekends, yoga and Pilates classes, and seasonal outdoor meals made on an open-flame Argentine grill. The reception bar offers breakfast baskets, bar bites, and sandwiches. Room rates start at $279. www.eastwindny.com.
Whether you’re heading to the beach, taking a bike trip, or road tripping, consider bringing a pair of Tifosi’s new Fototec sunglasses. The company offers about 20 different styles of sunglasses with the Fototec technology, meaning the lens changes from clear to tinted based on the lighting conditions — perfect for shifting weather or glary drives when regular sunglasses would be overkill. Choose from the sporty Aethon glasses with the new Clarion red Fototec lenses — ideal for biking, golfing, and other outdoor activities — or the Swank or larger-fitting Swank XL “lifestyle” sunglasses. Both offer UV protection and come with lightweight frames and scratch-resistant, shatterproof Fototec lenses. The Aethon also has a removable brow bar, adjustable nose and ear pads, and interchangeable lenses. The Swank comes with regular lenses or choose ones with +1.5-2.5 progressive reader lenses (all still with Fototec). $69.95 (Swank), $79.95 (Aethon). www.tifosioptics.com.
Take thousands of books traveling
As a passionate reader and lover of real paper books, I shunned e-books until I recently tried Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition. I’ll never go back. I can easily cradle the 6.9-inch-by-4.9-inch device in one hand and quickly adjust font size and screen brightness, and switch to night mode (dark background with white text) so I don’t keep my husband awake. I can take thousands of books with me wherever I go — only limited by my reading budget. Amazon customers can get deals on e-books or sign up for Kindle Unlimited ($9.99 per month) to access more than 2 million books. The 11th generation Kindle has a 6.8-inch, glare-free touchscreen that’s visible from any angle and in all lighting conditions. It comes with Wi-Fi compatibility and 32GB of internal memory; it’s also waterproof (great for the beach or pool) and rechargeable by USB-C cable or wireless charger. Attach a Kindle cover (sold separately) in case you drift off to sleep and accidentally drop your Kindle. $189.99 Kindle; $39.99 leather cover. www.amazon.com.
Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.