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    From Cajun Mardi Gras to a vineyard fixture

    Iowa Chicken Run



    Canyon Ranch, the all-inclusive health and wellness resort and spa in Lenox, always offers a huge roster of programs, from dozens of fitness classes to how to make nutritious gourmet cuisine. Physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and other specialists are also on hand for consultations and seminars. One of the latest programs at the resort is called “Discover Your Fitness Age.” Since the calendar just flipped over, maybe you’re curious if your physiological age matches your chronological age. An exercise physiologist will test your agility, speed, strength, and flexibility to determine both, and based on results, will help create a program to help you enhance or maintain your physiological age. Are you really as young (or old) as you feel? 413-637-4100,


    For many island visitors, the Harbor View Hotel, located in the center of Edgartown, seems like a permanent backdrop. It’s been welcoming guests since 1891 and its iconic broad veranda is the perfect spot to see sailboats and yachts in the harbor. Fans of the hotel, as well as those interested in island history, will enjoy the hotel’s book, modestly titled “Harborview: The Hotel That Saved a Town,” by Nis Kildegaard. It gives an overview of Edgartown, as well as details about the hotel’s construction and the changes it wrought in town. Notable parties and events, famous visitors, the filming of “Jaws” (many cast and crew members stayed there during filming — Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider allegedly started a food fight at the hotel), and the hotel’s ups and downs over the years make for fascinating reading. Available at the hotel and online. $



    New Orleans gets most of the Mardi Gras glory, but traditional events abound in Louisiana over the season and the Iowa Chicken Run is one such event. Now in its 36th year, the rural parade outside Lake Charles celebrates food and family in an unusual, and unforgettable, way. This year held on Feb. 17, the run is a parade of floats which rolls through the small town of Iowa, stopping at businesses and homes to pick up ingredients to make gumbo. To earn the ingredients, crews get off the floats and dance to zydeco music, played with an accordion and scrub board. If they dance well enough, they get the ingredients. At every stop, a chicken (pictured at right) is thrown into the air, which children try to catch, to much hilarity. At the end, revelers enjoy gumbo and a dance. All are welcome. Adults $10, children $5.



    Sea Island, a luxurious resort on the coast of Georgia, is offering a unique alternative to candy and roses this Valentine’s Day. Instead of the traditional and perhaps boring standards, the curious-minded can spend Feb. 13 and 14 at the resort’s second annual Creativity Conference. The two-day program includes talks, Q&As, activities and socializing with visionaries across an array of fields, from robotics to entomology to poetry. Rodney Brooks, founder of iRobot and its popular Roomba, and renowned New Yorker magazine cartoonist Roz Chast are among the speakers. Activities and lectures are free for those staying overnight. Rates start at $395. A special four-course opening dinner with the speakers is $85 per person. 855-572-4975,



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    Almost anyone who’s flown has experienced the long, sad wait at the luggage carousel for a bag that never appears. HomingPIN aims to help, not only with lost luggage, but with anything else you’d like to see returned. The concept is simple. The company’s baggage tags, key rings, and stickers have a unique number on them, which you register online with your e-mail and phone number. If your bag is misplaced at the airport, handlers using World-
    Tracer (a system used at more than 2,200 airports) can contact you. In other cases, say if someone finds your phone or camera, they can go online and enter the HomingPIN number (pictured above). You’ll be sent a message and then you can arrange to get your property back. Your identity is always kept private and secure. Starter packs includes one loop and tag, one key ring and four stickers for $10, plus a 12-month subscription to the service. After that, the annual fee is $8.


    The 180s Gen 2 Bluetooth ear warmers not only protect the ears, they offer hi-definition speakers. Besides listening to music, you can take calls with the nifty Siri and Google Now activation feature. For those who keep active in winter, they can be worn with other headwear and head protection, so cyclists and skiers can stay tuned in. They fit behind any size head, over the ears with an adjustable click-to-fit frame. The soft shell body and grid fleece lining are comfortable, as well as wind- and water-resistant. Once fully charged (a USB charging cord is included), you get eight hours of play time. They come in blue, white, or black. $40.

    Kim Foley MacKinnon