SKATE WITH SANTA AND
AN OLYMPIAN AT STOWE
Ice skate with Santa and Olympic-medalist Nancy Kerrigan at Stowe Mountain Resort’s outdoor ice-skating rink, Dec. 17 and 18. The rink is part of the resort’s new $90 million Spruce Peak Village Center, which also includes a new Adventure Center with a rock-climbing gym, a movie theater, a family-friendly dining area, and the Stowe Children’s Ski and Ride school. Ski with Santa and watch a performance by the Northern Bronze Bells Ensemble (a bell-ringing troupe) at 1 p.m., and stick around for the tree-lighting ceremony at 4 p.m. Buy Vermont-made crafts at the Artisan Showcase in Stowe’s Pavilion Building both days, and get your photo taken with Santa. Bring your own skates or rent skates for $16; skate for free. 800-253-4754, www.stowe.com.
EAT COOKIES FOR
A GOOD CAUSE
Savor snickerdoodles, maple sugar cookies and more on a “cookie crawl” that takes you to inns, boutiques, and attractions across New Hampshire’s Monadnock region, Dec. 10. The self-guided 12th annual Currier and Ives Cookie Tour includes more than a dozen venues in Troy, Jaffrey, Rindge, Peterborough, and Fitzwilliam. Buy a ticket and get a homemade cookie, drink, and recipe card for the treats offered at each location. Visit 10 or more cookie stops and be eligible to win a $150 gift certificate for any of the participating locations along the way, including the Swanzey Historical Museum (Swanzey), Inn at East Hill Farm (Troy), and the Terrapin Glassblowing Studio or Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary (Jaffrey). Tickets: $12 per person. Proceeds benefit My Neighbors House in the town of Troy, which provides assistance to local residents in need during winter. www.currierandives
A BARGAIN WAY TO SEE
Follow in the footsteps of soccer superstar Lionel Messi, discover the works of master architect Antoni Gaudí, and go on walking and boat tours with the new Barcelona Pass, which offers visitors access to many of the city’s top sites, attractions, and tours. The pass, available as a two-day or three-day option, provides entry to 15 of the city’s top attractions, including fast-track access to four sites, such as Camp Nou stadium, where the Barcelona soccer team plays, and L’Aquàrium, which is Europe’s only oceanarium, with 450 different species. The pass also offers access to the hop-on/hop-off Barcelona sightseeing bus, and an 80-page guidebook on the Catalan capital. Prices: $59 for two-day children’s pass (ages 4-12) to $119 for three-day adult pass. www.barcelonapass.com.
DISCOVER MAYAN SITES
Fancy yourself a cultural archeologist? Travel to southern Mexico and explore the Yucatán’s most significant archeological sites, including Chichén Itzá with its stepped pyramids and temples; Uxmal, home to the 100-foot-tall Pyramid of the Magician; and Ek Balam, where an arch marks the end of an ancient road that once connected the Mayan kingdoms. Explore these and other famous sites through Go Yucatán’s local tour operators, which offer one-day tours that hit the highlights around Merida to a seven-day adventure that includes a private tour of the three major archeological sites (two of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites), accommodations at boutique hotels, and bike rides through communities where visitors can meet the Mayan’s direct descendents. Prices range from $75 (day trips) to about $1,200 (7-day packages). www.gotoyucatan.com.
TRAINER HELPS BOOST
FITNESS, DECREASE STRESS
Hitting the road for business or holiday travel doesn’t mean you need to abandon your fitness routine, whether you’re training for an event or strengthening for overall health and well-being. TRX Training has released a new lightweight and compact suspension trainer that can be secured from a hotel door, a tree, or a rafter at your in-laws’ house. The TRX Go Suspension Trainer, which was developed by a Navy SEAL to stay fit while under deployment, packs down to the size of a grapefruit and weighs just more than 1 pound. It includes easy-to-adjust straps, door and suspension anchors, a travel pouch, and several short workouts. A handy TRX app provides access to general exercises and stretches to help travelers ease stress and improve mobility (great after a long flight or drive), and sport-specific strength workouts geared to skiers, golfers, and runners, for instance. The redesigned TRX Pro model comes with a dozen workouts and new adjustable foot cradles. $129.95 (TRX Go); $249.95 (TRX Pro). 888-878-5348, www.trxtraining
THESE EWRITERS KEEP KIDS ENTERTAINED
Get your child a Boogie Board before he or she steps onto a plane or crawls into a car seat. These entertaining eWriters keep children occupied for ages, and since there’s no ink involved, you don’t have to stress about damage to hotel couches or airline tray tables. The new Scribble ‘n Play, geared to kids ages 3 and older, has wide, built-in stylus tools for drawing multicolor pictures. Hit a button, watch the text or image disappear, and kids have a clean slate for new creations. Use the mobile app and Bluetooth feature to instantly upload and share images. The slim and compact Jot 4.5 Clearview eWriter measures just 5.75 inches tall so it can easily slip into a small bag or lunchbox. Kids can practice their handwriting, draw pictures, and trace images using the translucent LCD screen. The Jot 4.5 comes with alphabet and math flash cards for tracing, and an attached stylus. $19.99-$29.99. 855-224-0888, myboogieboard.com.