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HERE THERE EVERYWHERE

Here, there, and everywhere

New trails in Kahtahdin Woods, Maine.
New trails in Kahtahdin Woods, Maine. (Chris Shane)

NATURE AND CULTURAL CYCLING

Spring is coming — really! — meaning it’s time to start planning warm-weather excursions. VBT, a biking and walking tour company, is offering a new trip in 2019, “New York to Rhode Island: The Hamptons, Shelter Island & Newport.” Offered May through October, the six-day, five-night tour cycles through scenic and cultural routes from seaside villages in eastern Long Island to the historic Cliff Walk promenade overlooking Newport’s Gilded Age mansions. Highlights include wine tasting at Sag Harbor’s Wölffer Estate Vineyard; strolling trails at Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge and Mashomack Preserve; visit to the Montauk Point Lighthouse; chowder chowing in Greenport; and a cruise around lower Narragansett Bay on the Jamestown-Newport ferry. Includes five nights in harborside inns, 10 meals, van support, two VBT trip leaders, and more. Rated easy. Limited to 20 guests. Also new this year: E-Bikes (with electric motor assist) are available on first come, first serve basis. From $2,595, 800-245-3868, www.vbt.com/tours/new-york-to-rhode-island-bike-tour/

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NEW WILDERNESS TRAILS IN MAINE

Good news for outdoor enthusiasts: The National Park Service has contracted the Appalachian Mountain Club of Maine to build new hiking trails in the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, an 87,500 acre wilderness area that was designated a new national monument by President Obama in 2016. The vast area, located east of Baxter State Park, has had little development other than its main Loop Road, a 16-mile dirt road leading to access points and starts of trails with scenic views. With no welcome center or staff, most of the park is too rugged for some travelers. With the AMC trail additions, more visitors can experience a taste of the wilderness. There will also be a new trail to Deasey Pond and an ADA-compliant trail to Lynx Pond, with a viewing platform at the end. www.outdoors.org/

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Bankside hotel in London.
Bankside hotel in London. (handout)

HOTEL DEBUTS IN LONDON

Have you heard of SE1? Touted as one of London’s hottest districts on the south bank of the River Thames, this culturally dynamic area is a stone’s throw away from Tate Modern, British Film Institute, and Borough Market. Visitors to the neighborhood may want to check out — and stay at — Bankside, a design-forward hotel that recently made its stylish debut. One of the newest Autograph Collection Hotels, part of Marriott International, Bankside boasts 161 airy-residential style rooms with modern mid-century influences, creative space with live-work lounges, art-filled interiors, and a restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace serving a relaxed seasonal menu. For a fun twist on the mini-bar, a carefully stocked vending machine sells a small collection wine, spirits, pre-blended cocktails, soft drinks, and snacks on each guest-room floor. You won’t need cash to access the goodies; your room key charges all purchases to your account. Rates from $375. www.banksidehotel.com/

Sydney is a stop on smarTours’ Around the World tour.
Sydney is a stop on smarTours’ Around the World tour. (handout)

AROUND THE WORLD IN 21 DAYS

Those looking for a once-in-a-lifetime trip at less than a bank-breaking price may want to consider Around the World, a 21-day tour recently launched by smarTours. The six country whirlwind expedition begins in New York and ends in Los Angeles, spending multiple days visiting London, Cairo, Bangkok, Bali, Sydney, and Fiji. Highlights include Windsor Castle; the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza; Buddhist Temples in Bangkok; Tanah Lot in Bali; Sydney Opera House; and Fiji’s Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Includes international airfare, first-class hotels, 26 meals, air-conditioned motor coach ground transportation, and comprehensive sightseeing with experienced, English-speaking guides. Five tours are scheduled, departing in July, August, September, October, and November. Rates from $6,499. Reserve by March 29 to secure this early booking discount. 800-337-7773, www.smartours.com/tour/around-the-world/

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Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Manual Espresso Machine.
Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Manual Espresso Machine.(Wacaco)

PORTABLE ESPRESSO MAKER

Serious java junkies will want to get their hands on the Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Manual Espresso Machine. Weighing in at less than 12 ounces (336 grams), this elegant and innovative machine is a must-have gadget for campers, hikers, and all coffee connoisseurs traveling to places without a barista on every corner. To use the device, all you need is ground coffee and hot water. Featuring a patented pumping system, Nanopresso brews a perfect shot of espresso complete with dense crema layer. It even provides a detachable cup for comfortable sipping. $64.90. www.wacaco.com/pages/nanopresso

Genius Pack’s High Altitude Flight Bag.
Genius Pack’s High Altitude Flight Bag.(Genius Pack)

BAG OFFERS EASY IN-FLIGHT ACCESS

Tired of trying to jam your personal flight essentials into the seat pocket in front of you? Genius Pack’s High Altitude Flight Bag offers a solution for storing and easily accessing all your important stuff — including headphones, pens, smartphones and tablets, magazines, passport, snacks, medicines, and more. The sleek, water-resistant bag features straps that wrap around your closed food tray, keeping the bag (and your necessary accessories) within easy reach. No more jumping up to get things from the overhead bin, or reaching down under the seat. Features top grab handle and removable padded shoulder strap. Available in four colors. $68 includes free shipping. www.geniuspack.com/products/high-altitude-flight-bag

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