For vacation week, skip the school books

(Lauren Poussard)

It’s Presidents’ Day and school vacation week, and if you’re not dragging your young ones from car lot to car lot hoping to score a good deal, consider taking them somewhere else for fun. (Let’s be honest: Shopping for a car is not an enjoyable experience.)

In Salem, the House of the Seven Gables, at 115 Derby St., has activities for children this week through Sunday, including “Constructing History” workshops that experiment with historic construction techniques using popular building toys. Workshops run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tours for children and students are free through March 31 when they accompany an adult. For more information, visit 7gables.org.


In Acton, The Gallery at Villageworks, 525 Massachusetts Ave., will host a screening of the Arlington International Film Festival’s Animated Short Films of 2018 on Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. The screening features “Trejur” by Concord-Carlisle High School student Thomas Kim — about a modern woman remembering her “wretched, toy-giving grandmother,” according to The Gallery’s notes —- and includes 10 other independent works by aspiring filmmakers from the United States, France, Spain, Iran, Lithuania, and Argentina. Visit aiffest.org or galleryatvw.com.

In Cohasset, the folks at the nonprofit, organic Holly Hill Farm are offering “vacation week fun on the farm” — three-hour winter woodland explorations for children on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. They say to dress for the weather and outdoor activities, and meet at the farm’s main barn, 236 Jerusalem Road, at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is required. Visit hollyhillfarm.org.

In Boylston, the ever-colorful Tower Hill Botanic Garden is touting a slate of vacation week programs broadly titled “Seeds of Sorcery” — including a session on herbal tea blending on Saturday, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and free family guided nature walks Monday through Sunday, 1-2 p.m. Check out what else is on the calendar at towerhillbg.org.


Minister and writer Judy Campbell, whose artist books are on display this month at the Kingston Public Library, will lead a workshop on techniques for making handmade fan-fold books. All supplies will be provided in the workshop at the library, 6 Green St., on Saturday, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Visit kingstonpubliclibrary.org.

The Cabot Theatre in Beverly will host a screening of “Backto the Future” on Wednesday.
The Cabot Theatre in Beverly will host a screening of “Backto the Future” on Wednesday.(Lauren Poussard)

The Cabot Theatre in Beverly is hosting a free open house and screening of “Back to the Future” on Wednesday to celebrate the completion of major balcony renovations. Staff-led tours of the theater at 286 Cabot St. will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the film. Visit thecabot.org.

Briefly, historian Gary Hylander will speak on King Philip’s War, a bloody conflict between Native Americans and English settlers in 1675-76 when 12 towns were destroyed, thousands of lives were lost, indigenous tribal groups lost their homelands, and countless natives were sold into slavery, at the Walpole Public Library, 143 School St., on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Visit walpolelibraryfriends.org. At the Chelmsford Public Library, 25 Boston Road, photojournalist and education consultant Robert Azzi, an Arab-American and native of New Hampshire, will moderate a conversation titled “Ask a Muslim Anything.” The One Book Chelmsford and Civic Engagement REACT program will be held on Thursday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Visit chelmsfordlibrary.org.

One more, for the road: Newton may beef up its limits on checkout bags from retail establishments by forcing retailers who offer customers paper or reusable bags to charge a fee for each. The proposal would also expand the city’s ban on single-use plastic bags to all retailers. The Newton City Council votes on the proposed measure on Tuesday sometime after 7:45 p.m. at City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.


L. Kim Tan can be reached at tan@globe.com.