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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

October is Cranberry Harvest Season in Massachusetts

The Cranberry Harvest Celebration at Makepeace Farms in Wareham, an hour south of Boston near the Sagamore Bridge to Cape Cod, might be over, but it’s still a great time to visit the bogs of Massachusetts during harvest time. We brought a journalist from Cape Town to the region last Thursday and were mesmerized by the men working waist-deep in the flooded cranberries colored a brilliant red. A.D. Makepeace Company is the world’s largest cranberry grower, a founding member of the Ocean Spray co-op, and the largest private property owner in Massachusetts. Cranberries have been cultivated in this part of the world for approximately 200 years. The temperate climate is perfect for growing cranberries with warm days in summer and cold nights in autumn. We watched as workers culled and then vacuumed up the cranberries into a truck that heads to a nearby Ocean Spray processing plant to make cranberry juice, cranberry sauce, and craisins. The harvest continues until mid-November and A.D. Makepeace is offering one last guided tour of its bog this Saturday, October 29th, at 9 am. Afterwards, stop by Tihonet Village for sandwiches and salads, chocolate-covered cranberries, and treats from their bakery like tasty cranberry macaroons. I grabbed a pint of fresh cranberries after a worker told me how to make homemade cranberry liqueur with equal amounts of cranberries, sugar, and vodka. I’ll tell you how it turns out. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/26/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

ActiveTravels Featured in Sunday’s Boston Globe

Sunday was already a celebratory day for my family as we gathered in New York for our niece, Sarah Schechter’s first art opening. The exhibition is on view at the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn, 136 Milton Street, through December. So if you’re in New York, please have a look at these skillfully rendered, vibrant and often whimsical sketches and paintings from her life. Adding to the excitement on Sunday was a Boston Globe story about the rise of the travel agent that included quotes from Lisa and me. We were interviewed for the story several months ago, before our trip to southern Africa, and forgot about it until seeing it on Sunday. It was a nice surprise. Paired with the wonderful story from Moira McCarthy on ActiveTravels in the Boston Herald earlier this summer, we feel incredibly fortunate to be recognized. It only helps to legitimize the company when people search for a travel agent in that great big space called Google. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/25/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 24, 2016

New Takes on Old Classics in New Orleans

Start with Cajun specialties like the one-pot wonder, jambalaya, brought to New Orleans by the French of Nova Scotia over 250 years ago. Add the rich sauces and fresh herbs of Creole cooking that blended together from the city’s Spanish, West African, and French roots. Take full advantage of the bounty of shrimp, crawfish, oysters, and redfish found in the surrounding gulf and bayou, and, voila, you have all the necessary ingredients to create North America’s favorite culinary destination. The city that brought you Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, and John Besh is now home to a new generation of acclaimed chefs, including Israeli Alon Shaya, whose restaurant, Shaya, was recently named the Best New Restaurant in America according to the James Beard Foundation. They bring a new twist to the old classics, even when it comes to cocktails. 

To find my favorite dishes in town, please see my latest Local Flavor column in this month’s Virtuoso Traveler Magazine. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/24/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 21, 2016

Favorite Fall Foliage Walks In and Around Boston, Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary

A family favorite, this 600-acre Mass Audubon sanctuary in Natick is a popular birdwatching and walking retreat in the western suburbs. Bordering the Charles River, nine miles of trails weave over marsh and river on boardwalks and into thick forests of tall pines. There’s even a small waterfall to be seen. Rest atop one of the bridges to look for lounging turtles or to spot a great blue heron spreading its vast wings and slowly taking to flight. Other birds include kingfishers, osprey, and wood ducks. Trails are open dawn to dusk and cost $5 for nonmembers. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/21/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Favorite Fall Foliage Walks In and Around Boston, Mt. Auburn Cemetery

It might sound macabre to hike through a cemetery, but Mt. Auburn is no ordinary burial ground. Opened in 1831, it is the first large-scale designed landscape in the country. Now a National Historic Landmark, the 174-acre arboretum is known for its peaceful strolls along ponds or in dense woodlands which boast more than 700 types of trees. Walk amidst the century-old sugar maples while you visit the graves of Winslow Homer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Isabella Stewart Gardner. The Friends of Mount Auburn offer guided walking tours during the fall. Visitors are welcome every day of the year from 8 am to 5 pm.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/20/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Favorite Fall Foliage Walks In and Around Boston, Walden Pond

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his best known work, Walden. Thoreau ventured to the woods with ax in tow in March 1845 to build his historic hut. Never would this modest writer imagine what an impact his philosophical musings would have on the world 160 years later. For two years, two months, and two days, Thoreau lived alone in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in his rustic abode built near the shores of Walden Pond in Concord.  While a replica of the hut only exists now, the woods make for a wonderful ramble, especially in mid-October with the maples aflame. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/19/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Favorite Fall Foliage Walks in Boston, Strolling Arnold Arboretum

It could actually hit 80 degrees today in Boston. If my bike ride to Concord this past Saturday is any indication, we’re starting to see the first phases of fall foliage in the region. So take advantage of the wonderful weather and the fall colors this week to visit some of my favorite walking spots around Boston. With its maze of one-way streets, rotaries, and few parking options, Boston can be hell on wheels. It is, however, one of the best walking cities in the country. This is especially true when you consider all the green spaces we have around town or in the near suburbs. So ditch the car and take a quiet stroll at the locales I’m going to discuss this week. 

It’s easy to forget you’re still in Boston when walking under century-old elms, maples, and beeches at Arnold Arboretum. Located in Jamaica Plain, the 265-acre plot was donated to Harvard University in 1872. The immense botanical garden is known for its exotic array of flora including Australian trees, Japanese Gardens, and every type of rose imaginable. To learn more about the flora, consider taking a guided tour during the weekend throughout October. The grounds are open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year and admission is free.  

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/18/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 17, 2016

A Perfect Fall Foliage Ride with DuVine Cycling

Saturday morning was a bit nippy when we met Andy Levine, founder of DuVine Cycling, along with the marketing department of Deena Giancotti and Gwen Kidera at the clock tower in Wellesley Hills. A table was laden with fresh croissants and coffee from a South End bakery, along with printouts of the 30-mile route Andy had designed for a dozen members of ActiveTravels. We soon warmed up on the hills out of Wellesley into Weston under sunny skies. Andy was zipping back and forth between the faster riders in the front and slower riders to make sure we didn’t get lost. Soon he was called into action when one member of the group had a flat. The foliage was abundant as we cruised by DeCordova Museum in Lincoln and turned left on Baker Bridge Road past the minimalist Gropius House. At the edge of a vast field, tall maples were ablaze in crimson and orange colors. We turned right past Walden Pond and stopped for a snack at the Old Manse in Concord, best known as the house where Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the book, “Nature.” We were treated to the history of the house, where Hawthorne also lived, by a docent who worked there as we dined on another spread complements of DuVine that consisted of shrimp, an assortment of local cheeses, freshly made blueberry pie and other goodies. Then we made the return trip back, invigorated by the route, scenery, and conversation. 
Lisa and I want to thank Andy, Deena, and Gwen for throwing this together for our clientele, a small taste of what DuVine does on their trips to Tuscany, Bordeaux, Napa, and many other locales. Celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2016, they continue to be one of the best in the business. Just ask the father and son we sent to the French Alps this summer who did stages of the Tour de France before watching the best bikers in the world cycle the exact same route. An exhilarating vacation they won't soon forget. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/17/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 07, 2016

Favorite Fall Outings in New England, A Stop at B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Mystic, Connecticut

Off the beaten track, Somewhere in Time might feel like somewhere in the middle of nowhere. But once you arrive and see the slew of people lined up for breakfast, you realize this is a local institution. Grab a mug of coffee and get ready to dig into the large selection of omelets, pancakes, and French toast. Then head nearby to B.F. Clyde’s. Open in 1881, B. F. Clyde’s is home to the oldest steam powered cider mill in America and what a contraption it is. Walk around the machinery, amazed that it still runs. Then hit the store to try the sweet cider, pumpkin bread, apple pies, and maple syrup. A perfect fall outing. 

I'm off to Chicago next week, back Monday, October 17th. Enjoy Columbus Day Weekend and keep active! 



Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/07/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Favorite Fall Outings in New England, Walking the Cliff Walk, Newport

Rhode Island’s most popular trail is perched on the rocky shores above the Atlantic, ocean on one side, the backyards of the massive Bellevue Avenue mansions on the other. In the summer months, this 3 ½-mile route is crowded with hundreds of folks yearning to see the sloping lawns and backside of those summer “cottages” the Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and Astors built at the turn of the century. Come fall, you’ll pass the occasional dog walker as you take in the expanse of the sea all by your lonesome. Park your car on Narragansett Avenue near the walk and proceed to the right. You’ll soon spot The Breakers, the Italian-style villa commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1895.  Another highlight is the red and gold lacquered Chinese-style pagoda at the Marble House. If you were smart, you booked a room at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, the only property on the Cliff Walk. The 20-room inn is best known for its acclaimed restaurant, Spiced Pear, a favorite foodie outpost in town. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/06/16 at 06:00 AM
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about us
photo of Steve Jermanok
Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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