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Friday, August 18, 2017

Switzerland, Caribbean Resort Openings, and the Adirondacks in August ActiveTravels Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter, we discuss our family trip to Switzerland in July, list a round-up of new and intriguing Caribbean resorts set to open this winter, introduce you to a fantastic way to create lasting souvenirs on your next trip with Flytographer, and happily write about one of our favorite places on the planet, the Adirondacks. We’re actually headed to Lake George next week after first visiting Ithaca and the Berkshires. I’ll be back on August 28th with new content. Thanks as always for checking in and keep active! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/18/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Five Teen-Worthy Adventures

Once the kids hit their teen years, it’s almost impossible to convince them to go on another family trip that doesn’t include a posse of their friends. To make your offer as appealing as possible, you have to up the ante with a tantalizing mix of adventure and food. The finest family adventure trips escort you into a world of active travel you would probably never attempt on your own. Go beyond your comfort zone and try something new together as a family and the memories will last a lifetime. The five destinations in my latest story for Men’s Journal all feature a bevy of outdoor activity in awe-inspiring settings, including our trip to Switzerland in July. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/17/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On the Road to Tobermory

While ActiveTravels members are cavorting all over the world this month (locations include Colombia, Yellowstone, Alaska, California, Oregon, Colorado, Chicago, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Austria, Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, the Canadian Rockies, Quebec, and all over New England), I spent last week two hours north of Toronto, in and around Georgian Bay. It’s not a well-known tourist destination unless you are from the Toronto area. But we were rewarded with many treats including a spectacularly beautiful day in Tobermory, at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, jutting into Georgian Bay (and, to the west, Lake Huron). 
 
The shores and waterways of Georgian Bay are the traditional domain of the Anishinaabeg. Due to high interest in a current Anishinaabeg exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum (where my husband Josh is Director), this journey was of particular interest. On a purely “personal enjoyment” level, Mermaid’s Cove, just a few miles away from Little Tub Harbour, was another highlight. Josh and I climbed on the rocky shore, swam in crystal clear fresh water, and enjoyed the view. Maybe next time, we’ll take one of the glass bottom boats to see the shipwrecks in Fathom Five National Marine Park for which Tobermory is famous (22 shipwrecks and several historic lighthouses), or ride the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry to Manitoulin Island. It was easy to see why Tobermory has become an inspirational destination for naturalists, photographers, divers, hikers, and kayakers.
 
Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/16/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Biking Along the Charles in Boston

At least one Sunday every summer, we park our car at the large parking lot near the Artesani Playground Wading Pool (1255 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton) and bike along the Charles River into Cambridge. Near Mount Auburn Hospital, Memorial Drive is closed to cars for a good mile or so on Sundays, before you hit the sidewalk and pedal along the water. The river is full of activity, with scullers and crew teams sharing the water with sailboats and motor boats making their way out to Boston Harbor. On the Cambridge side, we pass Harvard and MIT while peering across the Charles at the Prudential Center, Citgo sign, and the distinctive gold dome of the Old State House. At the Museum of Science, we head across the street to North Point Park, a new gem of a park that looks up at the Zakim Bridge. A bike trail zips up past a skateboard park just under the bridge and over to Charlestown. Look down and you can see the boats waiting for the waters of the locks to rise. A mandatory stop to see the USS Constitution before crossing the Charlestown Bridge into Boston and heading to the Boston Public Market for tasty chicken shawarma in a pita at Inna’s. Then we head along the Charles on the Boston side through the Esplanade all the way back to our car. Give yourself a good 4 hours if you want to stop for lunch and take photos. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/15/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Top 25 Bike Sharing Programs

I’ve been a big fan of Hubway, Boston’s bike-sharing program since it started in 2011. I also love the opportunity to jump on a bike in other cities, especially after taking a bike tour with a local. So I was pleased to see Biking Expert’s list of top 25 bike sharing programs, where Boston ranks 4th, the top city in America. Surprised to see Moscow so high at number three. Not surprised to see Montreal on the list since they implemented one of the first bike sharing programs in a city. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/14/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Don’t Overlook Bern When Traveling to Switzerland

We adored our three days in Bern so much that I’m going to write a much larger story on Switzerland’s capital city for Everett Potter’s Travel Report. You can easily spend 3 to 4 days in Bern. We went inside the famous Medieval Clock Tower to see how it works, spent a day on an electronic bike in neighboring Emmental Valley, visited the apartment Albert Einstein lived when proving his Theory of Relativity, and checked out the sinuous building Renzo Piano built to house the works of local talent Paul Klee. Our favorite activity, however, was swimming in the Aare River. Every afternoon, we would walk down the hillside from our wonderful hotel, the Bellevue Palace, to a park where hundreds of people lined the river catching rays. Then we would head down a paved path upriver with a long line of folks who dragged their tubes, rafts, and dry bags. Pick a spot to jump in the cool water and off you go with the strong current. The hardest part is finding a place on the shores to stop and pull yourself out. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/11/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Taking the Golden Pass from Montreux

After a necessary stop on the French side of Switzerland to dine on patisserie in Montreux at Confiserie Zurcher, visit that glorious castle on the waters of Lake Geneva, Chateau de Chillon, and peer out at the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc from the balcony of my hotel, Eurotel Montreux, we took one of the classic Switzerland train rides on the Golden Pass. Throughout our entire trip, the Swiss Rail system was a breeze to use. All trains were on time (of course, this is the home of Rolex), comfortable, and easy to use thanks to an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass that allows you to jump on and off the rail system at your leisure. Complimentary admission to museums and sights like the Chillon Castle was an added perk for getting the pass. Along with the Chocolate Train and the Glacier Express, the Golden Pass is one of the signature train rides in Switzerland. We boarded the classic train in Montreux in the morning and soon were riding far above the shores of Lake Geneva, making stops in small mountain villages as hikers and bikers wandered off into the hillside. We stopped in the glamorous skiing resort town of Gstaad, before switching trains in Zweisimmen and taking the far more modern train to Bern. Trying one of these historic trains is a must when visiting the country. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/10/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Grabbing Drinks in Zurich West at Frau Gerolds Garten

After dropping our bags off at our boutique hotel, Marktgasse, in Old Town, we went on a wonderful walking tour of Zurich’s historic core before grabbing lunch at Kaiser’s Reblaube, a wood-paneled restaurant locaed in a house that dates from 1260. Both hotel and restaurant, I would highly recommend. We checked out the vast chocolate selection at the resplendant Globus food court before getting on a train to visit the burgeoning Zurich West neighborhood, a favorite local hangout after work. Nestled under the train tracks behind the container tower that is the corporate headquarters of Freitag bags, we found Frau Gerolds Garten, an oasis in a former industrial park. Craft shops, a restaurant, large outdoor beer garden, even a surfing pool, are now situated outside the confines of old factory buildings. We ordered mojitos and grabbed a seat at the picnic table, taking in the ambience. Then wandered over to Freitag to walk up the tower of shipping containers and see their innovative bags made of truck tarps, inner tubes and seat belts. A fun outing with the locals. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/09/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Backroads Family Trip to Switzerland, Biking Along the Shoreline of Lake Brienz

As much as I savored being nestled in the Alps at Grindelwald, spending the last two nights at the classic Grandhotel Giessbach was the perfect way to end the trip. Close to Interlaken but far away from the crowds, we were nestled on the serene shores of this glacially carved lake hemmed in by the mountains. As if the scenery wasn’t exquisite enough, the balcony of our room overlooked a powerful waterfall that tumbled down the hillside. We would spend the day biking on a bike path that led to the town of Meringen, known for their meringue cookies (which, of course, we sampled at a bakery) and the town where Sherlock Holmes was staying when Professor Moriarty finally caught up with him at nearby Reichenbach Falls. We cooled off in the frigid waters of the lake at lunch before making our way around the southern shoreline passing small towns as we peered down at the cobalt waters or up one last time at those majestic peaks. We exchanged bikes for kayaks and played games on the lake like tag and water polo before returning to the hotel for one last caipirinha on the deck with the family and a farewell dinner with our new friends. Backroads did an excellent job from start to finish and this is one trip I will happily recommend to others

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/08/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 07, 2017

Backroads Family Trip to Switzerland, Hiking the Classic Eiger Trail

Day Four of our Backroads family trip to the Bernese Oberland was the most strenuous and arguably the most memorable day. We took a short train ride from Grindelwald to Alpiglen to start our long uphill climb, over 3,000 feet on the well-trodden Eiger Trail. As we made our ascent, we could see the town of Grindelwald in the valley below. Lofty Eiger Peak, standing 13,020 feet, was socked in with clouds, until we were practically beside her near the trailhead to mountaineering’s epic climb, the North Face. Then the clouds started to part and we were treated to magical views of Eiger and Jungfrau and the hanging glaciers that snaked down the hillside in between. For the next hour, we walked alongside these craggy snow-topped peaks before reaching the village of Kleine Scheidegg, home to the highest major train station in Switzerland and thus a tourism hub in the middle of the Alps. After lunch, we left the crowds behind as we made our way on relatively level ground to the Männlichen Gondola. The only obstacle was a herd of cows we met up with on the narrow path. One cow came straight toward me and I wisely ran into the grass above the trail to avoid being trampled. My legs weren’t working too well at that point but I’m happy to see my brain was. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/07/17 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.

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