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Thursday, May 09, 2019

Bermuda Beckons

Soft and cushiony, with a shade of pink to enhance the dramatic effect, the sand on the beaches of Bermuda is better than advertised. Hemmed in by jagged rock formations and backed by cliffs, the finest beaches are a mix of horseshoe-shaped coves filled with tanning bodies and small jewel-like pockets of sand with just enough space to contain a couple or two. This sublime stretch of coastline serves as the ideal welcome mat for the weary waves that have rolled some 600 miles from the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the closest landmass to the west. May and early June are the ideal months to visit this 23-mile speck of land in the Atlantic. The surge of travelers, many venturing here aboard cruises in the height of summer, have yet to arrive, so you can see the island in its natural relaxed state. Stay at the newly revamped rooms and suites at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and they’ll escort you by jitney to their private beach. Or try the resort that’s been receiving rave reviews since its debut the summer of 2017, The Loren. Flights are direct and only 2 hours from New York, Boston, and DC. If you need suggestions on what to do while you’re there, please see my Boston Globe story. ActiveTravels is here to help check lodging availability and pricing. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/09/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Deal of the Week: Cruising French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin Cruises

French Polynesia will always hold a special place in my heart. It was here and other South Pacific locales like Fiji and the Cook Islands that I received my start in travel writing, penning stories for Rodale’s Scuba Diving and resort reviews for Bride’s Magazine. In 1994, Lisa and I went on a freighter cruise to the Marquesas Islands that still to this day is one of the highlights of my career in travel. But you don’t have to deliver food to the locals to savor French Polynesia. Go in style aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin, a luxury cruise ship that has been plying these waters for 20 years. Now through May 18, The Gauguin is offering a savings up to $3,650 per person on select voyages, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco. It’s only a 7-hour flight from LA to Tahiti, a mere two hours past Hawaii. Then you arrive in dreamy French Polynesia, where the emerald green mountains rise from the aquamarine waters. I’ve been all over Hawaii and the South Pacific and these are my favorite islands in the world, half of them deserted motus, specks of land surrounded by pristine white sand that are ideal for snorkeling and then walking the lonesome beach. Summer is the ideal time to visit French Polynesia, without the threat of cyclone. So if you’re considering a river cruise in Europe this year, maybe you want to head to the South Pacific instead. For the same price, you can follow in Paul Gauguin’s footsteps. Let ActiveTravels know and we’ll check pricing and availability. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Another Exciting Summer in Montreal

Visit Montreal in June and you’ll see the Botanical Garden in full bloom. It’s also the time of year when its laundry list of summer events and festivals begin, starting with the Montreal Grand Prix on June 9th. The Montreal International Jazz Festival comes to town late June 27-July 6, followed by Just for Laughs Comedy Festival July 10-28, the premiere comedy event in North America. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and other top tennis pros are on hand for the Rogers Cup August 2-11. Stay at the brand new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal, slated to make its debut on June 1st. The hotel will feature 169 rooms and suites, acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s first restaurant in Canada, Marcus, a 24-hour fitness center, sky-lit indoor swimming pool, and spa. Please let ActiveTravels know you’re headed to Montreal and we’ll check hotel availability and design our patented Dream Day Itinerary to other regions of Quebec, which we know very well. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/07/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, May 06, 2019

New in New York

I had lunch with Alyssa Schmid and Rachel Peace from NYC and Company last Thursday, and, not surprisingly, there’s a lot happening in New York City this summer. WorldPride will make its debut in the City June 26-30 to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Numerous cultural organizations have arranged exhibitions highlighting the Year of Pride, like the Mapplethorpe show now at the Guggenheim. I’ve already discussed the debut of The Vessel and The Shed at Hudson Yards on this page. The first-ever Equinox Hotel (to open in July) and the tallest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, the Edge (2020), will soon be joining them. MoMA will close in late June and reopen October 21st after its latest expansion. The TWA Hotel, residing in the former TWA Hotel Center from the 1960s, debuts on May 15th, bringing glamour back to JFK Airport. Ian Schrager’s Times Square EDITION just opened above Times Square to rave reviews. Aman and Six Senses properties will soon be unveiled. They’ll need all these hotel rooms for the record number of visitors arriving each year, a whopping 65 million visitors in 2018. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/06/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 03, 2019

Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay

This is supposedly spring in New England, though I can’t really tell from the weather outside. It’s been gray, chilly, and rainy all week. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking of a story I wrote for Yankee Magazine for their April 2015 issue titled “Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.” The temperate zone along the shores of Narragansett Bay is where spring arrives first in New England. Visit the Blithewold estate in Bristol over the next several weeks and you can’t help but be awed by the colorful spring bloom. Another stop at the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth led me to dinosaurs, unicorns, reindeer, and other animals sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood at the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States. May 11th is their annual plant sale, when a frenzy of local gardeners will be throwing Asiatic lilies, tomato plants, geraniums, and herbs like oregano into cardboard crates. May 11th is also sheep shearing day at Watson Farm in Jamestown. The sheep will be bleating, a group of spinners will work their magic transforming fleece into yarn, kids will be laughing as they try the tree swing, and a band will no doubt be playing foot-stomping bluegrass tunes. Doesn’t get more idyllic than that! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/03/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Raft the Chilko River with ROAM

It was 1997 when I first met Brian McCutcheon, owner of Rivers, Oceans, and Mountains (ROAM). I had been hired by Men’s Journal magazine to write about the first descent of the Klinaklini River in British Columbia. It was a spectacular journey down a rip-roaring river dwarfed by snowcapped peaks and glaciers. I was accompanying Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops, who came to the Northwest with his entourage to hook salmon on the fly. The fish weren’t biting but the scenery and excitement of riding the Klinaklini more than made up for the lack of salmon. McCutcheon now offers multisport trips around the globe, including a fantastic itinerary to Bhutan later this year. But it’s his native BC that he knows best. For starters, try one of the most exciting whitewater rafting runs in North America, a weeklong jaunt down the Chilko River in southwestern BC. Take an hour seaplane flight from Vancouver to 4,000-foot high Chilko Lake where he unveiled a $10 million lodge.  Then let the rollercoaster ride begin. You’ll cruise 130 miles, dropping 3,000 feet through a tumultuous blur of lava gorges and narrow chutes. Looming overhead are sloping carpets of forest and jagged peaks. And, on those rare moments when you slow down, you might find yourself staring at an eagle or grizzly. BC also stands for serious Bear Country, home to 12,000-plus grizzlies.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/02/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Think Big! A Tiny House Resort Offers New Activities This Summer in the Catskills

Last summer, Bob Malkin, owner of the SoHo retail store, Think Big!, unveiled a resort in South Cairo, New York, that features 9 Tiny Houses. Inspired by the Prairie-style cottages found at Canoe Bay in northwestern Wisconsin, each Tiny House offers a panorama of windows, queen size bed, full-size appliances and luxury bathrooms, as well as a private patio complete with outdoor dining table and seating, Weber grill and fire pit. Think Big! A Tiny House Resort is situated on 28 acres with over half a mile of water frontage and perched on a cliff overlooking the Catskill Creek, a year-round wonder of waterfalls and pristine swimming holes. Saturday morning yoga and kayaking are offered as well as the services of a personal chef who can prepare meals for guests using produce from the resort garden. New this year is a Wellness Tent, featuring massage services and a private cedar soaking tub; an Arts and Crafts Studio in an Airstream travel trailer, where kids and adults can work with an instructor to create one-of-a-kind vacation souvenirs; and an inground pool, heated to 92 degrees. The resort is also dog-friendly and features a dog park. Think Tiny! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/01/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ritz Carlton Yachts to Debut February 2020

If you like the comfort and service of staying at one of the Ritz-Carlton properties around the world, you’ll want to know that the company is unveiling the first of three Ritz Carlton yachts next February in the Caribbean. Each yacht will feature 149 suites, each with its own private terrace, and all cruises will include shore excursions, food and wine. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection shore excursions will have five distinct categories: Iconic Sights; Stirring the Senses; Cultural Connections; Active Explorations; and Epicurean Experiences. Itineraries will head to Barbados, Bequia, and Curacao in the winter months. Then on the finest Mediterranean ports come spring and summer, including Majorca, Monte Carlo, Venice, and the Greek Islands. Please contact ActiveTravels for availability, pricing, and shipboard credit for spa treatments we receive through Virtuoso

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/30/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, April 29, 2019

The Only Way to See a Red Sox Game

Located in the heart of Kenmore Square, within easy walking distance of Fenway Park, it’s no surprise that Hotel Commonwealth is the official hotel of the Boston Red Sox. This summer, the property is celebrating last year’s World Series win with a celebratory Championship Package. Starting at $599 a night, you’ll receive an overnight stay in the Fenway Park Suite overlooking the iconic ballpark, two grandstand tickets to see the Red Sox at Fenway Park, a personalized scoreboard message shown on the Fenway Park scoreboard, $50 Red Sox team store gift card for official gear, replica 2018 World Series ring, Duck Boat ride for 2 people, customized Boston Red Sox ski goggles by Optic Nerve, a bottle of champagne, and cupcakes. Please contact ActiveTravels to check availability. 

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/29/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 26, 2019

St. Lucia’s BodyHoliday Offers Three Yoga Retreats

St. Lucia wellness resort BodyHoliday, one of my favorite properties in the Caribbean, has unveiled the year’s lineup of Yoga Retreats. The weeklong programs, all led by the property’s wellness advisor Hollie Bailey, will include a range of yoga and meditation workshops, as well as spa treatments, and a hands-on cooking class. Participants will meet with Bailey at the beginning of their stay, or talk with a BodyHoliday specialist beforehand if they want to maximize their time at the resort, to plan the retreat and tailor it to the them. During the week, guests can attend a yoga workshop or nutrition talk every day, with classes covering areas like hatha yoga, anapana meditation, vinyasa and more. Outside of these central classes, the Yoga Retreats provide sunrise and sunset yoga sessions and a daily spa treatment (yes, one massage a day). After the program ends, the resort will also provide post-retreat support. Dates for the Yoga Retreats are October 5-12, October 12-19, and December 14-21. The all-inclusive cost is $4,830 per person. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/19 at 06:00 AM
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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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