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Monday, May 03, 2010

Pedal and Paddle Package in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont

The Kingdom Trails, which I’ve often praised as my favorite mountain biking spot in the Northeast, just reopened this past weekend. This has prompted the owners of the Wildflower Inn (another one of my top New England picks), which borders the Kingdom Trails, to offer a Pedal and Paddle Package. For as low as $375 for two people, you receive two nights lodging, full country breakfast each morning, picnic lunch, trail pass for the Kingdom Trails, a $25 voucher good for their restaurant, Juniper’s, and a half-day canoe rental on the Clyde River, part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Deep tissue massages, perfect after a day of riding hard, are just down the road at Stepping Stone Spa.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/03/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail

In the May issue of Sierra Magazine, I wrote about paddling the West Branch of the Penobscot River in northern Maine. More paddlers are soon to follow, now that the West Branch of the Penobscot is part of a 740-mile water corridor called the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Launched in June 2006 by the former owners of Mad River Canoe Company, Rob Center and his wife, Kay Henry, the route starts in Old Forge, New York, linking together more than 75 lakes and rivers before reaching its northern terminus in Fort Kent, Maine. Unlike the Appalachian Trail, Center does not believe the non-profit will attract a significant number of thru-paddlers. So far, the list of canoers who’ve traversed the entire circuit in one trip numbers around thirty.  He hopes to entice paddlers to try each section of the route in chunks, going back year after year and thus support the struggling economies of small communities along the waterway. The non-profit also designs exquisite maps for each segment of the trail that not only pinpoint campsites and portages in the area, but delve into the ecology and history of the region. To become a member and learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, visit their website.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/30/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life Gives You Lemons, Make Pastrami

We were all packed to go on our kid’s first jaunt to Europe last week when our flight was cancelled because of the volcanic ash. There would be no touring of the Tate Modern or dinners at French bistros, at least for now. Obviously, we were all disappointed when we realized there was no way we could get a flight to Europe over our children’s April break.  So we did the next best thing. Got in the car and drove to Manhattan for four days. Instead of Madame Tussauds in London, we visited Madame Tussauds in Times Square. Instead of dining at L’Entrecote in the 17th arrondissement, we dined at the new L’Entrecote at the corner of Lexington and 52nd Street. There is only one item on the menu, steak frites, served tartare, rare, medium, or well-done, and paired perfectly with crispy French fries.

Our favorite day was going down to the Lower East Side to take one of the tours at the Tenement Museum, grab a sour dill from the Pickle Guy at the corner of Essex and Grant, a crème brulee doughnut from Doughnut Plant around the corner, taste the lox at the century-old Russ and Daughters, and then feast on the best pastrami in the city at Katz’s Deli. After lunch, we ran into the artist Shepard Fairey, creating his latest work on the corner of Houston and the Bowery. An added bonus was seeing Green Day perform live after seeing a performance of “American Idiot,” the new Broadway musical based on their music. In the end, we had a great time and London and Paris will have to wait until the summer. After all, the nature of travel is to be spontaneous. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/29/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time to Play in the Warmth

As we reach May, it's time to get out of ski mode and talk about road and mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, sea kakaking, white-water rafting, rock climbing, beaches, swimming holes, road trips, you name it. Email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you have specific questions on an activity or region. In the upcoming months, we're also going to reconfigure the Go Play section of the blog, changing it from a Q&A type of format to a reference using my 20 years of content. Click on a certain section and you'll get a wealth of information from all my articles and books on the best outdoor recreation in that area. Thanks again for checking in!

Steve Jermanok


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/28/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Veteran Travel Writer Everett Potter Leads UK Walking Tour

What do you get when you combine one of the most majestic locales in the UK with a gifted travel writer known for his insatiable curiosity and an outfitter keen on guiding visitors away from the typical tourist fare? A truly memorable trip! Everett Potter has teamed with Wayfarers to lead an 8-day hike through the English countryside in Devon County. You’ll explore the farms and historic hamlets of Dartmoor and Exmoor, the backdrop for Sherlock Holmes’s adventures in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” grab a boat up the River Dart to Greenway, Agatha Christie’s summer home, and visit Castle Drogo, said to be the last castle built in the country. You’ll also walk some 12 to 14 miles a day, stay at country inns, and grab lunch at pubs that have been serving bitter since the times of Shakespeare. Dates are September 26-October 3 and the price is $3795 per person, including all accommodations, meals, and transport in the UK.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/27/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, April 26, 2010

You’re Never Too Old to Row Across the Atlantic

Earlier this year, I wrote about Leo Rosette, 59, of Marshfield, Massachusetts. Forced to retire from the US Marshals Service after 20 years, Rosette wanted to prove to himself that he wasn’t too old to try new things. Like rowing across the Atlantic Ocean! After 101 days living in a 5-by-3 foot boat, Rosette made it to Guadeloupe this week, becoming the oldest American to ever row across the Atlantic. He faced heavy storms, surging waves, blustery winds, and the hot sun, losing 30 pounds in the process. Yet, he was happy to reach terra firma, joking with reporters: “I don’t think I can row any farther.”
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/10 at 12:59 PM
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Top 5 Wildlife Viewing Experiences, Phillip Island, Australia

There’s nothing quite as magical as watching over 1,000 wild and cute Little Penguins emerge from the water after a day of feeding as the sun sets over Phillip Island, just south of Melbourne. The children wait not-so-patiently on the shores, squawking their heads off and wanting to eat. Then, right around dusk, the mom and dad penguins can start to be seen atop the waves and soon are waddling on the shore. How they find their young in this nightly chaos is miraculous. But they do and they regurgitate their food into the mouths of the hungry children for a nightly meal to remember.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/23/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 5 Wildlife Viewing Experiences, Taveuni, Fiji

I first dove off Taveuni, Fiji, on the way to the Great Barrier Reef after recently being certified in the Cook Islands. It would end up being far more memorable than any of my dives on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s not just the multi-colored coral they dub the Rainbow Reef or the myriad of neon-colored fish that provide divers with a kaleidoscopic view of the sea. No, it’s the big boys like white-tip sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays that make you feel like Jacques Cousteau. No wonder Jacques’ son, Jean-Michel, has his own resort in nearby Savusavu. He’s no fool.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/22/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Top 5 Wildlife Viewing Experiences, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

We’re blessed with 57 National Parks in America. Some, like Yellowstone, attract more than 3 million visitors annually. Others like Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota are far less crowded, leaving the canyons of the Badlands to the wildlife and the lucky few who wander in. The North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt receives only 50,000 to 60,000 visits a year. Heading south from Watford City, I enter the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and soon I’m the only car driving along the Little Missouri River on the 14-mile scenic drive. Within moment I spot a herd of at least 20 bison and pull over. In Yellowstone, this sight would attract a caravan of cars, undoubtedly stopping short so drivers can get that National Geographic shot. Here, I get out my car, linger, laugh, all by my lonesome. And, yes, feel guilty about divulging this underused National Park. See the story I wrote on the park for The Boston Globe.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/21/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top 5 Wildlife Viewing Experiences, Sitka, Alaska

Unlike Juneau and Ketchikan, where cruise ship passengers are quickly immersed in streets filled with jewelry, T-shirts, and other souvenir shops, Sitka has more of an authentic feel. Stroll through the totem poles found at Sitka National Historic Park to the Alaska Raptor Center. Every year, 100 to 200 birds of prey, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, red-tail hawks and owls are brought to this large aviary hospital to rehabilitate. After your fill of town, splurge for the 3-hour Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest.  Not only will you view exquisite scenery like volcanic Mt. Edgecomb and the snowcapped peaks that rise dramatically from the shores of Redoubt Bay, but the abundance of marine life is astounding. Within moments of leaving the docks at Sitka, humpbacks raise their tales, followed by harbor seals, bald eagles standing in the tall spruces, a colony of more than 50 sea otters lounging in the kelp, puffins with their orange beaks, and sea lions.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/10 at 01:00 PM
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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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