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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Stop and Pick the Strawberries

Ever since my wife and I moved to Boston over a decade ago, we made the wise decision to join Lindentree Farm, a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm located in nearby Lincoln. Every week in the summer and fall, we pick up our small share of organic vegetables, fruits, and flowers grown on the farm. We pay a small fee and also have to work some 8 hours each year harvesting or planting for the following summer. Wow, can you taste the difference eating just picked veggies and fruit! But the best part is spending extra time at the farm picking the goodies straight off the bush. Yesterday, we picked strawberries, blueberries, and sugar snap peas, and feasted last night. This is my idea of heaven.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/01/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kids Fly Free to Fiji

If you ever wanted to snorkel or scuba with the kids on Fiji’s legendary rainbow colored reef, or feel like venturing on a sea kayaking jaunt through the islands, now would be a good time. Air Pacific has just announced a “Kids Fly Free” program for travel from September 1, 2010 to February 28, 2011, with blackout dates over Christmas. One child flies free for each adult. I’ve been working as a travel writer for more than two decades and I have to say that Fiji is definitely in my Top 5 list of countries. The terrain is spectacular, but it’s the incredibly friendly and genuine people who really make the place. I’ve written about the islands extensively. Try these for starters.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/30/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

See the Stars at Natural Bridges National Monument

Last Sunday, I wrote in The Boston Globe about my favorite place to spend the longest day of the year in America, Natural Bridges National Monument in southeast Utah. People who venture here can’t wait for the sun to finally set. Designated the world’s first International Dark Sky Park, the night skies above the park are considered the darkest in the country due to lack of light pollution. Under the guidance of an astronomy ranger, you’ll see a gazillion stars light up the Milky Way and find constellations you never knew existed. The bright night sky shines an ethereal light on the canyon walls and rock bridges to create a magical lunar-like landscape. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/29/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, June 28, 2010

A Toast to Your Adventure on Idaho’s Salmon River

Several weeks ago, I wrote about renowned Boston chef Jody Adams leading a bike trip through northern Italy. Inn-to-inn biking trips lend themselves well to good food and wine. Yet, that doesn’t mean other active travelers can’t imbibe. O.A.R.S., one of the most reputable whitewater rafting outfitters in the country is teaming with Stephen Kautz, president of Ironstone Vineyards in the Sierra foothills, to present award winning wines while rafting down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Spend the day on an exhilarating blur through Class III and IV rapids, then camp on the shores of this Wild & Scenic River and get ready for a nightly wine tasting paired with gourmet fare. The six-day “Wine on the River” jaunt starts August 27th.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/28/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Top 5 Beaches in New England to Be Active: Multisport East Beach, Rhode Island

For the hardcore jock, we’ve created your own personal triathlon. Start at the western end of East Beach, one of the wildest stretches of sand in Little Rhody. You’ll be swimming for 3.5 miles to the Charlestown Breachway. Don’t worry. This is not Cape Cod or Maine ocean water. Touched by the Gulf Stream, temps here can reach a downright balmy 70 degrees. At the Breachway, your canoe will be waiting to take you across the state’s largest coastal pond, Ninigret, to the shores of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. Keep on paddling and don’t even think of reaching for those binocs to view the more than 250 recorded species of birds. The Refuge has more than three miles of trails to walk on, but we expect you to sprint.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/25/10 at 12:59 PM
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Top 5 Beaches in New England to Be Active: Mountain Bike Bluff Point Beach, Connecticut

Feel like mountain biking to the beach? At the 778-acre Bluff Point State Park in Groton, a dirt road lines Poquonock River as you head straight to Bluff Point Beach. If you want to ride by your lonesome, numerous singletracks spread out in every direction from the main trail like spokes on a wheel. Choose one and ramble along the shores or inland to the John Winthrop house, dating from the early 1700s. Take a breather on the rocky bluffs where you can see directly across the Long Island Sound to New York’s Fishers Island and left to Rhode Island’s Watch Hill.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/24/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top 5 Beaches in New England to Be Active: Windsurf Kalmus Beach, Hyannis, Massachusetts

All a windsurfer needs is a prevailing wind and steady diet of waves to catch some air. On Nantucket Sound, wind speeds exceeding 20 knots are the norm, not the exception, and the shallow water help windsurfers mount waves quickly. Kalmus Beach, south of Hyannis, is the boardsailing mecca, be it spring summer, or fall. If the crowds get to you, try nearby West Dennis Beach or Forest Beach, at the end of Forest Beach Road in Chatham.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/23/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top 5 Beaches in New England to Be Active: Bike to Briggs Beach, Little Compton, Rhode Island

South of Route 195 and the gritty mill towns of Fall River and New Bedford lies countryside so fertile you’ll feel like you’re in Vermont. Stretching from Dartmouth, Massachusetts, to Little Compton, Rhode Island, the area is known as the Heritage Farm Coast. It has the sunniest and most temperate climate in New England and thus the longest growing season. Dairy farms, corn fields, even vineyards, border the Sakonnet River as it washes into the Atlantic. Add the crescent of sand at Briggs Beach and you have the perfect country and coast ride. For a good 20-mile loop, take Route 77 south from Tiverton Four Corners to Sakonnet Point and return on backcountry roads past the village green of Little Compton.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/22/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, June 21, 2010

Top 5 Beaches in New England to Be Active: Sea Kayak Mile Beach, Georgetown, Maine

There are two types of New England beach lover. The first heads to his favorite stretch of sand, squeezes his towel in between the masses, layers on the lotion, and kisses away the day. The second thinks of the beach as a welcome mat to that great expanse of ocean that lies ahead—a starting point to a slew of activities like sea kayaking, surfing, or sailing.  Even if you prefer to stay on terra firma, there are New England beaches that cater to the mountain biker or walker. This week, I’m delving into my favorite beaches in New England to be active.  First up is Mile Beach in Georgetown, Maine.

Shrouded in an early morning mist, the fog recedes and you’re treated to a view of Maine’s coastline few have seen since Winslow Homer captured it on his canvases over a century ago. This is why one heads to Georgetown’s Reid State Park to sea kayak along the shores of Sheepscot Bay. The sand at Mile Beach soon gives way to the boulder strewn coastline where the Northern Atlantic pounds the rocks, spewing foam high into the air. Juniper pines, dwarfed by forceful gales, refuse to budge from the land above.  You’ll no doubt be joined by seals that pop their heads out of the water like periscopes to look around.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/21/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Ridiculous Assignment from an Editor

Yesterday, I received a call from an editor of an auto magazine in Detroit, wanting me to rent a Chevy Malibu in Boston and drive to Washington, DC. A photographer will be joining me to take shots. She wants me to describe the drive. Okay, not exactly the most scenic stretch of highway in America, especially when you’re passing the chemical plants in northern New Jersey. I’ve been a travel writer for 20 years, so I’ve had my fair share of absurd assignments. The worst was a request from Men’s Journal to backpack along a stretch of the Mojave Desert with a guy who was designing a long-distance Desert Trail though the Western states. I had to backpack in with over 30 pounds of water and my own blend of dehydrated food. The heat was brutal and the only signs of civilization I saw were deflated balloons hanging from the cacti. You want to know where your kid's helium balloons go when they lose them? This forgotten hellhole. By the third day, my feet were covered with blisters, my supply of water was sucked dry, and the tape in my trusty microcassette recorder had melted. The editor ended up cutting my 1500-word story to 500 words due to space limitations. But I did better than the photographer I was traveling with, who had to schlep in his heavy camera equipment on top of the water. They didn’t accept any of his work. Must have been that glaring sun.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/18/10 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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