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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Surf Santa Cruz, California

Named after founder Ed Guzman, Club Ed has been teaching the fine art of surfing for more than 20 years from their home base in Santa Cruz, California. Kids over 9 can take courses with their parents, alone, or parents can try it with people their own age. Hey, we’re talking California surfing, dude. Everything’s cool! Out of the water, instructors will discuss how to read waves, tidal conditions, and how to take good care of your board. In the ocean, guides will ride directly alongside novices, even giving you a little push, if necessary, to catch the wave.  It’s not unusual for a guide to grab the back of your wetsuit and haul you up so that you get the feel of riding a wave. Throughout the session, guides will be shouting instructions like “this is a good wave, you can catch it,” or “paddle right.” Then it’s back to the beach for a critique of how you did that day. Cost is $1090 for the five-day program.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/15/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Scull Hosmer Pond, Vermont

Sandwiched between the hills of Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom, Hosmer Pond is the idyllic setting for the Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s sculling school. Now in its 35th year, Craftsbury is the first rowing camp in America. If you ever wanted to learn the sport of sculling or already scull and want to perfect your stroke, Craftsbury is arguably the best place in the States to do just that. The 5-day course goes over all aspects of rowing, and depending on expertise, splits groups up on the lake with instructors. Balancing the boat is always the hardest part for beginners, many of whom will spend the better part of the first day swimming. Oar handles have to be together at all times or the boat quickly tips to the left or right. Legs are thrust up against a board to scoot back as you propel the oars forward. Indeed, many of the coaches have immense quad muscles proving that legs are more important than arms in the stroke. 5-day programs including room, board, and training start at $1037.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/14/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Windsurf Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Lining the North Carolina coast, the Outer Banks are barriers of sand 150 miles long and never more than a few miles wide. These islands serve as welcome mats to the Atlantic and her many changing moods. Hurricanes, northeasters, and low pressure disturbances along the jet stream are quite common here. This might create havoc for the fisherman or sailor, but unleashes a steady stream of wind for the windsurfer. Most of the sailing is on a 50-mile stretch of the Pamlico Sound off of Hatteras Island. Shallow water, sandy bottoms, and prevailing winds are cherished by both novices and experts alike. If you want to be with the crowds, catch the waves at Canadian Hole. Otherwise, choose from hundreds of more secluded launch sites along the coast. Wind-NC in Avon rents boards and offers lessons.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/13/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Wet, Wild & Wallet-Friendly: Sea Kayak the San Juan Islands

Whether you crave the salt of the ocean, a rapid river through canyon walls, or a lake to get lost on, there’s more than enough activity to be had on America’s greatest bodies of water. This summer, you can sea kayak in the San Juan Islands, surf the Pacific, even learn to scull on a hidden lake in Vermont. And, of course, like most outdoor adventures, you can do it on a budget. This week, I describe five of the best ways to get wet throughout the country. So stop sweating and go jump in a lake. 

There’s no better way to explore the myriad of San Juan Islands and its abundant marine life than from the comfortable confines of a sea kayak. During the summer months, the San Juans are home to pods of Orca (killer) whales in search of Pacific salmon.  Who needs to see Shamu at Sea World when you can kayak beside him? At any given time, you might also be accompanied by minke whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, harbour seals, and sea lions. Birding is also exemplary with more than 300 species of birds found in the region, including bald eagles, great blue herons, and loons.  Paddle on a 3 or 4-day jaunt with Tim Thomsen, owner of San Juan Kayak Expeditions, who’s been leading tours since 1980. Thomsen knows every nook and cranny of this region. The price starts at $520, including guide, kayaks, meals, tents, and other camping equipment.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/12/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, July 02, 2010

ActiveTravels Turns One!

I started writing this blog a little over a year ago, with readership and interest steadily growing. I know you have lots of options to read travel content on the web, so I want to personally pat you on the back and say thank you! My goal the next several months is to expand ActiveTravels to include much more of my travel content in the Go Play section, to be used as a reference. But that will have to wait until early August. I’m on assignment the next 22 of 31 days, traveling to Cape Cod, Maine, New Brunswick, Paris, and the UK. I’m gone so much that I’ve decided to give myself time off next week. So enjoy the 4th of July holiday and come back the week of July 12th when I’ll be divulging my Top 5 Wallet-Friendly Ways to Get Wet and Wild.

Best,

Steve
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/02/10 at 01:00 PM
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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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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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