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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bike Manhattan and Stay at The Jane

One of my favorite outings last spring was a ride around the perimeter of Manhattan with my 14-year old son and close friends. There’s no better way to see the city than to slow down and bike along the Hudson, East, and Harlem Rivers under historic bridges with the Statue of Liberty peering down at you in the distance. Most of the island is now lined with bike trails, far away from the honking of taxis. One of the best sections of the ride is amidst Hudson River Park, heading south to Battery Park. Across the street from Hudson River Park in the far West Village is The Jane, an affordable hotel where rooms start at a low $99 a night. This spring, the hotel will offer complimentary bikes to guests, so you can cruise Manhattan on two wheels. Or simply take a stroll on the nearby High Line, once an elevated railway, now a walking corridor nestled with trees and gardens that stands 30-feet above street level. Grab a sandwich at Chelsea Market and you have the perfect picnic spot for lunch.
 

I'm off to Miami to bike Shark Valley, sea kayak at Oleta River State Park, and sail a Hobie Cat in Biscayne Bay. I'll be back on Wednesday, May 4th. In the meantime, keep active!


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/27/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bike New England and New York with Great Freedom Adventures

I love an outfitter who sticks to one region of the world and does it well, especially when the owner lives in that region and knows it better than most. Before founding Great Freedom Adventures, Jeanne Rummel ran the Mountains to Sea bike tour across Massachusetts, a successful fundraiser for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Now the Mass native brings riders to her favorite haunts in Northeast, including the North Shore of Massachusetts, Block Island, Vermont, and the often overlooked Hudson Valley of New York. Rummel not only understands the salubrious benefits of a good day’s bike ride, both physically and mentally, but goes out of her way to show visitors a local cheese maker, a historic lighthouse, or the same incredible panorama painted by Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School painters in the mid-19th century. The daily itinerary includes a good dose of biking along with a chance to sea kayak, go on sunset sails, have lobster bakes, and take a necessary break at a local microbrewery. Not a bad way to push the eject button and de-stress!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/11 at 12:59 PM
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Boston to Launch Bike-Share Program

Good news out of Boston last week when Mayor Menino announced that the city will follow in the footsteps of Montreal and Denver and initiate a bike-sharing program this summer. Set to open in July, the Hubway will feature 600 bikes in 61 stations throughout the city. Pay a yearly or daily membership fee and the cost of rental for the ride (trips shorter than 30 minutes will be free) and off you go. Alta Bicycle Share, the company that designed the bike-sharing program in Washington, DC, and Melbourne, Australia, has been hired to oversee the Boston network. There are already plans to expand to neighboring Cambridge, Brookline, and Somerville in 2012.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/25/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Kiteboarding the Madeleine Islands

In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the dozen or so Madeleine Islands are unlike any other destination in Quebec—green hillsides, long stretches of beach, red cliffs, and the brightly painted houses of its inhabitants. Once there, you can explore the islands by horseback or bike, try deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, sea kayaking, or the latest craze, kiteboarding. Home of the Kiteboarding World Cup in 2006, the Madeleine’s strong, prevailing winds are ideally suited to a sport that uses a kite to propel you along the water. Give it a go at the first kiteboarding school in Canada, Aerosport, with more than 10 years of experience under their belt. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/22/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Biking in Calgary

With a mind-boggling 286 miles of bike trails, Calgary lays claim to the most extensive biking network on the continent. If you want to see the city sites, stick to the Bow River Corridor. This popular 12-mile (one-way) route passes the Calgary Zoo, Fort Calgary, built to stop Americans from trading whisky with Blackfoot, Chinatown, and Prince’s Island Park. The island is a popular venue for outdoor concerts and Shakespeare in the Park in the summer months. It’s also home to the top-tier River Café, featuring regional food for lunch and dinner like rainbow trout or an Alberta sirloin steak. Work off your meal on the Douglas Fir Hiking Trail in nearby Lawry Park. The shaded fir forest hides many vibrant wildlflowers in the summer months, like violet and dogwood.  Before you turn around at Edworthy Park, think about going on an exhilarating guided raft ride down the river. Bikers and joggers who want to get away from it all can visit Fish Creek Provincial Park in the southern part of Calgary, the only national park found in a metro area in Canada. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Backpacking the Fundy Footpath in New Brunswick

One of my favorite Canadian adventures was an assignment I had for Backpacker magazine and later, The Boston Globe, to backpack the Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park. Led by Bob Hicks, owner of Gros Morne Adventures, the 4-day trek took us to spine-tingling vistas of landlocked fjords and atop snowcapped peaks where the caribou and moose far outnumber other backpackers. An equally impressive backpacking excursion is along one of the last stretches of wilderness on the Atlantic Seaboard in New Brunswick. Overlooking the Bay of Fundy, the Fundy Footpath is a moderate to strenuous 24-mile trek that crosses a river, skirts the beach, and goes up and down a dozen or so ravines, rewarding backpackers with breathtaking views of the rugged shoreline. Camping at primitive sites, moose, caribou, and bald eagle are common sightings. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/19/11 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Chasing Icebergs in Newfoundland

Some of us chase after the morning train to get to work. The more indulgent will chase down that shot of bourbon with a pint of Guinness. And the truly intrepid? They follow Ed English as he chases icebergs. Come May, it’s not unusual for villages on the east coast of Newfoundland to wake up to a mountain of electric blue ice the size of a 15-story building.  The icebergs calve from the glaciers of western Greenland and begin a slow 1900-mile journey south with the Labrador Current on a route dubbed Iceberg Alley. English, co-owner of Explore Newfoundland, takes sea kayakers up to Quirpoon Island, the northernmost point of Newfoundland, to get as close as possible to the huge crystalline structures before they float away. An added bonus are the pods of humpback, minke, and occasional beluga whales who feed in Iceberg Alley as they make their way north. 
 



Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/18/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, April 15, 2011

ActiveTravels.com Named One of the Top 125 Travel Blogs in the World

I was happy to hear this week that ActiveTravels.com was named one of the top 125 travel blogs in the world by the premiere adventure outfitter, Austin-Lehman Adventures. Not only that, but Austin-Lehman is offering two lucky readers from one of the nominated travel blogs a chance to win a trip for two on one of their glamorous getaways. Simply give them your name, email address, and mention ActiveTravels.com as your travel blog of choice. Thanks again for sticking with me these past several years! My brother just purchased a new HD video camera that’s perfect for video blogging, so I plan to talk to you directly in the upcoming months. I also promise to update my Facebook fan page and add more content to Go Play!, your one-stop resource to the great outdoors. Have a great weekend and do something active! I’ll be back next week with Canadian adventures.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/15/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where to Stay in New England

If you’re planning to spend a weekend in New England this summer or fall, check out the New England Inns and Resorts Association (NEIRA) website. The group is comprised of 250 inns and hotels in the region. They recently came out with a bucket list, where the price of a room includes a nearby activity. For example at Inn by the Sea, one of my favorite hotels in Maine, you can haul in lobster with a working Maine fisherman and dine on your catch that evening. Another favorite, Liberty Hill Farm, in bucolic Rochester, Vermont, will let you milk the cows, stack the hay and ride a tractor like a real farmer. Rabbit Hill Inn is offering zipline tours, White Mountain Hotel features rock climbing with the International Mountain Climbing School, and Glynn House Inn is giving you the chance to go hot air ballooning in the morning, complete with champagne. That’s the only way to fly.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/14/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Healthy Parks Healthy People US

Last week in San Francisco, the National Park Service brought together more than 100 leaders in health care and the environment to host a forum called Healthy Parks Healthy People US. America is following a successful Australian initiative to promote the positive connection between the health of the natural world and the health of humans. By introducing more people to America’s state and national parks, the National Park Service hopes to instill a healthier lifestyle that leads to reduced health care costs. The NPS is expanding First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program to create Let’s Move Outside Junior Rangers and is also introducing other health-conscious programs like Food for the Parks and my favorite title, No Child Left Inside. Any program that helps reconnect people with nature is a winner in my eyes, whether it’s for physical or mental health reasons or simply the chance to be lost in a stunning locale.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/13/11 at 01:00 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.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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