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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The Perfect Friend’s Getaway, A Stay at the Ardberg Scotch Distillery

We’ve learned from past experience that if you make that effort to fly clients from Glasgow to the island of Islay, it will be the highlight of their visit to Scotland. The 45-minute flight leaves you in the Scotland of yore, with rolling hills, moors, small seaside villages, and the panoramic vistas of the northern Atlantic. It also happens to be home to the Ardbeg Distillery and their award-winning Ultimate Islay Single Malt, crafted since 1815 when the distillery was established on the rocky shores of South Islay. By all means, take a tour of the distillery and sample the wares. Then relax, knowing that you don’t have to drive that evening. You and 5 of your closest friends can sleep in 3 bedrooms at the Seaview Cottage, the former home of the Distillery Manager. While many of the original features have been retained, the cottage has been newly renovated and boasts a stylish interior with an eclectic mix of Ardbeg and Islay inspired furnishings. Please contact ActiveTravels and we’ll not only check availability, but we'll design a route around Scotland and create our patented Dream Day Itinerary that includes recommended lodging, activities, guides, scenic drives, and, of course, more single malt Scotch. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/06/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Autocamp Announces New Location on Cape Cod to Debut Fall 2020

Autocamp, the California-based Airstream hotel brand with locations in Santa Barbara, Yosemite National Park, and the Russian River Valley, is heading East. They just announced the debut of a new property in the Woods Hole/Falmouth area of Cape Cod, set to open next fall. The property will operate year-round and will feature 108 total accommodations, including customized Airstream Suites, ADA-accessible X Suites, and Luxury Tents, as well as a two-story clubhouse, community fire pits, and group meeting and event space. The custom 31-foot Airstreams at all AutoCamp locations feature AutoCamp’s signature mid-century modern design. The property will also host on-site activities for guests such as yoga and meditation, a campfire speaker series, music programming, local beer and cider tastings, and occasional farm-to-table dinners. AutoCamp Cape Cod will also be dog-friendly, offering Pet Kits, which include a cozy blanket, food and water bowls, and treats. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/05/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 04, 2019

Head to Alaska to See the Northern Lights This Winter

Iceland is a popular destination this winter for clients as they head to the country to hike amidst the majestic landscape and hopefully view the Northern Lights. But you don’t have to cross the pond to have a chance to see the Northern Lights. Alaska offers a similar experience. On Gondwana Ecotours 7-day Alaska Northern Lights trip, guests will view the Northern Lights displays from a family-owned lodge with magnificent panoramic views. During the day there will be time to explore Fairbanks, take an exciting dog sled ride, and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs at Chena. Fairbanks is situated within a ring-shaped region around the North Pole called the auroral oval. This location offers a terrific balance of occurrence, frequency and activity of Northern Lights. Trips are limited to 12 guests per trips and cost starts at $2795 per person. If interested, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll check availability on departures through March 2020. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/04/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Northeast Kingdom’s Wildflower Inn for Sale

I first met Mary and Jim O’Reilly, owners of Vermont’s Wildflower Inn, in 1995 while doing research for my first book, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England. As soon as I saw their property rising high above the barns and fields of Darling Hill on the East Burke/Lyndonville border, I was smitten. This was the authentic Vermont I was yearning for, soon to be the home to the world-class mountain biking network called the Kingdom Trails. Jim and Mary were well on their way to having 8 children, but this was before my two kids were born. Soon enough, however, Jake, Melanie, and my wife, Lisa, were returning to the Wildflower Inn to cross-country ski, ski nearby Burke Mountain, take sleigh rides, bike the glorious singletrack trails, hike to the summit of Mt. Hor overlooking the deep waters of picturesque Lake Willoughby, and simply relax on the grounds with all the animals. 
The Wildflower Inn is a unique property that caters to families and I helped spread the word, writing about Jim and Mary for The Boston Globe, Yankee Magazine, Men’s Journal, Outside Magazine, and many other publications. Now I receive word that the couple are ready to call it quits after giving their all for close to 35 years. While I’m sad to see them leave, I’m excited about the opportunity for another young couple to take the reins of this special place. John A. Beal of V/T Commercial is assisting Jim and Mary with the sale of the inn, restaurant, and property. Please contact him at 802-864-2000 x11 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to discuss the details of the listing. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/31/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Take a Walkaround on the ActiveTravels YouTube Channel

Lisa and I call them Walkarounds. If a resort or boutique lodging impresses us, we immediately break out the iPhone and start filming the room upon arrival. I recently downloaded a good 12 videos we created over the past year or two at some of our favorite properties, including Sol Y Luna in Peru’s Sacred Valley; Silky Oaks in Australia’s Daintree Rainforest; the “trulli” magnificent Borgo Canonica in Puglia, Italy; the gem of a hotel, Corral del Rey in Seville, Spain; Mystique in Santorini, Greece; and Croatia’s Villa Dubrovnik. They join other videos I’ve already uploaded on lodging in Botswana, Tanzania, Hong Kong, and St. Lucia. All videos are short, around 2 to 3 minutes, and can be found on the ActiveTravels YouTube Channel. Please have a look! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/30/19 at 05:59 AM
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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

My Latest Story for Virtuoso Traveler on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Already on a high from meeting 85-year-old Jimmy Russell, the master distiller at Wild Turkey the past 65 years, I took to the backcountry roads and was soon smitten by the scenery. My trusty Waze led me through fields of Kentucky bluegrass shimmering under the midday Autumn sun, graceful and strong thoroughbred horses roaming the hillside, and a maze of white picket fences that seem to meander haphazardly toward the horizon. I pull over under the shade of a maple and its last tinges of colorful foliage and take it all in, gulping deep breaths of serenity, before continuing on to my next distillery stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. 

To read more about my experience on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail this time last year, please see my cover story in the October issue of Virtuoso Traveler

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/29/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 28, 2019

First Prize for Best Family Travel Story

I was delighted to receive word last week that my story for Virtuoso Traveler on traveling with the family to the Swiss Alps won first prize in the Family Travel category at the Society of American Travel Writers Eastern Chapter Writing Contest. I don’t take this lightly. I must have submitted 20 stories over the past 25 stories and haven’t received any recognition since my book, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England, was published in 1996! Rereading this particular story on Switzerland, I touched on loss, how my kids were getting older, soon graduating from college, and you can’t take these family trips for granted much longer. I think it was this part of the piece that resonated with the judges. Even more surprising was that I received an Honorable Mention in the Miscellaneous category for my Road Trip to Revolutionary War Sites story for Chevrolet’s New Roads Magazine. The highlight of researching this story was having dinner with an old high school friend in Saratoga and spending time with my nephew, Max, in Philly, who was going to school at UPenn. Please have a look at the winning entries. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/28/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 25, 2019

Peru, Caribbean Retreats, and Grand Velas in October ActiveTravels Newsletter

My recent travels to Peru was all the inspriation I needed to pen this month’s main feature in the ActiveTravels Newsletter. We've also listed some of our all-time favorite places to go with the family when the temperatures drop to help you start planning now for colder times ahead. Lastly, we talk about the recent renovations at Samoset Rockland, Maine, and a great promotion from Grand Velas resort properties in Mexico. Please have a look! 
Have a fantastic weekend and stay active! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/25/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Abercrombie and Kent Announces Limited-Edition Journeys in 2020

Having now traveled with Abercrombie and Kent on group trips to Kenya, Botswana, and Peru, I can recommend this company without hesitation. Guides are exceptional, groups are small, the properties they choose are unique and memorable, and dealing with logistics in challenging parts of the world is as close to seamless as I’ve witnessed. New in 2020 is A and K’s Limited-Edition Journeys to more remote locales in the world like Sri Lanka, the republic of Georgia, Madagascar, Southern India, and Zimbabwe. Itineraries range from 12 to 15 days and pricing starts at $5,995 per person. If any of these trips gets you excited, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll check availability. We can also help with flights and design routes before or after your memorable journey. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/24/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Outfitters We Love: ROW Adventures

Few people know the rivers of Idaho better than Peter Grubb, owner of Idaho’s largest adventure travel company, ROW Adventures. They run more trips on more rivers than any other outfitter in the state. Grubb’s other obsession is the Galapagos Islands, where for the past two decades, he’s been running land-based multisport trips for all, including children ages 7 and older. We’ve sent a dozen or so clients on their trips and they’ve all loved it. Who wouldn’t relish the chance to sea kayak, hike and bike around the islands past century-old tortoises, and to snorkel at protected coves with friendly sea lions and few other people? ROW Adventures other trips are just as exhilarating. They include sea kayaking during the whale migration in Baja; sea kayaking, hiking, and biking Cuba; hiking the Inca Trail in Peru and the W Trek in Patagonia; and his latest offering, paddling and seeing the gorillas of Rwanda. How cool is that? If interested in any ROW Adventures itinerary, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll check availability and help with all logistics including flight and pre- and post-hotel stays and route design. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/23/19 at 06:00 AM
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about us
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. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association