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Friday, June 09, 2017

Checking Out Chihuly’s Studio and Bainbridge Island

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

Our trip ended in Seattle, where my husband, Josh, had a conference with the Association of Art Museum Directors. Our hotel was a step up from where my daughter, Sophie, and I had spent the last many nights: the Fairmont Olympic, built in 1924 and beautifully renovated, well located within walking distance of the waterfront. Our two favorite activities in Seattle were visiting Bainbridge Island and getting an inside tour of Dale Chihuly’s private studio. We took the commuter ferry over to Bainbridge, got an island map, shopped, wine tasted, and visited the truly lush Bloedel Reserve on the north end of Bainbridge. Steve had recommended that we bike Bainbridge, but we couldn’t figure out how to fit that in. In terms of the Chihuly private studio tour, all I can say is "WOW." We’ve done glassblowing a number of times, but, trust me, we never created anything like this. Chihuly was born in 1941 in Tacoma, WA, and resides nearby. His studio is full of collections of items which inspire him—indigenous baskets to blankets to vintage bathing suits to old children’s books. My only regret is the road trip ended and I didn't get to see Mt. Rainier up close. Next time!

Thanks again for following along this week. It was a pleasure to discuss the highlights of my trip. If you need any help with your travels out West, please contact me at ActiveTravels.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/09/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Driving to Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

With expert local advice, we set our GPS for Vista House in Corbett for long vista views along the river. Then we followed the Old Historic Columbia River Hwy to Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and, eventually, to Cascade Locks for brunch. We met friends at the very local Bridgeside Restaurant and had a yummy salmon chowder. The Bridge of the Gods is right there, but we didn't go over it. We also missed the Bonneville Dam with apparently very interesting salmon and sturgeon viewing. Instead, off to Hood River we went, then up to Mt. Hood and the historic Timberline Lodge for drinks and handcrafted ales while watching the skiers, in mid-May. Life is rough! Rising 11,239 feet (3,426 meters), Mt. Hood is the highest peak in Oregon, and the second most climbed mountain in the world. At the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the mountain was an active volcano and is now considered “sleeping.” I had been to Portland before, but to truly appreciate Oregon, you have to leave the city limits. 

 

 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/08/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Portland’s Copper Goddess

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

While we had fun in our midway stop of Sacramento, enjoying wonderful coffee at Pachamama, a great breakfast at Orphan and a tour of the memorable California State House, it was Portland we loved. Drinks at Angel Face and at 23 Hoyt, dinners at Harvest at the Bindery and at the Mediterranean Exploration Company, pie at Random Order Coffee House and Bakery, brunches at Kenny and Zuke’s and JAM, and, of course, lots and lots of books at Powell’s Books. We also spent a long time downtown at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, with its tea house, and had massages at the nearby Fei Long Spa. But the unique highlight today was the Portlandia statue (Portland's very own Greek goddess). Portlandia is the second-largest of its type in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty. Our local friends insisted we stop and stare. You can read Tom Wolfe’s humorous 1986 Newsweek Magazine piece here.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/07/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Yosemite, Worth the Wait

“Yosemite Park is a place of rest, a refuge from the roar and dust and weary, nervous, wasting work of the lowlands, in which one gains the advantages of both solitude and society.” 
John Muir
 
Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 
 
I’d never been to Yosemite National Park, the first wild land in the nation protected for all-time, 150 years ago, when Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act. Because it was May, we could not enter from the oft-recommended east side at Lee Vining/Mono Basin/Tioga Pass. Instead, nourished by fresh cherries roadside along the way from Sequoia National Park, we entered Yosemite at the Wawona entrance and had lunch at the Big Trees Lodge. We looked around the interesting Pioneer Yosemite History Center and drove through the park on Glacier Point Road to the end for great views of the famous Half Dome and Nevada Falls. My western yearnings were met, without a doubt. Although sad that the hike we intended to do at Taft Point was closed due to snow coverage, it was quite a day.
 
We ended at Mariposa, CA and loved that funky small town: drinks at The Alley, dinner at Savory, and a comfortable enough room at The Yosemite Inn. The next day we were in Yosemite Valley at Bridalveil Falls under a glorious rainbow, grabbed brunch in the old Majestic Yosemite Lodge, and happily hiked to Mirror Lake and Lower Yosemite Falls. We could have easily stayed another two days at Yosemite but we had plans to meet friends and family in Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/06/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, June 05, 2017

Our Day at Sequoia National Park

Guest Post by Amy Perry Basseches 
Photo by Sophie Perry Basseches
 
Last month, my 19 year old daughter Sophie and I set out on a road trip from Claremont, California to Seattle, Washington. I’ve always loved the western part of the US, and was therefore very excited for our first stop: Sequoia National Park (established in September 1890), and King’s Canyon National Park. We entered Sequoia at the Ash Mountain Entrance (the start of Generals Highway) and proceeded to drive through the amazing sequoia forest. The trees are 1800 to 2500 years old, if you can imagine that. We toured the Giant Forest Museum and hiked up the 400 steps of Moro Rock’s granite dome. In one of those moments where “mistakes while traveling can turn into the best experiences,” we turned the wrong way on one of the national park roads and ended up seeing a whole other side of Sequoia that we hadn’t intended. Which was great until the road ended at Zumwalt Meadow with everything closed because it was early in the season. It was getting dark, we had no cell service, and our gas was running low. We turned around and fortunately made our way to our motel in Squaw Valley, (entirely different from Lake Tahoe’s Squaw Valley), where we were greeted by a sign announcing the neighboring town’s 41st Annual Turkey Testicle Festival in June.
 
I've always been a big "tree hugger."
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/05/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 02, 2017

Best Coastal Towns, My Latest Story for Yankee Magazine

Depending on your passion, be it art, adventure, dining on fresh seafood, or simply catching rays on your own spit of sand, I guarantee there’s a locale on the New England Coast that caters to your interest. Not surprisingly, the islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island figure prominently in this round-up of Best Coastal Towns, along with the top two picks from my Top 25 Beach Towns cover story, Ogunquit and Provincetown. A bit off the radar are the towns of Madison, Connecticut, and Brewster, Massachusetts. Have a look and tell me if you agree.

 
Please tune in next week when AT travel consultant, Amy Perry Basseches, describes her recent trip to Sequoia, Yosemite, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. Have a great weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/02/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Chihuly at New York Botanical Garden

Vibrant Chihuly glass sculptures in nature go together like chocolate and roasted marshmallows come summer. The latest installment can now be seen at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. We ambled through the serene grounds yesterday afternoon on the way out of the city and found his familiar multi-colored balls juggled together on a rowboat, long red tubes jutting out of logs, and a spiky blue flower that contrasted well with the surrounding green meadows. It’s understandable to see why garden designers would go gaga over Chihuly’s objects. The tall cattails and reeds or the graceful allure of a heron-like sculpture seem to blend perfectly with the natural world. Far more exciting for me was seeing and smelling the many peonies in bloom, including one named after the acclaimed travel writer, Lowell Thomas. Chihuly’s work will be on view until October 29th. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/01/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 26, 2017

Dining in DC

We had two memorable meals in Washington at Jose Andres restaurants, Zaytinya and Jaleo, both near the National Portrait Gallery. We enjoyed Zaytinya last time in DC and it was just as good on this visit. The restaurant features small plate Mediterranean fare like hummus, falafel, baba ganoush, fresh seafood, and a charred brussel sprouts dish that was wiped clean by our foursome in record time. Jaleo is more standard Spanish tapa fare like chorizo, paella, a tasty ham and cheese sandwich, and perfectly rendered shrimp. On our last night, after the graduation ceremony, we headed to the waterfront in Georgetown for another sublime meal at Farmers Fishers Bakers Restaurant. The eclectic menu features everything from crab dib and mussels served in eight different sauces to sashimi-style tuna, ahi poke salads, and steak frites. Washed down with microbrews and shots of smooth Tequila to celebrate, it was the perfect way to top off the graduation celebration with Ami.
 
Another week, another niece graduating from college! This coming Sunday we’ll be celebrating with Sarah Schechter at Wesleyan University. A talented artist with an insatiable appetite for art history (much to the delight of my art historian wife), Sarah has a future as colorful as her canvases. She’s already had one exhibition in Brooklyn and we look forward to seeing many more shows. Also, ActiveTravels travel consultant, Amy Perry Basseches, has a son, Jake, graduating from Wesleyan on the same day. So big kudos to Jake, especially after completing his 100-page senior honors thesis. You deserve that trip to South America! 
 
After the graduation, we’re headed with my brother to Brooklyn Sunday night to see an artist we love in this family, the British DJ, Leon Vynehall. Then we’re spending two days in the city to see the Chihuly exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden. I’ll be back next Thursday. Thanks for being patient with my sporadic scheduling! 
 
Photo by Melanie Jermanok 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/26/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy 100th, JFK

May 29th marks the 100th birthday of John F. Kennedy. To commemorate the occasion, The National Portrait Gallery is displaying photographs from his life in a gem of show simply titled, “Celebrate: John F. Kennedy.” 72 portraits from the museum’s collection are on view through July 9 including a wonderful pastel by Shirley Seltzer Cooper. You’ll see well-known images of JFK holding John John’s hand in the White House along with rarely seen early shots of Jackie and JFK dating. 
 
As if you needed another reason to visit the National Portrait Gallery, one of my requisite stops every time I visit DC. Home to the official portrait of every president, Nixon never looked so good in a painting by Norman Rockwell and Bill Clinton never looked so bad in a painting by Chuck Close. The building also houses the Smithsonian Collection of American Art, which includes epic-sized works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Church (a marvelous depiction of the Northern Lights) and Thomas Hart Benton. Afterwards, grab a latte and rest your weary feet in the courtyard. 
 
John F. Kennedy (1961), by Shirley Seltzer Cooper

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/25/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Greece, Mountain Resorts, and Traveling Luggage Free in May ActiveTravels Newsletter

This month marks the 5th anniversary of ActiveTravels. As I write this, we are busy planning trips for clients to all corners of the globe, including the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Patagonia, Botswana, India, and Bali. Not to mention last-minute summer travels all over Europe, including Spain, Italy, France, Greece, the UK, Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Then there are all the national park trips and New England fall foliage trips to design. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d be this busy. In fact, most family and friends thought we were crazy opening up a travel agency in this age of do-it-yourself bookings. But it’s wonderful to see that people still value expertise and customer service. We can’t thank you enough! 

Our May newsletter features insights from our trip to Greece last month with Heritage Travels. We also select our favorite mountain resorts in North America, serene getaways for active families, and a way to travel luggage free. Please have a look. 
 
Our family is off to University of Maryland to celebrate the graduation of our niece, Ami. During her 4 years in college, she did internships with senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Ed Markey, and congresswoman Niki Tsongas; helmed Terps for Hillary in the last presidential election; and now works passionately to get women elected in the 2018 mid-term elections at EMILY’s List. As you can see, we’re all very proud of her and can’t wait to celebrate! I’ll be back next Thursday. In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/18/17 at 06:00 AM
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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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