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Monday, June 03, 2019

Hotel Vermont’s New Summer Beer Exploration Package

If you like Heady Topper as much as I do, then you’re going to enjoy Hotel Vermont’s Summer Beer Exploration Package. Offered once a month from June through October, the two-day event starts with a five-course beer pairing dinner featuring Vermont’s most highly rated breweries (Hill Farmstead, The Alchemist, Foam Brewers, Lawson’s Finest Liquids) curated by Beer Concierge, Matt Canning. The next morning, you’ll have breakfast with the team at Foam Brewers while firing up the brew kettle and mashing in the grain to start the day’s brew. Then you’ll head 10 miles south to the new state-of-the-art Peterson Quality Malt facility at Nordic Farm. The defunct dairy barn now serves as Vermont’s only craft malt house producing the base ingredient for Vermont’s world-renowned breweries. Afterwards, enjoy lunch and a beer tasting in the fields of barley, with stunning views of both the Green and Adirondack Mountains. Cost of the Beer Exploration Package, including 2 nights at the Hotel Vermont, starts at $1130 for two guests. Interested? Let ActiveTravels know and we'll check availability. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/03/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Chatham Bars Inn Introduces New Fly-Fishing School

Wanna catch stripers on the fly? In comfort, no less! Cape Cod’s Chatham Bars Inn has teamed up with Orvis to open the only saltwater fly-fishing school in Massachusetts. Open to both guests of the resort and the general public, Chatham Bars Inn will offer one-day ($279) and two-day schools ($489) on select dates from May through October 2019. Schools will be led by an endorsed Orvis instructor and go over fly casting techniques, how to tie essential knots, how to choose your gear and tackle, striper feeding habits, proper fly selection, and how to read water, currents, and tides. One-day school dates are May 25, June 1, July 27 and August 3. Two-day school dates are June 15-16, June 29-30, July 13-14, August 19-20, September 13-14 and October 5-6. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/29/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

New Life Hiking Spa Now Open for its 42nd Summer in Vermont

The weather finally started to warm up this weekend in New England and we took full advantage of it in Boston, biking the Minuteman Trail in Arlington and Cambridge. At last, we can escape the indoor gym and hit the trails. One of the best ways is with New Life Hiking Spa out of Killington, Vermont, in operation since 1978. For $229 to $269 per person, per night, you’ll receive a private room, three meals a day, healthy snacks, daily guided hikes, all fitness and wellness classes, evening activities, and massages. Three levels of professionally guided hikes are offered every day to accommodate your level of fitness. All meals are prepared fresh, on site, and created by a team of professional chefs who specialize in regional healthy cuisine. There’s no better way to start the summer than hit the trails, eat Vermont-grown goods, and perhaps lose a pound or two. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/28/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 24, 2019

Spain, DayTrip, Montreal, and More in May ActiveTravels Newsletter

We were picked up promptly at 9 am in Granada, Spain, by Damir, a driver and guide for a company we’ve been working with more and more in Europe, Daytrip. We could have rented our own car and made the 3-hour trek from Granada to Seville, but it’s so much more relaxing to have someone else drive, especially when you want to stop and visit another town along the way. Two hours later, after sitting in the back of a comfortable Mercedes sedan and peering out at the rolling hills and mountains of this bucolic region of Spain, we arrived in Ronda. Damir guided us around the town, walking along the edge of the famous gorge, touring the oldest bullring in Spain, the one Hemingway wrote about when he lived here (it’s also the town where Orson Welles retired and died), and the historic Moorish settlement at the bottom of the hill. After a lunch of tapas, we arrived in Seville around 4 pm. It ended up being one of the most relaxing days of our recent Spain trip. Daytrip is now expanding to Asia. It’s a wonderful way to connect the dots between destinations, while stopping at off-the-beaten track locales. 
 
To read more about our trip to Spain, a special deal on Relais and Chateaux properties, and what’s happening in Montreal this summer, please check out the latest ActiveTravels newsletter. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/24/19 at 05:00 AM
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Thursday, May 09, 2019

Bermuda Beckons

Soft and cushiony, with a shade of pink to enhance the dramatic effect, the sand on the beaches of Bermuda is better than advertised. Hemmed in by jagged rock formations and backed by cliffs, the finest beaches are a mix of horseshoe-shaped coves filled with tanning bodies and small jewel-like pockets of sand with just enough space to contain a couple or two. This sublime stretch of coastline serves as the ideal welcome mat for the weary waves that have rolled some 600 miles from the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, the closest landmass to the west. May and early June are the ideal months to visit this 23-mile speck of land in the Atlantic. The surge of travelers, many venturing here aboard cruises in the height of summer, have yet to arrive, so you can see the island in its natural relaxed state. Stay at the newly revamped rooms and suites at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess and they’ll escort you by jitney to their private beach. Or try the resort that’s been receiving rave reviews since its debut the summer of 2017, The Loren. Flights are direct and only 2 hours from New York, Boston, and DC. If you need suggestions on what to do while you’re there, please see my Boston Globe story. ActiveTravels is here to help check lodging availability and pricing. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/09/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Deal of the Week: Cruising French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin Cruises

French Polynesia will always hold a special place in my heart. It was here and other South Pacific locales like Fiji and the Cook Islands that I received my start in travel writing, penning stories for Rodale’s Scuba Diving and resort reviews for Bride’s Magazine. In 1994, Lisa and I went on a freighter cruise to the Marquesas Islands that still to this day is one of the highlights of my career in travel. But you don’t have to deliver food to the locals to savor French Polynesia. Go in style aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin, a luxury cruise ship that has been plying these waters for 20 years. Now through May 18, The Gauguin is offering a savings up to $3,650 per person on select voyages, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco. It’s only a 7-hour flight from LA to Tahiti, a mere two hours past Hawaii. Then you arrive in dreamy French Polynesia, where the emerald green mountains rise from the aquamarine waters. I’ve been all over Hawaii and the South Pacific and these are my favorite islands in the world, half of them deserted motus, specks of land surrounded by pristine white sand that are ideal for snorkeling and then walking the lonesome beach. Summer is the ideal time to visit French Polynesia, without the threat of cyclone. So if you’re considering a river cruise in Europe this year, maybe you want to head to the South Pacific instead. For the same price, you can follow in Paul Gauguin’s footsteps. Let ActiveTravels know and we’ll check pricing and availability. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Another Exciting Summer in Montreal

Visit Montreal in June and you’ll see the Botanical Garden in full bloom. It’s also the time of year when its laundry list of summer events and festivals begin, starting with the Montreal Grand Prix on June 9th. The Montreal International Jazz Festival comes to town late June 27-July 6, followed by Just for Laughs Comedy Festival July 10-28, the premiere comedy event in North America. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and other top tennis pros are on hand for the Rogers Cup August 2-11. Stay at the brand new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal, slated to make its debut on June 1st. The hotel will feature 169 rooms and suites, acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s first restaurant in Canada, Marcus, a 24-hour fitness center, sky-lit indoor swimming pool, and spa. Please let ActiveTravels know you’re headed to Montreal and we’ll check hotel availability and design our patented Dream Day Itinerary to other regions of Quebec, which we know very well. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/07/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, May 06, 2019

New in New York

I had lunch with Alyssa Schmid and Rachel Peace from NYC and Company last Thursday, and, not surprisingly, there’s a lot happening in New York City this summer. WorldPride will make its debut in the City June 26-30 to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Numerous cultural organizations have arranged exhibitions highlighting the Year of Pride, like the Mapplethorpe show now at the Guggenheim. I’ve already discussed the debut of The Vessel and The Shed at Hudson Yards on this page. The first-ever Equinox Hotel (to open in July) and the tallest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, the Edge (2020), will soon be joining them. MoMA will close in late June and reopen October 21st after its latest expansion. The TWA Hotel, residing in the former TWA Hotel Center from the 1960s, debuts on May 15th, bringing glamour back to JFK Airport. Ian Schrager’s Times Square EDITION just opened above Times Square to rave reviews. Aman and Six Senses properties will soon be unveiled. They’ll need all these hotel rooms for the record number of visitors arriving each year, a whopping 65 million visitors in 2018. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/06/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 03, 2019

Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay

This is supposedly spring in New England, though I can’t really tell from the weather outside. It’s been gray, chilly, and rainy all week. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking of a story I wrote for Yankee Magazine for their April 2015 issue titled “Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island.” The temperate zone along the shores of Narragansett Bay is where spring arrives first in New England. Visit the Blithewold estate in Bristol over the next several weeks and you can’t help but be awed by the colorful spring bloom. Another stop at the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth led me to dinosaurs, unicorns, reindeer, and other animals sculpted from California privet, yew, and English boxwood at the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States. May 11th is their annual plant sale, when a frenzy of local gardeners will be throwing Asiatic lilies, tomato plants, geraniums, and herbs like oregano into cardboard crates. May 11th is also sheep shearing day at Watson Farm in Jamestown. The sheep will be bleating, a group of spinners will work their magic transforming fleece into yarn, kids will be laughing as they try the tree swing, and a band will no doubt be playing foot-stomping bluegrass tunes. Doesn’t get more idyllic than that! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/03/19 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Raft the Chilko River with ROAM

It was 1997 when I first met Brian McCutcheon, owner of Rivers, Oceans, and Mountains (ROAM). I had been hired by Men’s Journal magazine to write about the first descent of the Klinaklini River in British Columbia. It was a spectacular journey down a rip-roaring river dwarfed by snowcapped peaks and glaciers. I was accompanying Johnny Morris, the owner of Bass Pro Shops, who came to the Northwest with his entourage to hook salmon on the fly. The fish weren’t biting but the scenery and excitement of riding the Klinaklini more than made up for the lack of salmon. McCutcheon now offers multisport trips around the globe, including a fantastic itinerary to Bhutan later this year. But it’s his native BC that he knows best. For starters, try one of the most exciting whitewater rafting runs in North America, a weeklong jaunt down the Chilko River in southwestern BC. Take an hour seaplane flight from Vancouver to 4,000-foot high Chilko Lake where he unveiled a $10 million lodge.  Then let the rollercoaster ride begin. You’ll cruise 130 miles, dropping 3,000 feet through a tumultuous blur of lava gorges and narrow chutes. Looming overhead are sloping carpets of forest and jagged peaks. And, on those rare moments when you slow down, you might find yourself staring at an eagle or grizzly. BC also stands for serious Bear Country, home to 12,000-plus grizzlies.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/02/19 at 06:00 AM
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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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