ActiveTravels | get up & go!  
 subscribe to ActiveTravels
 Subscribe by RSS By RSS Feed or Email
 
Follow ActiveTravels on Twitter Like ActiveTravels on Facebook View the ActiveTravels YouTube channel
 
ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust
   
     
 

Monday, August 06, 2018

Hiking in Banff

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

I just returned from a fantastic week in the Canadian Rockies with my husband Josh. At ActiveTravels, we often have members wanting the inside scoop for planning an itinerary to Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. Josh and I are hikers who like a comfortable bed and excellent food after a day of mountains, so that's what I'll be focusing on. 
 
In Banff, we stayed at The Moose Hotel & Suites, Banff Lodging Company's new 4-star hotel property featuring 174 air-conditioned guests rooms (AC is not common here, but it's a nice add-on) and a rooftop pool and hot tub. Early in your stay, stroll over to the Banff Visitor Centre (224 Banff Avenue, which is on the super busy and crowded main drag). It's open 9 am-5 pm year-round, with extended hours in the summer. We picked up trail maps for both the Banff and the Lake Louise areas, and received great recommendations for hikes to suit our preference by talking to the knowledgeable Parks Canada staff. 
 
To get energized for those Banff hikes, head to Tooloulou's for breakfast. It's a local hotspot, and there's often a well-deserved wait. If you give up, next door, Coyote's, offers a good breakfast as well. We sampled both! After your hikes, reward yourself with a brew and a view at these fun bars: The Maclab Bistro at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity and the Rundle Lounge at the Banff Springs Hotel. The hotel is a Rocky Mountain Classic built by the Canadian railroads in the 1880s. Definitely worth seeing! 
 
In terms of hikes, I highly recommend the two we did. Visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, where the 1883 discovery of a cave full of hot mineral spring waters helped create Canada's first national park (the site also features an interesting exhibit on internment of Canadian residents during World War I, who then built the Park's infrastructure). From here, hike up to Sundance Canyon (3 hours round-trip). It was not too crowded, and we had stellar views. The climb starts with a paved trail and soon opens up to a mountain panorama across the Bow River. The next day, for a longer venture, we braved the hordes at Johnston Canyon just outside of town (toward Lake Louise) because we wanted to hike up to the Ink Pots (4 hours round-trip), which requires going past Lower Falls and Upper Falls. You eventually reach an open meadow where warm water bubbles up from deep below the Earth's surface. 
 
Please contact ActiveTravels for assistance with Banff. We're happy to help! On to Lake Louise tomorrow. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/06/18 at 06:00 AM
Hiking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Friday, August 03, 2018

My Favorite Bike Ride on Cape Cod

Cape Cod is so close to Boston that I often drive there on a day trip, which is exactly what we did yesterday to meet my cousin, Peter, and his family in town from Dallas. I took them on a ride we do each summer. We start on Main Street in Orleans in the lot next to Orleans Cycle and head out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail toward Eastham. Soon we pass the velvety marsh, where red-winged blackbirds sit atop the swaying cattails and cormorants dry their wings on floating docks. At Locust Road, we veer right off the CCRT and cross over Route 6 to reach the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center. This is the start of a 2-mile bike trails that sweeps up and down through the forest and marsh, leaving you off at Coast Guard Beach, recently named one of the top 10 beaches in America. However, I think the beach up the road, Nauset Light, is even more scenic, backed by towering dunes. We lock up our bikes and walk down to the sweeping beach. Yesterday, there was at least 20 seals popping their heads out of the surf. 

 
Once back on the bikes, we take Cable Road past Three Sisters Lighthouses, three absurdly small lighthouses built in the mid-19th century. A left turn at the end of the road and a right turn on Brackett Road leads us back to the CCRT. Turn left towards Orleans and you'll soon smell the fried clams of Arnold's, a lobster-in-the-rough restaurant (cash only) beloved by my family. Stand in the long line (most likely out the door), order from their vast selection of seafood, including lobster, fried clams, scallops, shrimp, and mounds of tender onion rings and grab a seat at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Afterwards, play a round of miniature golf or grab a brownie sundae. Continue on the CCRT through a tunnel and you'll arrive back at the Orleans Cycle parking lot in less than 30 minutes. A perfect summer outing. 
 
Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/03/18 at 06:00 AM
Biking • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Travel to the UK with Lisa Fagin Davis and the Medieval Academy of America

Excited to announce that our good friend and client (we designed an itinerary for her and her husband to visit their daughter in Australia), Lisa Fagin Davis, is leading a trip to the UK in October. Lisa is the Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America and we've seen firsthand her passion for history, including a guided tour of an exhibition she co-curated in Boston in 2016, "Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections." Participants in this October 23-28 trip will visit two rare exhibitions: "Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms" at the British Library and "Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth" at Oxford's Bodleian Library, with curatorial introductions and expert guides in addition to Lisa. These exhibitions overlap for only one week, making this trip a unique opportunity to see them together. 

According to Lisa, the real star of the British Museum show is the Codex Amiatinus, the oldest known complete Latin Bible. It was written in England around the year 716 (that's 1300 years ago, for those keeping score) and left England on a journey to Rome shortly after its completion, where it was to be laid at the shrine of St. Peter in Rome, a gift to Pope Gregory II from Abbot Ceolfrith of Wearmouth-Jarrow. The Abbot died enroute, but the monks who were with him finished the journey to Rome. Eventually, the manuscript made its way to the Abbey of San Salvatore in Amiata (in Tuscany), which is how it got its nickname of Amiatinus. By the eighteenth century, it had landed at the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence, where it has been ever since. But it is going back to England for the exhibition!
 
"My friends at the British Library tell me that this loan was the result of years of secret negotiations. In fact, one staffer recently told me that only a few people in the library even knew the negotiations were ongoing. It was all top secret until the deal was done," says Lisa. Read the full story of the manuscript here
 
The Bodleian exhibit will look at how Tolkien's work in the field of Old English and medieval Scandinavian epic literature shaped Middle Earth, showing his correspondence, drafts, sketches. "For Tolkien geeks, it's going to be pretty amazing," says Lisa, adding that "Tolkien wrote one of the first seminal studies of Beowulf, a classic article that students of Old English still read today, so it will be great to see the Beowulf manuscript one day and see its influence on Tolkien the next!" Price for the land package is $2580, including 4 nights lodging, most meals, guides, and tickets to all events. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/02/18 at 06:00 AM
Art Finds • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Ogunquit Still My No. 1 Beach Town in New England

To celebrate a big birthday for my mother-in-law, 14 members of the family made their way to Ogunquit, Maine in mid-July for 3 nights. I haven't been back to Ogunquit since I wrote my cover story for Yankee Magazine on the Top 25 Beach Towns in New England, naming Ogunquit over Provincetown as the best beach town in New England. I was happy to see the article from the July/August 2012 issue framed on the wall of The Beachmere Inn, where we stayed. After a memorable weekend, I can honestly say that I made the right choice naming Ogunquit my number one beach town. I ditched the car in the parking lot and didn't see it again until I left. The view of the Atlantic and the 3 ½-mile stretch of beachfront from the Beachmere was just as glorious as I remembered. We would stroll down the sloping lawn to the Marginal Way, and either take a left to hit the beach or veer right to walk along the rugged shoreline to the restaurants in Perkins Cove. The big birthday dinner was held in a private room at MC Perkins Cove, a restaurant I first discovered when it debuted, reporting for Boston Globe Magazine's Best of the New issue. The meal and service were both exceptional. So was our first night's dinner at Oarweed at an outdoor table overlooking the Atlantic, digging into the freshest lobster I've had in a long time, washed down with a Blueberry Ale. 

Yes, both P'town and Nantucket have excellent restaurants and beaches. But where Ogunquit excels is theater and other cultural offerings. Gershwins' An American in Paris, staged at the historic Ogunquit Playhouse, was a fantastic rendition of this complex play, featuring tap dance, ballet, and songs (see it before it closes on August 4th).  We visited the Ogunquit Museum of American Art to see the Lois Dodd show, only to be serenaded by the poetry of Richard Blanco, who just happened to be there that day. Blanco is best known as being the poet who spoke at President Obama's second inauguration and his words, which were paired with photography on exhibit, are incredibly moving. Ogunquit, I have a feeling I'll be returning far more frequently in the future. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/01/18 at 06:00 AM
Family Adventure • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Row 34, A Great Addition to Portsmouth

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is a smaller version of Portland, Maine, with its own great dining scene, one that I discuss in an upcoming story for Yankee Magazine. A 75-minute drive north of Boston, it's ideal for dinner or an overnight. Lisa and I stayed at the Ale House Inn for a night in October and had a fun visit. This past Wednesday, I met my friend, Joel, in town from Seattle at Row 34. This is the sister restaurant to Row 34 in Boston's Seaport District, a favorite that I always put on itineraries for clients headed to Boston and New England. We sat outdoors and dined on lobster rolls and a shrimp banh mi. They also feature their Row 34 oysters, farmed locally in Duxbury, Massachusetts, by one of the co-owners, Skip Bennett. If you can't find a room at the Alewife Inn, check out the Residence Inn, just down the block from Row 34 and within easy walking distance of the historic buildings at Strawberry Banke and other excellent dining spots like Franklin Oyster House

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/31/18 at 06:00 AM
Food • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, July 30, 2018

Back at the Track

I honestly didn't spend much time at the Saratoga Race Course growing up in nearby Schenectady. My dad had a sailboat docked north of Bolton Landing on Lake George and that's where we would spend much of the summer. But since I've been getting together with high school buddies annually these past 7 years, a day at the track has always been a day that I really look forward to. This year, I arrived around noon and parked behind the stables (free parking off Exit 14 on the Northway), a good parking area if you're headed north to Lake George like we were. Then I strolled over to the front gate, purchased a pink sheet, which gives insider info on the horses and jockeys, and grabbed a burger and fries at Shake Shack. The first race is 1 pm and the track is a beauty, the oldest track in America and named by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Venues of the 20th Century. My friend, Bob, usually finds us a table in the Clubhouse to watch the races, where we have great views of the horses rounding the track. I walk up to place my $2 and $5 bets and usually lose, with or without the pink sheet, but still have a blast rooting for my horses. This year, I left on a winning note, betting on Flowers to Lisa to win the 8th race. It easily cruised to victory at 5:1 odds, no doubt spurred on by my wife, Lisa, my lucky charm. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/30/18 at 06:00 AM
Miscellaneous Sports • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Friday, July 20, 2018

Outside Magazine’s Top 6 Spots for Stargazing in North America

Outside just came out with their round-up of top stargazing locales across North America. The locale in Nova Scotia I know well, having stayed with my sister at the Trout Pond Lodge. It's a wonderful property next to a bubbling brook not far from the high-speed ferry dock in Yarmouth. I'm glad they also mentioned the Acadia Night Sky Festival in early September, which I included in an upcoming story for Yankee Magazine on Perfect Weekend Getaways based on your passion, like staring at the stars. I'll be staring at the night sky this coming week from Ogunquit, Portsmouth, and Lake George. See you again on Monday, July 30th. Have a fantastic week and keep active! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/20/18 at 06:00 AM
Miscellaneous Sports • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thursday, July 19, 2018

VBT Partners with Emerald Waterways to Cruise the Danube

Ever since Backroads partnered with AmaWaterways to bring families to the Danube River in 2015, the demand has far exceeded number of available berths. The chance to ride along the river on bike paths during the day though small European villages and then catch up with the cruise for cocktails, dinner, and your room for the week (no packing and unpacking) is ideally suited for all age groups. Backroads is now bringing their active travel itineraries to the ocean liners, while other biking companies like VBT have formed partnerships to cruise the rivers. VBT has just announced that one of their new trips in 2019 will be aboard an Emerald Waterways ship cruising the Danube. 24 VBT guests will be part of a larger group on board the 182-passenger river cruise ship. The difference is that your shore excursions will be with a VBT group leader as you bike, on average, 15 to 35 miles per day through the German, Austrian, and Hungarian countryside. VBT can also package together the international air, and pre- and post-visits to Prague and Budapest. Prices start at $4395 per person, not including air. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/19/18 at 06:00 AM
Cruises • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Nomads Tours Designs New Itinerary to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert

Our go-to tour operator in Mongolia, Nomads Tours, has just designed a fascinating weeklong trip to Mongolia that includes stays at the Shangri-La in Ulaanbaatar and the intriguing Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi Desert. The owner of Three Camel, Jalsa Urubshurow, grew up in a Mongolian community in New Jersey, before becoming very wealthy in the construction industry. Urubshurow returned in 2002 to create his dream property, backed by the 14,000-foot Altai Mountains and near the fossil-rich Flaming Cliffs. Guests sleep in "gers," Mongolian round felt tents, adorned with hand-painted interiors and locally crafted furniture. Spend the day riding on camels to the sand dunes and then meet local nomadic herders at dinner that evening. In Ulaanbaatar, you'll visit the city's largest market, Naran Tuul (also known as Black Market), and visit monks at the Gandan Khiid Buddhist Monastery, one of the few monasteries to survive the communist regime that lasted until 1990. Pricing starts at $4199 per person, including lodging, all meals, guides, and round-trip domestic air. Please contact ActiveTravels if interested. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/18/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Grasshopper Adventures Debuts Taiwan Multisport Trip

Grasshopper Adventures, the Bangkok-based cycling and active travel outfitter, has just unveiled a 5-day itinerary in South Taiwan that sounds enticing. On this new family multisport tour, you'll snorkel in the crystal-clear waters around Taiwan's only coral island, Xiao Liuqui, bike the jungles of the Hengchun Peninsula while spotting monkeys, kayak and surf in the village of Jialeshui, hike Kenting National Park, swim at the exquisite Baisha Beach (featured in Ang Lee's Life of Pi), explore indigenous villages and historic battlefields, and visit Kenting's lively night market. Cost starts at $1,590 per person. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/17/18 at 06:00 AM
Multisport Adventure • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Page 6 of 166 pages « First  <  4 5 6 7 8 >  Last »

 

 
 
 

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.

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

Adventure Travel Trade Association

 

tags