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Monday, May 14, 2018

The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Is Once Again a Victorian Gem

For my recent road trip article for Chevrolet's New Roads Magazine on Revolutionary War sites, I spent a night in Saratoga and was fortunate to stay at the recently renovated Adelphi Hotel. Growing up in upstate New York, I spent many weekends in Saratoga dancing at the Rafters, seeing concerts at SPAC, and going to the track. It's a wonderful spot for a weekend retreat, especially now that the Adelphi Hotel has returned to its circa-1877 roots after a 5-year renovation. Walk into the lobby and you can't help but be impressed with the Victorian era grandeur. The lobby bar, Morrissey's, was busy, even on a Monday night and the restaurant, Blue Hen, is housed under a glass conservatory. But it's the spacious rooms that are really impressive, replete with freestanding tubs, heated floor tiles and towel racks, and sumptuous beds. After a good night's sleep, wake up in the morning and stroll to Sweet Mimi's, owned by friends. You can't go wrong with the lemon ricotta or toasted coconut pancakes.  


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/14/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 11, 2018

ActiveTravels Ranks No. 278 of World’s Top Travel Blogs 2018

Found out this week that ActiveTravels made the list of top travel blogs in the world, according to Gary Arndt's Everything Everywhere. The extensive list was based on SEO metrics, but it's obviously skewered toward his liking since Everything Everywhere is ranked number 4. Regardless, I appreciate the effort Gary took to finally have a list of travel bloggers all over the world. He mistakenly notes that I started blogging 19 years ago. I actually purchased the ActiveTravels URL 19 years ago but didn't start blogging until 2009. It's nice to be recognized for my work on the blog. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to check in now and then to find out what's new in the world of travel. Keep it up so I can crack the Top 100 listing by 2020! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/11/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Stay at Fort Langley, British Columbia

Guest Post by Amy Perry Basseches 
During my mid-April trip to Vancouver, I was mostly based in the small town of Fort Langley (1 hour east of downtown), the so-called "birthplace of British Columbia." It's a little bit off the beaten track, but a lovely destination. Lying on the Fraser River, the actual Fort of Fort Langley was built in 1827 to secure British claims to both sides of the Fraser, a former trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company. Inside the walls of the Fort, we toured the historic timber buildings, talked to re-enactors, pretended to pan for gold, and pictured we were in the early 1800s mingling with Hudson's Bay Company fur traders and their First Nations trading partners. 
In the village of Fort Langley, a short walk from the Fort, many of the old buildings have been restored. These restorations, combined with its rural setting and access to the river and mountain vistas, make the town a thriving tourist center. Where new buildings were constructed in the past few decades, they had to follow strict style guidelines to match the heritage appearance. We stopped for unbelievable coffee at Blacksmith Bakery, an artisan bakeshop built on the original site of a 1910 blacksmith shop. 
Back to the main point of my trip, having a reunion with two of my dearest friends, women I've known since I was 21. An activity we always enjoy is cooking together, and that we did. Tamara had recently been to Spain, visiting her "studying abroad" college son, and she brought back with her a paella recipe from Madrid. Top notch ingredients were purchased at 1 Fish 2 Fish Fresh Seafood Market, and it was grand. Good friends, good food, good adventure exploring a new area -- thanks Fort Langley!

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/10/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

A Perfect Day in Vancouver with Good Friends

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 

In mid-April, I flew to Vancouver, British Columbia for a reunion with two of my dearest friends, women I've known since I was 21. Living in Toronto, people are often telling me, "when our kids go out to Vancouver, we never get them back," akin to what my peers in the US say about California. Now I know why. 
To explore the city, with the sun reflecting off snow-capped peaks, we set off on the efficient Vancouver SkyTrain system, transporting us from our accommodation in historic Fort Langley, an hour east of Downtown, to the Yaletown area. Yaletown was once the Western terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but the area's more recent reinvention dates to when it hosted many of the venues of the 1986 World's Fair. We were hungry -- we googled best food in Yaletown -- and we ended up at Manousheh, sampling three delicious varieties of the "national pie of Lebanon." I can definitely recommend all, especially zaatar, the original manousheh. 
From there, we walked to False Creek, hopped on one of Vancouver's ever-present small ferry tugboats, and jumped off at Granville Island. What a fun destination! In the early 1900s, Granville Island was home to factories, plants, and sawmills. Technically a sandspit and not an island, there's a Public Market (see Steve's story for The Boston Globe), as well as a cultural district with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios. Among our purchases: a small handcrafted broom woven using Shaker methods, from the Granville Island Broom Co. 
Leaving the Island, we ferried and then walked along the seawall into Stanley Park -- our vista filled the whole way with mountains and container ships, coming and going. The day started to wind down as we entered Coal Harbour, a former shipyard neighborhood now bursting with seaplanes, marinas, docks, and parks. Thirsty, you guessed it, we googled best pubs in Coal Harbour and found The Blind Sparrow, where we enjoyed craft beer, live music, and amazing fresh oysters. Ah, Vancouver, I'll definitely return. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/09/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Beer Gardens, Fiddlers, and More at the Trustees This Summer

Yesterday, I wrote about the beer gardens around Boston this summer, but I forgot to mention that the Trustees has teamed up with Salem's Notch Brewing to create a beer garden at many of their parks and farms this summer. First stop is Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover May 17-20. Also on the calendar is a Fiddlers Fest at Fruitlands August 5th and Thursday Nights concerts at the glorious Crane Estate throughout summer. Be sure to check the events listing at Trustees weekly to see what's in store. And check out my story in the Boston Globe on overlooked Trustees sites. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, May 07, 2018

Trillium Beer Garden on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway Returns Later this Month

My favorite craft brewery in Massachusetts, Trillium, returns the Rose Kennedy Greenway in late May. The beer garden is perfectly situated in front of the Rowes Wharf Arch at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Expect Fort Point Pale Ale, dry double-hopped Melcher Street, and six other beers on tap. Castle Island will also debut their beer garden this summer beneath the Southeast Expressway in a new 8-acre site dubbed Underground at Ink Block. 20 Castle Island beers like the double IPA, Keeper, will be on tap as you check out the street art every Thursday through Sunday. Then there's Wachusett Brewery, which will be bringing their perfect summertime brew, the Blueberry Ale, to City Hall Plaza daily, serving out of their Airstream trailer. So if you get parched this summer walking the streets of Boston, you'll have your choice of stellar brew to savor outdoors. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/07/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 27, 2018

Check Out the April 2018 ActiveTravels Newsletter

Not surprisingly, Italy is once again the top summer destination for our members, with Spain, Greece, Portugal, Scotland, and Iceland not far behind. Bike or drive through the rolling foothills of Tuscany along the Arno River and you quickly understand why Italy continues to seduce. You'll stop to taste wine from local vineyards, olive oil from orchards, and walk on the cobblestone streets of medieval villages like Cortona, where Under the Tuscan Sun was filmed. Add requisite stops in Venice, Florence, and Rome, the dreamy landscapes of the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, and Capri, and the growing popularity of Sicily and Puglia and you begin to realize why Italy keeps us busy year-round.
We work with a number of wonderful Italy-based tour operators who will custom-design your private trip based on your interests, be it food and wine, biking and hiking, arts and culture, history, or all of the above. They will take care of all the logistics including lodging, transfers, and activities. We also book a number of guided trips, when our clients love to leave all the worries to someone else so they can sit back, relax, take in the sights, and make new friends. In this month's issue of the ActiveTravels newsletter, we select five group trips our clients have loved. We also talk about Medawisla, the newly revamped lodge run by the Appalachian Mountain Club in the remote Maine woods, and remind you of the benefits of booking with a travel agent. Please have a look! 
I'm off to Saratoga, Valley Forge, and Philadelphia next week to pen a story for Chevrolet's New Roads Magazine on a driving trip to Revolutionary War sites. I'll be back on May 7th. Have a great week and keep active! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/27/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay

The parking lot at the Blithewold estate in Bristol is overflowing on this chilly day in late April. I walk around the pink blooms of the Japanese star-magnolia tree and under the signature Japanese cedar that stands guard in front of the massive stone mansion. That's when I get my first glimpse of the soft yellow hues glowing from a vast garden, stemming from row after row of daffodils. Young girls dressed as fairies run down the aisles, butterfly wings attached to their backs and colorful ribbons in their hair flowing in the wind. I follow their cue and enter a pasture coated with morning dew to find countless families happily ensconced within the centuries-old stone walls. A harpist plays as kids create papier-mâché flowers, blow bubbles, and dance around a Maypole. I half-expect to see nymphs lounging in a nearby pond of water lilies.

This is exactly the vision of spring awakening I've been yearning for after our polar-vortex winter. I need to stir my soul with spring blooms, buds, and community spirit as we all collectively end our days of hibernation. I've come to where spring arrives first in New England, the temperate zone along the shores of Narragansett Bay.
To read the rest of my story for Yankee Magazine on Spring Comes to Narragansett Bay, please click here

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/26/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Debut of the Setai Tel Aviv

Monday was the official opening of The Setai Tel Aviv, the first property in the city to be designated a member of the Leading Hotels of the World. Located at the entrance to Jaffa, overlooking the Mediterranean, the property was initially constructed as a fortress in the 12th-century. The five-building complex was conquered and then inhabited by the Crusaders, Turkish-Ottoman Empire, and the British, until being used as a police station until 2005. The original buildings and stone corridors that wrap around an inner courtyard have been meticulously restored over an extensive preservation process that was spearheaded by the Israel Antiquities Authority and preservation architect Eyal Ziv, who is responsible for the design of several iconic Tel Aviv structures, including the Alhambra Theater. The property features 120 guest rooms, rooftop infinity pool, spa and gym, and JAYA, a restaurant that celebrates the best of Israeli food while also honoring the culinary heritage of Jaffa and the property's Turkish roots.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/25/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

San Diego Adventure

You can lounge on Pacific Beach, visit the sea lions in La Jolla, and bike Coronado when visiting San Diego. Or you can paraglide, surf, or go on California's longest zipline. With nearly 100 years of flying history, Torrey Pines Gliderport, located north of La Jolla, is America's most popular coastal soaring site. Adventure seekers can take a tandem paragliding or hanggliding flight with professional, experienced instructors and enjoy a n exhilarating ride as you soar off dramatic 300-foot cliffs above the Pacific Ocean and San Diego's scenic coastline. Made famous by the Beach Boys' hit song "Surfin' USA," Swami's Beach in Encinitas is one of San Diego's prime surf spots, where big waves break off a narrow beach and challenge experienced surfers. For novice surfers, La Jolla Shores is a family friendly strip of beach with a sandy bottom and gentle waves. San Diego is also home to the longest zip line in California. Set in the La Jolla Indian Campground, within the foothills of Palomar Mountain, the La Jolla Zip Zoom provides riders with 6,273 feet of excitement coupled with spectacular views of mountain peaks, and lush green canyons. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/24/18 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