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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Favorite Fall Foliage Travels—Canoeing the Allagash, Maine

In 1998, I had an assignment from Men’s Journal magazine to paddle the 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway in the northern tier of Maine. It was late September, when the summer infestation of mosquitoes and black flies were gone, along with most paddlers. Instead, I found a river ablaze in fall color. An added bonus was that moose were in heat. One night while I was sleeping near the shores, several moose were going at it and I thought I was going to be trampled to death. Besides that little adventure, I had a glorious time venturing down this magical waterway. I went with classic Maine guides, Alexandra and Garrett Conover, who are semi-retired and no longer take folks down the river. Instead, go with a trusted guide like Mahoosuc Guide Service who led me down the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine for this Sierra Magazine story.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/21/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Favorite Fall Foliage Travels—Cannon Beach, Oregon

Only a 90-minute drive from Portland, Cannon Beach is where the mighty timber of the Pacific Northwest meets the long stretch of beach from California, offering the best of both worlds. First stop is towering Haystack Rock, which stands tall in the shallow waters, inspiring awe from all who stroll hand-in-hand on the hard-packed sand. Be on the lookout for the resident pod of grey whales off the Oregon coast which number around 200. Then drive over to nearby Ecola State Park and take a hike in this Emerald Forest, where massive 300 year-old Sitka spruce trees have trunks as wide as a redwood. The woods soon recede, replaced by sandstone bluffs, pink colored beaches and the great expanse of the Pacific. Make your way south, stopping in the fishing community of Bay City for small, tender Kumamoto oysters on the half shell at Pacific Oyster. Dessert is creamy blackberry ice cream at Tillamook Cheese Factory. Spend the night in affordable Manzanita, where rooms at the Spindrift Inn are as low as $109 a night in the months of September and October. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/20/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Favorite Fall Foliage Travels—Biking the Confederation Trail, Prince Edward Island

In September 2004, I was fortunate to receive an assignment from Canadian Geographic to head to Prince Edward Island and write about their relatively new Confederation Trail. The Canadian Pacific railroad that once connected Prince Edward Island’s small villages last roared through the interior in 1989, leaving in its wake hundreds of kilometers of track. By 2000, the tracks were pulled and the line replaced with a surface of finely crushed gravel, creating a biking and walking thoroughfare called the Confederation Trail. Crossing the entire island, the trail starts in Tignish in the west and rolls 279 kilometers to the eastern terminus in Elmira. One of the most scenic stretches starts in Mt. Stewart in King’s County along the sinuous Hillsborough River. You’ll soon reach St. Peter’s Bay, a large inlet dotted with mussel farms and lobster traps. After crossing a bridge that rewards you with glimpses of the island’s fabled red cliffs, you’ll arrive at the rolling Greenwich Dunes. If you were wise, you grabbed a room at the nearby Inn at St. Peter’s to spend the night. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/19/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Latest Boston Story in Alaska Airlines Inflight Publication

Over the years, I think more friends have found my stories in inflight pubs than any other outlet, including the hundreds of articles I wrote for Boston Globe, Yankee, and Men’s Journal. Yesterday, I received a text from a college buddy flying to Seattle on Alaska Airlines who spotted my feature on Boston (the piece starts on page 90). If you’re planning to head to New England this fall to see the foliage, the story is a good primer on the city. It includes many of my favorite sites, restaurants, and hotels including a must-stop at the MFA, dining at Shojo, and spending the night at Kenmore Square’s Hotel Commonwealth. Downstairs from Hotel Commonwealth you’ll find Eastern Standard, the restaurant our family came to celebrate after my son’s high school graduation. So rest assured that I’m giving you all my insider picks. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/18/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Still Time to Hit the Beach in New England

Next week, I’ll be discussing my favorite fall foliage activities in the region. Yet, I love September just as much as October in New England. The summer crowds are gone leaving the beaches deserted. It’s been unseasonably warm all week, in the low to mid-80s. With cousins in town from Arizona and my brother in from New York, we took advantage of the warm weather on Tuesday to drive up to a family favorite, Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. A mere 45-minute drive from my home and I was sifting my feet in the soft white flour-like sand looking at the gorgeous lighthouse at the point. It was low tide and we walked on a long sandbar almost out to that lighthouse. There were few people on the beach and best yet, there was no charge to enter. When we had our fill of sun, sand, and ocean, we headed to nearby Woodman’s for the requisite lobster roll, steamers, and onion rings. This place always has a long line in summer, but we marched right up to the counter to make our order. The weather is supposed to be warm and sunny the rest of the month so hit the coastline and dip your feet in the ocean one last time. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/15/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hurricane Irma’s Impact on the Caribbean

Yesterday, United Airlines issued a waiver to change all flights for free to St. Thomas, St. Martin, and Providenciales, Turks & Caicos through December 31, 2017. Word is starting to trickle in from the islands and it’s not good. Most resorts on St. Barts, St. Martin, and St. John have structural damage. Anguilla, St. Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos, and Cuba were also hit hard. Forbes just issued an extensive run-down on specific properties if you already have reservations this upcoming winter. Many other islands were thankfully unscathed like Jamaica, Aruba, St. Lucia, Barbados, and the Caymans. So if you’re thinking of visiting the Caribbean this winter, contact ActiveTravels and we’ll give you all the information we have.  
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/14/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Waltham Named One of the Top Food Towns in the Country

We head over to nearby Waltham all the time for the authentic Mexican fare at Amuleto, the best pastrami in town at Moody’s Provisions, and to dine at the award-winning Italian restaurant, La Campania. So it came as no surprise that Waltham made the cut in RewardExpert’s ranking of 2017’s Best American Foodie Towns. RewardExpert analyzed 100 cities and towns with populations less than 100,000 and evaluated them on nine key metrics. I also like their other picks such as Portland, Maine, Traverse City, Michigan, and Healdsburg, California. Have a look. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/13/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

New U by Uniworld Cruises Catered to Younger Clientele

It’s no surprise that a river cruise appeals to all ages. Just ask active travels tour operator, Backroads, who teamed with AmaWaterways to bring families to the Danube River. Ever since they started these cruises in 2016, 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. The problem, especially if you’re a Gen-Xer or Millennial, is the average age on many of these river cruises is 68. That’s why we’re happy to introduce U by Uniworld, tailored to ages 21 to 45. Making its debut on April 14 with shiny black exteriors, the two vessels are slated to sail the Danube, Rhine, and France’s Seine River. Not surprisingly, these smaller ships are already starting to book up. If interested, give ActiveTravels a call to check availability. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/12/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Hard Work of Social Media Marketing

We always ask new members of ActiveTravels how they found us. As we enter into our fifth year of business, more and more clients are saying that they came upon us in a Google search. Very few things make me happier than having complete strangers from around the globe ask us for our travel expertise. Sure, we love referrals, but there’s something terribly exciting about getting an email or call from the UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, and across the US from someone out of the blue. I mentioned this to our social media guru, Ross Lasley, owner of the acclaimed Internet Educator, and it resulted in one of his columns. I came across it recently and I was flattered. Ross understands that nobody finds you on Google by luck. It comes from years of hard work, getting your business out there through all channels of social media. I’ve been blogging regularly since 2009, probably the same I time I joined FaceBook and LinkedIn. The Twitter account came in 2011, Instagram this past year. It’s a steady stream of content, not unlike the hundreds of articles I wrote the 20 years prior. Build it and through hard work they will come. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/11/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, September 01, 2017

Experts Forecast Spectacular Fall Foliage in New England

I’ve been busy this week designing itineraries for all of our clients headed to New England in the next month or two. Early reports indicate that this is going to be a banner year for fall colors. While we now comfortably send ActiveTravels members all over the world thanks to the guidance of trusted local experts, there’s no region we know better than our own backyard of New England. I’ve practically driven every backcountry road of these six states writing books for Outside Magazine, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, articles on the top beach towns and winter towns for Yankee Magazine, and more than 300 stories for the Boston Globe. ActiveTravels was also asked to design a route for Conde Nast Traveler readers and we were chosen the agent of choice for NewEnglandTravelPlanner. If you want to visit New England, rest assured that we’ll find the best lodging, activities, restaurants, and routes that suit your budget and passion.

Off to Lime Rock Race Course in Connecticut, and visits with family in New Jersey, Philly, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania next week. Have a great Labor Day Weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/01/17 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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