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Green Travel

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Hot Springs of Pamukkale

Several hours south of Istanbul is Pamukkale (cotton castle in Turkish), appropriately named for the pearl white cliffs that cover the mountainside like huge balls of cotton. Hot springs rich in calcium gush forth from Pamukkale’s highest point, forming milky pools below. Since ancient times, this has been Turkey’s most popular spa area. Try the thermal pools at the Richmond, the best resort in town.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/25/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Visiting Kas and Kalkan, Turkey

One of the last unspoiled regions of the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey boasts aquamarine waters relatively free of boat traffic and mountainous shores that contain few posh hotels or high-rise condominiums. The coastal community of Kas is the gateway to Kekova, a sunken city where you can still see homes submerged under the water. You’ll also spot numerous sarcophagi, ancient tombs sitting mysteriously in the Mediterranean. Back in town, you can visit the ancient stone stage of the Hellenistic theater and barter with carpet shop owners over the price of a colorful kilim. You should also take the time to visit Kalkan, a charming seaside village, where tables surrounding the picturesque harbor are abuzz with fishermen discussing the day’s catch. Beach lovers soak up the sun at nearby Patara Beach. Spend the night at the lovely Meldi Hotel, where the $82 room rate includes a breakfast buffet for two.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/24/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

To Truly Relax on a Greek Island, Head to Tilos

This time of year, late August, and my mind starts to wander to the southern Mediterranean. September and October is the ideal time to visit Greece and Turkey. Temperatures start to cool down a bit and the summer crowds have departed, returning the Mediterranean coast and islands back to their rightful owners. This week, I’m going to delve into some of my favorite Turkish and Greek locales. First stop, Tilos.

Tilos is an island where the locals, still unaccustomed to tourists, greet you as if you lived there your whole life. A place where one picks fresh figs off the tree and finds deserted medieval castles that request no admission fee. Tilos lies approximately 65 kilometers due east of Rhodes and 40 kilometers due south of Kos in the Dodecanese Islands. With a population of only 300 people, the island has a surprising number of readily available accommodations and restaurants, one of which makes some of the best Greek food I’ve ever tasted. Most of the tourist facilities line the sleepy port of Livadia, a town where the lone baker knows you on a first-name basis shortly after you arrive and a restaurateur gives you a free bottle of his favorite wine when you depart. Stay at the aptly named Dream Island on the beach at Livadia. Spacious rooms and patios overlook the sea. A family-run restaurant named Sofia’s is the gourmet dining choice in town. The restaurant is named after Sofia Economou, the matriarch and gracious hostess. Her husband does the cooking and his specialties include fried pumpkin with potato garlic dip, aubergine with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese, and the leanest and juiciest souvlaki we tasted in Greece.  Ferries leave from Rhodes to Tilos every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, returning Wednesday and Friday.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/23/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New App that Identifies Trees Makes Its Debut

Researching my first book, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England, I would do my best to correctly identify the type of tree I was starting at. Soon after the book was published, however, I received letters from budding arborists telling me those trees on so-and-so trail in Vermont were white oaks, not red oaks. How I wish I had a new app unveiled last month that identifies all the trees in the northeast and soon all of America. Called Leafsnap, the app was developed by scientists at Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution and is currently available for free on iPhone and iPad. Simply take a picture of a leaf and within seconds a likely species appears with photographs of the tree and information on the tree’s flowers, seeds, and bark. Now I want the Audubon Society to create an app that identifies birds from the sound of its call.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/15/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Conservation Efforts in the Masai Mara

Mara is Swahili for “dotted hillside,” aptly named for the wealth of wildlife roaming the valley, especially during the fall when vast hordes of wildebeests are making their annual migration from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti. Yet, it wasn’t so long ago that this same wilderness area was rife with poachers aiming to bag their rhino, Maasai warriors spearing male lions as their gateway to manhood, villagers killing ostriches and impala for their meat, and mass tourism unchecked as 20 to 30 land rovers could often be found viewing that same lone leopard. Haji Ogle, who spent the bulk of his life working for the Kenya Wildlife Service battling poachers in the bush, still has his concerns.  He worries about mass tourism and would like the number of visitors to the park each day to be limited by a national government agency, not the local county council that runs the reserve now. Yet he insists that the Masai Mara be open to everyone, keeping the admission price at a reasonable 500 Kenya Schillings or $6.25 US for adult residents of the country.  Ogle is also uneasy about the growth of large wheat farms that are encroaching on the land from the east, yet he can’t help but remain optimistic. “Coming from where I was and where I am today, this is one of the enterprises that has been a success,” say Ogle.  “Kenyan conservation is now widespread.”
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/10/10 at 02:00 PM
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Monday, November 08, 2010

Voluntourism in Kenya

I’m in Kenya the next two weeks researching a handful of stories. I’d like to share with you the pitches that were accepted as assignments. Given the current worldwide recession, visiting Masai Mara merely to spot the Big Five from your open-air Jeep or quaff sundowners from your luxury tent seems slightly self-indulgent. That’s why luxury tour operator Micato Safaris offers its clients a chance to give back by participating in its partnership with AmericaShare, a nonprofit foundation Micato Safaris established twenty years ago that supplies education, food, clothing and shelter to thousands of children living in the Mukuru slum in Nairobi. Clientele who arrive or depart from Nairobi participate in Micato’s “Lend a Helping Hand on Safari” program. During these one-day philanthropic excursions to the Mukuru slum, travelers visit the community, plant trees, and donate much-needed supplies. More often than not, the inspiration and urge to help out doesn’t end that day. Many Micato Safaris veterans have become involved in AmericaShare’s School Sponsorship program, which enables needy children to attend boarding school in Nairobi. One recent visitor even helped fund the Harambee House and Women’s Centre, a community center and boys’ dormitory run in part by women with HIV.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/08/10 at 02:00 PM
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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Stop and Pick the Strawberries

Ever since my wife and I moved to Boston over a decade ago, we made the wise decision to join Lindentree Farm, a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm located in nearby Lincoln. Every week in the summer and fall, we pick up our small share of organic vegetables, fruits, and flowers grown on the farm. We pay a small fee and also have to work some 8 hours each year harvesting or planting for the following summer. Wow, can you taste the difference eating just picked veggies and fruit! But the best part is spending extra time at the farm picking the goodies straight off the bush. Yesterday, we picked strawberries, blueberries, and sugar snap peas, and feasted last night. This is my idea of heaven.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/01/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, June 04, 2010

Paved a Lot, Put up Paradise

Last summer, I wrote a story for Outside Magazine on the transformation of abandoned oil plants, railroad yards, even elevated railroad lines (the High Line Park in Manhattan) into popular urban parks. Now The Trust for Public Land’s Peter Harnik has written a book on the subject called “Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities.” A must read for any urban visionary, the book not only delves into examples, but is a primer on how to create parks from space that not long ago was thought of as unusable. Grab lunch at Chelsea Market and have a picnic on the High Line, like I recently did, and you realize the brilliance of this concept.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/04/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Camping Area Conserved on Cape Cod

One of the last items the late Senator Kennedy worked on was protection of the North of Highland Camping Area. Located in Truro, this is an area of Cape Cod that still retains the charm of yesteryear, with its wild dunes, stretch of sublime coastline, and patches of forest. Unlike much of the Cape these days, Truro has resisted overbuilding. In 2005, North of Highland’s owner expressed interested in retiring and selling the 57-acre property, which the family had owned for over 50 years. The Trust for Public Land stepped in to prevent its sale for residential development and just announced they secured a conservation easement that will be managed by the National Park service. This makes perfect sense since the property lies inside the Cape Cod National Seashore, a half-mile walk from Head of the Meadow Beach.
 

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/17/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, April 09, 2010

Yoga Atop New England’s Tallest Peak

Carlene Sullivan, owner of Symmetree Yoga in North Conway, New Hampshire, has just introduced a 2-night Yoga Adventure, where you take a guided hike or drive to the top of 6,288-foot Mount Washington, and top it off with yoga and meditation on the summit surrounded by the other ridges of the White Mountains. Prices start at $260 per person and include two nights' accommodation, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, yoga class, breath work, and meditation, and transportation to the site from North Conway. Carlene also offers day-trips, where you hike to a serene spot in the Whites and have your own private yoga session next to a waterfall or rambling stream. 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/09/10 at 12:59 PM
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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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