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Family Adventure

Great places for families to check out.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Happy Father’s Day from ActiveTravels

I often joke with my kids that they grew up in the pages of The Boston Globe (the photos on the left are Melanie from a story on mid-coast Maine and Jake from a story on Costa Rica). Lately, I've been writing about our family trips for Virtuoso Traveler, like the stellar time we had in Switzerland with Backroads last summer. This is what I live for, creating Dream Day experiences with my family. And it's probably the number one reason we started ActiveTravels, to hopefully form lasting memories for other families. Thankfully, you don't have to always travel the world to savor a moment with your children. On Monday, we threw the bikes on the back of the car and drove to Arlington, Massachusetts, to bike along the Minuteman Bike Trail to Davis Square and the latest trail extension into Somerville. It was a leisurely spin, stopping for cold brews, and watching a family of newborn swans, and it was glorious. On Father's Day, we're heading to Chinatown for dim sum and then strolling to SoWa Open Market to listen to music, see the art, and grab a beer. Have a Fantastic Father's Day and get out there with the kids to create an unforgettable experience! 

I want to thank Amy for her wonderful job showing us around the Big Island of Hawaii and the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario. I'll be back next with blogs on my recent trip to Medellin and Cartagena. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/15/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 13, 2018

Swiss Bliss

Grindelwald is one of those fairy-tale Swiss mountain villages that serve as a gateway to the heart of the Alps. Wander from your hotel to the gondola, ride it to the last stop, and soon you'll be staring at a crown of majestic 13,000-foot peaks. While it's the Jungfrau region's largest ski resort, in summer Grindelwald offers scenic walks, bike rides, and hikes past lakes and waterfalls and through flower-bedecked alpine meadows.
 
A fresh dusting of snow atop the jagged ridges this July morning only adds to the luster as my family and I set out on a six-mile hike along the Bachalpsee route to a remote lake deep in an emerald valley. To make our descent back to town, we hop aboard scooter-bicycle hybrids called Trottibikes. I point mine downhill on a paved path and pray. Directly across from me lies the mighty Eiger peak, its massive girth only adding to my anxiety. I decide to step off to gather my nerves and pretend to take photos.
 
That's when my daughter, Melanie, whizzes by me at breakneck speed and screams, "Yeah, Trottibikes!" (Translation: You're getting old, Dad).
 
To read more about my travels with the family to Switzerland last summer, please check out my latest story for Virtuoso Traveler
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/13/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

World’s Best Family Travel Destinations

Yellowstone National Park, London, Paris, Switzerland, Kenya, Tanzania, and Costa Rica all receive a worthy mention in my latest story for Global Traveler on the World’s Best Family Destinations. Thanks to Austin Adventures, Abercrombie & Kent, Backroads, and FanilyVacationCritic for providing the inspiration and the quotes. 

Lisa and I are off to New Jersey tomorrow for a conference with other Virtuoso-affiliated travel agents. Then it’s on to Boca Raton to celebrate Ken Leavitt’s 85th birthday and to see family in Naples and Marco Island. We’ll be back on March 19th. In the meantime, be well and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/07/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Give Your Grandchild a Gift that Will Last a Lifetime

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 

 
In March, my family will hold a 90th birthday party for my mother. Her intellectual curiosity about the world remains unchanged from the time in the late 1980s when she and my father dreamed up the idea of a “10-year old trip.” They would take each grandchild to a destination of the young grandchild’s choosing (within reason!) once they turned 10. In the mid 1990s, they took my nephew Alex rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon, then my niece Sarah to Costa Rica, where my father was involved with the local environmental group Organization for Tropical Studies. After my father died, my mother continued the tradition, taking my nephew Ben to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos, my nephew Jason to Alaska, my son Jake to the Peruvian Amazon, and my daughter Sophie to Belize (both to the Mayan ruins in the Cayo District and to the reefs on the coast). 
 
These trips, I’m proud to say, seem ideal for ActiveTravels members. I would strongly encourage anyone reading this blog who may have an interest in multi-generational travel to consider something along similar lines. ActiveTravels would love to help you find the right destination and make the arrangements. I am confident that these many journeys had a tremendous impact on both the grandparents and the grandchildren in my family, often exposing the child to adventures they would not have had otherwise and to special bonds with Grandma and Pop-Pop. For several of these grandchildren, a love of the outdoors, or of exploring the world culturally, remains at the forefront of their lives. As my son Jake wrote in a postcard, recently unearthed, to a friend back in Brookline: "In my trip to the Amazon, I've fallen in quicksand, eaten a piranha, been skooled in 'football' by the locals, seen a capybara, been blessed by a shaman, and been 65 feet up in the trees on a rope bridge. How are you?"
 
Phote of Jake and My Mom in the Peruvian Amazon Summer 2006 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/13/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Backroads Announces New Slate of Trips in 2018

This is the time of year that I usually receive press releases from tour operators announcing new trips in 2018. Since I just returned from an outstanding Backroads trip to Switzerland, that one caught my eye. They are introducing 38 new trips in 2018, expanding greatly into South America and introducing more ocean cruise trips after the great success they had with Iceland this summer. The multi-adventure family trip to Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park sounds intriguing to me. My good friend, Eric Lucas, who writes regularly about Alaskan travel, has told me this is one of his favorite parts of the state—spectacularly beautiful with far less people than Denali. Biking around Cuba sounds like a great way to see the island. There’s also a new trip to northern Iceland that focuses on the Northern Lights. If interested in any of these trips, let ActiveTravels know and we’ll look into availability. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/30/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Five Teen-Worthy Adventures

Once the kids hit their teen years, it’s almost impossible to convince them to go on another family trip that doesn’t include a posse of their friends. To make your offer as appealing as possible, you have to up the ante with a tantalizing mix of adventure and food. The finest family adventure trips escort you into a world of active travel you would probably never attempt on your own. Go beyond your comfort zone and try something new together as a family and the memories will last a lifetime. The five destinations in my latest story for Men’s Journal all feature a bevy of outdoor activity in awe-inspiring settings, including our trip to Switzerland in July. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/17/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Greece Week with Heritage Tours: A Stop in Spetses

The ferry ride from Piraeus to Spetses island is a little under 3 hours or you can take the long drive we did through the Peloponnese peninsula to reach the town of Kosta, then take a 10-minute boat ride over to the island. Either way, it’s worth your effort. On Spetses, time stands still, especially when we ran into a large group of bikers circling the island in Victorian garb for the annual Tweed Day celebration. A 26-kilometer loop circles the island past beaches and the rugged shoreline, ideal for bikers since Spetses is a car-free island. Soon we were back at the main square in town, dominated by the classic façade of the Poseidonion Grand Hotel. Kids were running while parents were buying fresh baked bread for a picnic. We dined on Greek salad, octopus, fish, and lamb, as the owner of the hotel explained why this low-key island is a favorite for folks looking for an authentic Greek experience that cherishes community and family. I would have happily spent the next 3 days here, but we were on a day tour of the Peloponnese and were off to the charming town of Nafplion next. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/02/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Harbour Island, the Best of the Bahamas

With more than 700 islands (20 of them inhabited) scattered from Florida’s doorstep to the edge of the Caribbean, the balmy Bahamas offers every type of warm-weather lifestyle imaginable. For some, the Bahamas is an afternoon’s port of call in Nassau and Freeport. Others are lured by the massive Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, where the beach life includes large pools, water slides, and a walk-though aquarium. Yet, there’s another side of the Bahamas called the Out Islands that have yet to be discovered. My favorite is Harbour Island, a three-mile-long, half-mile-wide speck off the coast of Eleuthera. With 18th-century clapboard houses edged with picket fences, this tiny island looks as if someone shrank Nantucket and plopped it down in the tropics. Cars are all but forbidden, replaced by golf carts.  Aptly named Pink Sands Beach runs the length of the island, speckled with the perfect blush of flamingo pink. Kids can ride horseback along the shores or don mask and snorkel to go eyeball-to-eyeball with the fishies. Stay at the Coral Sands Hotel, smack dab in the middle of that pink beach.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/23/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wizarding Week at Cape Cod’s Ocean Edge Resort During School Break

If the thought of going to the Cape during February break seems absurd, take a look at the weekend weather, where Sunday could top 50 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s prime beach walk weather in these parts. But even if there’s a blizzard outside, your family will have a blast at Brewster’s Ocean Edge Resort during next week’s school break. Expect pizza pool parties around the two indoor pools, arts & crafts, family movie nights, indoor camping replete with your own teepee, and all the fun associated with Wizarding Week. Meet your fellow witches and wizards, grab your broomstick and wand, and compete in quidditch matches and other games to help win the House Cup. Another added perk is that kids eat free when parents dine for breakfast at Ocean Terrace. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/16/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Relaxing Stay at Lake George’s Silver Bay YMCA

North of Bolton Landing, Lake George feels more lake a river, narrow and hemmed in by the peaks, offering vintage Adirondack beauty. You peer out at ridge after anonymous ridge and a carpet of trees, with few signs of civilization. When I tell people that I find Lake George more exquisite than Lake Tahoe, Lake Powell, or even that wondrous lake to the north, Champlain, they often look at me bewildered.  They equate the lake with the honky-tonk village on the southern tip, packed with T-shirt and fudge shops, video arcades, hokey haunted houses, a requisite water park, and my personal favorite, Goony Golf, a miniature golf course crowded with huge fairy tale characters. All they have to do is drive about ten miles north on Route 9N to Bolton Landing and the lake becomes far more serene. Growing up in Schenectady, New York, we would make the hour-drive to Bolton Landing on a regular basis to reach our sailboat docked just out of town. Now I return on an annual basis with my family to treat my kids to a good dose of natural adventure. 

 
I just returned from 4 glorious days with 18 members of my extended family at the Silver Bay YMCA, a 20-minute drive north of Bolton Landing. We hiked to Inspiration Point for exquisite vistas of the lake, kayaked across to the opposite shores, played tennis, went on a stroll with a naturalist to find wildflowers, made s’mores around the fire pit while looking at the fireflies, took advantage of those rocking chairs on the inn’s verandah, and swam to our heart’s content in the refreshing waters. It was good old-fashioned fun, a bucolic retreat where we could disconnect from our screens and reconnect with the family. Can’t wait to return to the lake next summer! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/13/16 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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