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Family Adventure

Great places for families to check out.

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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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

New Trends and Rides at America’s Amusement Parks

July 4th weekend might be in the rear view mirror but the summer has just begun. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of the hundreds of amusement parks across the country to sample some of their new rides. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the big new trends at amusement parks are virtual reality roller coasters and immersive 4-D attractions. On roller coasters, riders wear specially designed virtual reality headsets as they become part of the adrenalin-pumping storyline. For example, Six Flags Magic Mountain, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, has added new virtual reality technology to the “Revolution” steel roller coaster, creating “The New Revolution.” Wind, water, and heat are just a few of the sensory elements, along with high-tech sound that ride designers are implementing to help create a 4-D immersive experience. At Epcot in Orlando, “Soarin’ Around the World” is a new 4-D experience that treats guests to an aerial tour of some of the world’s most distinctive landscapes.

 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/06/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Adirondacks’ Wild Walk, The High Line of the Forest

The Adirondack Extreme Adventure Center was the first place my family ever experienced a treetop obstacle course. Set 10 to 50 feet off the grounds amidst the tall pines and maples you have the chance to climb rope ladders, jump from section to section, walk across suspended bridges, and as a finale, zipline side-by-side. The treetop course is an innovative way to get a workout and a ride at the same time, so everyone in the family is happy. But obviously this type of experience is not accessible to all so I was delighted to hear that the Adirondacks is now home to another adventure that can lead all generations to the treetops. 

 
Last July, the Wild Center at Tupper Lake opened its newest attraction, the Wild Walk. Dubbed the “High Line of the Forest,” Wild Walk gives visitors a chance to walk among the trees on a winding trail of bridges and platforms that lead from ground level to the treetops of the Adirondack forest. The experience includes a four-story twig tree house, swinging bridges, and a full-sized bald eagle’s nest at the highest point, 42 feet in the air. At Feeder Alley, slits in enclosed walls let visitors peer out into the surrounding forest, which is planted with species known to attract birds. The Wild Walk will reopen for the summer on May 27, 2016.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/13/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Winter Carnival Season Begins

If you love Paris in the springtime, then you’ll adore Quebec City in the wintertime, where, for 17 days, the party never stops. Quebec’s Winter Carnival (January 29-February 14) is the largest in the world, attracting more than one million people. I was one of the lucky people to arrive in this fortified city on the first day of the 2015 Winter Carnival. I spent the morning sledding down an ice chute, viewing the impressive ice castle, made from 1600 blocks of ice, eating maple syrup on snow, and playing a human game of foosball. Top DJs from Montreal and Toronto played a mesmerizing mix of hip-hop and electronica, while locals carried cane-like red sticks filled with a potent drink called Caribou, made of whiskey, red wine, and maple syrup, adding to the dancing frenzy. When Bonhomme, the popular snowman and revered host of the festivities started to boogie, the crowd went wild. For those of us who choose to embrace winter in all its snowy charm, there’s no better event than a Winter Carnival. Check out my latest column for Liftopia on "6 Winter Carnivals You Don’t Want to Miss."

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/14/16 at 05:59 AM
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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Top 5 Travel Days of 2015, Exploring Cappadocia

When Mount Erciyes poured lava over central Turkey thousands of years ago, the volcanic ash formed a surreal, lunar-like landscape consisting of cone-shaped “fairy chimneys” and layers of soft volcanic rock called “tufa.” Early Christians found the pervious terrain ideal for escaping persecution by Romans and Arabs. When wet, the tufa could be easily carved like soap to make caves out of the pinnacles as well as underground cities descending hundreds of feet below the surface. Tunnels were carved into the soft volcanic rock that venture a mind-boggling 7 and 8 levels underground. They lead to rooms that were used to sleep, eat, pray, along with advanced ventilation systems and a well to retrieve water.

 
This past July, Lisa and I returned with the kids to Cappadocia to revisit this otherworldly terrain. One of our favorite jaunts was a hike with guide, Mehmet Gungor, accompanied by his dog. We were all by our lonesome in the stunning Rose Valley, hiking in and out of caves. Early the next morning we took a magical hot air balloon ride over the terrain and then toured the underground cities. We rented a car our entire time in Cappadocia and it was easy to drive through this rural part of central Turkey. We made it to the mountain town of Güzelyurt, where we found more underground cities and churches from over a millennium ago. We never felt unsafe driving on the backcountry roads of Cappadocia. On the contrary, surrounded by spectacular scenery and very little traffic, it was a great part of the world to cruise. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/05/16 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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