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Family Adventure

Great places for families to check out.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Family Fun with the Trustees of Reservations: Greater Boston

If you live in the Boston area and need a quick escape outdoors, look no further than a Trustees property. Some of my family’s most memorable day trips in the region have been to Hingham’s World’s End and Dover’s Noanet Woods. I’ll be delving into those sites in today’s itinerary, plus more.


Starting in Metro West and continuing counterclockwise around the 95/93 beltway that circles the city, we hit a favorite mountain biking locale, Noanet Woodlands. 17 miles of shaded trails weave through woods, skirt ponds, and lead you to Noanet Peak, which rewards you with views of the Boston skyline. Kids will enjoy the popular Caryl Trail, a half-mile walk to an old mill site. New this summer is a guided full moon and meteor shower hike for families in late July throughout August. Across the Powisset Street parking lot is the classic Powisset Farm which dates back three centuries. Take a leisurely walk through the farmstead, complete with chickens and pigs, then follow an easy, one-mile loop trail into the neighboring forest. 

Not far from the Noanet Woods in neighboring Medfield is another quintessential retreat for families, Rocky Woods. Walk around Chickering Pond or enjoy a longer excursion on carriage roads. New this year for families is the Night’s On, Lights Out Family Campout on August 1st. Pitch your tent in the evening and then participate in games and recreational activities. As the night darkens, you’ll go on a night hike before sharing stories around a campfire with S’mores. Pre-registration is required.

Continuing southeast, the Bradley Estate in Canton is easily found off of the highway. While the Georgian brick home and gardens are a popular spot for weddings, families will love seeing the llamas and sheep on the property. On July 9th from 3 pm to 5 pm, try your luck with Family Games on the grounds. The July 23rd Art Quest will lead families to four different destinations around the property. Each family member will then have an opportunity to experience the landscape through art. 

The Trustees purchased the 36-acre Governor Ames Estate in 2012 and what a gem this Easton property is. Trails lead under centuries-old beech trees to small serene ponds, sweeping meadows, and an elegant 19th-century stone stable. Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Legacy Event this coming Sunday, June 28th. Held from 11 am to 4 pm, the event features live music throughout the day as well as hands-on art programs, walking tours of the grounds, canoeing, and interactive children's programs including a Stegosaurus Scavenger Hunt, Cookie Monster Kitchen, and a children's entertainer to end the day.

Last but certainly not least is another crown jewel in the Trustees collection, World’s End. South of Boston, World’s End juts out of Hingham Harbor like a rooster at daybreak. In 1890, noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead was hired to transform World’s End into a “planned community” of 150 homes. Thankfully, this never came to fruition. The 251-acre estate was farmed and owned by one family until the Trustees of Reservations purchased the property with the help of the public in 1967. A 4-mile walk (jogging is also popular here) starts on a wide path bordered by white pines, hickories, oaks, and bracken ferns. The trail narrows as it hugs the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean, with views of the Boston Harbor and the city skyline. Upcoming programs for families include Learn to Kayak on June 28th and Trees and Bees on July 9th.
 
 
Also, don't forget that the Trustees own and manage 60 community gardens in Boston and hold year-round gardening classes, workshops, and events. For example, in Mattapan (30 Edgewater Drive) on July 11, from 1:30 pm-3 pm, kids can learn about bugs and go on a scavenger hunt. 
 
It’s been a pleasure to work with the Trustees again, especially their powerhouse publicist Kristi Perry, who knows all 113 properties intimately. Please take another look at all the blogs I wrote this week on the organization. There is a ton of events happening this summer and I don’t want you to miss out. Come to the August 22nd “Strandbeests” event on Crane Beach and please say hi to me in person. In the meantime, I’m off to Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey, back again with a new post on July 7th.

Have a wonderful 4th of July and keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/25/15 at 03:30 PM
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Family Fun with the Trustees of Reservations: the North Shore

Most people affiliate the Trustees with that glorious stretch of Atlantic Ocean shoreline called Crane Beach, recently named one of the “Top 10 U.S. Family Beaches” by National Geographic Traveler. Today’s itinerary will get you to Crane Beach and the adjacent Crane Estate, which looks incredible after a $2.1 million restoration of the Grand Allée, but first we want you to work up a sweat before swimming in the ocean waters. 


Choose between a mountain bike ride in the fishing town of Gloucester or a short hike up a hill in Andover that rewards you with vistas of Boston’s Prudential Center. At Gloucester’s Ravenswood Park, ten miles of former carriage path trails wind through hemlock-covered grounds, leading to a must-see overlook of Gloucester Harbor. The crushed gravel and wide trails is ideally suited for novice mountain bikers. Not to mention, it’s a great way to escape the Cape Ann crowds in summer. 

At Andover’s Ward Reservation, opt for the 1-mile (round-trip) climb up Holt Hill. You’ll stroll through forest and alongside meadows past old stone walls. Keep on climbing the grassy trail until you reach the short summit overlooking the expanse of Merrimack Valley and yes, the Pru. 

Four and a half miles long, Crane Beach in Ipswich is known for its smooth surf and dunes. Members of the Trustees can obtain a parking sticker for $75 and park free for the entire summer at one of New England’s best-loved beaches. New this summer, Crane Beach will be open late to offer Drive-In Movies, including a snack bar. Also don’t miss being on Crane Beach during low tide (around 11 am) on August 22nd, when Dutch artist Theo Jansen will create one of his signature “Strandbeests” to coincide with an upcoming show at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. It’s impossible to describe. Just check it out

Soak up the sun and then make your way to the Crane Mansion or Great House. This spring, The Trustees announced the launch of an initiative to celebrate its cultural sites with a new “Bringing Our Stories to Life” campaign. Not surprisingly, the Crane Estate, the property the Trustees consider the crown jewel in their collection, is at the forefront of this initiative. Children will like the new tour, “Guest of the Cranes,” where it’s 1929 and you’ve just arrived to visit your good friends, the Cranes. After touring the mansion, walk down the striking Grand Allée, with camera in hand, and stop at the recently renovated Casino, which originally served as an elegant pool and entertainment space used by the Crane family. The Casino is now open to the public for lawn games, and inside you can play pool and buy ice cream.

If your plans include one of the Thursday night concerts on the grounds this summer, you might be wise to spend the night at the bottom of the hill at The Inn at Castle Hill. The 10-room inn, where children 12 and over are welcome, was recently voted the top property on the North Shore by North Shore Magazine. The setting is hard to top. Look out from their wraparound porch onto miles of uninterrupted salt marsh and beach. 

Breakfast at the Inn at Castle Hill takes full advantage of the eggs and milk farmed just down the road at the Trustees’ 1000-acre Appleton Farms. Open to the public, Appleton is the oldest continuously operating farm, in existence since 1638. Stroll on grassy trails past rows of veggies to the Appleton Old House. Better yet, go on a Quest, an outdoor scavenger hunt and follow the clues to a hidden box at the end. Pick up a pocket-sized Quest Detective booklet and you can go questing at a dozen other Trustees sites located around the Greater Boston area. Also note that Appleton Farms’ eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk and grass-fed beef will soon be found at the Boston Public Market, ready to make its debut in July. Though don’t use that as an excuse not to visit the farm in person. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/25/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Family Fun with the Trustees of Reservations at Martha’s Vineyard

Few folks realize that the Trustees are the largest private owner of farmland in Massachusetts with five working community farms across the state serving over 1,300 CSA members. Now you can add Martha’s Vineyard’s FARM Institute to that growing portfolio. This spring, the Trustees announced their plans to integrate with the Katama-based farm, known for their educational programs and summer institute that attracts close to 1000 children who are interested in learning about agriculture. Expect even more exciting program offerings at the Farm Institute to happen in 2016. 


The Trustees has a longstanding commitment to the preservation of open space on Martha’s Vineyard. Start your tour of the island with a short ferry ride over to Chappaquiddick at their Japanese-style garden called Mytoi. Azaleas, daffodils, dogwoods, and rhododendrons line the fresh water creeks. On July 10th from 4:30 pm to 6 pm, kids will get to help restock the garden pond with goldfish. 

A short stroll from Mytoi and you reach the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and East Beach. The waters of Cape Poge are one of the best places to birdwatch on the Vineyard. Ospreys, oystercatchers, piping plovers, terns, and the occasional bald eagle nest here. To get a close-up look at the birds, sign up for the 2-hour Wildlife Discovery Kayak Tour with the Trustees that happens daily from 10 am to noon and 2 pm to 4 pm. Or you can simply rent kayaks and venture out on the water for a self-guided paddle. Please note that you don't need to bring a car to Chappaquiddick. The Trustees offer complimentary van pickup for guided tour participants on the Chappy side of the Chappy Ferry. Call 508-627-3599 for more information and to book your reservation.

Chappy offers one of the most pristine stretches of beach on the island at Wasque Point, also under the helm of the Trustees. Wasque is a great spot to try your luck surfcasting for stripers and blues. Or simply get lost in this glorious seascape by heading out on 1.5 miles of trail. 

Beach lovers will also love Long Point Wildlife Refuge in West Tisbury, where families can spend the day body surfing, swimming in the sheltered ponds, or explore Long Pond Cove by kayak or paddleboard, which are available for rentals. Families can also grab an Exploration Backpack, full of supplies for a day of adventure like binoculars and scavenger hunts. Every Tuesday from 5:30 pm to 7 pm, bring your mat, towel, and water for yoga on the beach. There’s also a chance to go on a moonlight paddle and return to the beach of Long Point for a campfire three nights this summer. 

Another great spot to escape the crowds is Norton Point Beach, just off Katama Road. Be sure to deflate your tires to 15 psi using the air hose next to the entrance before you drive on the sand. Then choose a spot on the beach and savor the serenity.

End your day with a walk through Menemsha Hills. If you scale Prospect Hill, the second highest point on the island, you’ll get spectacular views of the Menemsha Harbor and Gay Head Light, especially during sunset. Also worth checking out is the adjacent 18-acre property, The Brickworks, where clay was once used to manufacture highly sought after bricks that were shipped to Boston, New York and Newport. It’s open to the public for the first time this summer. 

If you’re taking the ferry from New Bedford to the Vineyard, be sure to make a stop at the Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands once sought gardening advice from the renowned horticulturalist Haskell, so expect to find an exotic showcase of plants and trees surrounding one of New Bedford’s oldest homes. The Trustees acquired the property in 2013 and began a lengthy $2 million overhaul to preserve this cherished urban oasis. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/24/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Family Fun with the Trustees of Reservations: Central Massachusetts

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has declared June the “Great Outdoors Month,” hoping to inspire people to get away from their screens and experience the majesty of the state. Hit any of the Trustees 110-plus locales and you’ll walk away happy you made the effort. This is certainly true of today’s itinerary, which includes several hidden gems in central Massachusetts that few people outside that region know about. 


If you’re heading from the eastern part of the state, reacquaint yourself with the Old Manse in Concord. Built in 1770 for the Reverend William Emerson, the three-story house is best known as the place where grandson Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his book, Nature. The daily Children’s Tour of Old Manse includes a sing-along at the 1865 Steinway. The grounds are a good place to picnic before walking to the Minute Man National Historical Park next door. Also note that similar to Naumkeag, which I talked about in yesterday's Berkshires post, Old Manse will be having their own Free Fun Friday on July 3rd. Events include a kid friendly tour, music on the lawn, guided landscape tours, and more.

From Concord head west along Route 2 to Leominster, home to the 157-acre Doyle Community Park. Walk through woodlands, open fields, meadows, formal gardens, and parklands on some 3 ½ miles of easy trails that lead to the former estate of the Pierce family. Better yet, visit the park with picnic basket and blanket in tow the night of July 10 (5:30 pm to 8 pm) to hear a family music concert. 

Continue along Route 2 west and then veer north and less than 45 minutes later, you’ll arrive one of my top 5 favorite Trustees sites, Tully Lake Campground. By all means, plan on spending at least one night if not longer to experience the beauty of this placid lake and stunning nearby waterfalls. Many Trustees members bring their own kayaks to paddle to the sandy isles. But don’t fret because they also offers kayak rentals and stand-up paddleboarding lessons. Rangers guide paddlers to see beavers and teach kids how to fish. Hiking trails lead to majestic Doane’s Falls, where Lawrence Brook tumbles over a series of ledges before it reaches Tully Lake. Also don’t forget to bring mountain bikes, since there’s a great 7-mile loop around Long Pond.

Another mistakenly overlooked Trustees site, Chesterfield Gorge, is a 90-minute drive to the southeast. Here, the East Branch of the Westfield River drops dramatically through rock walls that are close to 70 feet high. Below the gorge, fly fishermen are usually seen casting their lines into the riffles in hopes of hooking a trout. Take deep breaths of sweet pine as you walk through the thick forest on the East Branch Trail. This 7-mile long dirt road is open to both hikers and mountain bikers who can ride through neighboring Gilbert Bliss State Forest.

Nearby Cummington, the home to poet William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), is your final stop on this jaunt through central Mass. Bryant, as he documents so well in his poetry, always preferred country life to city life and would spend all of his summers here until his death. Look out at the meadows, forest, and Berkshire foothills and you realize little has changed thanks to conservation efforts. It’s still a slice of bucolic heaven, one that’s best observed with a picnic lunch made by the Old Creamery, just down the road. A big Bryant Day Celebration is planned for July 18th, from 10 am to 4 pm. Civil War re-enactors will be on hand to offer cooking demos, singing by the Hilltown Choral Society and The Ne'er Do Wells, plus children’s activities like creating period crafts. Sounds like a country hoedown that Bryant would have enjoyed. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/23/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Family Fun with the Trustees of Reservations: First Stop, the Berkshires

 

One of our specialties at ActiveTravels is designing the Dream Day Itinerary for trips around the globe. With the independent traveler in mind, we create what we consider a perfect day of travel, including recreational activities, cultural or historical sites, recommended restaurants, and lodging. This week, we’re delighted to partner with the nonprofit conservation organization, The Trustees of Reservations, to link together a sampling of their 113 sites in Massachusetts. We’re going to break down 5 regions in the state and focus on family travel, including as many special summer events as possible. 

Today, we’re going to focus on the Berkshires. Heading south to north, start your day with a leisurely stroll along the Housatonic River at Bartholemew’s Cobble. Walk on the Ledges Trail and you’ll find the river snaking through dairy farms. The Trustees take full advantage of the Housatonic, offering guided canoe trips on designated Saturdays and Sundays in the summer. You’ll learn about the history of the area and be on the lookout for bald eagles flying overhead. If you love birds of prey, join wildlife rehabilitator Tom Ricardi this coming Saturday, June 27, from 10 am to noon, to view the hawks, owls, falcons, eagle and turkey vulture that he cares for. On Saturday, July 18th, from 10 am to noon, you can scour the forest and field for snakes, frogs and salamanders with a naturalist guide. Over Labor Day, sign up for the family campout at Bart's Cobble and you’ll be treated to guided hikes, scavenger hunts, a search for owls, and, of course s’mores around the campfire. Also note that if you sign up for a Family Explorer Membership at Bart's Cobble and 4 other Trustees sites (Crane Beach, Naumkeag, World's End, and Long Point on Martha's Vineyard), kids will receive an Elliott the Hermit Crab stuffed animal, a Get Out and Explore Booklet featuring 12 quests or scavenger hunts, cool tattoos, and more. 

A shot walk from Bart’s Cobble and you’ll find the circa-1735 Ashley House, the oldest house still standing in Berkshire County. Colonel Ashley was a judge and patriot who supplied iron and other supplies for the Revolutionary War effort. On tours on weekend days in summer, you’ll hear the story of Elizabeth Freeman, a slave of the Ashleys who sued her way to freedom. On Saturday, August 22nd, from 1-4:30 pm, come celebrate Elizabeth Freeman’s life with performances, an art exhibit, plus house tours. 

Heading north, stop at the trailhead to Monument Mountain on Route 7. No family trip to the Berkshires is complete without a 45-minute trek to the top of this 1,642-foot peak. The gradual climb on a path through hemlocks, oaks, beech, white pines, red maples, and birches leaves you at the top with vistas of Mt. Everett to the south and New York’s Taconic Range to the west. While hiking, tell the kids this is where the writer of Moby Dick, Herman Melville, first met the author of The House of Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne. The date of their hike was August 5, 1850.

A 15-minute drive from the base of Monument Mountain and you’ll reach one of the gems on the Trustees roster, Naumkeag. This 44-room Berkshires “Cottage” from the Gilded Age was designed by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White. But it’s the gardens that you’ll want to roam, a landscaping marvel thanks to 28 years of collaborative work by former owner, Mabel Choate, and her dear friend, Fletcher Steele, one of America’s first modern landscape architects. Naumkeag is in the fourth and final phase of a $3.3 million renovation, currently mending the retaining wall and fixing the fountains of the elaborate Chinese Garden. In the meantime, walk the iconic Blue Steps, lined with newly planted birches. Then savor the gardens while dining on a picnic lunch brought to you by the Red Lion Inn’s Oak Café. 

Thursdays in summer at Naumkeag, from 11 am to 4 pm, feature lawn games in the gardens. Games include croquet, badminton, bocce and jumbo versions of classic tabletop games such as Checkers, Jenga and Connect Four. Also on Thursday, from 2 pm to 2:45 pm, is a house tour designed for children. Or head to Naumkeag for Watermelon Wednesdays, four Wednesdays in late July and August, from 4:30 pm to 6 pm, where you not only get to chomp into fresh watermelon, but watch live theater, music, and storytelling. On July 3rd, there will be a special Free Fun Friday at Naumkeag, where families can watch performances by BerkCirque and singer/storyteller John Porcino; create art, enjoy the lawn games, and take kid-friendly tours of the mansion.   

End your day in the Berkshires at the Williamstown property Yankee Magazine recently dubbed “Best Retro Lodging” in New England, The Guest House at Field Farm. Enter the Bauhaus-era home, now a 6-bedroom inn welcome to children 12 years of age and older, and you feel you just entered the set of Mad Men, season one. Views on the back porch overlook mighty Mount Greylock, the state’s tallest peak. The inn is set on 316 acres, perfect for viewing the night sky after a day of adventure. 

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/22/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Time to Go Apple Picking

There’s no better fall activity in New England than hitting an orchard, trying the variety of apples, buying homemade cider, and tasting the warm, just made doughnuts. We have photographs of the kids picking apples every year, and like the trees, they seem to sprout up far too quickly. My son has a short break from college and is coming home tonight, so I’m hoping to get to the orchards on Sunday. I’m a fan of cortlands and macs, which are probably gone by now, but I don’t care. It will be great to get out there and climb those trees, even when I’m not supposed to be climbing those trees! Have a great Columbus Day Weekend and keep active! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/10/14 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Lake George Week, Adventures on Land

Most parents gauge the growth of their children by their height. I gauge the growth of my two kids by how far they can go on a treetop obstacle course called Adirondack Extreme. Located on the hillside outside of Bolton Landing, the course is set 10 to 50 feet off the grounds, amidst the tall pines and maples hidden in the forest. After a brief introductory talk on safety, you hook into harnesses and tackle five different courses, each a bit more challenging than the next. Along the way, you’ll climb rope ladders, walk across suspended bridges, and as a finale, zipline side-by-side. 
 
The waters of Lake George easily seduce, but there’s a slew of activity on the shores of the lake that are also worth checking out. You can climb Prospect, Buck, and Thomas Mountains, and be rewarded with exceptional vistas of the Adirondacks. Yesterday, I took a short hike around the forest and fields at Up Yonda Farm. I strolled past a sugarhouse and small butterfly garden before hiking uphill on a short climb through a mixed forest of birches, maples, and white pine. Eventually, I arrived at a clearing and another glorious view of Lake George.  
 
At night, everyone heads to Lake George Village, packed with T-shirt and fudge shops, video arcades, haunted houses, a requisite water park, and my personal favorite, Goony Golf, a miniature golf course crowded with huge fairy tale characters. My summer is not complete if I don’t get to play one round of Goony Golf. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/06/14 at 09:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lake George Week, Adventures on the Water

"Towards you, towards you, pull it towards you," my father yells to my mom, referring to the tiller that sits on her lap. We're aboard my dad's 22-foot Catalina, sailing at a good 10-knot clip across the cobalt waters of Lake George on our way back to his dock. Mom’s steering, dad’s barking orders, and I’m on the bow of the boat, ready to jump onto terra firma, but first I have to listen to my parent’s banter, a routine I've witnessed far too many times.

“What the hell are you doing? Aim for the house,” my dad bellows, pointing to a small white house that stands on the hillside above our dock. My father’s voice always seems to rise a notch or two in volume every time he steps foot into his sailboat. That's usually what happens to former Lieutenants in the Navy. They resign their commission in the military, buy a small boat of their own, and quickly ascend to the rank of Admiral.  Nevertheless, my mom always remains as cool as the water in this lake, easily gliding the boat into the dock without a scratch. Once the lines are tied, she stands up, and ends with the tag line, “not bad for a Bronx girl.” “Yeah, not bad,” my father mutters back, forgetting that Mom also taught him how to drive.

Those two paragraphs are the first words I ever wrote on Lake George, for a magazine called Endless Vacation back in 1996. Both my parents are gone, but I have incredible memories of our family sailing, paddling, and boating this 32-mile gem in the Adirondacks. And I continue to create new memories. This week, I’m traveling with my brother Jim as we kayak around the Sagamore, boat with Ron Miller aboard his 1971 Lyman, and take a paddlewheeler cruise aboard The Mohican

I've been sailing the waters of Lake George before I learned to walk, or so I’m told.  Growing up in these sylvan surroundings, I took its beauty for granted; the verdant mountainside that slopes to the lake’s edge on either side, the pine-studded islands that provide perfect anchorages for boaters, the narrow width that's easily mistaken for a long rambling river. Working as a travel writer, I’ve had the good fortune to visit many of the world’s most famous lakes—Tahoe, Como in Italy, Taupo in New Zealand, Lucerne in Switzerland, but given the choice, I’ll take Lake George on a weekday (on summer weekends, the influx of motorboats and jet skies makes the lake seem a lot smaller). It’s the reason why “Sailing Lake George” topped my list of “5 Family Adventures Not Soon Forgotten,” my most recent article on the lake in a March issue of The Boston Globe. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/05/14 at 09:00 AM
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Monday, August 04, 2014

Lake George Week—Why I Return Every Summer

I've had the pleasure of speaking about my career as a travel writer at 15 state travel conferences, including Mississippi, Louisiana, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Nevada. Talking to publicists, hotel owners, outfitters, and heads of city CVBs, I discuss how to attract travel writers to a destination and how to entice them to return throughout their career, continuously turning out stories for magazines, newspapers, and blogs. At every one of those speeches, I’ve included this paragraph:

 
“I don’t need anyone to pitch me on the Adirondacks in upstate New York, because that’s where I grew up. And this is an important aspect to take away from this talk. You can pitch a writer up the wazoo on a locale, but a writer always returns to a region of the world he know and loves. This is the place he cherishes and where he or she tends to weave their best yarns. We writers tend to be nostalgic. I’ve been sailing Lake George in the Adirondacks since I was a toddler and I will always return. It’s a very special retreat for me. I have always written about the Adirondacks and will continue to write about that place whether someone pitches me or not. Because I yearn to get back there.”
 
Lake George, a wondrous 32-mile-long lake nestled in the mountains, is my home away from home, where I can truly relax. I can pick up my boyhood Schenectady Gazette at the local grocery, grab a cup of Joe, and head back to the shores of the lake to chill. If I’m a feeling a bit hungry in the morning, I’ll drive to Lone Bull for a huge stack of pancakes. Then it’s off to Goony Golf for a round of miniature golf, a sea kayak paddle around the Sagamore, or playing on the high ropes course of Adirondack Extreme. The finest vacation is often the one you return to each year, not having to worry about new sites to see or restaurants to try. Things rarely change on the shores of Lake George and that’s exactly why I love it. 
 
This week I’m happy to be blogging live from Lake George, divulging my favorite ways to get on the water and hikes that will reward you with spectacular vistas of the lake. I’ll talk about Georgia O’Keeffe’s years on the lake and how the region inspired artists from as far back as the Hudson River School crowd. I’ll also talk about lodging and restaurants, including staying at the classic Sagamore and dining at the Grist Mill in nearby Warrensburg. You can also follow me on Twitter @ActiveTravels. Thanks for checking in!
 
(Photo by Lisa Leavitt)

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/04/14 at 09:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spending a Night in Volcano, Hawaii

On the outskirts of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Volcano is a chilled (and at night, chilly) town of around 2500 people. Most travelers zip by here to spend a day in the park before heading back to their resort in Kona, Kohala, or Hilo. But if you spend at least a night like our family did, you’ll soon realize you that this part of the Big Island has its own distinct allure. We stayed at Volcano Village Lodge, which had the feel of a Costa Rican eco-lodge nestled deep in the forest. The spacious lodge with high ceilings, full kitchen, and front porch came with a full breakfast in the morning. Another nice perk is the hot tub which comes in handy when the temperatures cool at night (close to 4,000 feet elevation). 
 
A 5-minute drive from Volcano Village Lodge is the entrance and Visitors Center of the park. We met a wonderful park ranger who told us exactly what to do that afternoon and evening. We drove to the Kilauea Iki Overlook and took a short hike along the rim of the crater in a rainforest to the Thurston Lava Tube, a well-known tunnel created from the flow of lava. Then we had dinner at a ridiculously good, though expensive Thai restaurant in town simply called Thai Thai Restaurant. When the tour buses left, we returned to the national park at night to the Jaggar Museum parking lot. We walked over to the overlook to see the expansive Kilauea Caldera glowing a vibrant red at night. Definitely worth a night’s stay in Volcano! 
 
 (Photo by Lisa Leavitt)

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/22/14 at 10:00 AM
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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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