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Family Adventure

Great places for families to check out.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Best Family-Friendly Bike Ride on Cape Cod

Cape Cod is so close to Boston that I often drive there on a day trip. This past Sunday, I went with family and friends on one of my favorite rides. We start on 26 Main Street in Orleans in the lot next to Orleans Cycle and head out on the Cape Cod Rail Trail toward Eastham. Soon we pass the velvety marsh, where red-winged blackbirds sit atop the swaying cattails and cormorants dry their wings on floating docks. At Locust Road, we veer right off the CCRT and cross over Route 6 to reach the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor Center. This is the start of a 2-mile bike trails that sweeps up and down through the forest and marsh, leaving you off at Coast Guard Beach, recently named one of the top 10 beaches in America. However, I think the beach up the road, Nauset Light, is more scenic, backed by towering dunes. We lock up our bikes and walk down the stairs to watch surfers dressed in wet suits (the water is still icy cold in late May) trying to catch the waves.

Once back on the bikes, we take Cable Road past Three Sisters Lighthouses, three absurdly small lighthouses built in the mid-19th century. A left turn at the end of the road and a right turn on Brackett Road leads us back to the CCRT. Turn left towards Orleans and you’ll soon smell the fried clams of Arnold’s, a lobster-in-the-rough restaurant beloved by my family. Stand in the long line (most likely out the door), order from their vast selection of seafood, including lobster, fried clams, scallops, shrimp, and mounds of tender onion rings and grab a seat at one of the outdoor picnic tables. Afterwards, play a round of miniature golf or grab a brownie sundae. Continue on the CCRT through a tunnel and you’ll arrive back at the Orleans Cycle parking lot in less than 30 minutes. A perfect summer outing.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/31/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Appalachian Mountain Club Going Overboard to Attract Families

Calling all families! If you ever wanted to do a little hut-to-hut hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, this summer might be the best time. The AMC has just launched a new campaign called “Kid Spoken Here” that reduces rates for all children at the huts, introduces a new Kid’s Menu like pasta and quesadillas, and even entertains Junior with counselor-led scavenger hunts and kite flying while mom and dad can sit down to a relaxing dinner. If you like the idea of having a guide around during the entire trek, consider one of the 5-night family adventure camps. Hike, paddle, and fish at some of the most serene spots in New England while being led by AMC guides and naturalists. The program is available to all children ages 5-12 and their parents.

Also, as previously reported on ActiveTravels, the AMC will reopen Gorman Chairback Lodge in Maine’s North Woods on July 1st after extensive renovations. Unveiled as a private camp in 1867, it’s hard to top the locale of Gorman Chairback, located on the shores of Long Pond in the shadows of the Barren-Chairback Range. This is for families who really savor peace and quiet.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/24/11 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Family Adventure in the Canadian Rockies with Austin-Lehman

As an adventure travel writer, I’ve been paid to bike around the Big Island of Hawaii, sea kayak the Fijian islands, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and paddle the Allagash River during a memorable foliage. Then I had my first child and the canoes, skies, and other outdoor paraphernalia started to collect dust in the basement of my suburban Boston home. Going stir crazy one summer day, I called my dad who gave me the sage advice to integrate family into my work. The next thing I know I’m going up and down the hills of Vermont with my toddler on the back of my bike. Like many parents, I began to realize that I don’t have to give up my passion simply because I have little ones. It was time to introduce my kids to the real me. Now I travel with Jake, 14, and Melanie, 12, as much as possible without getting scolded by their teachers. And they’re the ones teaching me a thing or two about every sport they try. 

This coming summer, we’re already booked on a six-day multisport trip with Austin-Lehman Adventures in the Canadian Rockies. ALA is known for their guided family trips to the most stunning locales across the globe, from Costa Rica to Alaska, Africa, and yes, the Canadian Rockies. In the Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise region, we’ll trek with crampons across the Athabasca Glacier, whitewater raft down the Kananaskis River, and bike through the tall cedars and pines on the Evans Thomas path. Another highlight is the 64-mile drive through the peaks and deep swaths of forest on Icefields Parkway. Elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, maybe even a bear or cougar can be seen as you make your way to the largest ice cap in the Canadian Rockies, the Columbia Icefield, on the boundary of Banff and Jasper National Parks. At night, we’ll be staying at Baker Creek Chalets, along a quiet stream smack dab in the center of the snowcapped summits.

As we begin to plan our summer vacations, I want to take the time this week to describe some of my favorite trips offered by outfitters.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/14/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Top 5 Travels of 2010, Biking Along the Canals in Hertfordshire, England

Instead of rushing straight from London to Heathrow Airport this summer, my family and I wisely chose to spend one day in the countryside at a hotel in Hertfordshire, less than an hour’s drive from the city. Called The Grove, the resort was once the country estate of the Earls of Clarendon. Today, it’s best known for its golf course, which Tiger Woods called one of the finest in the country. It’s also a family favorite. Walk inside a walled-in garden and you’ll find a heated outdoor pool, beach volleyball, and the oh-so civilized sports of croquet and lawn tennis. Yet, nothing quite compared to renting bikes and finding a path along a serpentine canal that formed the perimeter of the property. Shaded by thick trees and rolling under centuries-old bridges, you were immediately transported to another time. Narrowboats were slowly navigating through the locks past the local anglers and lounging swans, adding to the allure. Afterwards, we headed back to Grove for our last fish and chips before the trans-Atlantic flight home.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/06/11 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quebec’s Winter Carnival

I just finished a story on winter carnivals in North America. One of the finest is in Quebec City, where for 17 days, the party never stops. More than one million people descend upon the fortified city to cheer on the competition in Le Grande Virée, a dogsled race that cruises through the heart of the historic Old City, or watch paddlers sprint across the turgid waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The French-flavored festivities continue with tours of the Ice Palace, a giant medieval castle constructed of pure crystalline water, parades, snow sculpture contests, inner tube sled rides, dancing to live music, and late night jaunts to heated tents to sample the potent drink called Caribou, made of whiskey, red wine, and maple syrup. One swig of this and you might be running naked through the snowfields.

While in Quebec City, spend a memorable night 30 minutes outside of town at North America’s only ice hotel, Hotel de Glace. 32 new rooms are created each year out of 12,000 tons of snow and 400 tons of ice, along with an Absolut ice bar, Jacuzzis, and a dance club. Bring those long johns. Temperature inside is a mere 27 degrees Fahrenheit.  
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/14/10 at 02:00 PM
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tulum, Mexico, No Longer a Sleepy Seaside Town

The southernmost town on the 80-mile strip of sand referred to as the Riviera Maya, Tulum has always been a perfect getaway from Cancun to see the Mayan ruins. Only well-traveled European backpackers would consider spending the night in one of the bungalows on the beach. Lately, however, a small sampling of all-inclusive resorts have opened in this sleepy seaside town. It's ideally suited for young American families on their first international trip. Children learn about the historical significance of the Mayans by touring the impressive ruins. Then they can snorkel at Xel-Ha and go for a dip in one of the natural swimming holes called cenotes. Plus, those same white pearly sands that cater to the Spring Break crowd in Cancun can be found on Riviera Maya in a more serene setting that families find attractive.

I’ll be headed to the Yucatan all next week and most likely won’t have the time to blog. I know I’ve been traveling quite a bit this past month and missed many a blog, but stay with me. I have great travel advice, film footage, and photos from Kenya that I’ll be sharing upon my return on December 6th.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Make sure to work off that turkey by doing something active.  And, as always, thanks for checking in!

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/24/10 at 02:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Ocean Edge Resort Takes Advantage of its Waterfront Setting

With six pools, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, tennis courts, and bike paths that connect easily to the 22-mile long Cape Cod Rail Trail, the Ocean Edge Resort offers its guests more than enough outdoor activity. Yet, I’m most excited about the resort’s latest partnership with Cape Cod Museum of Natural History to go on naturalist-led walks on the mud flats of Bay Pines Beach. Throughout the summer, you’ll explore Cape Cod Bay at low tide, searching for clams, crabs, sea cucumbers, and other marine life. The beachcombing is appropriate for ages 5 and up and they don’t need to dress up like SpongeBob. Though it might help find other critters.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/16/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, May 21, 2010

Adventures in North America with the Family

As an adventure travel writer, I’ve been paid to bike around the Big Island of Hawaii, sea kayak the Fijian islands, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and paddle the Allagash River during a memorable foliage. Then I had my first child and the canoes, skies, and other outdoor paraphernalia started to collect dust in the basement of my suburban Boston home. Going stir crazy one summer day, I called my dad who gave me the sage advice to integrate family into my work. The next thing I know I’m going up and down the hills of Vermont with my toddler on the back of my bike. Like many parents, I began to realize that I don’t have to give up my passion simply because I have little ones. It was time to introduce my kids to the real me. Now I travel with Jake, 13, and Melanie, 11, as much as possible without getting scolded by their teachers. And they’re the ones teaching me a thing or two about every sport they try.  
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/21/10 at 12:59 PM
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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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