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Multisport Adventure

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

AMC Reopens Medawisla Lodge After 2-Year Renovation

If you’ve been following this blog over the years, you know I cherish the rare wilderness experience found in Maine’s northern woods. To get lost in this vast land of tall pines, 4,000-foot peaks, and far too many waterways to count, where moose tend to outnumber humans, is an unparalleled experience in the northeast. As part of the Maine Woods Initiative, which I first wrote about for Boston Globe Magazine, the Appalachian Mountain Club has certainly done their part to permanently conserve more than 75,000 acres of land and keep open three historic sporting camps. One of those camps, Medawisla Lodge and Cabins will reopen on July 1st following a major two-year reconstruction project. 

Located in a glorious spot on the shores of Second Roach Pond, Medawisla offers ample hiking, paddling, fly-fishing, wildlife watching, as well as new options for mountain biking and canoe camping. Guests will find a newly built waterfront pavilion, central lodge with water views for dining and programs, as well as nine new private cabins. Medawisla will connect to AMC’s two other Maine Wilderness Lodges, Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback, and the family-run West Branch Pond Camps, through a 130-mile trail network built and maintained by AMC. These trails are open to guests and the general public, and offer a range of lodge-to-lodge hiking and biking adventures. Reservations for AMC’s Medawisla Lodge is now open. Four-course dinner, breakfast, and trail lunch are included in most cabin rates, with linens and hot showers available. Do yourself a favor and get lost in the Maine woods this summer. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/01/17 at 05:59 AM
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Get Outdoors this Holiday Season

If you’re sticking around Boston during the Holidays like I am, you don’t need to spend your entire break indoors. There’s only so much eggnog and conversation with the family you can stomach before wishing you were at a nearby trail or ski area. All my favorite local jaunts in winter can be found in an article written by writer Brion O’Connor in the Boston Globe. Strolling Broadmoor, World’s End, Arnold Arboretum, Walden Pond, and Mt. Auburn Cemetery; skiing Wachusett; tubing Nashoba; even frostbite sailing with the Boston Sailing Center made it into the story. Have a look and then get outdoors for some much needed air. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/21/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Debut of Canada Goose Adventure Trips

Luxury tour operator, Butterfield & Robinson, has just announced their new partnership with warm-weather fashion apparel designer Canada Goose. Called Canada Goose Adventure Trips, these small group adventures will head to Iceland and Newfoundland to snowmobile, hike on glaciers, snorkel between the continental shelf, and soak in the renowned Blue Lagoon, all while wearing the latest Canada Goose garb. The six-day Iceland adventure runs March 5-10 while the 4-day Newfoundland trip to Fogo Island runs June 8-10. Nine miles off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island is best known for its ultramodern, dramatically colored amorphous art studios that have garnered attention from numerous publications, including The New York Times

 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/29/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Adirondacks Multisport Trip Just Added to the Backroads Roster

Backroads, the world’s leading active travel company, just announced their 2017 line-up and I was excited to see that my boyhood stomping grounds of the Adirondacks finally made the cut. Their 5-day itinerary includes some of my favorite activities, including biking the Lake Champlain Bikeway, hiking Mt. Jo in the high peaks region, and sailing Lake George aboard the Morgan, the Sagamore’s 72-foot replica of a 19th-century touring vessel. Set on a 70-acre island near the village of Bolton Landing, the Sagamore has been the lake’s top address for over a century. Steps from the patio lead past the manicured lawn to the Sagamore’s shoreline, offering views of Dome Island, a large round uninhabited forest of firs that looks almost tropical, a place that King Kong would find homey. On the opposite shores is an uninterrupted carpet of trees that soon rise to 2,000-foot mountains. 

The Adirondacks itinerary came as a result of guests wanting trips closer to home and a wee bit shorter. Other new trips in this category include a Maui & Lanai Multisport Adventure Tour for families and an Arches & Canyonlands Hiking Trip. Backroads added over 40 new trips to their schedule in 2017. Some of the highlights include hiking in Japan, a family trip to Sedona, Bermuda biking, Basque Country and a Galapagos, Andes & Amazon river cruise. Next year they are running a total of 71 active river cruises, including a Danube full ship buyout (150 Backroads guests take over the ship). ActiveTravels is here to help you pick the itinerary that best suits your level of fitness and dates. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/27/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, July 15, 2016

A Week of Adventure at Quebec’s Saguenay Fjord

On my last trip to the province of Quebec, I was fortunate to make it to Baie-Saint-Paul in the Charlevoix region, just north of Quebec City along the St. Lawrence Seaway. Charlevoix has become a foodie destination, cherished by residents of Montreal and Quebec City for its cheeses, breads, fresh salmon, microbrews, and local produce. Next week, I’ll be continuing my journey up the St. Lawrence to the 64-mile long Saguenay Fjord, one of the longest and southernmost fjords in the world. Flanked by walls of ash colored rock that rise some 1,150 feet and forests of balsams and yellow birch, it is also one of the most accessible places on the planet to see beluga whales. For quite some time, Saguenay has been on my wish list as I yearned to kayak the fjord, bike a section of the 256-kilometer “Véloroute des Bleuets” or Blueberry Trail cycling path around Lac-Saint-Jean, raft the Metabetchouan River, and hike high above the waters at Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay. The perfect Quebec adventure! As an added bonus, I’m headed back to Charlevoix to bike around Isle-aux-Coudres, an island, smack dab in the center of the St. Lawrence River, and to sample the French dining at several bistros that are known throughout Quebec. Please follow along next week as I blog, tweet @ActiveTravels, share photos on Facebook and Instagram, and videos on YouTube. Have a great weekend! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/15/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Sample Winter Adventure Montana-Style at Triple Creek Ranch

Voted the finest small lodge in America by Travel & Leisure magazine, Triple Creek Ranch is located in the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. It’s the ideal terrain to go fly-fishing, horseback riding, and hiking, then return to one of 23 cozy cabins and get a ready for a Relais & Châteaux-designated dinner. Thankfully, the fun doesn’t end in autumn. The lodging is also known for its exciting winter sports. This includes skijoring, where a cross-country skier is pulled by a cowboy on horseback; and dogsledding with 13-time Iditarod finisher, Jessie Royer. Other adventures include winter horseback riding, cross-country skiing on the Continental Divide, downhill skiing at nearby Lost Trail Powder Mountain, and snowmobiling. Triple Creek Ranch has thrown together a Big Sky Big Five Snow Package that includes all these activities, 5 nights lodging, meals, wine and spirits, and a one-hour massage in your log cabin. Cost is $7,635 per couple and the package is available January 17 to February 29. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/02/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Spending the Week with Austin Adventures in Colorado

During his 40-plus years in the travel industry, Dan Austin has reaped accolades like “World’s Best Tour Operator for Families” by Travel & Leisure. We can vouch firsthand for Dan’s exceptional product, having taken the kids to the Canadian Rockies on one of his guided multi-sport adventures. Each day, we sampled a different activity including whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, and rock climbing. It was one of our most memorable trips as a family and it led to this story in The Boston Globe. Yes, that’s my son, Jake, falling off the raft in the photo! 

 
This week, I have the good fortune to cross paths with Dan again as he designs a new family adventure in Colorado with his dynamic daughter Kasey, recently voted “Outside Magazine’s Top Family Guide.” We’ll visit one of the most stunning rick formations in the West, Garden of the Gods, then spend the night at Cloud Camp, sitting at a cool 9,300 feet overlooking the entirety of Colorado Springs. The next day we hike 5.5 mile through the aspen and pine-covered hills of Pike National Forest to Emerald Valley Ranch, where we saddle up and go for a ride. We wake up the next morning and head to Seven Falls, a majestic series of waterfalls flowing through a 1,400-foot-wall box canyon, where we harness up and go on a zip line adventure. Last but certainly not least, we arrive at one of the classic resorts in Colorado, The Broadmoor, for dinner. 
   
I’m hoping to persuade Dan and Kasey to design a family trip exclusively for ActiveTravels members, preferably in his home state of Montana to visit Glacier National Park and a ranch outside of Missoula. So be on the lookout in early January, when we debut our first batch of custom-designed trips. I’ll be back next week with a more detailed account of our trip and some of the highlights. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/12/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Backroads Unveils New Trips in 2016

Backroads, a perennial favorite outfitter of our clients, just announced their list of trips for 2016. They include 27 new biking trips, 41 new multisport adventures, and 21 new walking & hiking trips. Active river cruising continues to be extremely popular and next year Backroads is rolling out cruises to more locations in Europe. Families can join the fun on new active river cruises designed just for them. In 2016 Backroads will launch new river cruise trips along the Danube, Rhine, Seine and Portugal’s Douro. Additionally, an entire ship just for Backroads guests sets sail on a Danube Full Ship Celebration River Cruise Bike Tour in September 2016. Family Breakaway trips have also proven to be a huge hit for families with older teens and college-age. To meet increasing demand, Backroads is tripling the options for families in the coming year, launching new Family Breakaway Trips to England, the Basque Region of France & Spain, Croatia & Montenegro, Alaska, the Canadian Rockies, Argentina’s Lake District, Peru, Patagonia, and New Zealand, as well as a Rhine River Cruise. These trips join an already-popular roster of Family Breakaway trips in Tuscany, the Dalmatian Coast, Hawaii and Costa Rica.

I'm off to Indiana with my daughter, Melanie. I'll be back next Monday. In the meantime, get outdoors and keep active! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/26/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Stowe’s Topnotch Resort Teams Up With Local Guides

I’ll be discussing my favorite fall foliage activities next month. But this just came across my desk, so you might want to lock in your lodging before it sells out. Topnotch’s new Experience Center has joined forces with some of the best guides in Vermont to offer unparalleled adventure during foliage season. Mansfield Cycle Bike Tours will take you on a guided loop on backcountry roads or serious singletrack--the mileage based on your experience. Sunrise Mountain Guides is offering guided hikes, runs, rock climbing, and bouldering. This is in addition to the Tennis Center and its four indoor and six outdoor courts, which gave Topntoch its reputation as one of the finest tennis resorts in America. Toast your accomplishment with the Topnotch Guided Brewery Tour, which visits a handful of microbrews like The Crop Brewery, The Rock Art Brewery, The Lost Nation and the von Trapp Brewery. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/05/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Maine Huts & Trails Week: Day One, Hiking to Stratton Brook Hut

I’ve been pining to get to the Maine Huts & Trails for some time now, ever since I first heard about this new nonprofit group and their lofty ambition to build 12 eco-lodges in the glorious western Maine wilderness. It seems my patience has paid off. Seven years after the Poplar Springs Hut was first built in 2008, there are already four huts in the network across a 45-mile span. Spearheaded by the passionate Charlie Woodworth these past 3 years, who made the wise decision to move their office from Portland to Kingfield to be closer to the huts, a consortium of big-name players like L.L. Bean, New Balance, and the Sugarloaf Ski Area are now squarely behind the project. Yet, perhaps the most important group involved, especially for those of us who want to sample the huts in the warm weather is the Carrabassett Valley New England Mountain Biking Association or NEMBA , who are using the latest round of funding to create some of the finest singletrack trails in the East. Runs that surprisingly connect the huts and give you the rare chance to go mountain biking lodge to lodge.


Today, however, my wife Lisa and I would be hiking from the Stratton Brook Trailhead to the newest hut, Stratton Brook just in time for a pig roast and bluegrass band that would help launch the summer season. As soon as we left the car behind (happily for 5 days), you could smell the sweet balsam and follow the butterflies as they flew from goldenrod to goldenrod. We climbed gradually under the tall pines on the Newton’s Revenge Trail and some 90 minutes later arrived at the hut. What a beauty it is, all light wood with an interior that rewards with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the 4,000-plus foot mountains of the Bigelow Range. This is no century old AMC Hut from the White Mountains, where you often share crowded rooms with many other bunkmates. We had a private room, the opportunity to shower, and my personal favorite, a chance to down a Maine microbrew or glass of wine to toast your achievement. 

Lisa and I grabbed a Baxter Stowaway IPA and glass of South African pinotage and strolled up to the Vista, where a lonely bench looked out on a wide swath of uninterrupted wilderness including that stupendous view of the Bigelow Range and its mighty backbone that forms a ridge walk on the Appalachian Trail. A blanket of green formed a carpet on the flanks of the peaks, leading to ribbons of blue, where rivers carved through the valley. Not surprisingly, we would head back here the following morning before breakfast with our first cup of coffee. In the meantime, it was time to listen to the foot-stomping sounds of the mandolin, violin, bass, banjo, and guitar while downing my pulled pork sandwich. Not a bad start to the week. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/20/15 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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