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Multisport Adventure

Friday, June 14, 2019

Spend an Active Weekend in the Finger Lakes

Known for its award-winning Rieslings, New York’s Finger Lakes deserve its reputation as one of the best spots in America to go wine tasting. Yet, its majestic scenery also lends itself well to adventure. At the southern end of Seneca Lake, we hiked alongside a handful of waterfalls in the famous gorge of Watkins Glen. The next morning, Lisa and I kayaked through a cattail-laden marsh and saw countless herons, turtles, and a beaver. Talk about adventure—a 40-pound carp jumped out of the marsh and slammed against my arm as I shrieked. But my favorite part of the weekend was a quiet bike ride along a peninsula that juts into Keuka Lake. Start your ride from Keuka College and follow East and West Bluff Roads as they pass the small waterfront cottages with cute names like Hide N’ Seek. There’s one killer hill on the 20-mile ride that takes you atop a bluff, before cruising downhill back to the college. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a lobster roll and glass of semi-dry Riesling at Heron Hill’s Blue Heron Cafe. We were fortunate to book a room at the Black Sheep Inn in Hammondsport, on the northern tip of Keuka Lake. Owners Debbie Meritsky and Marc Rotman spent over 6 years refurbishing the rare octagonal-shaped house. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/14/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 24, 2018

A Memorable Trip to New Brunswick

Guest Post and Photos by Amy Perry Basseches 

Continuing my exploration of Canada, I recently spent 3 glorious sunny days in New Brunswick, part of "Atlantic Canada" (along with Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland). Although New Brunswick is more than 80% forest land, I was on the southern coast, in Saint Andrews and Alma, adjacent to the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay, not far from Maine. This area was full of trees but oriented towards the sea.
My first stop: Ossie's Lunch in Bethel, just outside of Saint Andrews, for the best lobster roll I've had in a long time (identifiable lobster parts, minimal mayonnaise). Family-owned since 1957. Got here just in time. They closed September 16 for the season. Once in Saint Andrews, I had the pleasure of staying at the Rossmount Inn, a 3-story country inn with 18 rooms, situated on 87 acres, at the base of Chamcook Mountain. I thoroughly recommend its ambiance and dining room. My Bay of Fundy haddock was mouthwatering. 
It was easy to while away the hours in Saint Andrews, visiting historic sites like the Blockhouses built to protect New Brunswick against the Americans during the War of 1812, drinking local beer at The Chandler Room on the main drag, admiring flowers at the 27-acre Kingsbrae Gardens, driving on the seafloor at low tide out to Ministers Island to admire the 500-acre summer estate of William Van Horne (the driving force behind the Canadian Pacific Railway), and marveling at humpback whales with Island Quest Marine's afternoon whale watch. Lots of American tourists were in Saint Andrews on road trips, and I can see why.
My second base was in Alma, population 232 (in 2011), the hopping-off point for Fundy National Park. Locals rely on lobster and scallop fishing. Thus, fortified by Bay of Fundy scallops and a good night's sleep, I headed off to hike on Matthew's Head Trail (many lookout points of vast coastal views, about 1.5 hours, not difficult), and to visit Hopewell Rocks. Fundy National Park boasts the highest tides in the world, up to 48 feet of change. Each tidal flow contains 100 billion tons of water, and its strength carves the formation at Hopewell Rocks. You can only visit at or near low tide. 
My only regret in Alma: I didn't get a chance to sea kayak with Fresh Air Adventure. I observed lots of people taking part, and it looked great. Plus Gina, the owner, winters in Hong Kong and summers on the Bay of Fundy coastline. How fascinating! Steve has written about kayaking with Gina here: 
In closing, my idea of a terrific getaway includes seeing new places (especially small towns and natural things of quiet and beauty); being outdoors in the sunshine with time to walk, read, and think; being near the water/on the coast (seeing it, smelling it, hearing it, feeling the breeze); and eating good healthy local food and drink -- just fresh and simply prepared. New Brunswick had it all! Let ActiveTravels know if you are interested in "Atlantic Canada."

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/24/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Grasshopper Adventures Debuts Taiwan Multisport Trip

Grasshopper Adventures, the Bangkok-based cycling and active travel outfitter, has just unveiled a 5-day itinerary in South Taiwan that sounds enticing. On this new family multisport tour, you'll snorkel in the crystal-clear waters around Taiwan's only coral island, Xiao Liuqui, bike the jungles of the Hengchun Peninsula while spotting monkeys, kayak and surf in the village of Jialeshui, hike Kenting National Park, swim at the exquisite Baisha Beach (featured in Ang Lee's Life of Pi), explore indigenous villages and historic battlefields, and visit Kenting's lively night market. Cost starts at $1,590 per person. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/17/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, July 09, 2018

Kicking Back, Costa Rica

High up in the mountains with views of the Pacific coast, the weather in Monteverde's Cloud Forest is surprisingly cool for a Central American locale. A perpetual dampness creates a slick layer of moss that covers the branches and trunks of trees. Thick vines drop down from towering ficus trees and clay-covered trails are laden with fallen passionfruit. We follow an impassioned naturalist named Mauricio Ramirez who truly loves his job. He gives us cilantro and cinnamon to smell, tells us what part of the palm tree to cut to find the meaty heart of palm, sticks a flashlight into a hole to see an orange and brown-colored tarantula, and has us swing from one of the vines a la Tarzan.

"This is impressive," Mauricio says as he sets up his telescope quickly. I peer in and my jaw instantly drops as I make out the bushy white eyebrows and wide eyes of a crested owl staring right back at me. "Holy cow!" I blurt out as Mauricio chimes in with "Beautiful, yes beautiful."
To find my entire story on Costa Rica, please see the latest issue of Global Traveler Magazine

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/09/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Top Dream Days of 2017, A Sunrise Hike and Sunset Cruise in Santorini

We covered a lot of ground in our weeklong jaunt with Heritage Tours to Greece in April. Stops included Athens, Nafplion, Spetses, Mykonos, Delos, Paros, and our last stop, magical Santorini. It had been 25 years since Lisa and I were on the island for our honeymoon and it felt just as enticing. Especially the day we woke up with the sunrise to hike atop the ridge and then watched the sun set that evening aboard a yacht in the Aegean waters. Santorini exceeds all expectations, with stunning vistas of the caldera and its volcanic islands. We wandered off at 7 am from our room at Mystique, striding atop a bluff above the whitewashed buildings. To the right was the caldera, to the left more majestic islands that make up the Cyclades. The entire walk from Oia to Fira is 9.5 kilometers, approximately 3 hours, but we got sidetracked by donkeys and a snack bar selling damn good lattes and never made it past Imerovigli. Later that same day, we bordered a private yacht for a sunset cruise. Now nestled within the caldera, the scenery was a mesmerizing mix of aquamarine waters, jagged volcanic islands, and the whitewashed houses on the island clinging precariously to the cliffs. Add the reddish/orange/pink orb of a sun melting into the sea, shading this scene with the full spectrum of color, paired with a glass of crisp Santorini wine, and you have a fitting ending to a memorable trip. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/04/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Austin Adventures Joins Forces with Life Is Good

Next week, we’ll be heading to an event in Boston to announce the launch of the new Austin Adventures partnership with Life Is Good. “Life is Good Vacations will allow us to combine our love and respect for the outdoors with Life is Good’s mission to approach each day with positivity. We will work together to design multi-sport itineraries, with activities including hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and mountain top yoga, infused with expressions of gratitude and optimism,” says Austin Adventures founder, Dan Austin. I’ve traveled twice with Austin Adventures, on a family multisport to the Canadian Rockies and with Dan Austin and his daughter, Kasey, on a relatively new outing to the Broadmoor Wilderness Camps on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. Both trips were memorable. So much, in fact, that we have no qualms about placing our ActiveTravels members on any of their itineraries. They always come back with glowing reviews from their experience. But I’m excited to hear about this new venture. In 2018, Austin plans to offer six family and adult Life Is Good Vacations in Montana, Utah, the Canadian Rockies and Costa Rica. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/08/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

NFL Great Randy Moss to Lead Fitness Classes at BodyHoliday

When Lisa and I were at St. Lucia’s BodyHoliday this past November, British Olympic Silver Medalist Keri-anne Payne led swimmers on a mile race. That was in addition to the biking, hiking, and sea kayaking jaunts we did. The resort is known for taking advantage of its glorious beachfront setting to keep folks active. Your reward? A daily massage is included in the cost of the all-inclusive price. In the summer months, BodyHoliday caters to families who want to stay fit at low-season Caribbean costs. NFL legend Randy Moss will lead the way July 16-22. He’ll be joined this summer by British Olympic sprinter Marlon Devonish (July 2-16) and Olympic swimmer Michael Jamieson (August 6-20). The party continues at night with dancing to live music at the outdoor bar. At BodyHoliday, they want to make sure you sweat to the wee hours of the morning. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/22/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Get Fit in the Caribbean with luxeFit

Last November in St. Lucia, I participated in BodyHoliday’s version of a triathlon by biking to Pigeon Island, running to the fortress atop the island, rappelling down to the sea, and sea kayaking back to the property. It gave me a firsthand glimpse how resorts are branching far beyond the token gym and spin class to offer memorable workouts in their often stunning surroundings. Now two young women from Sarasota, Florida, Holly Morris and Loren Mayo, are taking it a step further. Last November they launched luxeFit, weeklong fitness retreats to warm-weather destinations, arranging workout sessions and activities and nutritious cuisine prepared by a private chef in an upscale private beachfront estate setting. The first retreat is slated for April 30 to May 6 in Barbados. Activities will include yoga, paddleboarding, snorkeling, surfing, and waterskiing, with excursions to explore Harrison’s Caves, the Mt. Gay Rum Distillery, and the shops in Holetown. Beyond Barbados, the duo is exploring additional options in the Caribbean and Mexico. Cost is $3150 per person. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/29/17 at 06:00 AM
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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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about us
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. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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