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Miscellaneous Sports

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Overnight Dogsled Trips with Mahoosuc Guide Service

Still don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve? Consider a 2 or 3-night getaway with Mahoosuc Guide Service to Umbagog Lake and the Mahoosuc Mountain region of Maine. You’ll have the rare chance to get lost in the wilderness without the masses during winter, breathing in the scent of pines in relative quietude, listening only to the pitter-patter of dogs’ legs running through the snow. Better yet, you get to cuddle with a team of soft-furred huskies. Mahoosuc Guide Service in Newry, Maine, made its debut 27 years ago and I’ve had the pleasure over the years to go on a dogsledding trip with them in winter and a paddling jaunt in the fall. So I can highly recommend them! Maine Registered Guides Polly Mahoney and her husband Kevin Slater lead overnight trips to Umbagog Lake on the New Hampshire border. Cost for the overnight tours start at $625 per person, including food, camping, winterized tents, and requisite doggies.  


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/03/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Nova Scotia Week: Stand Up Paddleboarding at White Point Beach Resort

With its stunning seascape, sheltered coves, and vast array of sealife and birdlife, Nova Scotia is blessed with some of the best sea kayaking imaginable. I had the good fortune to sea kayak in Cape Breton on my last trip and will be kayaking Lobster Bay from Ye Olde Argyle Lodge tomorrow afternoon. Before that jaunt, however, I wanted to try a sport growing in popularity in the province, stand up paddleboarding. The classic summer retreat, White Point Beach Resort, is best known for the Atlantic Ocean surf that crashes ashore on the 1-kilometer long stretch of beach. Just inside the beach is Doggett’s Pond, a freshwater lake that’s ideally suited for SUP. I ventured out on the water with Glenn Parlee, owner of Liverpool Adventure Outfitters. Glenn’s been in the outdoor recreation business since 1985, taking full advantage of his spectacular locale to take folks biking along the shores of Liverpool, canoeing in the Mersey River, sea kayaking to one of the many desolate off-shore islands, and hiking In Kejimkujik National Park. Yesterday, we skirted the shoreline of Dockett Pond as he showed me some draw strokes, J strokes and sweeps to better guide the sturdy boards. We spent about an hour out on the lake by our lonesome watching a line of ducks swim by our side. The scenery was enchanting, the fragrant pines and paddling invigorating. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/12/15 at 05:00 AM
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Monday, January 26, 2015

My Favorite Winter Outdoor Picks in Eastern Massachusetts

If you missed yesterday’s Boston Globe, I was interviewed by writer Brion O’Connor and asked to divulge some of my favorite locals jaunts in winter. 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! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/26/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia

I had drinks last night with a group of hotel owners, restaurateurs, wine makers, boutique chocolate shop purveyors, maple syrup bottlers, and lobster suppliers in town from Nova Scotia. They were going on a culinary tour from Boston to Portland, led by one of my favorite people in the travel biz, Chris Miranda at Redpoint. They were here to hopefully gain inspiration from their cohorts on this side of the border. Not that they need it. I actually think Nova Scotia already has a lot more to offer than Massachusetts like a great public market and an award-winning wine region. They also served as regional ambassadors to Nova Scotia, now that the ferry is once again cruising from Portland, Maine to Nova Scotia this summer. I was asked by Chris to meet them for a drink and talk about the best ways to get press for their respective businesses. 
While talking about Nova Scotia, I remembered one of my favorite outings in the province, tidal bore rafting. At high tide standing on a sandbar, we heard the deafening surge of water before we saw the white crest atop the wave. Then we jumped into a motored zodiac before the sandbar completely disappeared with the onslaught of water. 
That’s when the excitement begins. The strength of the tide causes the flow of the river to shift directions and create standing waves. At first the waves were small, in the 5 to 7 foot range. Yet, as the water continued to pour in, the standing waves reached heights of 12 to 14 feet. We motored through as the succession of waves swamped the zodiac with the brownish mix of water. Thankfully the zodiac self-bails, so as soon as the water in the raft spilled back into the river, we would motor through another series of towering waves, getting soaked and laughing our asses off on each run. After about 30 minutes, the water reaches its high point and the waves subside. For an encore, we crawled up the soft muddy banks of the river and slid down on our stomachs. I loved every minute of it and ended up penning a story for Men’s Journal. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/14 at 10:00 AM
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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Run the Alps

Great news from Doug Mayer, founder of Run the Alps. He has teamed with the highly reputable Swiss outfitter, Alpinehikers, to create two outstanding running trips to the Alps this summer and fall. With a fantastic network of trail and huts, and a long history and appreciation of running, Switzerland is a trail runner’s dream. Mountain runners have been weaving their way along alp paths for decades, and are practically exalted here. Be prepared to be greeted with an Allez-Allez! as you run by local farmers. If you opt for the summer trip, you’ll be eligible to participate in one of the most famous trail races in the world, the 31 km Sierre-Zanal, where you run along a high alp ridge to the remote village of Zinal. The fall trip will take you to the mountain towns of Zermatt and Grindelwald. Both trips are designed to accommodate a range of trail runners, from intermediate to advanced. You don’t need to be hardcore to have a great time. Run the Alps will have two guides and will offer a variety of opportunities throughout the trip to hike or take a break to soak in the stunning scenery. Expect easier options to be 6-8 miles with about 2000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Longer days will be planned for 15-20 miles with 3000 to 6000 feet of elevation gain and loss. Talk about a phenomenal experience! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/03/14 at 10:00 AM
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Thursday, January 09, 2014

5 Favorite Travel Days in 2013, Snowmobiling from Maine to New Brunswick

Last January, I flew to Presque Isle, Maine, the northern tip of the state to pen stories for The Boston Globe and Men’s Journal on snowmobiling from Maine into New Brunswick. Aroostook County, Maine, is the largest county east of the Mississippi River, known by avid snowmobilers as one of the top locales in the country to sample the sport. Potato farms connect with long dormant railroad corridors, seemingly endless logging roads through dense forest, and iced-over lakes and rivers to create a mind-boggling 2300 miles of snowmobile trails. But that’s not all. Simply bring a passport and you can cross into the province of New Brunswick to add another 4,000 miles of trail, half of which flows through state forests and parks. That was too good a story angle to pass up. 

In the morning, I met Kevin Freeman at his sled shop in Presque Isle. Freeman, a former professional snowmobile race, has logged more than 250,000 miles on snowmobiles in the region so he knows the routes like the back of his hand. He hooked me up with a 110 horsepower Ski-Doo, insulated snowmobile pants, jacket, helmet, and panniers so I could bring a change of clothing for an overnight in Canada. On a 250-mile weekend jaunt, we headed west to Portage Lake to have lunch at Dean’s, a favorite snowmobile stop known for their fish and lobster stews. Then we hit ITS 105, leading northeast from Washburn to Stockholm, a narrow and level railroad corridor where you can easily reach speeds of 75 miles per hour. 
At Hamplin, I went through Customs on snowmobile. The Canadians didn’t blink. But when I returned the next day into America, the guy was asking me questions for 20 minutes, like I was some sort of snowmobiling smuggler. “How come your passport is filled with stamps to Israel, Kenya, Ecuador?” “I’m a travel writer.” “Step aside from the snowmobile, please.” 
On the New Brunswick side, I snowmobiled with Ross Antworth, general manager of The New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. He led me across a long suspension bridge that glides above the St. John River. Then we made our way to the New Brunswick interior on logging roads past mills and on railroad beds where snowed-over balsams stood like spectators at a marathon. We spotted deer and the rare white ermine that call this forest home. 
To top it off, when I returned to Presque Isle, I went out that night with an incredibly talented photographer, Paul Cyr, who’s made a name for himself shooting the northern lights and wildlife. In typical Maine fashion, he humbly insists he’s an amateur photographer. Yeah, and Hendrix is an amateur guitarist. Check out his magnificent work online and then read my story

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/09/14 at 11:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Adventures in the Florida Keys, Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Islamorada

Pull over at Marker 88 in Islamorada on the bay side of the Keys and you’ll find a van. This is the home of Annette Robertson, the premier stand-up paddleboarding instructor and guide in the region. Miami Dolphins great Jason Taylor and his family are just one of the many clientele who regularly make the 90-minute trek south of Miami to spend the day on the bay paddleboarding. While I’ve seen my kids play around with paddleboards, I’ve never tried it until now. Annette was the perfect instructor, showing me how to balance and find my sweet spot on the board before we started on our merry way. We paddled along the shoreline on the calm waters, looking below to find fish. Annette has seen turtles and sharks on her numerous jaunts to the nearby mangroves. Rent paddleboards from her and go out as long as you like. It’s a great workout for your core. In fact, Annette has started to offer pilates and yoga classes atop the boards. So be sure to ask. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/18/13 at 11:00 AM
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Friday, December 13, 2013

Ice climb, Then Find Comfort at the Omni Mount Washington Resort

There’s a reason inn-to-inn bike and hike trips are growing in popularity. People love to have a day of adventure and then reward themselves with a night of fine food and pampering. That’s the premise behind Mount Washington Resort’s customized backcountry adventures. Steve Nichipor has been leading the intrepid on winter explorations of the Whites for two decades. Now he’s offering more adventurous guests the chance to partake in an introductory ice climb on the Bretton Woods property or tackle the legendary Frankenstein Cliff. Located in Crawford Notch State Park, Frankenstein Cliff attracts all levels of ice climbers, from beginners just learning to use their ice ax and crampons to experts who can climb up an iced-over waterfall like Spiderman. Then it’s back to the historic Mount Washington to rave about your experience over a four-course meal in the formal dining room, while listening to the pianist play Count Basie tunes. Cost of a semi-private tour with Nichipor is $185 per person, private tour at $275 per person. Rates at the resort start at $170 a night per room in winter.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/13/13 at 11:00 AM
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Extreme Sled Down Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

Not far from the shores of Lake Champlain are the corporate headquarters of the Hammerhead Sled. This is not your grandmother’s Flexible Flyer with heavy wood and steel gliders. The Hammerhead boasts a lightweight aluminum frame with skis. You lie down on the mesh fabric and steer the sled from the front, easily maneuvering away from any obstacle, be it an uprooted tree or another sledder. To slow down, you can either drag a foot or make turns like you do on skis. Vermont roads that are closed in winter, like the pass that connects the Stowe Ski Resort to the town of Jeffersonville through Smugglers’ Notch, have become popular venues for the sport. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday afternoon in winter, Stowe’s Umiak Outfitters leads people on snowshoes up the notch and then back down on a Hammerhead Sled. Cost is $69 per person and includes a snack of hot apple cider from the nearby Cold Hollow Cider Mill and cheese from Cabot.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/12/13 at 11:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snowshoe to an AMC High Hut in the White Mountains

The Appalachian Mountain Club keeps three of its huts in the Whites in New Hampshire open in winter. For snowshoers who relish a good climb, try the 3.8-mile (one-way) hike from Pinkham Notch to the Carter Notch hut. The 19-mile Brook Trail will bring you to this unique accommodation, situated between the dramatic ridges of Carter Dome and Wildcat “A.” Here, you can spend the night at the AMC’s oldest standing hut, a stone building constructed in 1914, perched just above two glacial lakes. The trail splits at the 1.8-mile mark, veering left to the top of Carter Dome or straight to Carter Notch. As you cross a bridge and continue the ascent to the notch, the northern hardwood forest is soon replaced by a boreal forest of sweet-smelling spruces and firs. The last section of the trail snakes between the ridges and the majestic glacial lakes to the old hut. Inside the cozy walls, you’ve earned your dinner and a night’s sleep on a mattress.

An easier hike is the 1.75-mile trail from the campground at Franconia Notch State Park to Lonesome Lake Hut. The trail leads through a sheltered birch, pine, and spruce forest to the shores of this bowl-shaped lake. Savor Franconia’s carved granite and the surrounding 5,000-foot mountains in all their splendor, with rarely a peep heard. All three huts, including the Zealand Falls Hut, are self-serve, so bring winter sleeping bags and food. Rates start at $25 a night for members, $30 for nonmembers.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/11/13 at 11:00 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. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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