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Miscellaneous Sports

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One Year After Irene, Vermont Is Fully Open for Fall Foliage Traffic

All eyes were on the Atlantic shoreline one year ago today as Hurricane Irene, downgraded to Tropical Storm Irene, slowly made her treacherous way north. We would soon find out that this perilous storm had far more of an affinity for New England’s mountains than sea, wreaking havoc in her wake as she followed the spine of peaks from the Berkshires into Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Southern Vermont took the brunt of the hit, not necessarily from the wind as much as the deluge of rain causing rivers to overflow, washing away bridges and resulting in more than 200 sections of collapsed road. Fall foliage season, the height of travel to the region, was reduced to a trickle. This season, there hopefully will be no surprises. After Labor Day, I’m going to spend the week talking about my favorite places to be in Vermont during fall foliage, including biking Addison County, mountain biking the Kingdom Trails, sea kayaking the Lake Champlain islands, and hiking Mount Hunger. Stick around. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/28/12 at 12:00 PM
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Costa Rica, Ziplining Above the Rainforest Canopy Outside of Quepos

Each year around my birthday, I try to do something a little crazy. Just my way of celebrating another year of survival and reconfirming that yes, I’m very much alive. Often this adventure has something to do with confronting my fear of heights. Last year, I went rock climbing for the first time in the Canadian Rockies. This year, on my fourth trip to Costa Rica, having more than ample opportunity to zipline above the rainforest canopy, I finally agreed to go. Having the chance to cruise with my family was the extra push I needed. We drove through the palm oil plantations high up in the hills above Quepos on the central Costa Rican coast. The company we chose, MidWorld, were extremely professional, especially when attaching our harnesses and carabineers. Then we drove a little bit higher and it was time to bite the bullet. I was worried that my stomach would drop, like on a rollercoaster ride, a dreaded feeling I’d rather not have. Instead, it was just a smooth quick cruise on a cable just above the canopy of green. There were a total of ten platforms and two rappels down from the trees. Walking from one platform to the next, we spotted a toucan and a green and yellow poison dart frog. By the third or fourth zipline, I started to become so comfortable with the sport that I turned upside down. Then I tried to right myself, but my core needs a bit more Pilates before I can pull off that move. So I spent the entire zipline upside down, watching the blur of forest whiz by. I think I earned my chocolate raspberry birthday cake tonight. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/16/12 at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rangeley, Maine Hosts Moose Calling Championship

For many people, their image of Maine resembles a Winslow Homer canvas—the battering surf of the North Atlantic thrust against a boulder-strewn coastline, spewing foam high into the air. Yet, this massive state is more than mere ocean. The interior is one of the most undeveloped regions in the country, a blanket of forest filled with mile-high mountains traversed by the Appalachian Trail, colossal lakes, sinuous rivers such as the Kennebago and Penobscot, and too many ponds to count. The small village of Rangeley, hub to the Rangeley Lakes Region, is considered by many Mainers as the gateway to this vast tract of land. This is especially true if you drive out of town and spot moose searching for food at dawn or dusk. A personal favorite is Route 16, north of Rangeley to Stratton, where moose seem as prevalent as squirrels in suburbia.  

 
So it should come as no surprise that Rangeley will host the World Invitational Moose Calling Championship the weekend of June 22-24. The competitors will be judged in four categories: Cow Call, Bull Call, Other Attraction Techniques (props allowed) and Presentation/Sportsmanship. The first place winner will receive $1000. Restaurants and bars will be joining in the festivities with moose-themed specials like chocolate mousse, 'moose' whoopie pies, moose jewelry, and moose shots. Sounds like a good time for all, including the moose. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/23/12 at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Spring Training Vacations

The Red Sox debuted their new spring training stadium in Fort Myers this week as the baseball season starts up again. Not only does the stadium have its own version of the Green Monster, but the facility can hold up to 11,000 fans. For families who have a passion for our national pastime, spring training is the ideal time to see your favorite players at their pre-season best, willing to sign autographs and meet the fans and not feeling the pressure of a mid-season slump. You can watch players like Derek Jeter take morning batting practice in settings so intimate it feels as if he could just as easily be at your neighborhood ball field. If you’re interested in planning your spring break around spring training, check out my article at FamilyVacationCritic.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/07/12 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jay Peak’s New Indoor Waterpark a Blast

In the last couple years, Jay Peak, in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont has grown leaps and bounds with the opening of the Tram Haus Lodge, the new Hotel Jay, and adjacent indoor waterpark, the Pump House. I didn’t realize what a state-of-the-art waterpark they were talking about until I checked it out with my family for the first time on Friday night. It’s immense, about the size of an airplane hangar, with a lazy river snaking around the perimeter. There’s a retractable roof, long bar on the second floor, large video screen to watch sporting events, and a slew of rides. This includes La Chute, a free fall, where you plummet through a loop and can reach speeds of up to 50 mph in five seconds. The Double Barrel is a wave to try your hand at surfing and boogie boarding. There’s also a big hot tub where I rested after skiing on Saturday. Since it opened in December, there have been more people in the waterpark on weekends than skiing the slopes. After experiencing blustery winds and below-zero temperatures on the mountain on Sunday, I believe it. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/14/12 at 01:59 PM
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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

When a Bore is Not a Bore, Tidal Bore Rafting in Nova Scotia

I just spent the morning writing about a tidal bore rafting adventure I took this past September in Nova Scotia. What’s tidal bore rafting, you ask? When the Bay of Fundy, home to the highest recorded tides in the world, floods one of the rivers that feeds the mighty bay with billions of tons of seawater, it creates a massive wave. Yet, on the Shubenacadie River, where I sampled the sport with Rafing Canada, the tidal bore is merely the start of the adventure. The surge of water causes the flow of the river to reverse directions and create standing waves. The motorized raft slams into a succession of waves, often in excess of 8 feet, as you’re trying hard to hang on to a rope in this waterlogged version of a rodeo. Completely drenched, you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. If you do get tossed, you simply land on soft mud, a cushiony welcome mat for the brackish water. It’s great fun for the whole family. Minimum age is 12.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/01/12 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Favorite Travel Days 2011, Checking Out Miami’s Wynwood Walls

 

I can’t say I was thrilled with the idea of leaving the beachfront in Key Biscayne to head into downtown Miami to write a story on the emerging arts district called Wynwood. But when I stepped foot into the new restaurant, Wynwood Kitchen, and saw the freshly painted works of Shepard Fairey covering the bar walls, I was blown away. It only got better when I went outside and saw the display of international graffiti artists who came to Wynwood to showcase their works, lured to Miami by the country’s foremost contemporary art expo, Art Basel. Now I can’t wait to go back to Wynwood Walls and wow my friends with this discovery. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/13/12 at 02:00 PM
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Austin-Lehman Adventures Offers a Yoga Retreat in Mexico

I had the privilege of traveling with Austin-Lehman Adventures last summer on a family trip to the Canadian Rockies and loved every minute of it. For 2012, founder Dan Austin is rolling out some exciting new adventures including a six-day biking trip through Burgundy and three trips in February heading to Yellowstone National Park in the quiet winter months. Yet, the trip that I’m most enthusiastic about is ALA’s first foray into yoga. From March 19-24, 2012, ALA will be heading to a private coffee plantation in Chiapas, Mexico. Wake up to sunrise yoga accompanied by the sounds of the tropical forest and a steaming mug of the plantation’s own coffee. Then head out to explore the Mayan ruins of Izapa, kayak through mangrove swamps on the Pacific Coast, hike to hidden waterfalls, and rest your weary body in a temazcal, an indigenous sauna bath, before digging into a dinner of local Mexican favorites. To a Boston boy who hates the month of March more than any other time in New England, this is the ideal warm-weather retreat.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/30/11 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Micato Elite Running Safari in Kenya

Named the World’s Best Safari Outfitter by readers of Travel & Leisure, Micato always seems to come up with something original each year. In 2012, the Kenyan-based owners are teaming with some of the country’s best-known athletes to create an elite running vacation. Your host is Kip Keino, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, who will introduce you to his Olympic training center and hometown of Kapsabet. Expect to run with some of the finest runners in the country today, including the former world record holder for the New York Marathon, Paul Tergat. This being Micato, you can be assured that you’ll be resting your weary body at some of the finest resorts in Africa, no doubt surrounded by the wildlife of the Great Rift Valley. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/29/11 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Now’s the Time to Go Apple Picking

Wow, talk about a gem of a Columbus Day Weekend in the Northeast. It hit 87 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday in Boston, breaking a 69 year-old record. Today, the temps are also supposed to be above normal. I’m hoping to get most of my writing out of the way this morning and go apple picking with the kids this afternoon. There’s no better fall activity 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. 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!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/11/11 at 01:00 PM
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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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