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Routes

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Time to Cruise Vermont’s Route 100

All it takes is one drive on Vermont’s Route 100 from Killington to Stowe to understand the fall foliage hype. Traveling along the ridgeline of the 4,000-foot Green Mountains as it radiates with its majestic robe of multi-hued maples in October and you can’t help but sing its praises. Be sure to stop in the farming community of Rochester for the requisite “cows and meadow” photo and the historic village of Stowe to find one of the numerous freshly painted white steeples. Along the route, you’ll want to visit the Cold Hollow Cider Mill for your jug of cider, out-of-the-oven doughnuts, and genuine maple syrup. Nearby is the Ben & Jerry’s factory where you can take a tour, sample the wares, and find out how the duo started their celebrated business. We’ve been putting clients up lately at Trapp Family Lodge to savor the vistas from atop the hillside and to sample the new beer hall

 We're off to Chicago for the week, back October 11th. Have a great Columbus Day Weekend and keep active! 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/03/17 at 05:00 AM
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Friday, September 01, 2017

Experts Forecast Spectacular Fall Foliage in New England

I’ve been busy this week designing itineraries for all of our clients headed to New England in the next month or two. Early reports indicate that this is going to be a banner year for fall colors. While we now comfortably send ActiveTravels members all over the world thanks to the guidance of trusted local experts, there’s no region we know better than our own backyard of New England. I’ve practically driven every backcountry road of these six states writing books for Outside Magazine, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, articles on the top beach towns and winter towns for Yankee Magazine, and more than 300 stories for the Boston Globe. ActiveTravels was also asked to design a route for Conde Nast Traveler readers and we were chosen the agent of choice for NewEnglandTravelPlanner. If you want to visit New England, rest assured that we’ll find the best lodging, activities, restaurants, and routes that suit your budget and passion.

Off to Lime Rock Race Course in Connecticut, and visits with family in New Jersey, Philly, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania next week. Have a great Labor Day Weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/01/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Taking the Golden Pass from Montreux

After a necessary stop on the French side of Switzerland to dine on patisserie in Montreux at Confiserie Zurcher, visit that glorious castle on the waters of Lake Geneva, Chateau de Chillon, and peer out at the awe-inspiring Mont Blanc from the balcony of my hotel, Eurotel Montreux, we took one of the classic Switzerland train rides on the Golden Pass. Throughout our entire trip, the Swiss Rail system was a breeze to use. All trains were on time (of course, this is the home of Rolex), comfortable, and easy to use thanks to an 8-day Swiss Travel Pass that allows you to jump on and off the rail system at your leisure. Complimentary admission to museums and sights like the Chillon Castle was an added perk for getting the pass. Along with the Chocolate Train and the Glacier Express, the Golden Pass is one of the signature train rides in Switzerland. We boarded the classic train in Montreux in the morning and soon were riding far above the shores of Lake Geneva, making stops in small mountain villages as hikers and bikers wandered off into the hillside. We stopped in the glamorous skiing resort town of Gstaad, before switching trains in Zweisimmen and taking the far more modern train to Bern. Trying one of these historic trains is a must when visiting the country. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/10/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Guided Tour To New England’s Islands

If you want to visit New England this summer but prefer to leave the driving to someone else, consider the latest offering from Northeast Unlimited Tours, a highly recommended tour operator in the region. The weeklong tour starts Saturday, August 26 from Boston before making stops in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and Newport. Don’t worry. This is not one of those bus tours where each night is at a different lodging. You’ll spend three nights at the Red Jacket Beach Resort on the Cape, taking ferries daily to the Vineyard and Nantucket. In Rhode Island, you’ll stay in Newport at the Newport Harbor Hotel, taking the ferry over to Block Island for the day. Cost is $1,999 per person, double occupancy, including all lodging, transport, guides, ferries, dinners, and breakfasts. If interested, please contact ActiveTravels
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/12/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Driving to Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

With expert local advice, we set our GPS for Vista House in Corbett for long vista views along the river. Then we followed the Old Historic Columbia River Hwy to Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and, eventually, to Cascade Locks for brunch. We met friends at the very local Bridgeside Restaurant and had a yummy salmon chowder. The Bridge of the Gods is right there, but we didn't go over it. We also missed the Bonneville Dam with apparently very interesting salmon and sturgeon viewing. Instead, off to Hood River we went, then up to Mt. Hood and the historic Timberline Lodge for drinks and handcrafted ales while watching the skiers, in mid-May. Life is rough! Rising 11,239 feet (3,426 meters), Mt. Hood is the highest peak in Oregon, and the second most climbed mountain in the world. At the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the mountain was an active volcano and is now considered “sleeping.” I had been to Portland before, but to truly appreciate Oregon, you have to leave the city limits. 

 

 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/08/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Best Summer Drives in New England

One doesn’t drive in New England simply to get from Point A to Point B at the fastest possible time. No, we like to linger, savor the beauty, cherish the history. We’re fortunate to be blessed with a diverse landscape full of majestic sights like the jagged shoreline of Maine, the granite notches of New Hampshire, the verdant farmland of Vermont, and the long stretch of white beach found in Rhode Island. We stop not only to post photos to our Instagram and Facebook accounts, but to dine on lobster rolls and fried clams at renowned seafood shacks, hike on the same shoreline and forest paths that inspired Winslow Homer and Robert Frost, and stop to stay at legendary inns or a new cabin built into the vast Maine wilderness. 

 
To read my latest story for Yankee Magazine on 8 great summer drives, including maps, please click here
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/19/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Insider Tips on Napa Valley

Guest Post by Kelli Hollingsworth
 
Your romantic getaway to wine country isn’t complete without a comfortable place to stay, top-tier cuisine, and laid-back entertainment. Stay at the property I recommend to family and friends, Solage Calistoga, which offers guests spacious suites, a sybaritic spa, geothermal bathhouse, and two complimentary bikes per room. With a Michelin-starred restaurant and bar on site, a trailhead nearby, and fabulous wineries just down the road, this resort is perfectly situated to savor the region. Nearby is Castello di Amorosa Winery where you can sample exclusive reserve wines paired with tasty appetizers and local cheeses. Unfortunately, you missed the last Calistoga Concerts in the Park, which is held from the end of June to the end of August. But if you visit next summer, be sure to spend your Thursday evenings at these free concerts, enjoying a boxed meal from a local restaurant, while sipping on wine from the featured winery of the week. When the hustle and bustle of everyday life leaves you feeling run down, there’s nowhere better to replenish the well than a getaway to gorgeous Napa Valley. Hope to see you soon!
 
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/26/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Take a Last-Minute Summer Trip to the Catskills

Less than a 2-hour drive from New York City is Sullivan County, the western region of the Catskills. Once the heart of the Borscht Belt, where resorts like Grossinger’s and Kutsher’s thrived in the 50s and the 60s, only to be abandoned in the 80s and 90s not long after the mega-hit movie, Dirty Dancing, hit the screens. Derelict buildings on properties the size of college campuses dotted Sullivan County and the region felt like the Pompeii of the Catskills. Today, the county is experiencing a comeback, with stylish new inns and resorts, as well as farm fresh restaurants popping up left and right. This resurgence, coupled with outdoor adventures and genuine affordability means there’s no better time to experience what’s in Manhattan’s backyard (without having to get on an overcrowded train to the Hamptons). 

New inns and hotels are popping up all over the region, providing plenty of options to get away. Inns like The Arnold House, The North Branch Inn, and the Stickett Inn, provide a more intimate experience, while Ecce Bed & Breakfast and The Inn at Lake Joseph are ideal for a resort-style experience and families. Restaurants around the area take the phrase “Farm-to-Table” very seriously. Why wouldn’t they with all of the amazing farms within close proximity? When you’re not eating at restaurants like The Heron, The Bar Room at The North Branch Inn, or Northern Farmhouse Pasta, be sure to check out the farms where the ingredients are coming from at Apple Pond Farm, Root N’ Roost Farm, and more. Wash it all down at one of the many local breweries and vineyards in the area, like Roscoe Beer Co., Catskills Brewery, and Bashakill Vineyards.
 
Outdoor lovers want to start off by exploring the Delaware River. Work with the pros at Lander’s River Trips to coordinate a trip that suits you best via canoe, kayak, or raft. You can also stay on land and explore the miles upon miles of hiking trails in the county. Morgan Outdoors can get you geared up and on your way, advising on the best trails to hit, as well as offering weekly yoga classes. 
 
I’m taking a break the next few days, back on Monday live from Maine aboard the windjammer, Schooner Mary Day. 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 07/27/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel Will Finally Open in June

Already recognized as one of the premier train systems in the world, the Swiss Rail System can easily make its claim as the finest once the Gotthard Base Tunnel opens on June 1st. It has taken 20 years at a cost of $10.3 billion and the lives of 8 men to create the world’s longest tunnel, a mind-boggling 35 miles long. 8,000 feet below the surface of the Alps, more than 2,000 workers excavated some 2 million truckloads of earth. The result is a tunnel where trains will travel over 150 miles per hour, shaving an hour off the current Milan to Zurich run, down to 2 hours and 50 minutes. It’s an incredible feat, especially when you consider the tracks are completely flat under the mountainous Alps. That’s what I call Swiss ingenuity. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/04/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Lindblad Offers Deals to Panama Canal

2016 marks the completion of the massive Panama Canal expansion project that will usher in a new chapter for Panama and cap off the celebration of the Panama Canal’s 100th birthday. Lindblad Expeditions is taking advantage of this historical moment to offer several deals aboard their 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Lion. Guests will explore the Panamanian and Costa Rican coastline, traverse the Canal, snorkel and kayak off deserted islands, and venture up rain forest-canopied rivers, while being led by some of the finest naturalists in the travel business. Book one of their Panamanian cruises by November 30, 2015, and you can choose from free round-trip airfare from Miami OR the Panama City extension on select January and February 2016 dates. On this 2-day Panama City extension, you’ll visit the construction site at the Canal Expansion Observation Center, and see the new highly touted Frank Gehry-designed Biodiversity Museum. 

 
Lindblad is also unveiling a new 9-day land-based trip to Costa Rica that will include a stop at Tortuguero National Park, often called the Venice of Costa Rica for its maze of waterways. From mid-spring to late summer at Tortuguero, four different types of turtle return to shores to lay their eggs, including the giant leatherback, which can weigh over 1,000 pounds. For reservations or additional information on Lindblad Expeditions voyages, contact us at ActiveTravels
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/04/15 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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