ActiveTravels | get up & go!  
 subscribe to ActiveTravels
 Subscribe by RSS By RSS Feed or Email
 
Follow ActiveTravels on Twitter Like ActiveTravels on Facebook View the ActiveTravels YouTube channel
 
ActiveTravels - Travel Agents You Can Trust
   
     
 

Routes

Friday, April 12, 2019

On the Road to Ronda

We were picked up promptly at 9 am in Granada by Damir, a driver and guide for a company we’ve been working with more and more in Europe, Daytrip. We could have rented our own car and made the 3-hour trek from Granada to Seville, but it’s so much more relaxing to have someone else drive, especially when you want to stop and visit another town along the way. Two hours later, after sitting in the back of a comfortable Mercedes sedan and peering out at the rolling hills and mountains of this bucolic region of Spain, we arrived in Ronda. Damir guided us around the town, walking along the edge of the famous gorge, touring the oldest bullring in Spain, the one Hemingway wrote about when he lived here (it’s also the town where Orson Welles retired and died), and the historic Moorish settlement at the bottom of the hill. After a lunch of tapas, we arrived in Seville around 4 pm. One of the most relaxing days of the trip. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/12/19 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Royal Air Maroc to Fly Direct from Boston to Casablanca

Morocco has become an increasingly popular destination for our clients at ActiveTravels in the past several years. The only challenge for people leaving from Boston is that there was no direct flight, meaning they usually had to transfer at JFK or Lisbon's Portela Airport. Thankfully, that's about to change on June 22nd. Royal Air Maroc has just announced that they will be flying direct from Boston to Casablanca 3 times weekly. Total flight time on the Boeing 787-8 will be 7 hours, 25 minutes westbound and 6 hours 35 minutes eastbound. Royal Air Maroc will also be joining One Alliance in 2020, so soon you'll be able to use your American Airlines miles to find seats. Once in Morocco, we work with a fantastic ground operator who packages together all lodging, guides, drivers, and restaurants to make your experience as seamless as possible. A typical 10-day itinerary will include Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, the glorious seaside village of Essaouira, and at least one night at a Bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert. Please let us know how we can help. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/27/19 at 05:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New Direct Flight Routes Across America

I wrote earlier this year about the exciting new direct flight from New York's JFK Airport to Nairobi, Kenya on Kenya Airways, opening up East Africa to safari lovers. As of Monday, you can now fly LAX direct to the African continent and the country of Togo on Ethiopian Airlines. Southwest will soon launch direct flights from the West Coast cities of San Diego, San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento to Hawaii. Boston's new direct flight to Hawaii on Hawaiian Air will debut April 4, 2019. Boston will also be debuting direct flights to Lisbon and Edinburgh on Delta next May, along with a new Norwegian Air flight to Madrid and direct flight to Seoul on Korean Air. If you're flying out of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, expect new service to Athens, Lisbon, and Quebec City next summer. Out of JFK starting July 27, 2019, the low-cost carrier, LEVEL, will be flying direct to Barcelona. Newark already has a new direct flight to Singapore on Singapore Airlines and will be unveiling flights to Naples and Prague on United, and Nice on La Compagnie next May and June. Wherever you want to fly in 2019, ActiveTravels will find the easiest route possible. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/19/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Monday, October 22, 2018

Strolling Florence’s Oltrarno Neighborhood

To escape the crowds in Florence, all you have to do is cross over the Arno into the far more residential Oltrarno neighborhood. Walking the narrow streets, I spotted a child being picked up at school by her grandfather and scooped onto the front of his bike to ride home. We found a wonderful row of boutique shops just off the Palazzo Pitti on Sdrucciolo dei Pitti and then wandered into a massive church, Santo Spirito, where a crucifix created by Michelangelo at the age of 18 still hangs. The highlight was a stop Lisa vividly remembered from studying abroad in Florence over three decades ago, the Brancacci Chapel. Inside this off-the-beaten-track church is one of Western art's most important works, the fresco by artists Masaccio and Masolino (started in 1383), most importantly Masaccio's Expulsion of Adam and Eve. The figures in this work reflect light, giving them a sculptural presence as Masaccio was one of the first artists to use single-point perspective. We ended our day with dinner at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, a wonderful restaurant suggested by our friend, Nina. The bruschetta was overflowing with ripe tomatoes and garlic and my tender veal scaloppini was covered with eggplants and peppers, all washed down with good Sangiovese wine. Perfecto! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/22/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hawaiian Airlines To Start Nonstop Flights From Boston To Honolulu

One of the big stories in the Boston world of travel this past week is the announcement that Hawaiian Airlines will soon be flying out of Logan Airport's Terminal E. Starting April 4, 2019, Hawaiian Airlines will fly five times a week on the longest scheduled domestic route in America, a whopping 5,095 miles. It will take 11 hours and 40 minutes for the Airbus A330 to fly westbound to Hawaii and 10 hours 15 minutes to return to Boston. Book through tomorrow, September 20th, and fly in April 2019 and the round-trip cost starts at $643 per person. Once in Hawaii, let ActiveTravels take over. We know the islands, lodgings, and activities extremely well. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/19/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Friday, September 14, 2018

Height of Fall Foliage in Vermont Could Be a Week Later in 2018

We had a very warm summer in New England, one of the warmest on record. And it's still continuing to be warm this weekend, with highs expected to reach the mid-80s on Sunday. So meteorologists in the region are already starting to predict a later fall foliage, similar to last year. The typical peak in central Vermont, from Stowe to Woodstock, is usually around Columbus Day. But I would expect peak to be closer to the week of October 15th. To view the foliage without the crowds, please check out my story for Yankee Magazine last October. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/14/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Exploring Prince Edward County, Ontario

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 

For many years, New England was my playground to explore, and, in much the same way, I am now discovering the province of Ontario. Recently, I was off to Prince Edward County, about 2 ½ hours northeast of Toronto, "an island on the northern shore of Lake Ontario where you go to fall in love with food, nature, art and community all over again," says the official tourism site. I stayed with an artist friend in Demorestville, and visited Picton, Wellington, Lake on the Mountain, and Bloomfield. I loved the small towns, field upon field of agricultural use, numerous options for water activity, wineries (there are 30!), artists' studios, antique stores, old stone buildings, and excellent farm-to-table food. 
 
For wineries, I can recommend Karlo Estates, with its wonderful tasting room inside an historic barn, and Waupoos Estates Winery, overlooking the waters of Prince Edward Bay. I thoroughly enjoyed the local food at the Drake Devonshire Hotel sitting outside on the beach. Also good was The Miller House Cafe, located in a 1796 former residence in Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, 62 meters above Lake Ontario, with views of the Bay of Quinte below. I found antiquing success at the humorously-named Dead People's Stuff, where I purchased a set of lovely highball glasses and a set of deep blue snifter glasses for my son (who recently moved into his first apartment in Boston). Lastly, it was off to Sandbanks Provincial Park, with "the world's largest baymouth barrier dune formation," and long sandy beaches. I wish I had had more time to walk on the trails and swim in the surf. 
 
Also in Prince Edward County: theater, music, birding, as well as a renowned "Great Canadian Cheese Festival" every June, and a famous August Jazz Festival. The Globe and Mail ran an article recently entitled "Ten new things to see, do, eat and drink in Prince Edward County." It's definitely a weekend destination I'll return to. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/11/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Nomads Tours Designs New Itinerary to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert

Our go-to tour operator in Mongolia, Nomads Tours, has just designed a fascinating weeklong trip to Mongolia that includes stays at the Shangri-La in Ulaanbaatar and the intriguing Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi Desert. The owner of Three Camel, Jalsa Urubshurow, grew up in a Mongolian community in New Jersey, before becoming very wealthy in the construction industry. Urubshurow returned in 2002 to create his dream property, backed by the 14,000-foot Altai Mountains and near the fossil-rich Flaming Cliffs. Guests sleep in "gers," Mongolian round felt tents, adorned with hand-painted interiors and locally crafted furniture. Spend the day riding on camels to the sand dunes and then meet local nomadic herders at dinner that evening. In Ulaanbaatar, you'll visit the city's largest market, Naran Tuul (also known as Black Market), and visit monks at the Gandan Khiid Buddhist Monastery, one of the few monasteries to survive the communist regime that lasted until 1990. Pricing starts at $4199 per person, including lodging, all meals, guides, and round-trip domestic air. Please contact ActiveTravels if interested. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/18/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 
 
At ActiveTravels, we often assist clients who seek to add "fun" to the slog of college visits with offspring. We recommend activities to do and great restaurants to try, and, of course, we arrange good hotels to rest your weary feet. Several years ago, when my daughter Sophie and I were trekking across NY State on a spring break college tour, we spent time at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, and ate at the award-winning Revelry in Rochester. Today, I have a chance to tell you about Charlottesville, Virginia, for those of you who may tour the University of Virginia. 
 
In late June, my sister and I drove our 90-year-old mother from New York City to Charlottesville to visit her 89-year-old sister (who relocated there recently). We had a narrow window for the trip before my mother traveled to Vermont with a friend for a long-scheduled series of classical music concerts, and before my aunt left for yet another scuba diving expedition in the Cayman Islands. Nothing slows these women down! 
 
Once in Charlottesville, we enjoyed two main adventures. First, we spent a lovely several hours at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards, just outside of town. I read about it ahead of time: "The picturesque vineyards and Winery Tasting Room are pure magic. But the real highlight is top-notch lunch cuisine on the veranda - with a bountiful cheese plate and big deck chairs, the setup is straight out of a magazine." Sounded right up our alley! We indulged while overlooking the green, very lush hills and fields, tasted several wines (our favorite was their Viognier), and ate delicious salads and smoked fish. "Farm-to-table" is a familiar expression these days; now, there's "vineyard-to-table," too. There are many wineries within ½ hour of Charlottesville, including one owned by Dave Matthews
 
The next day, we set out to explore Shenandoah National Park, established in 1935. The scenic Skyline Drive is a prominent feature of the Park, and we drove it to the highest point, where we stopped for lunch at Skyland Resort (originally called Stony Man Camp, built in 1895). The origins of this beautiful Park are not completely benign, however. Hundreds of "mountain people" were moved off their land by the government after it was deemed by so-called "experts" that they were "steeped in ignorance, wrapped in self-satisfaction and complacency, possessed of little or no ambition." Segregation also reared its ugly head when the park debuted. We viewed a very interesting exhibit on segregated picnic areas within Shenandoah National Park. All sites in the Park, except one, were "whites only," and this lasted through the 1940s. 
 
Sadly, we missed the vibrant theater scene in Charlottesville (my cousin Dan is almost always in a show: this summer, he's in "Harvey," with the professional Heritage Theatre Festival). If you are passing through Charlottesville, that's another big plus. Monticello (Jefferson) and Montpelier (Madison), historic Presidential homes, are nearby. Let ActiveTravels know if you are headed to Charlottesville, or, really, to any college town, and we can help design a Dream Day Itinerary!
 
Caption: Vineyard View at Pippin Hill Farm

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/12/18 at 05:59 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Big Island Off the Beaten Track, Part Two

Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches

After our time in and around Holualoa, my daughter and I headed to the northern half of the Big Island. Our base there was Hawi, pronounced "hah-vee," a really fun and unique town. Located on the slopes of the Kohala mountain, Hawi has become a popular tourist destination in recent years due to its artists' shops, delicious restaurants, and beautiful scenery. During the 19th century, profitable sugar cane plantations were established bringing many Japanese and Filipino laborers. With the decline of the sugar cane industry in the mid-20th century, Hawi adapted. We stayed on a small lush farm just outside of town, enjoyed the produce there, and also ate very locally and happily at Sweet Potato Kitchen, Sushi Rock, and Bamboo Restaurant, all housed in former plantation buildings. 
 
The best experiences we had outside of Hawi was driving the Kohala Mountain Road from Hawi to Waimea, horseback riding on a ranch near Waimea, visiting the Waipio Valley, and then hiking in the Pololu Valley. As you drive north to Hawi from Kailua-Kona, you see mostly black lava fields along the road, then enter an incredibly green area, full of ranches which date back to 1840s, older than the oldest ranches in the continental United States by more than 30 years! Kohala Mountain Road, which we traversed on our way to horseback riding at Dahana Ranch, is stunning. At Dahana, we grew to understand the paniolo (cowboy) world better through a guided ride (which required no real horse knowledge, just a willingness). Dahana is a working ranch, not a tourist trap: they breed, raise and train a variety of horses and ponies, and also manage a 140 head cow/calf operation for beef and rodeo bucking stock. 
 
After riding, we wanted to stretch our own legs. From Waimea to Honokaa, our destination was the Waipio Valley Overlook. We didn't have a chance to really explore the Valley floor as we had no 4WD car, but we admired the view and walked a way. We saved our real hiking for the Pololu Valley on the way back to Hawi. This was a highlight, recommended by a friend who had lived on the Big Island. Down a steep trail for about ½ hour, after parking at literally at the end of the road, we soaked in the dramatic northeastern Big Island coastline. At the bottom, we were rewarded by a fairly isolated black sand beach, a lone woman practicing yoga, and a few brave souls camping overnight. Spectacular!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/12/18 at 06:00 AM
Routes • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Page 1 of 6 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »

 

 
 
 

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.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association

 

tags