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


Friday, May 03, 2013

Fogo Island Inn Set to Open in June

Nine miles off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland lies Fogo Island, a barren land of marsh and lichen-covered rock where salt houses cling to the shoreline. In early summer, herds of caribou graze while icebergs and whales float by. When cod was king, the island was bursting with activity. But after the moratorium on fishing cod in the 1990s, the population dwindled to 2700, seemingly lost to the world. Then something remarkable, almost Dr. Seuss-like, happened. A woman who grew up on the island, Zita Cobb, created a philanthropy called The Shorefast Foundation with her brother, Tony. Not only would they offer microloans to small local businesses, they were intent on revitalizing the island through the arts. Cobb founded the Fogo Island Arts Corporation in 2008, hiring another former native, architect Todd Saunders, a rising star on the Norwegian architectural scene. Saunders would create ultramodern, angular art studios that would garner attention from numerous publications, including The New York Times. Now the philanthropist and architect have teamed up again to debut a 29-room inn that will open in June. Drive one hour from Gander, Newfoundland, to Farewell and board the 45-minute Fogo Island ferry. Cost is $415 to $720 per room, including breakfast, dinner, afternoon tea, supper, snacks, and all beverages, including premium wines and spirits.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/03/13 at 12:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Maine Island Getaway

Impeccably restored in 2004, Chebeague Island Inn, perched above the shores of Casco Bay’s largest island, never seemed to catch on with mainlanders. That was until the summer of 2010 when Mainer Casey Prentice and his family purchased the circa-1920 estate and instilled the property with a much-needed dose of youthful enthusiasm. Word spread quickly about Chef Justin Rowe, who trained at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, and knows how to create tasty dishes from local catch. Now Portlanders think nothing of taking the 15-minute water taxi or ferry to Chebeague for cocktails on the wraparound porch, dinner, even an overnight stay in one of the 21 rooms found in the three-story home. New this summer is s the Inn’s Farm-to-Table Package where guests can taste the island’s local agriculture. Foodies will also enjoy the Lobster Experience Package that allows guests to join a Maine lobsterman for a two-hour, educational excursion around Casco Bay. Afterwards, the inn will purchase the freshly caught crustaceans and prepare a classic lobster dinner with all the fixings. Rooms start at $180 a night.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/30/13 at 12:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Plaza Athenee Turns 100

Sleep deprived after our overseas flight into Paris, my family stepped under the signature red awning into the lobby of the Plaza Athenee and exhaustion was immediately replaced with a deep sense of comfort and relaxation. It wasn't only the doorman who carried in your luggage.  No, it was the man behind the reception desk stating that our room was already available at this early hour, and the nearby concierge, standing at a desk twice as large as the reception area, already helping us with dinner reservations and museum passes. Then a woman escorted us upstairs to our room, a stately suite, where the antique rugs and furniture blended with the latest technology like flatscreen televisions. We opened up the French country windows to see a garden box planted with flowers. To our right was the Eiffel Tower standing in all its glory. Everything was bliss.

When the Plaza Athenee opened its doors on April 20, 1913, it quickly became the place to be for the Parisian personalities of the day. Maurice Chevalier, Josephine Baker and Rudolph Valentino made the crimson-trimmed palace their Parisian hot spot of choice. So did the fashion icon Christian Dior, who became so infatuated with the hotel, he opened his new boutique on the same street. Luminaries kept coming: Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper, Jackie Kennedy, the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, and more. As it celebrates its 100th birthday, the hotel just gets better with age. You can read my full review of the property at FamilyVactionCritic

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/04/13 at 12:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Connecticut’s Water’s Edge Resort & Spa Unveils 20 New Villas

Smack dab between New York and Boston on the Connecticut coast, the Water’s Edge Resort first made its debut in 1946. Over the years, the beachfront property has earned a reputation for excellent service and top-notch entertainment, attracting such performers as Barbara Streisand and Woody Allen. Entertainment is still at the forefront of this Long Island Sound getaway, but now you can add spacious comfort to the resume. Twenty two-bedroom villas, ranging in size from 1,100 to 1,300 square feet, have just made their debut. Each of the villas features a fully equipped kitchen with Viking appliances, two full baths, elevator access, gas fireplaces, flat panel LCD televisions, spacious balconies, and private beach access, ideally suited for families or two couples. To celebrate the new villas, Water’s Edge Resort & Spa is offering two deals. Snag a villa between now and May 19, 2013 for two nights and you’ll receive a third night free. In the next offer, guests who reserve a villa for a weeklong summer vacation by March 15, 2013 get 10% off the weekly rental price. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/07/13 at 01:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Friday, March 01, 2013

Stay at the Grafton Inn for $150 a Night in March

If you want to stay at a quintessential Vermont town, close to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and downhill skiing, you might want to take advantage of the Grafton Inn’s latest deal. Pay just $150 for any room, any night at the inn, through the month of March. The price includes a full country breakfast and complimentary trail access to Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center. You must call the Grafton Inn to book this special: 800-843-1801. Online reservations will not apply. Never been to Grafton? Amble along Main Street past the Country Store, where I once spotted a sign posted outside asking if anyone’s seen a missing horse, and you swear you just stepped into a Currier and Ives painting. To the right is the red brick town hall, circa 1816, now home to the post office. Further up the road, past the white clapboard houses spewing smoke from their chimneys is the requisite white steeple. Across the street is the Old Tavern (now the Grafton Inn) , opened in 1801, and once the stagecoach stop on the ride from Boston to Montreal. Ulysses S. Grant spent a night here while campaigning for his presidency and Rudyard Kipling liked the locale so much he honeymooned at the hotel in 1892. For more information on Grafton, see the story I wrote for Preservation Magazine

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/01/13 at 01:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Visit to Quebec City’s Ice Hotel

On my last day in Quebec, I took a tour of the only ice hotel in North America. Now in its 13th incarnation, the Hotel de Glace features 44 rooms and suites, a chapel that hosts around 20 weddings each winter, and a bar with incredible acoustics that was blasting a Led Zeppelin tune when I strolled in. It took more than 50 people some 4 to 6 weeks to build the structure, which opened on January 5 and will close on March 24th. Rooms are unheated. You warm up in an outdoor Jacuzzi and then go straight under the blankets for the night. I blew off that option, choosing instead to have a drink of vodka and cider served in an ice flute. Then I took a taxi back to the warm confines of my Hilton room. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/11/13 at 12:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Friday, February 08, 2013

Staying at Hotel La Ferme

Every day I receive press releases about the next glitzy resort opening, set to make its splashy debut in some corner of the globe. Many of these upscale properties charge in excess of $1,000 a night, your entrance fee to a world of exclusivity. Forget the local community. You’ll be hidden behind gates and fences, where maybe, if you’re lucky, your server that night comes from somewhere inside that country. Sustainability, the buzzword of the 90s and 00s, seems to have been replaced, as of late, by excessive opulence. Then I laid eyes on Hotel La Ferme in Quebec’s Charlevoix region and I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that someone gets it. They have finally built a resort worthy of the new millennium. 
When Daniel Gauthier’s wooden barn, the largest structure in Canada, burned to the ground accidentally during a Quebec holiday in 2007, he began to reimagine the property he wanted to create in Baie-Saint-Paul. He ended up housing the 145 rooms and lofts in five separate pavilions reminiscent of farm buildings from yesteryear. The simple wooden exterior of the buildings hides a whimsical and contemporary European décor, where rolling barn doors might open to the bathroom or the family suite might come with comfortable bunk beds for each child. Yet, Gauthier’s next move is what won me over. He added 12 rooms, each with four beds, as his own version of a hostel. Gauthier knows that the nearby ski area, Le Massif, attracts a large crowd of young skiers. He wanted to offer them a great place to stay for only $49 per bed. 
There is no separation between Hotel La Ferme and the community. In fact, Gauthier made a mandate that food and craftsmanship should be produced within a 50-kilometer radius of Baie-Saint-Paul, if possible. So that salmon and emu meat was raised locally, the cheeses and bread a Charlevoix specialty, the red beer was brewed just down the road. The wooden trays and “do not disturb” signs in the rooms are manufactured by a group of local artisans who had the misfortune of not graduating high school. On Sundays, from mid-June to mid-October, the hotel invites 20 local farmers to showcase their fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and breads in a market just outside the lobby. 
Yes, there’s a spa with six treatment rooms, a room for yoga, a bar and lounge around a fireplace in the main building, and a café that makes arguably the best café au lait I’ve had this side of the Atlantic. But again, Gauthier, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil, chose to be innovative. He has returned to his performing roots by offering a banquet space that can double as a theater, screening room, or dance hall. Since Hotel La Ferme’s opening last June, they have featured many Quebecois performers, including cabaret singers, theater troupes, and DJs. 
I love it when a local son or daughter becomes successful and gives back to the community. But in the case of Daniel Gauthier, he did so with class, style, and forward thinking. I’m hoping his ideas catch on with other hoteliers. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/08/13 at 11:00 AM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Newly Renovated Ten Acres Lodge Offers Affordable Lodging in Stowe

Perched on a quiet hillside just down the road from Trapp Family Lodge, Ten Acres Lodge always had a fabulous spot in Stowe. Now they have a passionate owner to match their stellar locale. Linda Hunter has quickly made a name for herself in town, opening a bistro that’s winning kudos from locals like Vermont PR maven, Emily Bradbury. Now Hunter has her sites set on the rooms, renovating tired interiors into stylish and comfortable getaways. She’s having a soft opening right now. Tell her I sent you.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/31/13 at 01:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Family Adventure at AMC Lodges Over February Vacation Week

Hey New Englanders and New Yorkers! Still need something affordable to do with the kids over February Week. The AMC still has openings at two of their lodges, Highland Center at scenic Crawford Notch, New Hampshire, and the Joe Dodge Lodge in Pinkham Notch, at the base of New England’s tallest peak. The activities during this 3-day getaway include snowshoeing, winter hiking, cross-country skiing, snow shelter building, animal tracking, and more. Kids games and kid-friendly meals will be offered each day, as well as social hour for the adults. Rates start at $267 for adult members, $107 for child members and include lodging, meals, guided activities, and a trail pass to Bretton Woods and Great Glen for cross-country skiing. Add an extra two nights in nearby Portland and Freeport, Maine, for art, shopping, and dining and you have yourself a budget-oriented break. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/17/13 at 01:00 PM
Lodging • (0) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Hotel Openings in New England

Two press releases that came across my desk this past week caught my eye. Opening in May in the heart of P’town is the 15-room Salt House Inn. The guestrooms evoke a Cape Cod beach-cottage appeal and the gourmet breakfast is served at a communal table in the garden. The inn is co-owned by David Bowd, who knows how to create a stylish getaway, working as managing director of the Ian Schrager Company and currently chief operating officer at Andre Balazs Properties. Also opening in May in Burlington, Vermont, is a 125-room property called Hotel Vermont. The hotel will feature a Vermont favorite, the second Hen of the Wood restaurant, nominated for a James Beard award in 2011.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/16/13 at 01:00 PM
Lodging • (2) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share

Page 12 of 18 pages « First  <  10 11 12 13 14 >  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. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

Adventure Travel Trade Association