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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Harvest Your Own Oysters at Cape Cod’s Ocean Edge Resort

Brewster’s Ocean Edge Resort, already one of my favorite properties on the Cape, is only going to get better this summer. The resort is teaming up with locals in the Brewster area for a variety of new activities this summer. Walk along the bayside beach with an oyster farmer who will teach you all about his line of work. Then head back to the outdoor deck overlooking the expanse of water to sample those oysters, washed down with a Cape Cod-brewed pale ale called Bayzo Brew. Bayzo was the word people called drunks back in the day on Dorchester Bay, a nod to the owner’s roots. After your little snack, see if you can find Bob Kroeger on the grounds. Kroeger, a Brewster neighbor, is also Director of the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach. He’s happy to give you some pointers on your croquet game. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/04/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, June 01, 2015

The Sniders, Hotel Owners Who Give Back to the Community

This past Saturday on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, the circa-1913 Capawock Theater reopened for the first time in years. Soon to reopen in less than a month is the historic Strand Theater in Edgartown. The person to thank for this monumental effort is Mark Snider, founding director of the newly formed Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation. He recently persuaded singer Carly Simon to join his board and help finish raising the $1 million needed for renovations. 

Snider and his wife Gwenn are known on both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket for their philanthropic efforts. As owners of The Winnetu Oceanfront Resort in South Beach, they always insisted that clients pay an extra resort fee that goes to a local hospital. On Nantucket, the Sniders purchased the dormant shell of the circa-1894 Point Breeze hotel in 2012 and converted it into an upscale property now called The Nantucket Hotel. A bigger gift to the locals, however, is the 20,000 square foot expansion of the Boys & Girls Club set to open this summer. As president of Stanmar Inc., an athletic-facility design and construction firm based in Wayland, Snider, 58, knows a thing or two about building a gym. I’ve had the good fortune to meet the Sniders while penning stories on their properties over the years and they’ve always been incredibly passionate about their latest projects at their resorts. It doesn’t surprise me at all that they want to give back to the islands they cherish. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/01/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hotel on North Opens June 1 in Pittsfield

Main Street Hospitality, the hotel management company that runs The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, The Porches Inn in North Adams, and The Williams Inn in Williamstown, are all set to unveil their latest property, Hotel on North in Pittsfield. Next door to my favorite theater in the Berkshires, the Barrington Stage Company, the property is housed in a pair of buildings that date from the 1880s and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 45 rooms will take full advantage of the building’s heritage, replete with refurbished tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and wood columns. Mini bars are stocked with local Berkshire products such as Big Elm Beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillers Bottled Gin & Tonics. The hotel’s restaurant, Eat on North, also relies heavily on locally sourced produce and meats. To celebrate its opening, Hotel on North is offering a package priced at $199 per night that includes room, welcome treat, a special continental breakfast for two with pastries, juice and coffee delivered in-room, and all taxes. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/21/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hotel Commonwealth’s $50 Million Makeover

When Hotel Commonwealth first made its debut a dozen years ago, it transformed Kenmore Square into a culinary destination, anchored by Eastern Standard, the restaurant I brought my son after his high school graduation. Just as beloved is the hotel’s second restaurant, Island Creek, which includes oyster farmer, Skip Bennett, as one of its owners. Sandwiched by these two heavyweights, it’s no surprise that Hotel Commonwealth slipped under the radar. That will change during the course of this year. A $50 million renovation has already doubled the lobby size, making it far more spacious and contemporary. The hotel has also added three signature suites. The Terrier Suite caters to alums or parents of nearby Boston University. The Rathskeller Suite includes pianos, guitars, and photos from Boston’s version of CBGB’s, the Rathskeller, which once stood on this plot of land. The Loft, with its tall ceilings and contemporary art provided by BU MFA students is my favorite of three. Next up is a Fenway Park Suite that will overlook the Green Monster at Fenway Park, a 5-minute walk from the hotel. This is part of a major expansion set to be complete in November that will add 96 rooms in an adjoining building. Not surprising when you consider Hotel Commonwealth's locale, within easy walking distance to Fenway Park, the MFA, and Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, and some of Boston's finest restaurants right outside your door. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/14/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baccarat Makes a Splashy Introduction In Manhattan

Blink and you might miss the entrance to Baccarat’s new flagship hotel in midtown Manhattan, across from the Museum of Modern Art. But then take the elevator up to the second floor and get ready to be bedazzled by all that glorious Baccarat crystal. The French company takes full advantage of its pedigree to create shimmering chandeliers in the petit and grand salon, their posh version of the lounge area. Feel free to have a highball here or walk into the bar, straight out of Paris with its arched roof and black-and-white checkered floors. In a little over a month, it’s already known as the perfect place to grab a French 75 in Baccarat crystal glassware around the long bar or outside on the small patio. The same glassware can be found in your room’s mini-bar, along with sweets from one of my favorite Parisian patisseries, Fauchon. Another nice touch in the room is the hand painted shower door, found in all 114 guest rooms. There’s an indoor pool for doing laps and the Spa de La Mer hidden below the hotel entrance. Chef Shea Gallante, who earned a Michelin star for his work at New York’s Cru, is at the helm of the hotel’s Parisian brasserie, Chevalier. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/13/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 10, 2015

My 5 Favorite Tanzanian Properties: Singita Grumeti

The best part of my recent trip to Tanzania was the two nights we spent at Singita in the 140,000 hectare Grumeti Game Reserves that borders the north-central part of the Serengeti. The place feels exactly like the Serengeti with its swaying grasses and low-lying ridges, but without the traffic. We passed, on average, 2 other land rovers on each 3-hour game drive. It felt incredibly exclusive. The wildlife was phenomenal even in March, but the general manager noted that his favorite time of year is September. 

We spent one night in the very contemporary rooms of Singita Faru Faru, perfect for families because of its two pools to unwind after lunch. The spacious rooms overlook a watering hole with good wildlife viewing from the outdoor shower (opt for Room 2 or 3). The next night we moved to Singita Explore, 6 mobile tents that move around the property, depending on the season. This was glamping at its best, with sundowners around the campfire and S. African braai for dinner. You could easily spend 3 nights at Explore and 3 nights at Faru Faru or Singita’s private 4-bedroom house, the Serengeti House, and call it a safari. Better yet, go on a horseback riding safari between the Singita properties, arguably the best place in Africa to ride. 
Going on safari is one of the most magical and memorable trips you can take. Yet, we realize the complexity of travel and the often exorbitant cost involved. ActiveTravels is here to answer all questions to ensure that your African escapades are authentic and special. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/10/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 09, 2015

My 5 Favorite Tanzanian Properties: Alex Walker’s Serian Kusini Camp

There’s something magical about being lost in the African bush for at least 3 nights in a mobile tent. You’re surrounded by wildlife, drink sundowners at sunset around a raging campfire, view the twinkling stars of the incredible African night sky, and then sleep peacefully with a breeze. One of the best mobile tent locales in the winter months is Kusini just past Ndutu Safari Lodge (where Mary Leakey stayed, along with numerous BBC documentarians) in the southern Serengeti. Alex Walker’s Serian is a master of glamping, offering six spacious tents with bucket showers and flush toilets that move close to the Mara River in the summer months for prime wildebeest crossing viewings. Not surprisingly, these camps are often booked well in advance, with the same clientele returning year after year. So plan accordingly. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/09/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

My 5 Favorite Tanzanian Properties: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

A 90-minute drive from Lake Manyara Airport or a morning drive from Arusha through the sylvan farmland around Lake Manyara is the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. This over the top “Out of Africa” style resort is perched on the rim of the crater. It’s a spectacular spot and the perfect place to rest after an afternoon game drive in the crater or before the next morning’s game drive. Ngorongoro Crater is best done in the beginning of your trip since the caldera floor is crowded with land rovers, yet the animals, familiar with traffic, reward visitors with fabulous close-ups. Realize, however, that this popular locale might feel too commercial after visiting the vast Serengeti or the exclusive Grumeti.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/08/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 07, 2015

My 5 Favorite Tanzanian Properties: Mwiba Lodge

Fly 40 minutes from the domestic airport in Arusha over the Ngorongoro Crater and you reach Mwiba Lodge, the latest upscale property from Legendary Expeditions. All 9 rooms and main lodge are filled with modern African art to give it a contemporary flair. There’s a small infinity pool, wine cellar filled with South African selections, two dining areas, and a small library, all looking over a watering hole where I spotted more than 20 elephants strolling leisurely down to the spot. Rooms are spacious and a bath filled with warm water, bubbles and salts is waiting after your afternoon game drive. Mwiba is located in a vast game reserve, not a national park, so you have the option to take night drives and veer off-road straight to the wildlife. Ideal for honeymooners or couples celebrating an anniversary, I would probably recommend staying at Mwiba after first staying at a mobile tent in the Serengeti bush. It offers a great dose of comfort before leaving Africa.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/07/15 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, April 06, 2015

My 5 Favorite Tanzanian Properties: Hatari Lodge, Arusha National Park

Less than a 45-minute drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport, you reach Hatari Lodge on the northern edge of Arusha National Park. While other properties, like Legendary Lodge, nestled in the coffee plantations of Arusha, might be more luxurious, Hatari is the perfect welcome mat to Tanzania because it immediately gives you the feel of being in the African bush. Rooms are spacious and you wake up to monkeys jumping on your roof, families of warthogs running across the property and magnificent views of the sun rising above Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. At breakfast on the outdoor patio, you’ll spot your first giraffes and buffalos, then go on a game drive into the park to get close-up shots of elephants, hippos, and countless flamingoes. The lodge gives you the opportunity to canoe past the hippos, but a better option is to drive up the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro for a day hike and picnic. Hatari offers 9 rooms and is adding 3 new family suites this summer. It’s the ideal spot to start your tour of Tanzania, rest after the long flight, be immersed in the wildlife, and see mighty Kilimanjaro.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/06/15 at 06:00 AM
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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

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