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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Favorite Fall Outings in New England, Walking the Cliff Walk, Newport

Rhode Island’s most popular trail is perched on the rocky shores above the Atlantic, ocean on one side, the backyards of the massive Bellevue Avenue mansions on the other. In the summer months, this 3 ½-mile route is crowded with hundreds of folks yearning to see the sloping lawns and backside of those summer “cottages” the Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and Astors built at the turn of the century. Come fall, you’ll pass the occasional dog walker as you take in the expanse of the sea all by your lonesome. Park your car on Narragansett Avenue near the walk and proceed to the right. You’ll soon spot The Breakers, the Italian-style villa commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1895.  Another highlight is the red and gold lacquered Chinese-style pagoda at the Marble House. If you were smart, you booked a room at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, the only property on the Cliff Walk. The 20-room inn is best known for its acclaimed restaurant, Spiced Pear, a favorite foodie outpost in town. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/06/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 20, 2016

Trustees Sites Not To Be Missed, Mytoi and Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Martha’s Vineyard

Beach lovers headed to East Beach on Chappaquiddick have to pass the Japanese-style garden called Mytoi. Worthy of a stop, azaleas, daffodils, dogwoods, and rhododendrons line the fresh water creeks. The dirt road eventually crosses a bridge, stopping at East Beach. Walk the beach to see one of the most pristine stretches of coastline on the Atlantic. Part of the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, this barrier beach is the best place to birdwatch on the Vineyard. Ospreys, oystercatchers, piping plovers, terns, and the occasional bald eagle nest here. To get a close up look at the birds, sign up for the guided kayak tour with the Trustees. 

It’s been fun to reminisce about my favorite Trustees sites in the commonwealth this week. Don’t forget that tomorrow is the kick-off of the Trustees 125th anniversary summer bash. The Great House on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, the Old Manse in Concord, and seven other historic homes will be open to the public for free for “Home Sweet Home” Historic Open House Day. Enjoy the weekend and keep active! I’m off to Ithaca to pick my son up at Cornell, back on Wednesday. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/20/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Trustees Sites Not To Be Missed, Long Hill, Beverly

As editor and publisher of the Atlantic Monthly, Ellery Sedgwick worked with some of the finest writers of his time, including Ernest Hemingway and Robert Frost. Yet, it’s his marriages to not one, but two accomplished gardeners and horticulturists that has had far more of a lasting impression. In 1916, Sedgwick moved with his first wife, Mabel, to a 114-acre hillside property on the North Shore. The house sits atop a drumlin staring out at forest, but it’s the wonderful gardens at Long Hill that will capture your attention. No matter what season you visit, there will be something in bloom, from blue forget-me-nots to exotic Chinese redbuds to the soft yellow and very rare Molly the Witch peonies. The assemblage of trees is also intriguing, from the tall dawn redwood planted by Sedgwick’s second wife, Marjorie, to the century-old signature copper beech in front of the house. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/18/16 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Get Lost in the Lushness of the Naples Botanical Garden

When you wake up every morning watching a hawk tend to her nest in upper branches of a palm tree, like I did last week in South Naples, Florida, it’s hard not to appreciate the nature of this part of the state. This only whet our appetite for the Naples Botanical Garden, where every type of palm tree imaginable shades the walkways as you peer at another glorious orchid or stop to sniff the lemon verbena and mint plants. We walked across the bridges in the Japanese Garden, spotted herons and egrets in the creek beds, and then stopped for salads and sandwiches in the café. An added bonus was the live jazz performance in the meadow on Sunday afternoons. There’s a reason why the parking lot was packed on this cloudless afternoon—this is a gem of a spot to spend several hours in a tropical oasis. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/22/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Top 5 Adventures in Florida, Stroll Miami’s Den of Tranquility

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables is a lush mix of ponds, palms, ferns, big birds, and whimsical sculpture. One step inside the serene environs and you’re staring at an anhinga drying its wings in the sun next to Dale Chihuly’s colorful works of glass hidden in the orchids and big-leaf ferns. Serpentine trails lead you into a rainforest shaded by vanilla trees, under the Spanish moss hanging from a southern live oak, and past the massive roots of a 70-year old baobab tree. Add the large collection of herons and warblers that are fortunate to call the Fairchild home and you have the perfect rendezvous away from the crowds at South Beach. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/16/15 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Napatree Point,
 Watch Hill, Rhode Island

With its highest point being a mere 812 feet, Rhode Island is not a place most folks think of when they want to take a hike. Yet it does have some of the longest beach strolls in New England. Napatree Point juts out from the village of Watch Hill on a wild strip of coastline, offering views of Connecticut and Fishers Island, New York. Take off your shoes and listen to the waves as you saunter along the water all the way to the point of this crescent-shaped beach. The spit of land curves back toward Rhode Island, similar to how Provincetown lies at the tip of Cape Cod. Sailboats cruise Block Island Sound, ospreys and their young fly above the shores. As you reach the point and the last square foot of terra firma, the wind begins to howl, the surf seems a bit more ominous, and the sand is replaced by large battered rocks. On the return trip, you’ll be treated to a view of the Victorian houses that cling to the bluffs of Watch Hill. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/02/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Necessary Stop at Longwood Gardens on a College Road Trip

A word of advice. When going on a college road trip in February, focus on schools in the South. We spent last week with our daughter, Melanie, visiting six colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States and New York. At Penn State, the temperature was 8 degrees with a wind chill of -15. I thought my face was going to get frostbite at one point. But we made the most of the week, stopping at wonderful sights along the way like Longwood Gardens, a 30-minute drive north of the University of Delaware. After dealing with brutal temperatures and a far too snowy winter in Boston, you can imagine the delight we felt walking into a massive conservatorium filled to the brim with palms, ferns, colorful orchids, even a blooming indoor rose garden. We lingered happily in one section of South Pacific palms where the temperature indoors topped 80 degrees. The gardens provided the perfect blend of humidity and color, something we desperately needed during this far too painful winter. I could have easily spent the entire week here. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/24/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Enjoy Nature in Your Own Backyard

I’m a travel writer, so it’s my job to turn you on to places around the globe I think you should definitely check out. But after spending a glorious day in the Boston area, I’m just as happy to see you venture outdoors in your own neighborhood. I just visited my longtime oasis, Broadmoor, a Mass Audubon retreat, staring at numerous turtles sunbathing on upturned logs in the Charles River, watching a heron take flight, even spotting a rare merganser swimming in a pond. Spring is finally here, so take advantage of the warmer weather and keep active!

I’ll be taking a brief hiatus as I’m off to Rhode Island, San Antonio, speaking at the New Hampshire Governor’s Tourism Conference, and chatting with a group of Nova Scotia chefs and restaurateurs headed to Boston. I’ll be back on May 7th

(Photo by Lisa Leavitt)

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/25/14 at 10:00 AM
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Walking the Mariposa Grove Trail, Yosemite National Park

Many of our clients are planning trips to America’s national parks this spring, summer, and fall. So I thought it would be a good time to discuss my 5 favorite hikes in America’s national parks this week. First up, Yosemite. To truly feel small in the natural world, all you have to do is take the 2-mile trek to Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove and stand next to the 200-foot high sequoias. These immense trees and their shaggy orange bark are only a part of Yosemite’s striking and varied landscape. All of Yosemite is a marvel to look at, from the sheer granite cliffs and domes, including the legendary El Cap, to the colorful wildflowers that fill Tuolumne Meadows. No wonder the great photographer, Ansel Adams, made Yosemite his most famous subject. After the walk to Mariposa Grove, stroll onward to Wawona and its many swimming holes, perfect for a dip in summer.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/14/14 at 10:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse

One of my favorite stops in Florida last week was the St. Augustine Lighthouse. It’s hard not to miss the black and white striped edifice, first constructed in 1874. I arrived at 9 am, when the lighthouse opens to public, and already there were locals running up and down the 219 steps as part of their aerobic workout for the day. Atop the tower, I was rewarded with glorious views of St. Augustine, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean. After taking in the 360-degree views, I peeked into the lens room and learned from the guide that it still houses the original lens, a mere 9 feet long and over 2000 pounds. Sites like the 17th-century fort, Castillo de San Marcos, and the original Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum vie for your attention in St. Augustine, but the lighthouse, on the outskirts of town, is worthy of a visit. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/08/14 at 10:00 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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