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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Glacier Skywalk to Debut in the Canadian Rockies May 2014

Brewster Travel Canada has been involved with the Canadian national parks since 1892, when the founders, two teenaged brothers, Jim and Bill Brewster, began guiding guests through the Rockies. If they were around today, the Brewster brothers would be in awe of their company’s latest development. Opening in Jasper National Park this coming May is the Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floored observation platform 918 feet above the Sunwapta Valley. The bird’s eye view provides an unobstructed vista of the glaciers and snowcapped peaks of Jasper, accessible to all. You reach the Glacier Skywalk by a 5-minute coach from the Glacier Discovery Centre.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/07/13 at 11:00 AM
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

VBT Offering New Walking Vacations in America’s National Parks

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the people who run all of America’s national park lodges acquired Austin-Lehman Adventures, now called Austin Adventures. A year prior, Xanterra purchased VBT Walking and Bicycling Vacations. Now we’re beginning to see the results of that acquisition. VBT has just announced that they will be offering walking tours at 5 American national parks in 2014, the first time they have offered walking vacations in the States. Travelers can explore the Grand Canyon, Zion, Grand Teton and Yellowstone while staying in lodges right in the heart of the parks. Vermont-based VBT is also launching a walking vacation closer to their headquarters in Acadia National Park. Walks include one of my personal favorites, Zion’s Narrows, where you walk in the Virgin River through a 1,000-foot-high slot canyon that’s a mere 20 feet wide at times. If you can’t wait until next summer, VBT will offer a 6-day cross-country skiing jaunt in Yellowstone this coming January and February, the most serene time of year to visit the park. Add several nights after the trip to ski downhill at nearby Big Sky. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/17/13 at 10:00 AM
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Friday, October 11, 2013

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 wise, you booked a room at The Chanler at Cliff Walk, the only property on the Cliff Walk. Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013, the 20-room inn is best known for its acclaimed restaurant, Spiced Pear, a favorite foodie outpost in town. 

Photo by Eric Savage/FLICKR

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/11/13 at 10:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stroll Boston’s HarborWalk

With the emergence of the Seaport District, Boston is finally taking advantage of its waterfront setting. This is especially true if you use the HarborWalk, a boardwalk that snakes along the shores. Park in the lot next to the ICA building. From the grandstand behind the Museum, you can watch the planes fly into Logan Airport and tugboats glide through the harbor. The downtown skyline, best seen from this vantage point, becomes even more impressive as you make your way around the glass exterior of the Joseph J. Moakley Courthouse. Next up is the Barking Crab, a great place to grab a lobster roll and sit family-style at picnic tables. Walk across Fort Point Channel on the pedestrian-only bridge to reach Boston Harbor Hotel, and the mega-yachts that line Rowes Wharf. If the weather cooperates, you can continue along the waterfront to the New England Aquarium, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, and the North End, where I usually reenergize with a pistachio macaroon at Mike’s Pastry

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/23/13 at 12:00 PM
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Friday, April 06, 2012

Free Wayfarer’s Trip Available at Everett Potter’s Travel Report

Ever since The Wayfarers started their walking holidays in 1984, I’ve been a big fan of their trips. Who wouldn’t want to see the English countryside on two legs, stopping to talk to a farmer or to have a pint at a 16th-century pub where locals rarely spot anyone outside their circle? Now a lucky couple gets the chance to win a walking tour with the Wayfarers worth $8500. All you have to do is sign up at Everett Potter’s Travel Report, one of the top e-newsletters in the travel biz, and you might very well find your way to Devon, England for a week. The “Wayfarer’s War Horse Giveaway” will explore the countryside surrounding Devon, stopping at locales that were used during the filming of Steven Spielberg’s film, War Horse. You’ll spend your nights at the spectacular Pentillie Castle (built in 1698), set on the banks of the Tamar River between Devon and Cornwall. Hey, you never know unless you try. Just ask those three people sharing the Mega Millions jackpot this week. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/06/12 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Best Beach Walk on Cape Cod

Cape Cod National Seashore’s longest trail, the 7-mile round-trip Great Island Trail, is worthy of being designated a hike, not a walk. This 3-hour plus trail through marsh, woods, and soft sand is a strenuous thigh-burner. The trail follows the circumference of Great Island, a former whaling port and now one of the most secluded areas on Cape Cod. For the serious walker who yearns to get away from the summer crowds, this path should not be missed. Simply bring several bottles of water, a hat, sunscreen, and a picnic lunch and you’re on your way.

Stroll down the short hill from the parking lot and take a right, continuing around the marsh the entire distance. At the fork, take a left toward Smith Tavern. Just prior to reaching the easternmost tip of the island where people often fish for stripers and blues, you’ll see another sign directing you over the dunes through the woods. The trail winds through the pine forest to the site of an original whaling tavern. Continue out of the woods to a marsh where sand dunes tower on your right and Wellfleet Harbor can be seen to your left. This soft sandy path leads to Great Beach Hill. Five minutes later, you'll reach another marsh and a sand spit known as Jeremy Flats. At low tide, you can walk out to the tip, but I'd save your energy. You have a 2.2 mile walk down the beach of Cape Cod Bay to reach The Gut. I have rarely seen another person on this desolate strip of sand, just large scallop shells and tiny fiddle crabs, funny-looking critters that have one oversized claw bigger than their entire body. If you start to feel like Lawrence of Arabia lost in the desert, look out at 10 o’clock and you’ll see Provincetown’s Pilgrim Monument, the lone sign of civilization. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/02/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston with the Histrionic Academy

May is my favorite month to be in Boston, which is why I just returned from Miami and I’m leaving for Bermuda, DC, and Watch Hill, Rhode Island in the next couple weeks. Go figure? I love the tulips in bloom at the Public Garden and the small of budding flowers and trees after a fresh rain. Several weeks back, my wife’s cousin and her family were in town and we took them on the Freedom Trail, the three-mile walking route that guides you to the most famous historic sites in the city. Toss your map in the garbage and simply follow the red line that takes you the Granary Burying Ground, the final resting spot for Paul Revere, before venturing to Paul Revere’s house in the North End.

This time, however, we booked a tour with the Histrionic Academy and followed a local historian in colonial garb as he taught me a thing or two about a trail I’ve written about ad nauseum. For example, the little hill I always pass in the Boston Common once was home to a large elm tree that was a popular venue for public hangings in mid-17th century. At the Granary, we stopped to salute the great garrison of the colonial era, James Otis, who coined the now famous phrase, “Taxation without Representation is Tyranny.” A brilliant orator, we learned from our guide that he fought passionately against the “writs of assistance,” which allowed the British to enter any colonist’s home without reason. I love learning something new about your hometown, even when you think you know it all.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/05/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walking Through Venice and Veneto with the Wayfarers

Named by National Geographic Adventure as one of the “Best Hiking Companies,” The Wayfarers offers an eco-sensitive “walking” holiday that merges fitness with culture in 15 countries across the globe.  Now in its 28th year, founder Michael West is particularly excited about the upcoming Venice and The Veneto trip. Averaging 7 to 10 miles a day of walking, the weeklong journey will take you to Asiago to sample the famous cow’s milk cheese, visit the birthplace of grappa in Bassano del Grappa, and view two of Palladio’s magnificent villas, including the Renaissance architect’s masterwork, La Rotonda. “The highlight,” says West, “is when we arrive in Venice at the finale of the trip on a private launch directly from the mainland. I have never experienced (in almost fifty years in the business) a thrill like arriving at the steps of our hotel having cruised in celebrity style through one of the most famous skylines in the world!” The farewell dinner is in a restaurant known only by locals on the quayside watching the sun set over the city. “Magic!” says West.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/17/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, January 07, 2011

Top 5 Travels of 2010, Strolling Kingsbrae Gardens, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

A good botanical garden has often been a highlight of my travels, from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Capetown to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria. So I was excited to walk through the Kingsbrae Gardens in St. Andrews this past July, especially after being cooped up in Down East Maine dealing with three solid days of rain. Due to inclement weather, I had to cancel a cruise to see puffins at Machias Seal Island, a sea kayaking jaunt on Cobscook Bay, and an oceanfront hike at Culter Coast Public Lands. So when the sun finally came out on the ferry ride over from Eastport to New Brunswick, I could breathe again. Those breaths of fresh air soon became flower scented as I made my way through the wave of colors from flowers in bloom at Kingsbrae. Just across the Maine border, the quiet seaside town of St. Andrews is an undiscovered gem with Kingsbrae Gardens leading the way. Hummingbirds flew under the tall chestnut trees, water lilies dotted the fountains, and everywhere you looked, there was some whimsical sculpture nestled within the 27-acre grounds. I bent down and inhaled from the sweet-smelling rugosas and for a moment, everything was bliss.


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/07/11 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, August 20, 2010

Stop and Smell the Rugosas

I love stumbling upon an unexpected gem in a small community. The first time I entered the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown, Massachusetts, I was blown away by their collection of Impressionism, with impressive works by Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, and a room devoted to American master Winslow Homer. I felt this same way in early July when I entered St. Andrews, New Brunswick, a seaside village of 1800 people and entered the Kingsbrae Gardens. Wave after wave of color greeted me from the bed of perennials, planted like an artist’s palette. Hummingbirds flew under the tall chestnut trees, water lilies dotted the fountains, and everywhere you looked, there was some whimsical sculpture or children’s playhouse nestled within the 27-acre grounds. My favorite section was the Scent and Sensitivity Garden, where you can smell the tangy lemon-scented geranium or the tropical pineapple sage (that really does smell like a pineapple) or touch the velvety soft leaves of lamb’s ear. On the way out, I bent down and took a big whiff of the sweet-smelling rugosas. For a moment, everything was bliss.

(Photo by Lisa Leavitt)

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/20/10 at 01:00 PM
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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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