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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Top Travel Days of 2019, The Much-Needed Therapeutic Waters of Temagami

In April, I crashed my car and had to deal with an unexpected, exorbitant tax bill. May brought the death of Lisa’s dad, Ken. Then in early June, we learned that one of our trusted tour operators that we like to use for Africa trips had just went bankrupt. Needless to say, by the time I reached the waters of Lake Temagami in late July, my nerves were shot. All I wanted to do was jump in the water and swim. And for 3 days, that’s primarily what I did. Dove in the heavenly waters of this vast lake and swam free crawl, backstroke, elementary backstroke, underwater, to a small island directly across from us. It was a perfect cleansing of my body in these pristine waters, happily washing away the year’s stress with each stroke. 

I had no idea where we were, a place called Ojibway on an island 20 minutes by boat from the parking lot some 5 to 6 hour drive north of Toronto. Amy had found the place because her daughter, Sophie, was counselor at Keewaydin Songadeewin summer camp in Vermont, sister camp to Keewaydin Temagami located on the same island as Ojibway. There were no campers during our stay, because the Temagami camp is primarily used as a base for long-distance canoe trips for paddlers, upwards of 6 weeks in summer. Ojibway felt like summer camp for adults in one of the most serene settings I’ve visited in Canada. The inviting waters entice you to grab a canoe and paddle to your heart’s content, following the loons. Meals are served family-style on the long tables and the food was surprisingly good. So was the company, many of whom had a long history with this island, including a woman from Mississippi, who told me that her grandfather had found this place in the early 1900s, not wanting to deal with the crowds in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Her family has been returning here for over a century. And who can blame them! 
It's hard to find a more peaceful and stress-free setting, one where your WiFi only works close to the dining area (and very slow at that). You’re free to discard the smart phone and read your stack of books, go for a paddle, have gin and tonics on the deck, and yes, swim. I want to hold on to that image of me diving off the dock at Ojibway to hopefully keep my blood pressure down the rest of the year. At least, until I return to this special spot again. 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/16/20 at 07:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Budget Beach Option in Belize

Located at the southern tip of a long, narrow peninsula, Placencia attracts sun worshippers from all over the globe with more than 16 miles of white sand. If you tire of the beach, a popular day trip is a half-day kayak through the mangroves of Monkey River. Crocodiles, howler monkeys, even manatees can be spotted here. A popular beachfront restaurant in town is De’Tatch Seafood Beach Bar, where you dine on shrimp burritos or fish tacos. If you’re lucky enough to snag one of the six beachfront cabanas, all air-conditioned, at Blue Crab, you’ll also be treated to some great Asian fare, courtesy of the Taiwanese-born owner. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/30/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Top 10 Swimming Holes on Cape Cod

Best known for the Cape Cod National Seashore, Cape Cod is also riddled with more than 300 ponds. These freshwater swimming holes are hidden in the landscape, far from the crowds at the beach, and a joy to swim in on a hot afternoon. However, they are tricky to find. Unlike bay and ocean beaches, where signs point you in the right direction, towns on the Cape like to keep these warm freshwater locales a secret. Many of these ponds have limited resident-only (with requisite sticker) parking. Fortunately, they are near town centers, so you can grab a bike and go have a dip. For my top 10 favorite swimming holes on the Cape, replete with necessary directions, have a look at this story I penned for the Boston Globe


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/13/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Get Lost on the Lost Coast

Six miles south of Benbow, in Leggett, California, Pacific Coast Highway or Hwy 1 comes to an abrupt end. Highway 101 will pick up the slack and hug the shoreline north of Arcata on a picturesque drive of headlands rising from the Pacific as you drive to Orick. But that still leaves 80 miles of wilderness shoreline, not easily accessible from any highway. Called the Lost Coast, it is the longest undeveloped coastline in the continental United States. Yesterday, we took the twisting and turning Bryceland-Thorn Road from Redway to the remote village of Shelter Cove. At this small coastal community, houses hug the shoreline backed by flanks of forest and high headlands that make up the King Range National Conservation Area. Backpackers can take the rugged 25-mile Lost Coast Trail, while day-trippers should head to the crescent-shaped black sand beach. Fishing trawlers were docked in the bay, also popular with stand-up paddleboarders and several surfers. If you want to leave behind the woes of modernity and de-stress on a serene stretch of Californian coast, consider spending some time at the Inn of the Lost Coast

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/19/13 at 10:00 AM
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seek out the Secrets of the Algarve

Most people associate the Portuguese Algarve with Spain’s Costa del Sol, an area with far too many high-rise hotels and far too many tour groups. This is certainly true in the popular British resort town of Albufeira. Yet, there’s a simpler side to the Algarve, where small fishing communities like Carvoeiro hide coveted crescent beaches ideally suited for folks who want to leave behind the hectic pace of modernity. There are nine beaches in this small town, all backed by cliffs, and most of them are exquisite. Just ask my parents.  After following my advice and heading to this quiet town, they didn’t leave for a month. Reserve one of the spacious suites at the Alba Resort & Spa. All rooms come with a buffet breakfast every morning. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/12/13 at 10:00 AM
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Cool Off in a Yucatan Cenote

Drive outside Cancun into the Yucatan Peninsula and you’ll spot numerous sinkholes that dot the landscape. These limestone chambers, often 100 feet below the surface, are called cenotes. One of the finest is Ik-kil, located a mile from the region’s most famous site, the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. Simply descend the stairs into this large well of blue water and go for a refreshing dip. This natural spa is the perfect remedy after a hot day of sightseeing. Next week, I’m headed back to the Yucatan to report live from the new Riu Palace Peninsula. I’ll probably be spending far more time swimming in an infinity pool with swim-up bar this time around, but either one is a refreshing dip. 
Have a great weekend and keep active!

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/14/12 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Broome or Bust

While traveling in Bali years ago, my brother and I met a couple from Broome, a town of 15,000 on Australia’s remote northwestern coast. They went on and on about the exquisite white beaches, rarely a soul in sight, the turquoise waters, and the local pearl farms. In fact, they made it sound so enchanting that Jim and I have a running joke that some day we’ll meet in Broome. Of course, we haven’t because it’s halfway around the world from Boston and New York, but we can still dream. You can choose to stay right on the beach in Broome at Pinctada Cable Beach Resort and Spa. Or better yet, spend three nights in Broome, and then take an 8-day cruise along the Kimberly coast to visit waterfalls, red gorges, and wilderness islands that few have seen. The Kimberly Quest II takes 18 fortunate guests on their upscale cruises along the Kimberly coast. Finish with a weekend sailing and dining in Perth and you have the West Coast of Australia covered. Some day… 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/07/12 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ipswich is the Perfect Overnight from Boston

With one of the finest stretches of coastline in New England, Crane Beach, and an iconic fried clam joint called The Clam Box, Ipswich makes a great overnight from Boston. It’s less than an hour’s drive and you can stay on the Crane Estate and walk the beach before breakfast, when they’ll be nobody there except you. See the story I wrote on Ipswich in yesterday’s Boston Globe. 
I have my family coming in for a cousin’s wedding and then I’m off to Detroit next week. I’ll be back June 4th with my five favorite small outfitters I’ve had the pleasure of traveling with. In the meantime, keep active!

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/24/12 at 12:00 PM
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Swim at Silver Sands State Park, Milford, Connecticut

Dyed-in-the wool New Englanders will call any nearby ocean or lake dip refreshing.  Depending how far north you venture, however, you could be in for one of those bone-chilling experiences where you run in for three seconds, scream, watch your ankles turn blue, and run out. To truly find warmth, head south to the shallow slopes of the Long Island Sound. The beach at Silver Sands State Park is small compared to other Connecticut state parks like Hammonasset or Sherwood Island, but alas more remote.  It’s also far more affordable than many of the private town beaches in this part of Connecticut. A long boardwalk leads from the parking lot across a marsh (good for bird watching, but not great if you’re carrying food, sand toys, and Junior). Take Exit 34 off I-95 to Route 1 east and turn right on Pumpkin Delight to the coast.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/19/11 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Ogunquit’s Genuine Lazy River

Last week, I spent a couple nights on the southern Maine coastal town of Ogunquit, only a 90-minute drive from Boston. The town is known for its Cliff Walk and long expanse of beach, but one of the highlights of our trip was floating on the Ogunquit River. Several hours before low tide, crowds start to make their way down to the river, boogie boards, tubes, and rafts in tow. The strong current of the river carries people into the Atlantic on the town’s natural version of a lazy river. We didn’t have any beach toys, so my wife and I simply floated on our backs. The water was cool, yet warmer than the Maine ocean waters. We held hands and laughed as we floated swiftly around the bend of the beach, watching the clouds float above us. It was over far too quickly and I heartily concurred with 6 year-old boy next to me who shouted “Again!” when his ride was over.

This week, I’m going to focus on some of my favorite ways to get wild and wet in North America.

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/18/11 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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