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Announcements

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

California, Costa Rica, and Toronto In June/July ActiveTravels Newsletter

Northeasterners who are considering hitting the Caribbean over February or March 2018 school break can now book flights on JetBlue through May 1, 2018. This is the time to make your plans before the airfare jumps. In our June/July ActiveTravels newsletter, we also break down our favorite locales in California, an increasingly popular year-round destination, select our top picks for lodging in Costa Rica, and devote our Quick Escape column to Toronto, where our colleague Amy Perry Basseches lives and can give you the inside scoop. 

We’re off to Switzerland with the family tomorrow to visit Zurich, Montreux, Bern, Lucerne, and go on a 6-day hiking and biking adventure with Backroads in the Swiss Alps. We’ll be back on August 1st to tell you all about our experiences. Enjoy the rest of July!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/18/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 02, 2017

Best Coastal Towns, My Latest Story for Yankee Magazine

Depending on your passion, be it art, adventure, dining on fresh seafood, or simply catching rays on your own spit of sand, I guarantee there’s a locale on the New England Coast that caters to your interest. Not surprisingly, the islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island figure prominently in this round-up of Best Coastal Towns, along with the top two picks from my Top 25 Beach Towns cover story, Ogunquit and Provincetown. A bit off the radar are the towns of Madison, Connecticut, and Brewster, Massachusetts. Have a look and tell me if you agree.

 
Please tune in next week when AT travel consultant, Amy Perry Basseches, describes her recent trip to Sequoia, Yosemite, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. Have a great weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/02/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Greece, Mountain Resorts, and Traveling Luggage Free in May ActiveTravels Newsletter

This month marks the 5th anniversary of ActiveTravels. As I write this, we are busy planning trips for clients to all corners of the globe, including the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Patagonia, Botswana, India, and Bali. Not to mention last-minute summer travels all over Europe, including Spain, Italy, France, Greece, the UK, Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Then there are all the national park trips and New England fall foliage trips to design. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d be this busy. In fact, most family and friends thought we were crazy opening up a travel agency in this age of do-it-yourself bookings. But it’s wonderful to see that people still value expertise and customer service. We can’t thank you enough! 

Our May newsletter features insights from our trip to Greece last month with Heritage Travels. We also select our favorite mountain resorts in North America, serene getaways for active families, and a way to travel luggage free. Please have a look. 
 
Our family is off to University of Maryland to celebrate the graduation of our niece, Ami. During her 4 years in college, she did internships with senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Ed Markey, and congresswoman Niki Tsongas; helmed Terps for Hillary in the last presidential election; and now works passionately to get women elected in the 2018 mid-term elections at EMILY’s List. As you can see, we’re all very proud of her and can’t wait to celebrate! I’ll be back next Thursday. In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/18/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Australia, Maui, and St. Barts Featured in the April ActiveTravels Newsletter

April is always one of the busiest months of the year for us as members book upcoming summer and winter travel. We try to get back to all requests as quick as possible but we appreciate your patience. We’ve also been traveling quite a bit to see firsthand the destinations, resorts, and tour operators we like to recommend. Lisa just returned from Queensland and Melbourne, Australia, which she reports on in our main feature in the April newsletter. On our last trip to Australia, we were stuck inside a small hotel in Cairns for 3 days as a cyclone barreled down the coastline. So, of course, the worst cyclone to hit Australia in 6 years happened in Queensland while Lisa was there again. Fortunately, the eye of the storm was an 8-hour drive to the south so it didn’t alter her itinerary. We also leave today for a weeklong trip to another popular destination, Greece, with a highly reputable tour operator from New York, Heritage Tours. We’ll describe our findings in the May newsletter.
 
In our Travel Tip column this month, we want to remind members to please think of us for all your travels, including cruises and guided trips with the likes of Backroads, Abercrombie & Kent, and Lindblad. We’re a full-service Virtuoso-aligned travel agency that can often get amenities like shore excursions and spa treatments thrown in at no additional cost. Also in this issue, we list our favorite properties in Maui, discuss deals in St. Barts in the shoulder season, and talk about the art scene in Houston for our Quick Escape column. 
 
Be on the lookout for a hotel giveaway in next month’s issue. May marks the 5th anniversary of ActiveTravels so we thought a free hotel giveaway was a good way to start the celebration. Thanks to all of you for helping to make ActiveTravels a success! 
 
See you again on May 1st when we return from our trip to Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. Happy Travels!
 
Steve and Lisa 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, March 31, 2017

Oh Canada

The favorable exchange rate for the American dollar not only extends to Europe. If you haven’t looked lately, $1 US will now fetch $1.33 in Canada. I haven’t seen an exchange rate like that since I was at an Expos game. If the exorbitant flights to Europe limit your options to the continent, especially if you want to travel as a family, head north. I’m already planning to go to New Brunswick in mid-June for more adventures on the Bay and Fundy and possibly a trip to Churchill, Manitoba in winter to spot polar bears. 
 
I’m also heading to the Canada Media Marketplace next week in New York, something I’ve done every other year for at least the past 15 years. I’ll be with old friends in the travel world hearing new and noteworthy story angles about the country as they celebrate their 150th anniversary of the Confederation in 2017. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively around Canada, biking around the wine country at Niagara-on-the-Lake, sea kayaking inn-to-inn around Prince Edward Island, hiking with moose in Cape Breton and atop fjords in the striking Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, savoring the charming town of St. Andrews in New Brunswick and the farming community of Salt Spring Island in BC, going on such memorable adventures as whitewater rafting down the Klinaklini River in BC, a multi-sport vacation with the family in the Canadian Rockies, or canoeing through Ontario’s remote Wabakimi Wilderness, and loving my time in the cities while vintage shopping in Toronto and eating my way though Vancouver. If you need me to point you in the right direction, I’m happy to help! 
 
I’ll be back on Monday, April 10th, with my 5 favorite travel ideas in Canada from the conference. Have a great week and stay active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/31/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, March 13, 2017

Excited to Add Amy Perry Basseches to the ActiveTravels Team

One of the true signs of any successful business venture are loyal customers. If our members return to us again and again to design their travels, then we know we’re doing something right. Amy Perry Basseches was already one of our closest friends in Boston when we started work on her travels 5 years ago. We have since planned trips for her family in one form or another (mother/daughter, father/son, father/daughter, mother/son, husband/wife, entire family) to Scandinavia, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Croatia, France, Estonia, the UK, Costa Rica, Colorado, Oregon, Louisiana, California, even a college trip that passed through my hometown of Schenectady, New York on the way to Rochester (though I couldn’t recommend my favorite local burger joint, Jumpin Jack’s, because her daughter is a vegetarian). Each time she returns home with another travel request and we value her repeat business. 

Her passion for travel and gregarious personality are ideally suited for the travel industry so it’s no surprise that we’ve been trying to woo her to ActiveTravels for several years now. Our persuasive tactics have finally paid off. Amy is officially part of the ActiveTravels team, assisting us with marketing, travel planning (especially to her beloved Azores), and creating content for our newsletters and blogs. We’re overjoyed to welcome Amy to ActiveTravels and know that the honesty we value in our friendship and the love we share for authentic travel can only enhance the ActiveTravels brand.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/13/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Member’s Video Wins Second Prize from Backroads Photo/Video Contest

We love it when members post photos from their recent trips on the ActiveTravels Facebook page. Even better when it’s an award-winning video. We sent Sara Jones and her family of five on a Backroads trip to Glacier National Park last August. Upon her return she created a video of the many memories from the adventures shared in that exquisite part of the country. She then submitted the video to Backroads for their annual photo and video contest and learned recently that she won Second Prize! That’s a $4,000 credit towards her next trip with Backroads. Congratulations Sara! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/07/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Be Active This Presidents’ Day Weekend

Looking out my 3rd-floor office window, it’s a winter wonderland from another fresh coating of snow, the 4th snowfall in the past two weeks. We haven’t seen this much snow in two years. So take advantage of this latest deluge to get outdoors and invigorated this weekend. Mass Audubon is hosting numerous events across the state this weekend and next week for February school vacation, including guided snowshoe treks at Broadmoor, Pleasant Valley, North Hill Marsh, and Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuaries. Ski New Hampshire is reporting 2 to 4 feet of snow across ski areas this past week. Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine are experiencing record February snowfall, over 5 feet since the beginning of the month. Trapp Family Lodge, the premier cross-county skiing (and now craft beer drinking) venue in Stowe is offering a 20% off sale through today. Liftopia is offering discounts across the country this week, including 25% off lift tickets at Stowe and 25% off a 2-day ticket at Snowbird in Utah. So get out there and start making snow angels. 

I’ll be back next week with my favorite family adventures over February break. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/17/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, February 10, 2017

Unsung Mexican Beach Destinations, Sedona, and Lisbon Hotels in ActiveTravels Feb 2017 Newsletter

We just booked a cruise for a couple headed to Antarctica in January of 2018. That comes on the heels of a safari booking for Botswana in September 2018. You might think that these folks are crazy to book so far in advance. In fact, they’re smart since they want to knock off destinations on their wish list and know that there’s only a limited supply of cruises headed to Antarctica, a small number of safari lodges in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. There’s been such a surge of traffic to well-known destinations of late that Barcelona and Rome are both considering limits this year to the amount of people entering the city each day. And I can’t tell you how many people we could not help last summer when they came calling to find lodging in Iceland at the last minute. The country was essentially sold out. Give us enough advance notice and we can make your dreams a reality, with far better flights and lodging options. 

Having missed connections in Miami, Heathrow, LAX and a slew of other cities, I’m always excited to see new direct flights like the Emirates flight from Newark to Athens that started this month. Delta is now flying direct from Boston to Montego Bay starting on February 25th. Direct flights have opened both coasts of Mexico to a number of new beachfront locales. That’s our main feature in the February newsletter. We also pick our favorite hotels in another popular locale, Lisbon, take a quick escape to Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona, and describe how Flightfox can work magic with your airline miles. Have a look! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/10/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Finland Celebrates 100 Years of Independence in 2017

After 700 years of Swedish rule, the area known as Finland served as a battlefield for Russian-Swedish conflicts until it fell into Russian hands in 1809. As an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire, it was allowed to develop politically, eventually leading to independence during the turmoil surrounding the Russian Revolution in 1917. To celebrate its centennial, Finland kicked off a year of festivities this past week with fireworks over Helsinki. Throughout 2017 there will be hundreds of events in this Nordic nation of 5.5 million, from dance parties to joint performances by the Sibelius Academy and Juilliard, to activities linked to Finland’s renowned sauna tradition. The government has earmarked 19 million euros for the celebrations, including the debut of a new national park, the nation’s 40th, highlighting the Finns’ love of nature. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/19/17 at 06:00 AM
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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.

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