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Friday, November 18, 2011

Cruise the Great Lakes the Summer of 2012

Anyone who’s walked the steep sands of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the largest sand dunes west of the Sahara Desert, sea kayaked and camped on the secluded white sand beaches of the Apostle Islands, and hiked the trails of one of the least visited national parks in America, Isle Royale, can tell you firsthand the beauty of the Great Lakes. The problem has always been inaccessibility, especially to the northern fringes of these vast waters. Not anymore. Great Lakes Cruising has just announced that their spanking new 138-passenger vessel, the MV Yorktown, will sail Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan, along with sister ships Grande Mariner and Niagara Prince the summer of 2012. The eight to eleven-day itineraries include stops at Mackinac Island, Charlevoix, Sturgeon Bay, and Apostle Island. This comes on the heels of the opening of the new $21.5 million cruise pier in Detroit that opened last June, already expanding from 2 to 13 cruise ships in 2012.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/18/11 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The New Seven Wonders of Nature

After a worldwide vote and expert judging, the New Seven Wonders of Nature were announced on 11/11/11. The vote was hosted by the New 7 Wonders Foundation based in Zurich, Switzerland. I was pulling for the Bay of Fundy, but it was beat out by some other excellent choices like the Amazon Rainforest, Halong Bay in Vietnam, and Table Mountain in Capetown. Then there were some questionable choices like Komodo Island in Indonesia. It’s a cool island, home to the komodo dragon, but one of the 7 natural wonders of the world? Why? It’s not nearly as majestic as other islands in the Pacific like Taveuni, Fatu Hiva, or Kauai. Anyway, it’s a popular vote, so the Indonesia lovers were heard in the end. Here are the seven picks: Amazon Rainforest, Iguazu Falls, Halong Bay, Table Mountain, Komodo Island, South Korea’s Jeju Island, and Puerto Princesa River in the Philippines.

 

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/15/11 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Catch Trentemøller on His North American Tour

I have a good friend in Boston who’s a music critic and he often invites me out to catch bands I’ve never heard of. Last night, he invited me to see the Danish king of electronic music, Trentemøller, playing with a full band. As soon as we walked into this small danceclub, we knew we were in for one of those special and rare musical moments. Man, it was rocking with a funky bass, fast-playing electric guitar and drums, and Trentemøller’s hypnotic and very unique grooves on the synthesizer. Every now and then, a woman would sing high above the music to produce an ethereal quality. People were dancing their asses off as the music blared through the venue. You couldn’t help but shake in your shoes the groove was that good. I agreed with the guy behind me who was screaming, "Sign Me Up!" Boston was the start of their tour in North America and if you live any where near any of these cities, I would definitely check it out. It was that much fun!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/14/11 at 03:00 PM
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Thanks for Your Continued Support!

Today is my 500th blog and it couldn’t have come on a better day in Boston. Clear blue skies with temperatures in the low 70s, ideal for taking a long bike ride past the horse farms of neighboring Dover and Sherborn. Autumn for New Englanders is a time to reflect on the past year and consider goals for the upcoming year as the leaves change color and soon fall. There’s no better way to process those thoughts than by taking a long bike ride or hike. Hopefully, one of those goals during the upcoming year is to remain active, both in body and mind. Thanks again for checking in and have a great weekend!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/30/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Legoland Opens in Orlando on October 15th

I’m not a big fan of theme parks. I find them overwhelming, with far too many humans waiting at hour-long lines for a 2-minute ride. But I’ve always enjoyed visiting Legoland, just north of San Diego when my kids were younger. It’s a much mellower version of a theme park, catered to the 2 to 8-year-old crowd, even fascinating parents with all the items made out of Legos, from amusement park rides to cities around the world. Now a new Legoland is being unveiled in Orlando on October 15th, making it easier for East Coast families to sample the Legoland experience. The 150-acre park features more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/28/11 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Vermont Update

Ten days ago, Vermont was rocked by Hurricane Irene. As I wrote last week, several covered bridges were washed away, and, as of this morning, 18 bridges are still shut down. But Vermonters are resilient and they could especially use your help now more than ever. The Green Mountain State puts on its finest pastoral dress these next six weeks thanks to fall foliage. If you have a trip planned to the region, by all means go. If you don’t have a trip planned, you should still think about traveling to the area to support the numerous businesses in this state that rely heavily on tourism. The major interstates, I-89 and I-91 are open to all traffic without restrictions. Route 7 is open to all traffic, except in Clarendon, where there is a detour around a closed bridge. Route 4 is open from the New Hampshire border to Woodstock and the New York border to Rutland. There are still problems in the Bridgewater/Killington area, so check daily for updates. Route 100, one of my favorite roads for seeing the foliage, has a slew of closures, especially in the towns of Jamaica, Pittsfield, Ludlow, and Hancock. Hopefully, the route will be open shortly. Remember, peak foliage in northern Vermont is in late September, and around Columbus Day for the southern half of the state. So thankfully, Vermont still has time to dig out before the surge of people comes to the state. Hopefully, that includes you!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/07/11 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One of My Favorite Covered Bridges in Vermont Washed Away Due to Hurricane Irene

I spent the morning with my family cleaning up my yard in suburban Boston after Hurricane Irene swept through the area on Sunday. There were more than 5 garbage cans filled with downed branches, including one massive limb that fell two feet from our car and could have caused extensive damage. All in all, we were fortunate as ole Irene was tired by the time she reached here. Vermont took the brunt of the storm in New England. I was saddened to hear that one of my favorite covered bridges in New England, the one that sits over the Ottauquechee River in Quechee, best seen while dining at the Simon Pearce restaurant, was swept away by surging water. In Rockingham, the 141-year-old Bartonsville Covered Bridge was washed away by the raging Williams River. Those bridges are irreplaceable.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/30/11 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Harvard Museum of Natural History Unveils Permanent Exhibition on New England Forests

While we’re on the subject of trees, the Harvard Museum of Natural History just opened the new Zofnass Family Gallery with its inaugural exhibition, New England Forests. This permanent multi-media display explores the wildlife and ecology of the New England forest. The exhibition will teach people about the trees, lichens, and animals right outside our doors while enjoying a forest walk with air conditioning and without mosquitoes. To further their educational goal, the museum will host a companion lecture series this fall.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/16/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, May 06, 2011

Travels with Mom

For Mother’s Day this year, the Boston Globe asked a handful of their travel writers to reminisce about traveling with their moms for a story that will appear in Sunday’s paper. This is the first memory that popped into my head. Happy Mother’s Day!
 

Growing up, I was often embarrassed by the decibel level of my mother’s voice. Her thick Bronx accent and layered laugh would echo off the walls of the high school auditorium much to the chagrin of my suave adolescent persona. No doubt flirting with some girl, I would hear her scream across the room, “Steeeeepheennn, come meet Mr. So-and-So. He likes to write too!”

Needless to say, I wasn’t relishing the thought of spending an extended period of time with my mother in Paris in1985. She was on her first trip abroad with my dad while I was backpacking through Europe with my college sweetheart, now my wife of 18 years. We met at a restaurant where my mom already had her Berlitz book open. She was practicing her French on the waiter who was laughing his head off, having never heard that unique blend of the Grand Concourse meets the Champs-Elysées speak. My mom ordered lamb and the waiter came back with three slices of bologna, having misunderstood her.

It should come as no surprise that the people who coined the phrase joie de vivre adored her exuberant personality and treated my mom like the next coming of Josephine Baker. At a jazz joint, noticing the Swing dancing skills that once garnered my mom awards in her youth, a Frenchman asked her for an opportunity. My father urged her on and my mom and that guy cut a rug into tatters they were moving so fast. All I saw was a blur of white teeth plastered on my mom’s face, framed by ruby red lipstick.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I miss that laugh!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/06/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, April 15, 2011

ActiveTravels.com Named One of the Top 125 Travel Blogs in the World

I was happy to hear this week that ActiveTravels.com was named one of the top 125 travel blogs in the world by the premiere adventure outfitter, Austin-Lehman Adventures. Not only that, but Austin-Lehman is offering two lucky readers from one of the nominated travel blogs a chance to win a trip for two on one of their glamorous getaways. Simply give them your name, email address, and mention ActiveTravels.com as your travel blog of choice. Thanks again for sticking with me these past several years! My brother just purchased a new HD video camera that’s perfect for video blogging, so I plan to talk to you directly in the upcoming months. I also promise to update my Facebook fan page and add more content to Go Play!, your one-stop resource to the great outdoors. Have a great weekend and do something active! I’ll be back next week with Canadian adventures.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/15/11 at 01:00 PM
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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.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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