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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November Newsletter from ActiveTravels

In November, my mind starts to drift to the Southern Hemisphere, where summer is just around the corner. In the November Newsletter from ActiveTravels, we focus on two of our favorite cities south of the Equator, Capetown and Buenos Aires. We also spotlight the outfitter, Lindblad Expeditions, who are known for their naturalist-led cruises to the Galapagos. Closer to home, East Burke, Vermont has always been one of our perennial winter getaways for the family. 
 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m heading to Toronto next week, where I’ll be blogging live on location. 
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/21/12 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Latest Film Series from Richard Bangs

One of my first stories as a journalist was a profile of explorer Richard Bangs for Men’s Journal magazine. Bangs had just published Rivergods: Exploring the World's Great Wild Rivers. As co-founder of Sobek Expeditions in 1973, Bangs almost single handedly put the sport of whitewater rafting on the map. In fact, he led first descents on 35 rivers around the world, inspiring me to go on my own first descent, an epic whitewater run on the Klinaklini River in British Columbia. The restless Bangs has never been one to rest on his laurels. Lately, he has won two Emmy awards for his documentary work that has taken him all over the world, including trips to New Zealand, Egypt, Morocco, Hong Kong, and Norway. His latest release is South America: Quest for Wonder, now being shown on PBS stations across America. Join Richard as he travels to four of the greatest locales on the continent, Iguaçu Falls in Brazil and Argentina; Easter Island in Chile; the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru; and the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. “There are so many wonders in South America, I turned starboard to seek the latitudes of marvels, and this is what I found,” Bangs mentioned in a recent email. Have a look at any of the four episodes and you’ll understand why Bangs’ passion for travel is contagious. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/20/12 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

We spotted a patch of sun this morning as folks were strolling around my neighborhood, camera in tow, to take photographs of the many massive uprooted trees. Tall pines and maples had fallen on power lines, cars, and in the street. Thankfully, I didn’t see any trees atop homes, but power is still out on several streets. One neighbor told me she’s been living here for 40 years and this is the worst storm she’s ever seen. Though I’d love to talk travel with you this week and think about escaping away from this mess, it would be best if I remain firmly rooted like the oak trees in my backyard that remarkably weathered the 65 mile per hour gusts. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone still suffering from Sandy, especially all my friends on the New England coast, New York, and New Jersey. I’ll be back next week with a fresh batch of blogs.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/30/12 at 03:15 PM
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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

October Newsletter from ActiveTravels is Now Available

If you’re interested in a quick fall jaunt to Mystic, Connecticut, skiing at Park City, or feeling that Jamaican warmth some time this winter, check out our latest newsletter. We also talk about one of our favorite outfitters, Wilderness Travel, and delve into the reasons for buying travel insurance. Up top, you can join our email list to ensure that you’re receiving our newsletter each month. Also, feel free to share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to help get the word out on ActiveTravels. Thanks! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/09/12 at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Travel to the G-Spot, by Steve Cohen

I always equate Steve Cohen with his namesake, Sasha Baron Cohen. His irreverent musings as a travel writer have appeared in countless publications, including Outside, the Islands of yore (my favorite travel publication in the 90s), and The Washington Post. His mishaps as ordinary Joe caught up in some ridiculous travel circumstance always lead to uproarious results. That’s why I’m giddy with excitement to read his first novel, Travel to the G-Spot. Not surprisingly, it’s a fictional memoir of one Danny Gladstone, a 50-year-old travel writer who learns he’s dying and looks back through some of his travel stories to figure out why things have turned out the way they have. One reviewer said “it blows the lid off the sordid and secretive world of travel writing.” Oh yeah, I am so there. I’m taking it with me on my trip to Buffalo today to drop my son off at music camp. I’ll be back next Tuesday. In the meantime, keep laughing. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/27/12 at 12:00 PM
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Every Season, Memories of Martha’s Vineyard, by Phyllis Méras

 

By the time I met Phyllis Méras over a decade ago, she already had an illustrious career as travel editor at the New York Times and Providence Journal. That’s not to say that she was retired by any means of the imagination. Over dinner, she would tell me about her travels to Europe or Africa, and her publishing efforts. Her latest book pays homage to her home of Martha’s Vineyard and it is perhaps her most personal work. She talks about how her great-grandfather, a French professor, came to the island in 1890s to teach at the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute. As managing editor at the Vineyard Gazette for six years starting in 1967, Méras met many of the island’s most famous residents, including Walter Cronkite, Beverly Sills, James Cagney, and Thomas Hart Benton. Yet, this book, exquisitely illustrated by her late husband, landscape painter Thomas Cocroft, and architect Robert Schwartz, details her walks in Menemsha to find ripe blackberries, paddling the often-overlooked ponds, and watching skunk cabbage rise in early spring. Take time to smell the roses with her in Edgartown and you’ll walk away with a finer appreciation of the island. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/26/12 at 12:00 PM
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Nichole Bernier’s Debut Novel, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

I’ve had the good fortune to work with talented editors who could tweak your stories seamlessly, only enhancing your voice. I’ve also known editors who were used as staff writers, creating well-crafted stories. But very rarely did I find an editor who could do both jobs well, edit and write. One of the few exceptions was Nichole Bernier, my former editor at Boston Magazine. She was a wonderful editor to work with, sculpting each one of my stories effortlessly. I also looked forward to reading her intriguing work. So it comes as no surprise that Nichole’s debut novel was just released by Crown Books. Actually, when you consider she’s now a mother of five, it’s a marvel that she had time to pen one paragraph, let alone a book The Washington Post recently praised: “Why do we keep secrets from those we love most? Is it possible for mothers and fathers to have it all — work and family? Bernier’s excellent storytelling skills will keep you pondering long after the final page.”
 
Please join me as I plan to hear Nichole read from her book tonight at Brookline Booksmith at 7 pm. Or look at her home page for a list of readings this summer across the country, including Chicago, San Fran, and New York. Here’s a blurb about the novel:
 
Summer vacation with her family was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a plane crash. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew. The complicated portrait of Elizabeth — her upbringing, her marriage, and journey to motherhood — makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a moment of uncertainty in her own marriage. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend — including where she was really going when she died.
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/25/12 at 12:00 PM
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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Days of Comparing Airfares Are Gone

With the recent announcement from Spirit Airlines that they were going to charge as much as $100 for a carry-on bag, the days of simply comparing airfare prices are long gone. In fact, says Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance, this is a wake-up call for the Department of Transportation. “Consumers don’t fully understand just how much these extra fees end up adding to the total cost of travel.” He adds, “Our surveys have shown that more than half of the airline travelers in the U.S. find themselves surprised by extra fees after they have purchased their airline tickets.” Leocha notes that a typical US Airways flight from Washington Reagan to Boston can be purchased with an airfare of between $140 to $170 on most dates with an advanced purchase. Baggage charges for two checked bags will cost $120 round-trip, adding 70 to 85 percent to the cost of travel. Adding a special seat reservation can easily double the cost of travel. “Unless a passenger is traveling with only a small purse,” notes Leocha, “they will be required to pay some sort of fee on Spirit Airlines, which makes comparing only airfares bogus.” Make sure you take into account the price of luggage and reserving a seat the next time you book a flight! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/08/12 at 12:00 PM
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Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy to Announce the Launch of a New ActiveTravels.com

I’m excited to announce the launch of our new membership-based travel consulting and booking agency, ActiveTravels.com. As many of you know, I’ve been working as a professional travel writer since 1990, visiting more than 80 countries and writing over 1200 stories. Whenever one of these stories is published, I receive numerous follow-up emails and calls from people asking for more specifics about that particular travel locale. Even with the glut of travel information out there on the web, expert travel advice is at a minimum. So, prospective travelers contact me to get in-depth knowledge from a trusted source. 

 
This is exactly why I created ActiveTravels.com! Just like you rely upon a financial advisor to give you advice about your investments, it’s a good idea to trust a travel consultant and advisor to help plan your valuable vacation time with friends and family.  According to a New York Times article last Sunday, the need for a reliable travel agent has never been greater. Together with my wife, Lisa, we are delighted to be able to offer that service to anyone who joins ActiveTravels.com.
 
Lisa is now an accredited travel agent with two pillars of the travel industry, the Virtuoso Network and CWT Vacations, the leisure arm of Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Through her contacts, she can often get discounted room rates, complimentary upgrades and breakfasts, and on-site spa or food and beverage credits. Just this week, she saved friends $750 on discounted room rates at the same hotels they booked online. In addition, I have developed great relationships with hotels, outfitters, and restaurateurs over the years, so you can expect VIP service whenever you trust us to book your next escape. 
 
As a husband and wife team, you can look forward to dealing with a “mom and pop” atmosphere where each member will be appreciated. This is not your corporate agency where you are just another face in the crowd. We look forward to getting to know you and your travel preferences and to giving you exceptional personalized service. 
 
Happy Travels!
 
 
Steve and Lisa
P.S. I'm taking the week off from blogging to tend to the new business. I'll be back next Monday with guest blogger, Emily Bradbury, talking about her recent trip to Costa Rica. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/30/12 at 12:00 PM
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Go Play!

On May 27th, the Boston Globe will debut the redesign of its new travel section. I’ve been asked to write a weekly column called “Go Play!” where I’ll take a detailed look at one hike, one bike ride, one mountain climb, one beach stroll, one sea kayaking jaunt, or one river paddle. It’s often what I write about in this blog, so thank you for being my soundboard and helping me hone the concept! Next week, I’ll be blogging live from San Antonio. I usually don’t like to write live from location, because any work takes away from your enjoyment of the locale. That’s why tweeting works so beautifully. On a trip, I’d much rather spend 30 seconds on a tweet than 30 minutes on a blog. But I’ll give it a go and see what happens. Enjoy the weekend, and yes, go play!


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/20/12 at 12:00 PM
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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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