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Friday, September 28, 2018

Caribbean Getaways, Munich Hotels, and Away Luggage Featured in Our September Newsletter

This is the time of year when ActiveTravels is busy booking warm weather destinations for clients who want to escape the cold this coming winter. So it's no surprise that we focus on the Caribbean as our main feature in the September newsletter. Oktoberfest has also arrived, a good time to discuss favorite Munich hotels. We also describe Lisa's latest luggage, Away, where you can charge your phone directly to the carry-on. She'll put it to good use as we leave for Italy today. We'll be checking out Florence, the Amalfi Coast, and ending in Rome. The highlight is biking with good friends on a 6-day bike ride in Puglia with DuVine Cycling. We'll be even more well-versed in all things Italy upon our return, so we can better help you on your forthcoming trips there. Amy is also out of the office as she is taking an exciting cruise circumnavigating Newfoundland with Adventure Canada. We'll all be back on October 17th. Until then, enjoy Autumn and keep active! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/28/18 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Travel Like a Local on These Guided Day Trips

If you're planning to visit New England over the next month to see the fall foliage, it might be wise to get away from the crowded roadways and sign up for one of these authentic day trips with local experts. Authenticity is the buzzword in travel these days, the chance to live and feel like a local, not a tourist. Thankfully, there are many opportunities in New England where you have the chance to go beyond the boilerplate tours and get a real feel for the region while being led by an expert on the subject. These dozen day trips, which I reported for Yankee Magazine, strive for genuine authenticity and hopefully reward you with lasting memories. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/27/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

1793 Blogs and Counting

I've been blogging since 2009, which adds up to quite a lot of content over the years. A good friend recently told me to emphasize the Advanced Search function on the blog page. Simply type in the locale you want to visit and up pops the blogs I've written about that destination. For example, I typed in "Mississippi" in the Advanced Search line and again on the second page Keyword line and 19 blogs I wrote on the state appeared. This includes one of my favorite stops, "Staying at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi" on March 28, 2011. Before you go on your next trip with ActiveTravels, be sure to use the blog as an added resource. Much of the content, like the Shack Up Inn, is still topical. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/26/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

After 5: Medellin

Home to vivid street art and a bounty of sculptures and paintings by Botero, Colombia's only public transit system (including cable cars), and a burgeoning dining scene, Medellin has transformed from Pablo Escobar's former hangout to one of the safest and most vibrant destinations in South America. It doesn't hurt that this city of 4 million people sits in a valley surrounded by mountains at an altitude close to a mile high, offering sublime temperatures in the 70s and 80s degree Fahrenheit year-round. This lends itself well to outdoor cafes and bars, the ideal place to start your night out on the town. To see the rest of my story on Medellin in the latest issue of Global Traveler, please click here
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/25/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 24, 2018

A Memorable Trip to New Brunswick

Guest Post and Photos by Amy Perry Basseches 

Continuing my exploration of Canada, I recently spent 3 glorious sunny days in New Brunswick, part of "Atlantic Canada" (along with Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland). Although New Brunswick is more than 80% forest land, I was on the southern coast, in Saint Andrews and Alma, adjacent to the Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay, not far from Maine. This area was full of trees but oriented towards the sea.
 
My first stop: Ossie's Lunch in Bethel, just outside of Saint Andrews, for the best lobster roll I've had in a long time (identifiable lobster parts, minimal mayonnaise). Family-owned since 1957. Got here just in time. They closed September 16 for the season. Once in Saint Andrews, I had the pleasure of staying at the Rossmount Inn, a 3-story country inn with 18 rooms, situated on 87 acres, at the base of Chamcook Mountain. I thoroughly recommend its ambiance and dining room. My Bay of Fundy haddock was mouthwatering. 
 
It was easy to while away the hours in Saint Andrews, visiting historic sites like the Blockhouses built to protect New Brunswick against the Americans during the War of 1812, drinking local beer at The Chandler Room on the main drag, admiring flowers at the 27-acre Kingsbrae Gardens, driving on the seafloor at low tide out to Ministers Island to admire the 500-acre summer estate of William Van Horne (the driving force behind the Canadian Pacific Railway), and marveling at humpback whales with Island Quest Marine's afternoon whale watch. Lots of American tourists were in Saint Andrews on road trips, and I can see why.
 
My second base was in Alma, population 232 (in 2011), the hopping-off point for Fundy National Park. Locals rely on lobster and scallop fishing. Thus, fortified by Bay of Fundy scallops and a good night's sleep, I headed off to hike on Matthew's Head Trail (many lookout points of vast coastal views, about 1.5 hours, not difficult), and to visit Hopewell Rocks. Fundy National Park boasts the highest tides in the world, up to 48 feet of change. Each tidal flow contains 100 billion tons of water, and its strength carves the formation at Hopewell Rocks. You can only visit at or near low tide. 
 
My only regret in Alma: I didn't get a chance to sea kayak with Fresh Air Adventure. I observed lots of people taking part, and it looked great. Plus Gina, the owner, winters in Hong Kong and summers on the Bay of Fundy coastline. How fascinating! Steve has written about kayaking with Gina here: 
 
In closing, my idea of a terrific getaway includes seeing new places (especially small towns and natural things of quiet and beauty); being outdoors in the sunshine with time to walk, read, and think; being near the water/on the coast (seeing it, smelling it, hearing it, feeling the breeze); and eating good healthy local food and drink -- just fresh and simply prepared. New Brunswick had it all! Let ActiveTravels know if you are interested in "Atlantic Canada."
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/24/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, September 21, 2018

Refurbished Hawks Cay Resort Begins a New Era on the Florida Keys

Almost a year after Hurricane Irma passed through the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort, one of the region's most renowned properties, has reopened following a $50 million renovation. Owners of Hawks Cay, situated on Duck Key near Marathon, used the opportunity to enhance the resort's appeal to travelers. Expect completely renovated rooms, two new restaurants and a new oceanfront, adults-only relaxation area called Oasis Cay with pool, food and beverage facilities. With the reopening of Hawks Cay, the Keys lodging inventory is now over 90 percent operational following the Sept. 10, 2017, hurricane and nearly all resorts impacted by Irma are projected to be fully open before the end of 2018. An added bonus is the addition of many new resorts. The all-inclusive adults-only Bungalows Key Largo is to be unveiled later this year. Also in Key Largo, the new 200-room Baker's Cay Resort, a Curio Collection by Hilton, is scheduled to open by late fall. In Marathon at mile marker 47, the all-new 24-acre, 199-unit Isla Bella Beach Resort will offer a 4,000-square-foot spa, five pools, four food and beverage concepts and a marina when the property opens in early 2019. After last year's hard winter rebuilding, the Florida Keys is ready to welcome you back this year. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/21/18 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hawaiian Airlines To Start Nonstop Flights From Boston To Honolulu

One of the big stories in the Boston world of travel this past week is the announcement that Hawaiian Airlines will soon be flying out of Logan Airport's Terminal E. Starting April 4, 2019, Hawaiian Airlines will fly five times a week on the longest scheduled domestic route in America, a whopping 5,095 miles. It will take 11 hours and 40 minutes for the Airbus A330 to fly westbound to Hawaii and 10 hours 15 minutes to return to Boston. Book through tomorrow, September 20th, and fly in April 2019 and the round-trip cost starts at $643 per person. Once in Hawaii, let ActiveTravels take over. We know the islands, lodgings, and activities extremely well. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/19/18 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Biking the Emerald Necklace to View the Fog Sculptures

I've always visited one Emerald Necklace park at a time, say a stroll around Jamaica Pond or through the century-old maples and gardens at Arnold Arboretum. And that's pretty much how the great landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, intended-to treat each one of his verdant urban oases as a jewel. But when the Emerald Necklace Conservatory decided to display five works of Japanese fog artist Fujiko Nakaya across all their green spaces, I decided it was time to connect the dots and bike most of the seven-mile long stretch from Olmsted Park to Franklin Park. On display until October 31st in Boston, "Fog x FLO" is a unique treat, where fog is spewed out of nozzles at specific times to create a hazy display through the woods or on the water. 

 
We parked at Willow Pond at Olmsted Park and biked along a trail to Leverett Pond, just in time to see the fog rolling out on the water, reflecting the clouds above. That whet our appetite for the rest. We retraced our steps past Willow Pond and up to Jamaica Pond to eye the next fog display on the beach. Stick to the sidewalks and bike lanes to reach Arnold Arboretum, the only real tricky part of the bike ride. It's worth the effort to view "Fog on the Hill," an 8-minute spray of immense fog that goes off on the hour. We watched as the fog rolled down the hillside, splintered with sunshine. Then we were off to our final stop, Franklin Park, on newly paved bike trails and a bike lane the entire way. Here the fog spews out into the ruins of a building Olmsted originally designed the structure as a field house to use as a changing room or view the sports on the adjacent fields. A mile later, I was downing a Santa Fe Salad at The Dogwood, across from the massive Forest Hills T Station. My reward for all the biking. A wonderful outing, especially on a Sunday! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/18/18 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 17, 2018

Dreaming of the Seychelles

We went to the big Africa Showcase in Boston several weeks ago, where reps from many of the sub-Saharan African countries and many lodge owners do their version of speed pitches for some 6 hours. Loved meeting people from Uganda, Zambia, and Namibia, all high on my wish list. But I absolutely adored the presentation on the Seychelles, 115 dreamy islands in the Indian Ocean. Only 2 hours by flights from Nairobi or Dar, it's the perfect add-on to a safari in the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. Especially when you realize that the Seychelles are home to some of the finest island resorts in the world. If I was a honeymooner, I'd take a good look at Fregate Island, North Island, Six Senses, the Four Seasons, or MAIA. Contact ActiveTravels and you'll receive extra Virtuoso amenities like free upgrade, spa treatments, and meals when booking. We're here to make dreams come true! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/17/18 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Height of Fall Foliage in Vermont Could Be a Week Later in 2018

We had a very warm summer in New England, one of the warmest on record. And it's still continuing to be warm this weekend, with highs expected to reach the mid-80s on Sunday. So meteorologists in the region are already starting to predict a later fall foliage, similar to last year. The typical peak in central Vermont, from Stowe to Woodstock, is usually around Columbus Day. But I would expect peak to be closer to the week of October 15th. To view the foliage without the crowds, please check out my story for Yankee Magazine last October. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/14/18 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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