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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tanzania, River Cruising, and Winvian in ActiveTravels November Newsletter

November is often a slower month for us as people are gearing up for their December trips. Not this year. We currently have members all over the globe including India, Tulum, Paris, Australia, Spain, and Patagonia. We are so grateful to be able to advise our adventurous clients on how best to explore this glorious planet of ours. What a thrill it is for us to design, guide, and book all kinds of wonderful hotels, experiences, and routes. We hope our November newsletter whets your appetite for more adventures as we break down one of our favorite destinations, Tanzania. We also give you a primer on river cruising and discuss exciting trips in 2018. Lastly, we introduce you to one of the most unique and luxurious properties in New England, Winvian. Please have a look! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/30/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New Hotel Openings in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Experts, the tour operator we adore for our clients’ trips to Costa Rica and Panama, has added a handful of new hotels to their list of available lodgings. Located just off the remote Nicoya Peninsula, Isla Chiquita offers the one and only glamping experience in Costa Rica. Arrive by boat to the small luxury site, where you will be lead to one of 15 premium tents. For an adults-only luxury getaway, check out the new Las Catalinas property by Casa Chameleon, which enjoys panoramic views of the Pacific from the comfort of the infinity pool. Holistic, healing, and rejuvenation are the primary focal points of The Retreat, an intimate 11-room boutique property that features yoga classes every morning and afternoon. Lagarta Lodge, a 26-room modern boutique hotel on the Nicoya Peninsula, is located between two rivers and a sandy beach within a private nature reserve, an ideal locale for hiking, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. If you’re thinking of visiting Costa Rica this winter, please let ActiveTravels know and we’ll package together the whole trip, including lodging, activities, and transfers.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/29/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Seventh Annual Hotel Week in Manhattan January 5-15, 2018

If you want to visit New York at a discount, then head to the city during their Seventh Annual Hotel Week in early January. Gansevoort Meatpacking, the Refinery Hotel, Library Hotel, James New York, Viceroy Central Park, and Archer New York are just a handful of top-tier properties that will cut their rates considerably during this time. For example, the Paul Hotel NYC will only be $100 a night, more than 50% off their usual rate. Hotel Week NYC™ was created by PR maven Nancy J. Friedman in 2010 to address the occupancy dip most hotels experience after the holiday season. It’s a perfect time to visit Manhattan without the crowds and see the new David Hockney show at the Met. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/28/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 27, 2017

Boston Ski and Sports Club Announces Winter 2017/2018 Lineup

If you missed the ski trip to Jay Peak this past Thanksgiving weekend, don’t sweat it. BSSC has many day trips coming up, including stops at Killington, Sunday River, Loon, Bretton Woods, Sugarbush, and Cannon this winter. After a day of carving that perfect turn on the slopes, leave the driving to someone else and meet new friends who share your passion. The BSSC will make stops in Boston, Newton, and Woburn before hitting the peaks. Cost includes lift ticket and the bus ride. Have a look! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/27/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 24, 2017

Please Consider Supporting ActiveTravels on Small Business Saturday

Join ActiveTravels in November and December and we will donate half of your $60 membership to One Caribbean Family. The Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund is working to help restore and rebuild the tourism infrastructure after the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Tourism employs 2.4 million people in the Caribbean. The more money we can raise together, the quicker we can get the destination up and running again and welcoming guests back to their beautiful islands. 

Still not convinced you need a travel advisor in this day and age? Here are some thoughts to consider:
 
Expertise—A recent study said that the average person spends 29 hours researching his next vacation. Spend as much time on the web as your heart desires, but realize that as a member of ActiveTravels, you can bounce ideas off a travel writer that’s been to over 90 countries. You’ll get unbiased travel advice from someone who’s been to that exact location. 
 
Better Rooms—Hotels treat third-party bookings from Priceline, Travelocity, Hotels.com as their last priority. You’re given the worst room in the house because there’s no sense of loyalty with these sites. The travel business is all about relationships. Aligned with Virtuoso, we have relationships with hotel GMs around the globe and we call them personally when we book one of our clients.
 
Customer Service—Flight cancelled? Lost luggage? Have to reschedule a flight? Good luck dealing with Orbitz and Expedia. If you’ve gone through this recently, you know the pain. A travel agent makes those calls for you and has contacts at the airlines the public does not have. 
 
Contacts Around the Globe—Want to travel independently to India, Patagonia, or Thailand? Have fun researching that journey on the web. It’s an exhausting task. We work with excellent ground operators in Delhi, Buenos Aires, and Bangkok who know their country intimately and can help with all the logistics. 
 
Annual membership to ActiveTravels is $60 per year, less than dinner for two at a halfway decent restaurant. We guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth! 
 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/24/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Holiday Stocking Stuffer No. 3, Real Food Fake Food, Now in Paperback

In 2012, Boston, a city that prides itself on its fresh seafood was rocked to its ocean-loving core when a two-part expose published by the Boston Globe revealed that a significant number of fish were mislabeled at area restaurants, grocery stores, and fish markets. Diners were served cheap Vietnamese catfish instead of the succulent and more expensive grouper, haddock instead of cod, tilapia in place of pricey red snapper. Indeed, 24 of the 26 red snapper samples tested were some other species of fish. The two reporters went on a fish collecting spree, sending samples of their findings to a laboratory in Canada for DNA testing. The outcome? A whopping 48 percent of the seafood was mislabeled. In his latest book, Real Food Fake Food, writer and friend Larry Olmsted delves much deeper, telling us that that most kobe beef sold at restaurants is indeed wagyu; extra virgin olive oil is rarely that, usually cut with soybean and peanut oil; grated parmesan is almost always fake; and that grass-fed beef was probably drugged and raised in a crowded feedlot. It’s no surprise this book already made many “notable books of the year” lists. For anyone who wants to start off 2018 on the right foot, grab a copy and then buy that olive oil from a trusted supplier Olmsted recommends, like Oliviers & Co. One taste of their olive oil and you’ll never go back to the fake stuff again. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/22/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Holiday Stocking Stuffer No. 2, Beyond the Craft

Having sat next to my brother at a number of his workshops, including stops at Harvard and the Seattle Film Festival, I know firsthand how incredibly inspirational and motivational his talks can be. Jim’s already worn so many hats in the entertainment world—talent agent to stars like Alan Arkin and Helen Hayes, screenwriter, director, documentarian, award-winning producer—and known so much talent that have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and others that have failed miserably. In fact, he’s distinctly qualified to understand and analyze why some people can make a good living pursuing their creative ambitions and others stuff those dreams away in a dimly lit office far from their film, art, or journalism schools. Take it from a guy who’s worked as a full-time freelance travel writer and screenwriter for the past 25 years, Spielberg is not going to call on line one and you’ll be marketing far more than you’ll be writing. 

Fortunately Jim has organized all of his thoughts and anecdotes into one book, Beyond The Craft. Not only will you learn how to network effectively, creating a detailed marketing plan of follow-up phone calls, but you’ll understand the necessity of knowing everything about the business side, most importantly who are the players who can hire you or show your wares. Jim also delves into the psychological aspects of dealing with rejection and the importance of surrounding yourself with incredibly supportive friends. He’s literally been all over the world delivering his seminar on How to Live a Creative Life. In fact, Jim just returned from Dublin, London, and Paris teaching filmmakers and writers on how best to make their voices and visions shine. Beyond the Craft should be mandatory reading at every film and art school across the nation, a pragmatic step-by-step guide to making your dreams a reality. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/21/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, November 20, 2017

Holiday Stocking Stuffer No. 1, Don Papa Rum

Already a phenomenon in Paris, Don Papa Rum has just arrived in New York and Boston. I went to a rum tasting last week at Shojo in Boston’s Chinatown and was even more enamored with this rum than the last time I tried it in France. The 10-year-old bottle has hints of vanilla which stems not only from the sweeter Noble Cane found in the Philippines, but the result of aging in former bourbon and American oak casks. As the story goes, founder Stephen Carroll was sailing around the volcanic island of Negros, when he learned about the centuries-old Noble Cane and the reason they coined the island Sugarlandia. He went on land and discovered the remains of a small rum distillery. Carroll bought it out and started creating his own “black gold” molasses. In less than a decade, he’s created quite a buzz in the liquor world. Grab your bottle of 7 and 10-year rum at Vinodivino in Boston and Needham, Charles Street Liquor in Boston, Gordon Liquor in Waltham, among many other Boston area liquor stores, and you’ll soon believe the hype. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/20/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Ski Red, British Columbia

Due to its remote locale and the fact that the Whistler overshadows all the other exceptional mountains in BC, you might not have heard of Red. But take my word for it, you will. In 2013, they added a chairlift up Grey Mountain, adding 22 new runs and a whopping 1,000 acres of skiing, placing Red at pretty much the same scale as Breckenridge and Jackson Hole. A year later they added cat skiing off Mount Kirkup. But size doesn’t necessarily matter when it comes to skiing this beaut. Close to 7,000 feet high and rarely another skier in view, you’re certain you were planted on Red by helicopter. You can ski the entire mountain, front and back, with exceptional intermediate and advanced terrain off the Motherlode Chair. Red’s claim to fame, however, is all the backcountry trails that weave through the trees on neighboring Mount Roberts. And those 360-degree views from the top. Sweet! Ski Red just once and you’ll understand why it’s worth flying to Spokane and driving 2 1/2 hours north to Rossland. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/17/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ski Snowbasin

Many of our clients who like to ski Park City and Deer Valley have been adding on days to check out Alta and Snowbird. You should also add Snowbasin and nearby Powder Mountain to that list. Only 30 minutes from Salt Lake City on the outskirts of Ogden, Snowbasin is one of the oldest ski resorts in America, first opened in 1939. But what gets skiers all dreamy eyed is the 3,000-foot vertical and 3,000 skiable acres, more than enough terrain to challenge you during a day or two. If you stay in Ogden, 17 miles away, a free shuttle will pick you up for the ski area. Want more? Powder Mountain has a whopping 7,000 acres of terrain and is still mostly skied by locals and ski writers in the know. They offer a chance to ride up on a snow-cat before skiing down and glorious backcountry runs in Powder Country. So just don’t think of Alta and Snowbird the next time you want to escape Park City. Give Snowbasin and Powder a try. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/16/17 at 06:00 AM
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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.

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