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Monday, October 04, 2010

Tauck Tours Announces Partnership with Ken Burns

Ken Burns, the documentarian known for his PBS series on the “Civil War,” “Baseball,” and “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” has just teamed up with Tauck World Discovery to create tours based on his documentaries. Burns will also create a series of short films to help supplement the itineraries, which are located throughout the US. Tauck, who has been bringing guests to the National Parks since 1926 and currently has 12 parks on its itinerary, seems like a perfect fit for Burns’ wealth of history. Stuck on a bus between sites, you might as well learn everything you need to know about the creation of Yellowstone National Park before you arrive. The first tour starts in 2011.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/04/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, October 01, 2010

Beyond the Craft

Each semester, I’m asked to speak at classes at Emerson College and Boston University on both magazine writing and screenwriting. On Tuesday night, when I return to Emerson, I will bring a thick folder of more than 200 rejection letters. It includes my favorite from Mad Magazine, a check next to a line that reads: “It just didn’t tickle our funny bone.” Universities do a wonderful job of teaching the craft of writing, but rarely touch on the psychological aspects of rejection and the necessary business skills to market your wares. Close to half my time, especially in those early years, was spent peddling my writing to editors and production companies. And almost every day, I would return from the mailbox with a stack of rejection letters. It was an incredible struggle, the reason why many of the creative people I met in New York are no longer in the business.

Dealing with rejection and building a strong support group to help attain your creative aspirations is just one of the numerous topics my brother, Jim, and I will discuss in a 3-hour seminar we’re doing in Boston, Providence, Portland, New Bedford, and Stamford this October. Called Beyond the Craft: How to Be Proactive and Take Charge of Your Creative Career, the motivational workshop will also delve into finding mentors to guide you, distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack, the art of schmoozing, creating an effective networking system, finding time to work on your craft while paying the rent, and getting your work out there any way possible.

For close to a decade, Jim worked as a talent agent at ICM representing some of the entertainment world’s greatest success stories—Academy-Award winning actor Alan Arkin, the grande dame of Broadway, Helen Hayes, and the most popular man on television in the 80s, “the Fonz,” otherwise known as Henry Winkler. When he left that job to pursue his creative ambitions as screenwriter, director, and producer, he would face wave after wave of rejection, often wondering how people like Alan Arkin and Helen Hayes could endure such negativity and hardship to make it to the top. His relentless perseverance and serious dose of patience have paid off with the release of the critically acclaimed Samuel Goldwyn film, Passionada (which I co-wrote), in 2003, and the heart-wrenching, Em, winner of the Grand Jury Prize as best film in the 2008 Seattle Film Festival. Please help spread the word. Thank you!   
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/01/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Couple Paddles the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and Hikes the Appalachian Trail…in the Same Summer!

In August, I had an assignment to write about an inn-to-inn bike trip in Vermont. After biking up and down short steep hills for a good 40 miles, I arrived at the first inn exhausted but proud of my accomplishment. That was until the owner of the B&B told me that she had another biker who just came through last week, one who was biking the entire country from Seattle to Boston! That’s what I thought about when I first read about Catherine and Ryan Thompson, from Old Forge, New York. On April 15th, they began paddling the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail and arrived at the northern terminus of Fort Kent on May 10th. An incredible feat for most humans, but that was just the beginning for the Thompsons. After completing their paddle, they walked 100 miles to Baxter State Park and started the Appalachian Trail. They completed the 2,179-mile trail last Thursday! As they said in their final blog entry, “We made quite a scene at the summit. Poles were flying in the air, as well as Toofpick's pack. It came down with a thud - a satisfying thud that signaled our end. It was a burst of celebration, and then suddenly we were standing there in silence. We were there...” Congratulations! You deserve a Couples Massage!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/30/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Park City Preview

I just returned from my annual dim sum lunch in Boston with Craig McCarthy, Communications Manager at the Park City Chamber of Commerce. Park City has always been one of my favorite mountain locales in the West, be it winter or summer. Its history as a former mining town lends to its authenticity. It’s not your run-of-the-mill prefabricated ski town. But that’s not to say things don’t change. The Park City area is in the midst of a building spree. The Waldorf Astoria Park City was built at the base of the Canyons Resort last winter and this year, the Montage Resort, known for its spectacular property in Laguna Beach, plans to open at Deer Valley. The Canyons is also unveiling an orange-bubbled heated high-speed quad, the first of its kind in the States. Park City Mountain Resort is expanding their night skiing. But the big news is off the town lift in downtown Park City, where the High West Distillery opened its doors last year. Distilling small batch whiskeys and vodkas, it’s the first distillery to open in Utah since Prohibition. Throw back a glass of that rye whiskey and you have that extra edge you might need to try that double diamond.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/29/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

REI Adventures Across the Globe

Most people know REI as a place to purchase all their outdoor garb and equipment. Few active travelers realize the Seattle-based company also has been offering human-powered outdoor adventures since 1987. Rated on a scale of one (relaxed) to five (strenuous), these guided trips are far more reasonably priced compared to their competition. They just came out with their list of 2011 trips, which include a 10-day jaunt biking around Portugal and Spain to hiking in Utah’s Arches & Canyonlands National Parks to four days of mountain biking in the Sonoran Desert (only $675 including camping equipment, bike rentals, and most meals).
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/28/10 at 01:00 PM
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Favorite Fall Foliage Outings in Vermont

The last week in September is prime foliage colors in northern Vermont. Then the color change makes its way south through the state, peaking around Columbus Day. Having written more than 100 stories and close to a dozen book chapters on the state, these are a handful of my favorite outings: mountain biking the Kingdom Trails in East Burke, roaming (or biking) the Trapp Family Lodge grounds in Stowe, hiking Camel’s Hump, stopping at the Warren Country Store for a sandwich, paddling Lowell Lake near Stratton, road biking along the shores of Lake Champlain on Button Bay Road, going for a hawk walk at the Equinox, walking around the historic town of Grafton, biking along the Ottauquechee River in Taftsville, and as I mentioned last week, dining at the Simon Pearce restaurant in Quechee.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/27/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Ski the Alps

I had lunch yesterday with 12 ski resorts from the Swiss, French, Italian, German, and Austrian Alps. Travel to the Alps from America was up a whopping 50 percent this past summer and 30 percent last winter. Americans, especially from the East Coast, are finally realizing that you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to ski the region. On average, lift tickets are $50-$60 per day, far less than Stowe or Vail. Yes, you can splurge on some grand hotel at St. Moritz, but there are also many affordable pensions around town. And not all the ski areas are as challenging as Chamonix. Remember, you’re not skiing down the Matterhorn. You’re looking up at the Matterhorn as you ski the base area in Zermatt, a far less threatening proposition with a vast amount of intermediate and novice terrain. The trails are long, relaxed, and thankfully in the past decade, groomed with snowmaking capabilities. Best of all, you’re in Europe, dining on exceptional food and savoring the culture. One day you can be in Kitzbühel, downing large mugs of beer, the next day enjoying a glass of Bordeaux and exceptional French food in Megève. Cortina, in the Italian Dolomites, is only a two-hour drive from Venice, so you can combine Carnevale in February with several nights of skiing. Overseas flights are also much more reasonable in the winter months. So grab those skies and fondue forks and hit the Alps this winter.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/24/10 at 01:00 PM
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Foliage Bike Rides Across America

Last autumn, I wrote a story for Body + Soul Magazine on great fall biking outside of New England. Here are my three picks:

Keuka Lake, New York
Vineyards paired with lakefront pedaling create a perfect day of biking in the Finger Lakes region of western New York. Rent bikes and grab a map from Wheels Unlimited in Bath and then head north to Hammondsport and the shores of Keuka Lake. On Route 54A, you’ll find the award-winning Rieslings created at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Wine Cellars. Have a sip, but save some energy to roll up and down the road, stopping atop bluffs to admire the glorious vistas of the water. 

Asheville, North Carolina
Come to Asheville in late October, early November and you’ll find the leaves on the dogwoods, sweetgums, and mountain ash all changing color. The reason why the famed Blue Ridge Parkway is so congested with leaf peepers.  The folks at Liberty Bicycles will provide bikes and steer you away from the traffic, leading you to nearby Burnsville for a favorite local ride. On this 37-mile loop, you’ll bike over suspension bridges past old tobacco farms and country stores.

Bend, Oregon
Autumn colors are not usually associated with the Northwest, the land of conifers. Yet, outside of Bend, aspen groves provide enough color to excite the local contingent of riders.  Rent bikes and grab a detailed map at Hutch’s Bicycle Shop in Bend for the start of a glorious 32-mile ride that takes advantage of central Oregon’s variety of terrain—sage-scented high desert, sparkling lakes, raging rivers, flower-filled meadows, and snowcapped North, Middle, and South Sister Mountains rising 10,000 feet above town. Spend your night at the six-room Lara House, conveniently located across from Drake Park in the center of town. Then grab a microbrew or homemade ginger ale at Deschutes Brewery, dutifully earned after the ride.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/23/10 at 01:00 PM
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Favorite Restaurant in Vermont

Many people will make their way to Vermont this next month to see the fall foliage. While there, stop at one of my favorite restaurants just outside Woodstock, the Simon Pearce restaurant in Quechee. Simon Pearce is best known for his glassware and you can visit his store and see glassblowers at work downstairs in this former mill. But it’s the restaurant, with spectacular views of water tumbling down the rocks in front of a covered bridge, that brings me back almost every time I’m in the state. Reserve one of the tables near the window and get here on the early side for dinner, before it gets too dark, and you’re in for a treat. The food is secondary to the view and the sturdy glassware you’ll use, created by Simon Pearce.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/22/10 at 01:00 PM
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sharpen Your Photography Skills with Robert Kaufman in Boston

Robert Kaufman might not be a household name, but more than likely you’ve seen his photography gracing the walls of hotel lobbies around the globe or on that monthly calendar you look at every day. He’s spent the past 30 years traveling to every nook and cranny in Italy, not merely photographing iconic structures like the Tower of Pisa but more energetic street scenes ripe with spontaneity and whimsy. Also ripe are his collection of Edibles, fruit and vegetables so damn sensual, you want to lick the paper it’s printed on. Now the talented man behind the lens is appearing front and center in a 2-day workshop. On two consecutive Saturdays, October 2nd and October 9th, Kaufman will share the secrets of being a professional photographer these past 30 years. He’ll discuss the technical aspects of your camera before accompanying you on a field trip to get that special photo. Then you’ll analyze your work back in the group. Cost of the 2-day workshop is $199. Call 617-964-4080 to register or visit www.SilverVisions.com.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/21/10 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.

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