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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Hard Work of Social Media Marketing

We always ask new members of ActiveTravels how they found us. As we enter into our fifth year of business, more and more clients are saying that they came upon us in a Google search. Very few things make me happier than having complete strangers from around the globe ask us for our travel expertise. Sure, we love referrals, but there’s something terribly exciting about getting an email or call from the UK, Switzerland, New Zealand, and across the US from someone out of the blue. I mentioned this to our social media guru, Ross Lasley, owner of the acclaimed Internet Educator, and it resulted in one of his columns. I came across it recently and I was flattered. Ross understands that nobody finds you on Google by luck. It comes from years of hard work, getting your business out there through all channels of social media. I’ve been blogging regularly since 2009, probably the same I time I joined FaceBook and LinkedIn. The Twitter account came in 2011, Instagram this past year. It’s a steady stream of content, not unlike the hundreds of articles I wrote the 20 years prior. Build it and through hard work they will come. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/11/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, September 01, 2017

Experts Forecast Spectacular Fall Foliage in New England

I’ve been busy this week designing itineraries for all of our clients headed to New England in the next month or two. Early reports indicate that this is going to be a banner year for fall colors. While we now comfortably send ActiveTravels members all over the world thanks to the guidance of trusted local experts, there’s no region we know better than our own backyard of New England. I’ve practically driven every backcountry road of these six states writing books for Outside Magazine, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, articles on the top beach towns and winter towns for Yankee Magazine, and more than 300 stories for the Boston Globe. ActiveTravels was also asked to design a route for Conde Nast Traveler readers and we were chosen the agent of choice for NewEnglandTravelPlanner. If you want to visit New England, rest assured that we’ll find the best lodging, activities, restaurants, and routes that suit your budget and passion.

Off to Lime Rock Race Course in Connecticut, and visits with family in New Jersey, Philly, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania next week. Have a great Labor Day Weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/01/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Relaxing Stop in the Berkshires at the Red Lion Inn

After dropping our son off at Cornell last week, we stopped in the Berkshires to dine with good friends and spend a night at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. I haven’t stayed at this classic retreat in over a decade and it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. As soon as we dropped off our bags off in our spacious room in one of the houses on the lot next to the main inn, we went to straight to the pool and hot tub for a plunge. We then washed up just in time to join the sommelier on the Red Lion’s signature wraparound porch for a tasting of roses and white zinfandels. The next morning Lisa woke up early to use the fitness center, located in the O’Brien House, before a typical August in New England breakfast of wild blueberry pancakes and Mass maple syrup in the main dining room. Happy we made the stop instead of rushing home. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/31/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Backroads Announces New Slate of Trips in 2018

This is the time of year that I usually receive press releases from tour operators announcing new trips in 2018. Since I just returned from an outstanding Backroads trip to Switzerland, that one caught my eye. They are introducing 38 new trips in 2018, expanding greatly into South America and introducing more ocean cruise trips after the great success they had with Iceland this summer. The multi-adventure family trip to Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park sounds intriguing to me. My good friend, Eric Lucas, who writes regularly about Alaskan travel, has told me this is one of his favorite parts of the state—spectacularly beautiful with far less people than Denali. Biking around Cuba sounds like a great way to see the island. There’s also a new trip to northern Iceland that focuses on the Northern Lights. If interested in any of these trips, let ActiveTravels know and we’ll look into availability. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/30/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Escape to Israel this Winter

Israel’s national airline, El Al, just announced a great deal this winter. Depart New York, Boston, Miami or LA from November 25-February 21 and they’ll offer a direct flight to Tel Aviv and 6 nights at any Dan Panorama property for as low as $1329 per person. ActiveTravels works with great ground operators in Israel who can help arrange transfers and guides to any part of the country, from a day trip to two of my favorite cities, Safed and Akko, to hiking Masada and floating in the Dead Sea. Jerusalem reaches an average high of 60 degrees in December, while Tel Aviv can often top 70 degrees. So it’s a still comfortable time of year to visit Israel. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/29/17 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 28, 2017

Excited to Announce the Launch of Yogaway Retreats

It all started as the best things in life often do….pure serendipity. I was sitting in our yard near the water, in Quincy, MA, in the summer of 2011. My neighbor Barbara kayaked as close as she could to my chair and said, “I’ve been thinking about you. You’d really like yoga. I go to Healing Tree, and you should too.” I said, “Well, I’ve actually thought about that over time, maybe with your urging, I’ll go.” I had been a dancer as a kid, and fluid movement that’s about grace, flexibility, and strength has always appealed to me. I had long ago given up dance, and yearned for something to fill the void. Barbara had an answer! I walked into Healing Tree, and my yoga habit began. But a very special person – other than Barbara – made it truly possible. Checka Antifonario was one of my first yoga teachers, and I lucked out. Checka is amazing. She made my 50th birthday ultra-memorable (we together organized a weekend yoga retreat in Western MA for ~15 of my nearest and dearest friends, including Lisa and Steve). And, can I say, Checka’s yoga retreats also rock. I’ve been on several of them. 
 
That’s why I’m so excited to announce Checka’s latest venture, Yogaway Retreats. Going on a yoga retreat with the right leader is a wonderful way to travel. It isn’t “all yoga all the time.” It’s exploring an area, hiking, swimming, eating, drinking, talking, and bonding with new people, sometimes over s’mores around a campfire. Checka has upcoming retreats this October in Vermont (I’ve been to that location with her, it’s superb), the Azores late next September (been there, with Checka, absolutely fantastic!), and more including Aspen, Martinique, and Alaska. I love Checka’s picks for lodging and for adventures outside of yoga time, her wonderful personality, and her excellent yoga classes. ActiveTravels would be more than happy to arrange a trip with Checka for you. 
 
Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 
(Amy in the air, Checka on the mat) 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/28/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, August 18, 2017

Switzerland, Caribbean Resort Openings, and the Adirondacks in August ActiveTravels Newsletter

In this month’s newsletter, we discuss our family trip to Switzerland in July, list a round-up of new and intriguing Caribbean resorts set to open this winter, introduce you to a fantastic way to create lasting souvenirs on your next trip with Flytographer, and happily write about one of our favorite places on the planet, the Adirondacks. We’re actually headed to Lake George next week after first visiting Ithaca and the Berkshires. I’ll be back on August 28th with new content. Thanks as always for checking in and keep active! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/18/17 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Five Teen-Worthy Adventures

Once the kids hit their teen years, it’s almost impossible to convince them to go on another family trip that doesn’t include a posse of their friends. To make your offer as appealing as possible, you have to up the ante with a tantalizing mix of adventure and food. The finest family adventure trips escort you into a world of active travel you would probably never attempt on your own. Go beyond your comfort zone and try something new together as a family and the memories will last a lifetime. The five destinations in my latest story for Men’s Journal all feature a bevy of outdoor activity in awe-inspiring settings, including our trip to Switzerland in July. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/17/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

On the Road to Tobermory

While ActiveTravels members are cavorting all over the world this month (locations include Colombia, Yellowstone, Alaska, California, Oregon, Colorado, Chicago, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Austria, Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Vancouver, the Canadian Rockies, Quebec, and all over New England), I spent last week two hours north of Toronto, in and around Georgian Bay. It’s not a well-known tourist destination unless you are from the Toronto area. But we were rewarded with many treats including a spectacularly beautiful day in Tobermory, at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula, jutting into Georgian Bay (and, to the west, Lake Huron). 
 
The shores and waterways of Georgian Bay are the traditional domain of the Anishinaabeg. Due to high interest in a current Anishinaabeg exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum (where my husband Josh is Director), this journey was of particular interest. On a purely “personal enjoyment” level, Mermaid’s Cove, just a few miles away from Little Tub Harbour, was another highlight. Josh and I climbed on the rocky shore, swam in crystal clear fresh water, and enjoyed the view. Maybe next time, we’ll take one of the glass bottom boats to see the shipwrecks in Fathom Five National Marine Park for which Tobermory is famous (22 shipwrecks and several historic lighthouses), or ride the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry to Manitoulin Island. It was easy to see why Tobermory has become an inspirational destination for naturalists, photographers, divers, hikers, and kayakers.
 
Guest Post and Photo by Amy Perry Basseches 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/16/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Biking Along the Charles in Boston

At least one Sunday every summer, we park our car at the large parking lot near the Artesani Playground Wading Pool (1255 Soldiers Field Road, Brighton) and bike along the Charles River into Cambridge. Near Mount Auburn Hospital, Memorial Drive is closed to cars for a good mile or so on Sundays, before you hit the sidewalk and pedal along the water. The river is full of activity, with scullers and crew teams sharing the water with sailboats and motor boats making their way out to Boston Harbor. On the Cambridge side, we pass Harvard and MIT while peering across the Charles at the Prudential Center, Citgo sign, and the distinctive gold dome of the Old State House. At the Museum of Science, we head across the street to North Point Park, a new gem of a park that looks up at the Zakim Bridge. A bike trail zips up past a skateboard park just under the bridge and over to Charlestown. Look down and you can see the boats waiting for the waters of the locks to rise. A mandatory stop to see the USS Constitution before crossing the Charlestown Bridge into Boston and heading to the Boston Public Market for tasty chicken shawarma in a pita at Inna’s. Then we head along the Charles on the Boston side through the Esplanade all the way back to our car. Give yourself a good 4 hours if you want to stop for lunch and take photos. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/15/17 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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