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Friday, September 30, 2011

Thanks for Your Continued Support!

Today is my 500th blog and it couldn’t have come on a better day in Boston. Clear blue skies with temperatures in the low 70s, ideal for taking a long bike ride past the horse farms of neighboring Dover and Sherborn. Autumn for New Englanders is a time to reflect on the past year and consider goals for the upcoming year as the leaves change color and soon fall. There’s no better way to process those thoughts than by taking a long bike ride or hike. Hopefully, one of those goals during the upcoming year is to remain active, both in body and mind. Thanks again for checking in and have a great weekend!
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/30/11 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, February 27, 2015

President Obama Announces Every Kid in a Park Initiative

In case you missed it, President Obama announced last week that all fourth graders and their families will receive free admission to national parks and other federal lands for a full year. The Every Kid in a Park initiative is part of an effort to get kids away from their screens and be active outdoors. Hallelujah! It will start in the fall of 2015 and run through next year to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service in 2016. An annual pass to National Parks currently costs $80 for family. So now you can hit the beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore for free and use the $80 to get lobster rolls at Arnold’s

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/27/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, March 13, 2015

ActiveTravels March Newsletter Now Available

Tuscany is a destination often found on people’s bucket lists. Dreams of the unspoiled, authentic Italy where medieval hill towns, vineyards, olive oil and truffles abound. We’ve paired up with a wonderful Italian tour operator who can offer accommodations in farm houses, villas, apartments, or B&Bs in the region with activities that range from taking cooking classes to guided bike rides on the rolling hills past vineyards, Medieval homesteads, and Etruscan tombs. Also in this month’s newsletter, we disclose our 5 favorite off-the-beaten-path National Parks, lodging clients have enjoyed in Jackson Hole, why you should download the app, Yonder, and a gem of a renovated inn that we came across on a recent trip to Stowe. Enjoy!

 
I’m off to Tanzania tonight for an epic trip with Epic Private Journeys to check out Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. We’ll also be visiting more remote parts of the country like the Grumeti Reserves, home to two lavish lodges, a tented camp, and a mobile camp under the design and management of South Africa’s pioneering Singita tourism group. Another private wildlife reserve, Mwiba, is where you’ll find the latest upscale lodging in the country, the Mwiba Lodge, which opened last June and is already gaining acclaim for its 8 canvas-sided suites. I’ll be checking it all out and sending photos on my Twitter account @ActiveTravels. When I’ll return on March 23rd, you’ll be hearing all about it on this page. So stay tuned and stay active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/13/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Tanzania, Greek Isles, Canada, Morocco and More in Our April Newsletter

I was fortunate to visit Tanzania for two weeks in March and I report on my experience in this month’s newsletter. With the weather finally warming up, we also turn our attention to favorite hotels on the Greek islands, a reputable tour operator we love in Morocco, and the upcoming Daffodil and Food and Wine festivals on Nantucket. Finally, with the dollar strong once again around the globe, it’s a good time to not only consider Europe, but Canada. $10 US dollars is now worth $12.22 Canadian as of yesterday. So this is the summer to travel! Talking about Canada, I’ll be with all my buddies at Canada Media Marketplace next week in New York to hear what’s happening across the country. I’ll return the week of May 3rd with my 5 Favorite Places to Go In Canada This Summer. Stay tuned and keep active! 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/17/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Croatia, Western Dude Ranches, Pack for a Purpose, and More in Our May Newsletter

In the May ActiveTravels newsletter, Lisa reports on her latest trip to Croatia and delves into why the country has become such a European hot spot. We also list some of our clients’ favorite dude ranches, promote Pack with a Purpose, and talk about an outfitter who designs custom-made trips to America’s National Parks. With the National Park System turning 100 in 2016, this is a good time to think about a trip to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, or Acadia National Park. 
 
I’ll be in Ithaca, New York, next Monday and Tuesday, back Wednesday. Enjoy the weekend and keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/15/15 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, May 22, 2015

Stowe’s Topnotch Resort Unveils “Boys Will Be Boys” Package

Tennis players and mountain bikers of the male persuasion, take note. The Topnotch Resort is now offering a guy’s getaway that includes a two-night stay at the upscale property with breakfast daily, a local Vermont brew and pretzel amenity delivered to the room after check-in, a burger and beer dinner at The Roost, and a $100 resort credit per room to be used towards tennis, spa treatments or food/beverage. Consistently listed among the top 10 tennis resorts in America, Topnotch offers daily tennis instruction by seasoned pros at the property’s six outdoor courts and four indoor courts. Surrounding the property is also a good 50 miles of stellar mountain biking trails like the technical singletrack, Kimmer’s Trail. Afterwards, you’ve earned your 80-minute deep tissue sports massage at the spa. You can also play a round of golf at the highly touted Country Club of Vermont. Rates start at $279, per person for two nights, double occupancy. 

 
I’m off to Phoenix Monday to Wednesday, back with a new blog on Thursday. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend and keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 05/22/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Family Fun with the Trustees of Reservations: Greater Boston

If you live in the Boston area and need a quick escape outdoors, look no further than a Trustees property. Some of my family’s most memorable day trips in the region have been to Hingham’s World’s End and Dover’s Noanet Woods. I’ll be delving into those sites in today’s itinerary, plus more.


Starting in Metro West and continuing counterclockwise around the 95/93 beltway that circles the city, we hit a favorite mountain biking locale, Noanet Woodlands. 17 miles of shaded trails weave through woods, skirt ponds, and lead you to Noanet Peak, which rewards you with views of the Boston skyline. Kids will enjoy the popular Caryl Trail, a half-mile walk to an old mill site. New this summer is a guided full moon and meteor shower hike for families in late July throughout August. Across the Powisset Street parking lot is the classic Powisset Farm which dates back three centuries. Take a leisurely walk through the farmstead, complete with chickens and pigs, then follow an easy, one-mile loop trail into the neighboring forest. 

Not far from the Noanet Woods in neighboring Medfield is another quintessential retreat for families, Rocky Woods. Walk around Chickering Pond or enjoy a longer excursion on carriage roads. New this year for families is the Night’s On, Lights Out Family Campout on August 1st. Pitch your tent in the evening and then participate in games and recreational activities. As the night darkens, you’ll go on a night hike before sharing stories around a campfire with S’mores. Pre-registration is required.

Continuing southeast, the Bradley Estate in Canton is easily found off of the highway. While the Georgian brick home and gardens are a popular spot for weddings, families will love seeing the llamas and sheep on the property. On July 9th from 3 pm to 5 pm, try your luck with Family Games on the grounds. The July 23rd Art Quest will lead families to four different destinations around the property. Each family member will then have an opportunity to experience the landscape through art. 

The Trustees purchased the 36-acre Governor Ames Estate in 2012 and what a gem this Easton property is. Trails lead under centuries-old beech trees to small serene ponds, sweeping meadows, and an elegant 19th-century stone stable. Don’t miss the 2nd Annual Legacy Event this coming Sunday, June 28th. Held from 11 am to 4 pm, the event features live music throughout the day as well as hands-on art programs, walking tours of the grounds, canoeing, and interactive children's programs including a Stegosaurus Scavenger Hunt, Cookie Monster Kitchen, and a children's entertainer to end the day.

Last but certainly not least is another crown jewel in the Trustees collection, World’s End. South of Boston, World’s End juts out of Hingham Harbor like a rooster at daybreak. In 1890, noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead was hired to transform World’s End into a “planned community” of 150 homes. Thankfully, this never came to fruition. The 251-acre estate was farmed and owned by one family until the Trustees of Reservations purchased the property with the help of the public in 1967. A 4-mile walk (jogging is also popular here) starts on a wide path bordered by white pines, hickories, oaks, and bracken ferns. The trail narrows as it hugs the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean, with views of the Boston Harbor and the city skyline. Upcoming programs for families include Learn to Kayak on June 28th and Trees and Bees on July 9th.
 
 
Also, don't forget that the Trustees own and manage 60 community gardens in Boston and hold year-round gardening classes, workshops, and events. For example, in Mattapan (30 Edgewater Drive) on July 11, from 1:30 pm-3 pm, kids can learn about bugs and go on a scavenger hunt. 
 
It’s been a pleasure to work with the Trustees again, especially their powerhouse publicist Kristi Perry, who knows all 113 properties intimately. Please take another look at all the blogs I wrote this week on the organization. There is a ton of events happening this summer and I don’t want you to miss out. Come to the August 22nd “Strandbeests” event on Crane Beach and please say hi to me in person. In the meantime, I’m off to Istanbul and Cappadocia, Turkey, back again with a new post on July 7th.

Have a wonderful 4th of July and keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/25/15 at 03:30 PM
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Friday, September 04, 2015

Mountain Bike Bluff Point State Park, Groton, Connecticut

Mountain biking at the beach might sound like a contradiction, but at Bluff Point State Park in Groton, Connecticut, there’s a dirt road along the Poquonnock River that leads straight to the Long Island Sound. There, you'll find picturesque Bluff Point Beach, which juts out to rugged Bushy Point. Numerous tracks spread out from the main trail like spokes on a wheel; choose one and ramble along the shores or go inland to see remnants of the John Winthrop house dating from the early 1700s. Even better, head up to the bluffs and look south across the waters to Fishers Island in New York, east to Watch Hill in Rhode Island, or west to New London in Connecticut.
 
Next week, I’m excited to be blogging live from Acadia National Park as I preview their 100th anniversary celebration next year. I’ll be hiking, biking, sea kayaking, and sailing, while discussing some of my favorite off-the-beaten-track locales. So please stay tuned and also follow me on Twitter @ActiveTravels
 
Have a fun Labor Day Weekend and, as always, keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/04/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

What’s New In the World of Travel in 2016

We receive, on average, 500-plus press releases a day telling us about all the new hotel openings, adventures, tours, cruise ships, art exhibitions, and much, much more in the world of travel. That’s in addition to all the travel publications that arrive via snail mail. Believe it or not, we actually skim every one of those emails and magazines to see if anything excites us. If it meets our discerning eye, we pass it on to you. Every January, we highlight what’s new in the world of the travel in our newsletter. Obviously, this is the tip of the iceberg. Simply tell us where you’re headed and we’ll give you the scoop on what’s new. One slight addendum. We received word that the Ritz Paris had a fire in the building this week. This will no doubt push the reopening back once again. 

 
I’m off to Ithaca, New York, back on Monday. Have a great weekend and keep active!
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/21/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, February 12, 2016

5 Adventures on a Shoestring, Diving in Fiji

Taveuni, Fiji, is one of those places like Palau or the Red Sea that is discussed only in clandestine conversations between avid scuba divers. They come here to dive the renowned Rainbow Reef, whose intricate corals and myriad fish provide divers with a kaleidoscopic view of the sea. Add white-tip sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays to the equation and you have one of the finest diving experiences in the world. Taveuni Ocean Sports offers a 7-night dive resort package that starts at $1450 per person. The package includes five days of two–tank dives (including guided tour for certified divers, tanks and weights), lodging at Taveuni’s lone eco-resort, Nakia, three meals a day and afternoon tea with freshly-baked goodies at Nakia's Cliffhouse Restaurant. 

 
In your spare time, skip the hike to Lake Tagimaucia. Here’s my story in the Boston Globe about that painful experience. It’s been fun reliving some of my favorite adventures this week! Next week, I’ll be in Florida visiting family. I’ll be back on February 22nd. In the meantime, happy travels and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/12/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Top 5 Wine Regions for Bicyclists, Napa and Sonoma Valley, California

Based in San Francisco since the company started in 1979, Backroads has reaped the benefits of being so close to Napa and Sonoma Valley. Their bike tours to the region are still the industry standard. Ride through the vineyards and soaring redwood forests in the company of new friends, have numerous opportunities for wine tastings at the dozens of wineries that line the cycling routes, get those tired legs worked on at award-winning spas, and then indulge in gourmet meals inspired by local vintages and fresh California ingredients. I call that a recipe for success, the reason why Backroads has become an active travel industry leader. They now offer trips all over the globe, but it’s hard to top the ones in their backyard to California Wine Country

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/17/16 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, March 18, 2016

Top 5 Wine Regions for Bicyclists, Bordeaux, France

Other biking outfitters can try to emulate Butterfield & Robinson, but none can approach George Butterfield’s innate sense of style. Trips can cost upwards of $1,000 a day but are worth every penny when you consider some of the amenities—nights at 14th century estates, seven-course feasts at private French vineyards, a van always by your side when you tire of biking. He’ll customize any Bordeaux trip you want or simply sign up for his 6-day jaunt from Bordeaux to Dordogne that runs from mid-May through early October. You’ll bike on relatively flat terrain through these two famous wine regions, but it won’t be easy when your lunch consists of a private wine tasting at such famous vineyards as Mouton-Rothschild. At night, you’ll be staying at a former 16th century monastery, now a Relais and Chateaux property, and a 17th century chartreuse perched atop a hill surrounded by vineyards, orchards, streams, and ponds. Dinner is a gluttonous feast, accompanied by, what else, more excellent wine.  

 
I’m headed to Dallas, Maine, and New Orleans over the next two weeks. I’ll be back with stories about my travels on March 31st. In the meantime, stay active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/18/16 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Cape Town, Hotels in Martinique, and The White Barn Inn in Our November Newsletter

As soon as you touch down in Cape Town and peer up at Table Mountain, more than likely shrouded in clouds, you know you're in for a treat. But it wasn't until we spent our first full day in the city that I truly felt fortunate to be in this thriving cultural mecca at the southernmost point of the African continent. Lisa and I took the sage advice of one of our clients, a South African art collector, and hired Stephen Long as our guide for the day. Stephen is well known in the Cape Town arts community (and to the shaman of the Eastern Cape) as one of the most renowned bead dealers in the region. He took us on a tour to see some of his favorite artisans in the city.

 
To read more about our recent trip to Cape Town, hotels we pick for our clients in Martinique, a Quick Escape to Kennebunkport, Maine, a good deal with Austin Adventures, and a tip on what to do with your extra foreign currency, please check out the November issue of the ActiveTravels newsletter. As always, we’re here to offer expert advice for all travel plans
 
We’re off to St. Lucia next week to check out two properties, BodyHoliday and Rendezvous, back November 21st. In the meantime, get outside and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 11/10/16 at 05:30 PM
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

NFL Great Randy Moss to Lead Fitness Classes at BodyHoliday

When Lisa and I were at St. Lucia’s BodyHoliday this past November, British Olympic Silver Medalist Keri-anne Payne led swimmers on a mile race. That was in addition to the biking, hiking, and sea kayaking jaunts we did. The resort is known for taking advantage of its glorious beachfront setting to keep folks active. Your reward? A daily massage is included in the cost of the all-inclusive price. In the summer months, BodyHoliday caters to families who want to stay fit at low-season Caribbean costs. NFL legend Randy Moss will lead the way July 16-22. He’ll be joined this summer by British Olympic sprinter Marlon Devonish (July 2-16) and Olympic swimmer Michael Jamieson (August 6-20). The party continues at night with dancing to live music at the outdoor bar. At BodyHoliday, they want to make sure you sweat to the wee hours of the morning. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/22/17 at 06:00 AM
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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.

ActiveTravels.com is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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