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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Royal Air Maroc to Fly Direct from Boston to Casablanca

Morocco has become an increasingly popular destination for our clients at ActiveTravels in the past several years. The only challenge for people leaving from Boston is that there was no direct flight, meaning they usually had to transfer at JFK or Lisbon's Portela Airport. Thankfully, that's about to change on June 22nd. Royal Air Maroc has just announced that they will be flying direct from Boston to Casablanca 3 times weekly. Total flight time on the Boeing 787-8 will be 7 hours, 25 minutes westbound and 6 hours 35 minutes eastbound. Royal Air Maroc will also be joining One Alliance in 2020, so soon you'll be able to use your American Airlines miles to find seats. Once in Morocco, we work with a fantastic ground operator who packages together all lodging, guides, drivers, and restaurants to make your experience as seamless as possible. A typical 10-day itinerary will include Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, the glorious seaside village of Essaouira, and at least one night at a Bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert. Please let us know how we can help. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/27/19 at 05:00 AM
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Tuesday, March 05, 2019

How a Travel Advisor Helps with Flight Delays

Last week, we had three clients miss their flight connections and one ActiveTravels member break his clavicle and ribs on a motorcycle accident in Phuket, Thailand. Before our clients even got off their planes, they were rebooked and ready to go on the next available flight. No standing in line for hours at the customer service desk with all the other passengers. The man with the broken bones is still healing in a hospital, but we were able to cancel and reschedule his first-class flight with a slight change fee. In this Do-It-Yourself World, you're led to believe that you can easily book travel on your own. That's certainly true, but when a mishap happens, which is inevitable when you travel, it's good to have someone working on your behalf while you're still on a plane with no WiFi. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/05/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, April 19, 2019

Seven Trips to Try, Quick Escape to Porto in ActiveTravels April Newsletter

Every March or early April, Lisa and I go to an annual 4-day travel conference arranged by our fantastic host agency, Largay Travel, the gateway to all those Virtuoso amenities clients receive including complimentary hotel room upgrades and breakfasts, shipboard credit on cruises, spa treatment freebies, meals, and much more. Largay celebrated 50 years in the industry at the latest bash, so all the finest hoteliers and suppliers came out to introduce themselves in 15-minute meetings throughout the event. In this month’s ActiveTravels newsletter, we present the trips that left us most excited from the event, including seeing the monarch butterfly migration with Natural Habitat Adventures, a South African safari on a budget, and active yoga trips with Backroads. April is also a wonderful time to visit Portugal, especially Porto, with its excellent restaurants and port wine tastings on the banks of the Douro River. Please have a look! 

 
Have a Happy Easter and Happy Passover! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/19/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 21, 2019

Savoring the Great Outdoors in the June ActiveTravels Newsletter

It’s the beginning of the big family travel season. If you want to keep your kids happy with as much activity as possible, in some of the most spectacular settings in the world, then try one of the tried and true trips in the latest ActiveTravels newsletter. They all received rave reviews from members or from our own firsthand experience. Also in this month’s issue, we offer you a Quick Escape to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and a wonderful deal in Napa Valley. Please check it out! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/21/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Use the ActiveTravels Blog as a Resource for Your Travels

It’s been a decade since I began blogging at ActiveTravels. In 2008, I lost more than half my editors as magazines closed down and newspapers cut back severely on their travel pages. But a writer needs to write. Instead of begging for crumbs from editors, I started posting blogs the next year and haven’t stopped since. A decade of content is a lot of material to play with and I always steer clients toward the blog when researching an upcoming trip. Simply type in “Vermont” in the advanced search column to the right of the blog and then type in “Vermont” a second time in Search by Keyword, and you’ll have 155 blog entries on Vermont to choose from. That should keep you busy. Interested in going on a safari? I’ve written 68 blogs that relate to safaris. How about heading to my beloved Nova Scotia on a last-minute summer driving trip? You’ll find 40 entries on Nova Scotia. If you have trouble accessing the content, please let me know and I’ll help you find it. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/25/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, August 19, 2019

Ontario Lakes Week: First Stop, Bartlett Lodge, Algonquin Provincial Park

As soon as you step foot in that large wooden boat and are whisked away a mere 5 minutes from the parking lot to Bartlett Lodge, tensions start to melt away with the calm Cache Lake waters. Traveling with Amy and Josh from their home in Toronto, it took us about 3 ½ hours to reach Algonquin Provincial Park in central Ontario. Amy had met the owners of Bartlett Lodge, Marilyn and Kim on an Adventure Canada cruise circumnavigating Newfoundland last fall, and she wanted to make this our first stop on a tour of classic Ontario cabins. She started with a winner, the circa-1907 Deil Ma Care cabin, created before the resort even opened by a doctor from Ottawa who would bring patients with TB and other respiratory ailments to Algonquin as a salubrious retreat. After 3 nights at Bartlett Lodge, I’m happy to report that the lodge is just as therapeutic today as it was a century ago! 

The 12 cottages and 4 tents sit on the shores of the inviting Cache Lake. Grab a canoe like we did one early morning before breakfast and you’ll be listening to the distinctive call of the loon echoing across the waters. But even more heavenly than a placid paddle is the chance to swim from the small deck in front of our cabin in the clean refreshing waters. As soon as we arrived, we went for the first of countless swims we would take on our 9-day foray into the lakes of central Ontario. 
 
All meals are included in the price, the highlight being the 4-course dinner, beloved just as much by locals as visitors to Bartlett Lodge. Start with hazelnut gnudi (gnocchi-like dumplings) or wild mushroom arancini before moving on to entrees of chinook salmon or beef tenderloin. But save room for dessert, especially Marilyn’s sublime signature pies, like wild blueberry or strawberry rhubarb. Marilyn is the quintessential host, walking over between courses to all the tables to discuss the history of the place and her love for the region. Not only did her husband Kim and her revive this dreamy waterfront property (they’ve been owners since 1997), but they run a nearby overnight girl’s camp. Off-season, they have a farm outside of Toronto known for its team of Clydesdales. 
 
Swim, paddle, take a Tom Thomson tour with Malcolm (which I’ll discuss tomorrow), hike through old growth forest or up the hillside for vistas of the shorelines, and then return to the Bartlett Lodge for gin and tonics in the Muskoka chairs (the Ontario version of Adirondack chairs) and another fantastic dinner (BYOB, so stop at the province-run liquor store, LCBO, on the way in). It’s a winning recipe for a 3-day add-on to Toronto or Ottawa. Share your dates with ActiveTravels and we’ll check on availability and pricing. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/19/19 at 06:00 AM
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Monday, September 23, 2019

Peru Week with Abercrombie and Kent: First Stop, the Artsy Neighborhood of Barranco in Lima

I arrived on the red-eye from Dallas into Lima, excited to see some of the city before I met up with the A&K group the following day. After dropping my bags off at the Belmond Miraflores and taking in the ocean view, I went downstairs and spoke to an excellent concierge who designed a walking tour of neighboring Barranco, known for its art museums, artisanal stores, and top-tier restaurants. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo was a bit of a disappointment because they were between exhibitions, but I got lucky at my next stop, the Relais and Chateaux property, Hotel B. They were debuting their new outdoor bar that day and to celebrate, they invited in local art and fashion designers to show their wares. There was a wonderful selection of jewelry, cloaks, purses, even a llama purse which I had to purchase for my ActiveTravels colleague, Rachel. That just whet my appetite for the amazing store across the street, Dédalo, a former mansion whose many rooms are now devoted to Peruvian crafts, alpaca clothing, home goods, jewelry, and an elephant recycled from rubber that was ideally suited for my elephant-loving wife, Lisa. 

By far my favorite stop in this bohemian neighborhood was MATE, a museum devoted to the work of Peruvian fashion photographer, Mario Testino. Large scale photographs of his most famous works, including an entire room devoted to Princess Di, grace the walls. Just as impressive was a gallery of close-up photographs of Peruvian women dressed in traditional garb. That night I would return to Barranco to dine at a local favorite, Amoramar, known for its charred octopus, fresh tuna, and powerful pisco sours. A wonderful start to what would soon be a memorable week. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/23/19 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Last Chance to Read the September ActiveTravels Newsletter

It might be the second day of October, but I was gone so much in September that I never had the chance to discuss the September newsletter of ActiveTravels. In this issue, we divulge 5 Tried and True Winter Escapes for our clients, including Morocco and the Ocean Club in the Turks and Caicos. Other topics include a Quick Escape to Reykjavik and the need for a REAL ID on all domestic flights starting October 1, 2020. Our October issue of the ActiveTravels newsletter will be coming out on October 10th and will include my recent trip to Peru. Stay tuned! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/02/19 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Spend Thanksgiving in the Azores

One of Amy’s Dream Days of 2017 was her stay on the Azorean island of Sao Miguel. She had the pleasure of staying at Quinta Minuvida, a small eco-friendly, historic home turned hotel, run by the husband and wife pair of Joao and Rimi. At least five of our clients at ActiveTravels have followed in Amy’s footsteps and all have loved the experience. Now Quinta Minuvida is offering an Azorean Thanksgiving package that includes a 5-night stay in a double suite (either Camélia or Taro), breakfast, an "Azorean Thanksgiving" dinner on Friday night, guided hiking trip including lunch, 2 to 3 yoga classes with Rimi, and optional guided morning meditation twice during the week. Cost is only 550 Euros for the package. Car rental and international flight are not included. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/22/19 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, October 25, 2019

Peru, Caribbean Retreats, and Grand Velas in October ActiveTravels Newsletter

My recent travels to Peru was all the inspriation I needed to pen this month’s main feature in the ActiveTravels Newsletter. We've also listed some of our all-time favorite places to go with the family when the temperatures drop to help you start planning now for colder times ahead. Lastly, we talk about the recent renovations at Samoset Rockland, Maine, and a great promotion from Grand Velas resort properties in Mexico. Please have a look! 
 
Have a fantastic weekend and stay active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/25/19 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.

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

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