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New England

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bring Your Yoga Mat and an Open Heart

New England is known for its abundant number of private retreats where you and your group of friends can rent out the entire enclave for a weekend of yoga, meditation, and hiking and biking in the outdoors. Yet, the list of these retreats can be overwhelming so it helps to have friends who do the research for you. I was excited to be included on the guest list for a momentous birthday this past weekend at Spirit Fire Retreat Center in the remote hills of Leyden, Massachusetts, just north of Greenfield. What a find! We were hosted by Steve, a talented cook who served us tasty organic meals like a hot and sour soup with turkey sausage, leek frittatas, salads topped with ripe avocadoes and tomatoes, and much more. We ate meals around a large wooden table. Sunlight and the sound of wind poured into the large meditation room (can fit up to 16 people), only enhancing the poignant words and direction of our cherished yoga and meditation instructor, Checka Antifonario. When we ventured outside, we were treated to an hour-long hiking trail in remote woods, wine and cheese along a raging river, and seeing the twinkling night sky around a fire pit while roasting marshmallows. Do your body and mind a favor and splurge on a weekend here. You’ll thank me for the recommendation. Better yet, hire Checka to come along! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/14/15 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

A Perfect Example of Worthless Travel Writing

Good travel writing inspires. You rip the article out of the newspaper or magazine and start planning for that dream trip. In some rare instances, a great writer will pan a destination or type of travel, like David Foster Wallace critiquing his luxury cruise for Harpers Magazine. Then there are the articles that are just plain laughable and not because they intend to be funny. On Saturday, the Boston Globe published a real dud simply titled “Road Trip Time.” It’s such a wonderful example of uninspired dribble that I can’t wait to bring it to students this semester at Emerson College when I talk about the art of travel writing. Here are 3 examples on why this piece should have never been seen by the public:
 
There is no angle to this story—It seems as if the writer is just cruising, taking a hike here, stopping for a lobster roll or a microbrew there. But there’s very little description of any of these experiences, leaving us with a list of random places. In great road trip stories, the writer should introduce the reader to a scenic route, preferably one that most readers don’t know, which unfortunately is not the case with the Kancamagus Highway. He had more than ample chance to discuss the majestic peninsulas that dangle down from Route 1 in Maine that leave us at Popham Beach and the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, but instead chose arbitrary destinations. 
 
He assumes the reader knows nothing about these destinations—The Boston Globe chose to print this road trip story on the White Mountains, the Berkshires, and the Maine coast. That’s very risky because 99.9% of the readership knows these locales exceptionally well. So don’t start your White Mountains entry by stating, “Two and a half hours north of Boston is the unassuming hamlet of North Conway, N.H., the gateway to the White Mountains.” We’re from Boston, not Tuscaloosa. We know where the White Mountains are and we also know that North Conway is not an “unassuming hamlet” but a commercialized home to more outlet stores than any other spot in the state. Nearby Jackson and its serene village green might fit that bill. 
 
End a road trip story on a highlight—Lubec? Really? You chose to include the Maine coast, one of the classic road trips in America, and you ended the trip not in Acadia National Park, not in Camden, but Lubec. I happen to like Lubec and its historic sardine canneries, but if you’re creating a realistic itinerary for readers of the Boston Globe, the trip ends in Bar Harbor. If you want to add another 2 hours to that drive, then you might as well keep going to the far more charming town of St. Andrews by-the-Sea in New Brunswick. 
 
I spent a quarter-century writing about New England so it’s far easier for me to spot inexperience from a mile away. But the readers of the Globe are not stupid and they deserve genuine travel expertise, especially when you publish a story on New England. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 08/09/16 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Best New Hotels in New England

In the latest round of lodgings to open in New England, history plays an integral role. Boutique hotels have been created out of the former barracks of a 19th-century fort, a venerable captain’s estate, and within the confines of a Federal-style home dating from 1776. The Lark Hotel collection continues to expand in the region, adding inns on Plum Island and Newport. Add a large influx of cash to rehab a resort atop a cliff in Maine into a world-class property and you have our latest list of intriguing places to stay, all making their debut in the past year or two. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/08/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Best Summer Drives in New England

One doesn’t drive in New England simply to get from Point A to Point B at the fastest possible time. No, we like to linger, savor the beauty, cherish the history. We’re fortunate to be blessed with a diverse landscape full of majestic sights like the jagged shoreline of Maine, the granite notches of New Hampshire, the verdant farmland of Vermont, and the long stretch of white beach found in Rhode Island. We stop not only to post photos to our Instagram and Facebook accounts, but to dine on lobster rolls and fried clams at renowned seafood shacks, hike on the same shoreline and forest paths that inspired Winslow Homer and Robert Frost, and stop to stay at legendary inns or a new cabin built into the vast Maine wilderness. 

 
To read my latest story for Yankee Magazine on 8 great summer drives, including maps, please click here
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 04/19/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, June 02, 2017

Best Coastal Towns, My Latest Story for Yankee Magazine

Depending on your passion, be it art, adventure, dining on fresh seafood, or simply catching rays on your own spit of sand, I guarantee there’s a locale on the New England Coast that caters to your interest. Not surprisingly, the islands of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Block Island figure prominently in this round-up of Best Coastal Towns, along with the top two picks from my Top 25 Beach Towns cover story, Ogunquit and Provincetown. A bit off the radar are the towns of Madison, Connecticut, and Brewster, Massachusetts. Have a look and tell me if you agree.

 
Please tune in next week when AT travel consultant, Amy Perry Basseches, describes her recent trip to Sequoia, Yosemite, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. Have a great weekend! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/02/17 at 06:00 AM
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Friday, July 07, 2017

Best Summer Drives in New England

Yesterday, as I was taking a spin to the local coffee shop on a Vespa, I was thinking how great it is to cruise on any form of transport in weather this sublime, be it a moped, bike, skateboard, or car. On Sunday, I plan to bike along the Charles River to grab my chicken shawarma sandwich at Inna’s Kitchen at the Boston Public Market. This is the time of year to truly see the authentic seaside villages and rolling rural mountain roads of New England. If you need ideas on routes, be sure to check out my recent story for Yankee Magazine on 8 Great Summer Drives, including maps. Have a great weekend! 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/07/17 at 06:00 AM
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New Guided Tour To New England’s Islands

If you want to visit New England this summer but prefer to leave the driving to someone else, consider the latest offering from Northeast Unlimited Tours, a highly recommended tour operator in the region. The weeklong tour starts Saturday, August 26 from Boston before making stops in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island, and Newport. Don’t worry. This is not one of those bus tours where each night is at a different lodging. You’ll spend three nights at the Red Jacket Beach Resort on the Cape, taking ferries daily to the Vineyard and Nantucket. In Rhode Island, you’ll stay in Newport at the Newport Harbor Hotel, taking the ferry over to Block Island for the day. Cost is $1,999 per person, double occupancy, including all lodging, transport, guides, ferries, dinners, and breakfasts. If interested, please contact ActiveTravels
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/12/17 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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Friday, September 15, 2017

Still Time to Hit the Beach in New England

Next week, I’ll be discussing my favorite fall foliage activities in the region. Yet, I love September just as much as October in New England. The summer crowds are gone leaving the beaches deserted. It’s been unseasonably warm all week, in the low to mid-80s. With cousins in town from Arizona and my brother in from New York, we took advantage of the warm weather on Tuesday to drive up to a family favorite, Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. A mere 45-minute drive from my home and I was sifting my feet in the soft white flour-like sand looking at the gorgeous lighthouse at the point. It was low tide and we walked on a long sandbar almost out to that lighthouse. There were few people on the beach and best yet, there was no charge to enter. When we had our fill of sun, sand, and ocean, we headed to nearby Woodman’s for the requisite lobster roll, steamers, and onion rings. This place always has a long line in summer, but we marched right up to the counter to make our order. The weather is supposed to be warm and sunny the rest of the month so hit the coastline and dip your feet in the ocean one last time. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 09/15/17 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New England Foliage Without the Crowds

 It’s still relatively warm in the region for the remainder of October and the foliage is peaking at least a week or two later than normal. So take advantage of the good weather to do one of these off-the-beaten-track activities in New England. My latest story for Yankee Magazine


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 10/24/17 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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