Tag Archive | "Maine"

Biking to 5 Lighthouses Outside Portland, Maine

Tags: , , , , ,


Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

I spent my 50th birthday on Saturday biking with my extended family of ten on a guided day ride on the outskirts of Portland. Led by Norman Patry, owner of Summer Feet Cycling, we biked along the scenic shoreline of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth to five lighthouses. They included such picturesque gems as Bug Light, the smallest lighthouse in operation in America, and Portland Head Light, painted by the likes of Edward Hopper. Near Portland Head Light, we bought lobster rolls from a food truck and dined overlooking Portland Harbor. The lobster rolls were excellent, chockful of fresh meat, and you could order them Maine-style (with mayo), Connecticut-style (lightly buttered), spiced with curry (loved it) or wasabi. Washed down with locally made Eli’s Blueberry Soda and topped off with ginger molasses cookies from Standard Bakery in town, it was a perfect Portland meal. The ride ends at Kettle Cove, a small beach, just past Two Lights State Park. Summer Feet offers a slew of other bike trips in Maine including a self-guided 3-day ride near Kennebunkport that sounds enticing. But if you only have a limited amount of time in the state, this 5-hour ride gives you a good taste of Maine and comes highly recommended. 

 

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Maine Windjammer Week

Tags: , ,


Hauling aboard the Lewis R. French. Photo by Bridget Besaw Gorman.

Hauling aboard the Lewis R. French. Photo by Bridget Besaw Gorman.

Returning from Acadia National Park one summer with the family, we wisely timed our return drive to coincide with the annual Camden Windjammer Festival the last weekend in August. More than 20 tall ships arrive in the picturesque harbor to take part in the festivities. We enjoyed an all-you-can-eat lobster feast on the deck of a schooner and then watched a talent show as crews sing sea shanties. A firework show tops off the night.
This summer, there will be six gatherings of the schooner fleet. It’s a festive time to be aboard one of the schooners:
June 9 Schooner Gam 
To kick off the summer season, the entire windjammer fleet ties up together in Penobscot Bay to enjoy live music and take walking tours of each vessel.
The grand sail parade enters picturesque Boothbay Harbor, where you’ll enjoy
concerts, crafts, and fireworks.
July 4 Great Schooner Race
North America’s largest annual gathering of tall ships race from Islesboro to Rockland. After the award ceremony, enjoy live music.
July 11 Maine Windjammer Parade
This time the grand parade of sails heads past the mile-long Rockland Breakwater, providing spectators with stunning, close-up views.
Aug 39-31 Camden Windjammer Festival
Festivities include a parade of sail, maritime heritage fair, fireworks, chowder challenge, schooner crew talent show, family scavenger hunt, outdoor movies and more.
September 9 Wooden Boat Sail-in
The last gathering of the fleet takes place in Brooklin, Maine, the headquarters
of WoodenBoat Magazine and WoodenBoat School. Expect live music and boat school tours.
I want to thank the Maine Windjammer Association for allowing me to rekindle fond memories of past sails this week. I’m excited to return this summer!
steve   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

 

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Rafting Maine’s Dead River with Northern Outdoors

Tags: , , ,


Large snow accumulation this winter translates into a better than average volume of whitewater come spring thaw. This is only enhanced by May and June dam releases, where the fast moving current results in a rip-roaring, adrenalin-pumping ride. Look no further than the Dead River. It’s a long drive on logging roads to reach the Spencer Rips put-in, but once there, be prepared for a glorious run on the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in New England. The Dead churns along 16 miles of almost nonstop Class III and IV rapids. There are no bridges, roads, or other signs of civilization until the end, just an exhilarating romp through big water on rapids with names like Minefield, Humpty Dumpty, and Big Poplar Falls. Go with a reputable outfitter like Northern Outdoors, who have been introducing clientele to Maine whitewater since 1976.

Rafting Maine's Dead River with Northern Outdoors

Rafting Maine’s Dead River with Northern Outdoors

Scheduled dam releases are May 25, May 31, June 1, June 7, and June 8. Cost for the full-day adventure ranges from $89-$109 per person, including lunch and a guide, with a minimum age requirement of 15 years old. 

 

 

steve  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools

Tags: , , , , ,


Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Thoreau’s “The Maine Woods”

Tags: , , , ,


Kevin Slater and Steve Jerrmanok paddling down the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine.

Kevin Slater and Steve Jermanok paddling down the West Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine.

 

As an outdoor writer based in New England, I’ve spent a good deal of time following in Henry David Thoreau’s footsteps, from climbing Monadnock and Katahdin to walking the shoreline of the upper Cape to swimming in Walden Pond. In 1864, the great naturalist and philosopher published his book “The Maine Woods” that chronicles his exploration of the remote Maine waterways. In October 2009, I had the good fortune to paddle down the West Branch of the Penobscot River following his route. Our guide was Kevin Slater, a legendary Maine paddler who learned these rivers and the skill to carve his own canoes and paddles from his mentor who he simply called, “the Old Timer.” We spent four glorious days on the water, with few other paddlers, spotting moose, bear, loons, and osprey. In the backdrop was mighty Katahdin, the end point of the Appalachian Trail. The story appeared in an issue of Sierra Magazine, the publication of the Sierra Club. If you want to paddle with Slater on the Penobscot, contact him at Mahoosuc Guide Service

 

steve   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

 

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Apres-Ski Dining Favorites in New England

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Apres ski dining in New England

Apres ski dining at Solstice Restaurant in Stowe, Vermont

For my latest Liftopia blog, I was asked to divulge my favorite après-ski dining choices in New England. After a day of hitting the slopes, I’m not content with a beer and a hot tub. No, my body craves a good meal. I’ve made it a habit to find the finest places in town to dine. They run the gamut from casual pizza joints to innovative continental cuisine.

At the base of Stowe, Stowe Mountain Lodge went overboard to use as much indigenous wares as possible, so there’s real Vermont birch twisting around the columns and the marble on stairs leading to the bar comes from Lake Champlain. The resort also prides itself on using local produce. At Solstice Restaurant, expect Vermont-based artisanal cheeses, microbrewed ales, and locally farmed vegetables and meats.
For skiers heading to Okemo, a favorite in Ludlow is DJ’s. You have to love a place that still features a salad bar in this day and age, included in the price of an entrée. Grab a booth and get ready to dig into the chicken marsala, salmon, and ravioli dishes. Best yet, they have my favorite Vermont ale on tap, Switchback.
For a town with a year-round population hovering around 1300, there are a surprising number of good dinner options at Loon. Start at the mother and son run Gypsy Café on Main Street. The eclectic menu features Indian-style chicken samosas, Middle Eastern lamb loin dipped in the best hummus this side of Tel Aviv, Mexican fajitas, and a spicy Thai red curry duck. Wash it down with one of their strong margaritas and you’ll understand why the place feels so festive.
Started in 1998, the Flatbread Company now owns ten pizzerias from Maui to Whistler. Yet, it’s their locale in North Conway, near Cranmore Ski Area, that has the Granite State all abuzz. Maybe it’s the Zen-like ambiance with all those Tibetan designs and the massive wood-fired clay oven plopped down in the center of the room. But I happen to think it’s the Coevolution, topped with roasted red peppers, red onions, olives, goat cheese, garlic, and mozzarella. Much of the produce is from local organic farms and you can taste the difference.
In Bethel, Maine, you can usually find me at Sud’s Pub after a day of skiing Sunday River, downing one of the 29 beers on tap. Located inside the Sudbury Inn, start with the hot Sudbury wings or a cup of tasty clam chowder. Then choose between the burgers, pizzas, or entrees like grilled sirloin tips or blackened salmon. Happy dining!
steve  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for OutsideMen’s JournalHealth, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Maine Hut-to-Hut Skiing

Tags: , , , ,


Skiers at Flagstaff Lake, Maine

Skiers at Flagstaff Lake, Maine

Even as New England ski areas make it more and more enticing to venture their way, adding an array of exciting activities like tubing and ziplining, many of us want to avoid the crowds. We savor the opportunity to get lost in the wilderness, breathing in the scent of pines in relative quietude. Add a sport that will wipe away the worries of the world and you’ll quickly remember why we treasure New England.

Maine Huts & Trails is a nonprofit organization determined to build 12 backcountry huts over 180 miles of trails in the remote western mountains of the state. A year ago, they unveiled their fourth property, Stratton Brook, overlooking the 4,000-foot peaks of Carrabassett Valley. When the 180-mile route is complete, it will be the longest groomed ski trail in the country. But there’s no need to wait. This winter, you can choose to stay at one of their four comfortable lodgings and go out on daily excursions, or opt for self-guided or guided cross-country ski trips that lead from one hut to the next. Each of the four huts is spaced about 11 miles apart, so people can reach it within one day of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The ultimate adventure is a four-night, five-day package that includes 50 miles of skiing and spending each night at a different property. All meals, shuttle for gear, and lodging are included in the price ($414 for members, $474 for nonmembers). Nightly rates at the huts start at $79 for members, $94 for nonmembers, including lodging and meals.
steve1   Steve Jermanok  As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for OutsideMen’s JournalHealth, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Maine to New Brunswick on Snowmobile

Tags: , ,


A snowmobile ride from Maine to New Brunswick

A snowmobile ride from Maine to New Brunswick

Last January, I flew to Presque Isle, Maine, the northern tip of the state to pen stories for The Boston Globe and Men’s Journal on snowmobiling from Maine into New Brunswick. Aroostook County, Maine, is the largest county east of the Mississippi River, known by avid snowmobilers as one of the top locales in the country to sample the sport. Potato farms connect with long dormant railroad corridors, seemingly endless logging roads through dense forest, and iced-over lakes and rivers to create a mind-boggling 2300 miles of snowmobile trails. But that’s not all. Simply bring a passport and you can cross into the province of New Brunswick to add another 4,000 miles of trail, half of which flows through state forests and parks. That was too good a story angle to pass up.

In the morning, I met Kevin Freeman at his sled shop in Presque Isle. Freeman, a former professional snowmobile race, has logged more than 250,000 miles on snowmobiles in the region so he knows the routes like the back of his hand. He hooked me up with a 110 horsepower Ski-Doo, insulated snowmobile pants, jacket, helmet, and panniers so I could bring a change of clothing for an overnight in Canada. On a 250-mile weekend jaunt, we headed west to Portage Lake to have lunch at Dean’s, a favorite snowmobile stop known for their fish and lobster stews. Then we hit ITS 105, leading northeast from Washburn to Stockholm, a narrow and level railroad corridor where you can easily reach speeds of 75 miles per hour.
At Hamplin, I went through Customs on snowmobile. The Canadians didn’t blink. But when I returned the next day into America, the guy was asking me questions for 20 minutes, like I was some sort of snowmobiling smuggler. “How come your passport is filled with stamps to Israel, Kenya, Ecuador?” “I’m a travel writer.” “Step aside from the snowmobile, please.”
On the New Brunswick side, I snowmobiled with Ross Antworth, general manager of The New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. He led me across a long suspension bridge that glides above the St. John River. Then we made our way to the New Brunswick interior on logging roads past mills and on railroad beds where snowed-over balsams stood like spectators at a marathon. We spotted deer and the rare white ermine that call this forest home.
To top it off, when I returned to Presque Isle, I went out that night with an incredibly talented photographer, Paul Cyr, who’s made a name for himself shooting the northern lights and wildlife. In typical Maine fashion, he humbly insists he’s an amateur photographer. Yeah, and Hendrix is an amateur guitarist. Check out his magnificent work online and then read my story.
steve  Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Dogsled Umbagog Lake on the Maine-New Hampshire Border

Tags: , , , , , ,


dog and kid

Polly Mahoney and Kevin Slater, owners of Mahoosuc Guide Service have chosen a good base for their dogsledding operations. They live on the outskirts of Grafton Notch State Park in the heart of the Maine woods. Almost every weekend in winter, the couple, with 15 of their dogs, drive some 30 miles to the remote shores of Umbagog Lake. Here, guests learn the basics of the sport: standing on the back of the sled and shouting the magic words “Let’s go!” to see the dogs romp through the snow or yelling “Whoa!” to slow them down. You’ll take turns dogsledding and cross-country skiing on iced-over lakes, fringed by mountains of pines. At night, you’ll sleep in heated tents on a floor of cushiony fir needles, only to awaken to the sounds of the dogs howling in the predawn hours.

Mahoney breeds her own type of dog, which she calls a Yukon husky. A native Mainer, she spent a decade learning her trade in the Yukon bush. She returned home and met Slater at a nearby Outward Bound center when he was in dire need of a skilled dogsledder. Two and three-day outings start at $575 and include food, tents, sleeping bags, even cozy parkas, mukluks, and leg gaiters. If winter camping sounds too ambitious, ask about their cabin-to-cabin option in late January, where you stay at three classic Maine sporting camps now run by the Appalachian Mountain Club.
steve1    Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

48 Hours in Sugarloaf, Maine

Tags: , , ,


48 Hours in Sugarloaf, Maine

48 Hours in Sugarloaf, Maine. Photo copyright Maine magazine.

By Melissa Coleman

Sugarloaf may claim more lift-serviced vertical than Colorado’s Copper Mountain and Utah’s Alta, but I doubt I’m hurting anyone’s feelings when I say it’s not a mascara ski resort. Yes, Glenn Close has a slopeside condo, but the truly famous people here are the ones who can say they’ve been a “Sugarloafer since 1950,” when the first trail, Winter’s Way, was cut by Amos Winter. The 1971 FIS Alpine World Cup put Sugarloaf on the map, and in 1976 Lloyd Cuttler, now the owner of Gepetto’s, a slopeside restaurant, moved the base village buildings eight miles up from town to the bottom of the lifts. The rest is history. Today, the mountain’s iconic triangle sticker shows up in unlikely places the world over. And while Carrabassett Valley has only 500 year-round residents, many “locals” are weekenders, most of whom ski or ride in some fashion. Herein, a guide to joining the fun…

There are few traditions more sacred to a Loafer than the weekend routine. It generally begins on Friday afternoon: packing up the car, picking up groceries, and hitting the road. Continue reading in Maine magazine …

 

ColemanMelissa  Melissa Coleman is the author of This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family’s Heartbreak, a New York Times bestseller and Indie Next Pick for May 2011. It was a People’s Pick in People Magazine, excerpted in O, The Oprah Magazine, and a nonfiction finalist for the New England Book Award and Maine Literary Award. Melissa is a columnist for Maine Home + Design magazine and organizes the Super Famous Writers Series at The Telling Room, a Portland writing center for children and young adults. She lives in Maine with her husband and twin daughters and can be found at www.melissacoleman.com.

Sponsors

Sponsors

Sponsors