Yenkuei Chuang & Bill Lundberg
Sue & Paul Hardy
Please tell us yours
if we don't have it!
Do you want expert travel advice and inspiration from an experienced and prolific travel writer?
Would you like your very own travel agent who knows you and your travel profile and can make certain that your vacation time with family and friends is well-spent?
Vacations are precious investments of time with your loved ones.
Trust ActiveTravels to provide:
exceptional suggestions on all kinds of destinations
personally-tested travel itineraries customized just for you
an experienced travel agent who can oversee every detail
someone to be
there for you
before and during your trip to ensure all goes smoothly
to find out more!
We love this time of year at ActiveTravels. People have survived another winter and are excited to get away and plan fun summer and fall getaways.
Where are people going? Here's a sample of some of our members' travels coming up: a barge river cruise in France, an American river cruise down the Mississippi, sailing the Greek isles, hiking Switzerland and Spain's Pyrenees mountains, the wilds of Costa Rica, and the UK is a big hit with many trips to London, Cotswolds, Scotland and Ireland. Italy is always a popular destination as is New England, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Then there are the outliers who are visiting Colombia, Japan and Thailand. We are delighted to be able to help design and book these wonderful travel experiences for our members!
Today literally marks the day five years ago that our ActiveTravels website went live. We are blessed to be here despite all the forecasts that travel agents would be extinct. Our field is going strong and it's thanks to our members like all of you who entrust us to help you navigate the world!
As thanks, we have a couple of fun things to announce.
of Raleigh, North Carolina has won this prize! Congratulations, John!!
We will send you your certificate in the mail. You will love this gorgeous Cape Cod hotel right on the beach!
#2 We are announcing a new promotion that will last all summer long. It's our:
5 Year / 5$ Facebook Challenge
Post a photo from a trip we've designed for you on our ActiveTravels Facebook page and we will send you a $5 Starbucks gift card! We are excited to have our members share the highlights of their trips. You may post until August 31st to get the Starbucks gift card. Post away!
Last but not least, please read on for our newsletter! We tell you all about our recent travels to Greece, our ideas for family mountain retreats for the summer, our quick escape to Charleston, South Carolina and much more!
Steve & Lisa
News from the Road:
I can't believe it's been 25 years since Lisa and I were last in Greece on our honeymoon. An increasingly popular destination for our members (especially due to the troubles in neighboring Turkey), we decided to return in April. We went with New York-based
, the travel company best known for designing authentic custom-made itineraries to Spain, Morocco, and Turkey. Now they have their sights set on Greece and they invited a small group of travel consultants including ActiveTravels to experience the new product. Lisa and I were highly impressed. You can always book a Greek hotel on your own, but then you'll miss out on the genuine Greek experience. Heritage has always been known for their unparalleled guiding and Greece was no exception.
All the guides we met on this trip, especially to the ancient Greek sites at the Acropolis in Athens, the island of Delos, and Akrotiri on the island of Santorini were exceptional. We were introduced to stellar properties like the family-owned
Poseidonion Grand Hotel
on a gem of an island called Spetses and the
Canaves Oia Suites
built into the hillside of Santorini, already beloved by a number of our clients.
Yet, it w
as the slice of local flavor that created memories we won't soon forget-dining in the courtyard of a home down the block from the Parthenon, a farm-to-table lunch at an actual farm in Mykonos, wine-tasting at sunset overlooking the caldera in Santorini,
biking along the shoreline of Spetses, and dining on tasty Greek salads, fresh octopus and fish at far too many wonderful restaurants.
These were the highlights from the trip:
A Stop in Spetses
The ferry ride from Piraeus to Spetses island is a little under 3 hours or you can take the long drive we did through the Peloponnese peninsula on our second day to reach the town of Kosta, then take a 10-minute boat ride over to the island. Either way, it's worth your effort. On Spetses, time stands still, especially when we ran into a large group of bikers circling the island in Victorian garb for the annual Tweed Day celebration. A 26-kilometer loop circles the island past beaches and the rugged shoreline, ideal for bikers since Spetses is a car-free island.
Soon we were back at the main square in town, dominated by the classic façade of the Poseidonion Grand Hotel. Kids were running while parents were buying fresh baked bread for a picnic. We dined on Greek salad, octopus, fish, and lamb, as the owner of the hotel explained why this low-key island is a favorite for folks looking for an authentic Greek experience that cherishes community and family. We would have happily spent the next 3 days here, but we were on a day tour of the Peloponnese and were off to the charming town of Nafplio next.
Boating to Delos and Paros
The main town in Mykonos can be swarming with people in the daytime when thousands of passengers from cruise ships disembark. This is the reason we recommend that clients who stay on the island visit the town at night for dinner and shopping.
All the stores are open late and the cruise ship passengers have departed. It's best to hit one of the majestic Mykonos beaches during the day or take a private boat like we did to the neighboring islands of Delos and Paros. The birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, Delos was a thriving community in ancient Greece. You can still walk the narrow cobblestone passageways (not unlike Mykonos today) and see the remnants of homes, temples of worship, even a synagogue.
From Delos, we continued on by boat to the island of Paros. Unlike Mykonos and Santorini, which can be swarming with travelers due to its justified popularity
, Paros has no cruise ships descendin
g on the island and retains that authentic Greek charm. Fishermen return from their morning at sea to dry their octopus and fish on the docks. We tasted their wares at a restaurant near the docks for lunch before roaming around the towns of Naoussa and Parikia to look at the artisanal shops and whitewashed homes. Parakia is also home to a wonderful church, the monastery
of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, first built by Constantine in 4th century AD before being updated by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It has a similar dome to Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, which was built during the same time period. Evidently Constantine's mother was shipwrecked in Paros on her way to Israel so her devoted son decided to build her mother a church in her name. We'd like to be shipwrecked in Paros for several weeks, preferably in a villa with our extended family. These are the Greek islands you dream about.
Hiking from Oia to Imerovigli at Sunrise
Santorini exceeds all expectations, with s
tunning vistas of the caldera and its volcanic islands rising from the Aegean waters wherever you look. To take advantage of this breathtaking scenery without the crowds, we ventured off on the hiking trail atop the bluff that connects Oia with the towns of Imerovigli and Fira. We wandered off at 7 am from our room at Mystique with our incredible guide Eugenia, striding atop this sliver of land above the whitewashed buildings. To the right was the caldera, to the left more majestic islands that make up the Cyclades. We stopped at several picturesque family-run churches atop the bluffs, bordered by red poppies and blue wildflowers in bloom, an ideal place to get married. The entire walk from Oia to Fira is 9.5 kilo-
meters, approximately 3 hours, but we got sidetracked by donkeys and a snack bar selling damn good lattes and never made it past Imerovigli.
A Sunset Cruise on the Santorini Caldera
All trips to Greece should end with a sunset cruise aboard a private boat in the sublime Santorini caldera, a mesmerizing mix of aquamarine waters, jagged volcanic islands, and the whitewashed houses on the island clinging precariously to the cliffs. Add the reddish/orange/pink orb of a sun melting into the sea, shading this scene with the full spectrum of color, paired with a glass of crisp Santorini wine, and you have a fitting ending to a memorable trip.
It took us 25 years to return to Greece and we won't that make that mistake again. If you're thinking of a Greece getaway in 2017 or 2018, we're happy to help.
Hotels We Love:
Top North American Mountain Resorts
Just thinking about a family getaway high up in the mountains and you start to breathe a bit easier. Surrounded by forest and the fragrant smell of pines and spruce, North America's finest mountain resorts are therapeutic retreats for active families. Try these 4 mountain resorts for starters:
Rustic elegance is the only way to describe the 37 cabins that surround a meadow of wildflowers at Jenny Lake Lodge. Arguably the finest property in any of America's National Parks, walk out that cabin door and you'll be peering up at the serrated ridge of the mighty Tetons. Take a hike through the tall pines and you'll no doubt spot elk, bison, and antelope. There are glacial-fed lakes for boating, fishing, and swimming, and befitting Jenny Lake's history as a former dude ranch, you can go horseback riding as much as you want.
That's included in the price of the cabin, along with bike rentals, breakfast and dinner. And these are no ordinary meals. The kids will rave about the fresh mountain berries in the pancakes, mom and dad will go gaga over the five-course dinner that usually includes buffalo carpaccio, wild trout, and tender chunks of veal, along with a superb wine list. It's good to know you won't have to drive that evening. Just look up at the stars and pat yourself on the back for booking the legendary lodge.
If you and the family really want that Rocky Mountain High, it's hard to top the storied Broadmoor, set at the base of Cheyenne Mountain on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. Open in 1918, the 700-suite manor has kept up with the times, opening one to eight-bedroom cottages that are perfect for an extended family reunion. Most of the action centers on Cheyenne Lake, with its infinity swimming pool, children's pool, water slides, and whirlpools. There are also three 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, paddle-boating on the lake, bike rentals, horseback riding through the wilderness, two new zip lines, and off-property tours to fly-fish, whitewater raft, or go on a cog train ride up Pike's Peak. Also ask us about their glorious sister property, The Ranch at Emerald Valley.
The home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler has many upscale accommodations like the Fairmont and Westin. Yet, one step inside the limestone and granite lobby of the Four Seasons and you've been transported to a state of relaxation, where your every whim seems to be taken care of. In summer, Whistler is known for its abundance of outdoor adventure, from ziplining on the longest run in North America to heli-hiking on untrammeled Coast Mountain alpine meadows and biking down the mountains. For something a bit mellower, canoe the River of Golden Dreams. Following the current that flows from the eastern end of Alta Lake, you're soon cruising through the pines, with Whistler Mountain standing tall in the backdrop.
Walk out the back patio of the Sagamore Hotel and glance past the manicured lawn to the waters of Lake George. You'll quickly understand why this is the premiere address in the Adirondacks. On the opposite shores of this long rambling Adirondack lake that often resembles a river, is an uninterrupted carpet of trees that rise to 2,000-foot mountains. The waves of rolling summits form a silhouette against the sky that, due to the lake's narrow width, hems you in snugly between the peaks. The Sagamore takes advantage of this beauty strip to offer swimming, boating, parasailing, banana boat rides, fishing, a fitness center featuring aerobics classes and yoga, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, summer camps for the kids, and an outdoor pool and hot tub. You can also rent kayaks to paddle around the island. Kids will like the outdoor movies in summer.
Deal of the Month:
Norwegian Air Expands East Coast Markets
Members living in the northeast will want to know that Norwegian Air is expanding to Providence, Hartford and Stewart Airports (60 miles north of Manhattan) this summer. You can now get on direct flights to Dublin and Edinburgh (as well as Shannon, Cork, and Bergen, Norway) that are as low as $315 round-trip (compared to the typical summer fare to Europe of $1,000-$1250 per person). From Edinburgh and Dublin, it's easy to connect anywhere in Europe on low-cost airlines.
Tried & True Travel Tips:
is an excellent service that' good to know about. Thi
s company offers travelers the ability to ship luggage ahead to any destination worldwide, allowing you to avoid the inconvenience of carrying, checking and claiming luggage, and even going through customs.
If you don't want to deal with lugging your suitcases onto your cruise ship, ship it directly to and from with Luggage Free. If you dislike renting bikes, golf clubs and/or skis at your destinations, ship your own! This is a stress-free way to travel!
All you need to do is arrange the service either online or by phone. You can schedule the service 24/7. If you need to travel domestically and need to ship your things quickly, Luggage Free can pick up within a 6-24 window. If you are traveling internationally, they need 48 hours to schedule pickup.
All you need to do after scheduling pickup is pack your belongings as if you were going to the airport with them. Golf clubs, skis and bikes need to be in airport-recommended containers. Luggage Free will come to your home, office, hotel or cruise ship and take care of the shipping for you to your destination. They track each item so you know exactly where it is during transit and they guarantee an on-time delivery.
Costs are determined by actual weight, not a weight range so you are only paying for what you ship, and speed of delivery. The range for suitcases is $2.20/lb - $5.80/lb depending on how quickly you want your items shipped: 5 business days to 1 business day. Golf clubs with 5 day shipping will cost you $99 one way, bikes will put you back $175 each way and skis cost $129 to ship each way.
can help you schedule this service, just let us know!
Charleston, South Carolina
Since its inception 40 years ago, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, has proven its
elf to be one of the premier arts festivals in the world. Over the years, they have previewed over 100 productions including plays by Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Laurie Anderson. The 17-day event, held May 26-June 11, 2017, features theater, jazz, classical music, opera, and dance at historic venues across town.
Spend the night at one of our favorite addresses in town, the circa-1886
. Based in Charleston's historic center, this 21-room boutique hotel was once a four-story manor home owned by a wealthy cotton merchant. Included in their rates are complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon tea, and cocktails in the evening. Don't forget to check out the formal gardens and rooftop terrace where you can see a panorama of the city.
How to get here? JetBlue flies two nonstop flights daily from Boston to Charleston.
know if you'd like to check out the fine city of Charleston some time soon!