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Editor's Letter,
February 2019

Dear ActiveTravels Members,

We recently returned from an excellent trip to Hong Kong and Bangkok. This is me in front of Victoria Harbor and the Hong Kong skyline. Steve will wax lyrically about our trip in our March Newsletter. It was loads of fun and we came home with so much to share about these fascinating cities. So please stay tuned for that.

For our February newsletter, we are super excited to share the winners with you of our Winter Giveaway raffle for a two night stay at The Pickering House Inn in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire (read below Quick Escape article for the lucky winners). Also in this month's newsletter are seven amazing events happening in the world of travel this year, including a celebration of Rembrandt in Amsterdam and a South African luxury safari on a budget. Please dive in!
Happy Valentine's Day to all and, of course,

Happy Travels!

Steve & Lisa
Seven Trips to Try....

Since February is a short month, the February newsletter will be an abridged version. When you're on a 15-hour flight to Hong Kong and another 14 hour flight back from Dubai, you have a lot of time to catch up on emails, especially ones from the travel world. These are the topics that piqued our interest:

If You're Artistic...
Amsterdam Celebrates its 350th Anniversary of Rembrandt
Ever have the wish to see all the Rembrandts? Soon, you can - or at least you can see all of the  Rijksmuseum's Rembrandts, which amounts to the largest trove of art by the Dutch Golden Age master in the world. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is part of the Dutch museum's effort to pull out all the stops to commemorate the 350th year of Rembrandt van Rijn's death in what is being called "The Year of Rembrandt." Titled "All the Rembrandts in the Rijksmuseum," the blockbuster show marks the first time the institution has ever brought all these works together for public viewing: 22 paintings, 60 drawings, and more than 300 of the best examples of Rembrandt's prints. It goes on view from February 15 through June 10, 2019. 

The museum is offering other fun experiences like canal boat rides to where Rembrant lived and worked and concerts, performances and lectures related to the great artist.

If You're A Grandparent...
The Rise of "Gramping"

The term Glamping  was coined when people started to bring comfort and luxury to the great outdoors for the unique travel experience of "glamorous camping." 

Now comes Gramping, the increasingly popular trend of grandparents traveling with their grandkids. Each year, we receive more requests, whether it's a cruise through Alaska's Inside Passage, to going on safari in Tanzania, to a multi-sport adventure with Backroads in Yellowstone National Park or just a jaunt to London. If you're considering bringing your grandkids on a trip, either independently or with a tour group, contact ActiveTravels. We will point you in the right direction and make all the arrangements for a memorable Gramping vacation!

If You're An Adventurous Nature Lover...
Kayak with Beluga Whales with Natural Habitat Adventures  

Churchill, Manitoba is known as one of the best spots in early winter to spot polar bears. Natural Habitat Adventures gained acclaim as the first outfitter to bring visitors to this destination. Now, they're praising the year-round attractions of Churchill. Venture on one of NatHab's summer trips and you're guaranteed to raft and kayak with beluga whales. More than 3,000 of these friendly white whales congregate at the mouth of the Churchill River for summer feasting. You may also spot polar bears on the horizon.
If You Love Animals...

Think a safari has to be exorbitant, especially when staying at 5-star accommodations? Not necessarily true. African Travel is featuring a 12-night itinerary to South Africa in September, with stays at some of the top properties in the country, including the wonderful Twelve Apostles just outside of Cape Town, Rhino Sands Safari Camp in Mayoni Private Game Reserve, and the Oyster Box in Durban. Cost starts at $5995 per person, including the international flight from New York. Book this trip before March 31, 2019 and you'll receive an extra night at the Oyster House for free.
If You're A Foodie...

Eatwith brings locals and travelers together to share authentic food in over 130 countries. Anything from a private Paris cooking class to a Florence dinner party with 8 others that first includes yoga before dining on Italian delicacies. If you want a MasterChef to cook for you, they will make it happen. 

I plugged in Boston for tonight for two people. After all, today is the 34th anniversary of Steve and my first date! We traditionally celebrate it tonight to avoid Valentine's Day chaos and inflated prices.  Here's what I found:  Belgian Loft Experience: 3 vegetarian courses paired with 3 different Belgian beers in a renovated loft overlooking Logan Airport; a Boston Chocolate tour food walk; a Vegan dessert cooking class and finally a Secret Food tour in Boston's North End where you can dine on lobster rolls, brick oven pizza, fresh pasta, and cannoli all while taking in the Revolutionary War sights. Not bad for a Tuesday night in Boston!

Eatwith is now affiliated with Virtuoso, so there may be additional perks when we make the booking for you. Ask ActiveTravels all about this great new offering.

 If You Like Slow Travel...

Country Walkers, the tour operator that likes to slow down to appreciate the splendor of the world on two feet, is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a slew of new trips to far-flung locales like Zambia, Chile, and New Zealand. But we really like the itinerary to Sri Lanka, an 11-day jaunt coined "Sri Lanka: Ancient Temples & Tea Trails." The February trip is already sold out, but there's still availability on the December trip. We had dinner recently with a woman who has lived in Bangkok the past dozen years and can easily access all of Asia on 2 to 4-hour flights. She told us she loves Sri Lanka and returns there often. Fantastic scenery, history, culture, and people.

If You Love Wine and Comedy... 
The Return of Fete des Vignerons
From July 26 to August 11, the Fete des Vignerons or Winegrower's Festival returns to the glorious lakeside town of Vevey, located between Lausanne and Montreux. Why is this significant? Because the event only occurs once every 20 years! Join singers, dancers, wine experts, and loads of other performers for the extravaganza. It would be wise to book rooms now to ensure you have a place to stay. Grand Hotel du Lac, the property Lisa and I stayed on our last visit is a great choice, especially since it's celebrating its 150th birthday in 2019. While in Vevey, don't miss 
Chaplin's World, where Charlie Chaplin spent his last years, and the majestic Chillon Castle, always a must-see sight when in the area.

Quick Escape:
The Pickering House Inn 
Wolfeboro, New Hampshire
Making its debut this past July on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, the 10-room Pickering House Inn is the first luxury inn of its kind in the state's Lakes Region. The historic homestead, built in 1813 and for many decades the residence of prominent businessman Daniel Pickering, was close to being torn down when Wolfeboro residents Peter and Patty Cooke purchased the property. It's the perfect place to unwind in winter. Cross-country ski on groomed trails, ice skate, go winter hiking, or downhill ski at nearby Gunstock. Then head back to the cozy inn to warm up by the roaring fireplace and snag one of the coveted home baked goods.

As you know, we are offering a complimentary two-night stay at Pickering House Inn to the lucky winner of our Winter Giveaway. Thank you for sharing your travel photos from 2018 with us! We love seeing you on trips that ActiveTravels helped design! Check out our ActiveTravels Facebook page and you can see all the amazing photos from our members travels to places like Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone to Costa Rica, Portugal, Italy, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Iceland, Cuba, France, India, Alaska, Australia and South America! We get around! 

And now, for the moment you've been waiting for! Drumroll please..... the lucky winner of a  two night stay at the Pickering House Inn is....

Sue & Paul Hardy 

Congratulations and thanks again to all who participated in our Winter Giveaway raffle. Here's the wonderful picture they shared with us from their trip to the Grand Canyon this year:
Enjoy, Sue and Paul! Maybe you'll find a lobster roll nearby :)

©2019 Active Travels