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Editor's Letter,
September 2018
Dear ActiveTravels Members,

Change is in the air. Inevitably, once Labor Day hits, we all kick into another gear, whether we like it or not. Kids back in school, a bit more ambition when it comes to work, and a last minute gasp to fit in all those things that you didn't quite do over the summer months. We still haven't made it to Woodman's for our traditional fried clams and lobster rolls so perhaps this weekend.

Even though summer is not officially over until September 22, we all feel the push of Fall arriving in the form of barely open mums and Halloween candy on display at our local grocery stores and just a touch of the leaves beginning to turn color when we least expect it. 

It appears that ActiveTravels, too, is falling in line with this trend with our September newsletter. Not only have we written about warm weather destinations to try in the Caribbean for the winter months (eek!), but we can't wait to tell you about hotels in Munich where you can enjoy Oktoberfest. Read on some more for a fun quick escape to beautiful Boothbay Harbor, Maine as well as an exciting travel tip for you.

Please note that ActiveTravels is going on vacation come the end of the month. We are off to one of our favorite destinations, Italy! We'll be checking out Florence, the Amalfi Coast, biking in Puglia, and Rome. We'll be even more well-versed in all things Italy upon our return so we can better help you on your forthcoming trips there. Get your bookings in now before we head off to Italia!

H appy Travels,
Lisa & Steve
Five Trips You Gotta Try:

After the devastating hurricanes of last year, the Caribbean is bouncing back. But also remember that many islands such as Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Aruba, and others were never touched by those hurricanes. Puerto Rico, the US and the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and St. Barts took the brunt of those hits. But even those destinations shouldn't be off-limits this coming winter. Many resorts like the Belmond La Samanna in St. Martin and the Ritz Carlton Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico will be open this year. Besides simply heading to a resort in the Caribbean, consider giving one of these five trips a try:
Sail the BVIs
Last February, Lisa and I, Amy and her husband, Josh, and our Captain, "Boss" ventured out on the 41-foot Island Karma from Horizon Yacht Charters in Tortola. We had thought of canceling the trip in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, but were grateful we pushed ahead. Classic sailing bars like Foxy's (where we watched the Super Bowl), Soggy Dollar, Pirates on Norman Island, and Setting Point Reef Hotel on Anegada (known for their classic lobster dinner) were all open and grateful for our business. Over the next several years, it will be the sailors and boaters who can live aboard their boats that will greatly enhance the recovery of this classic cruising ground. And what a memorable trip it is, snorkeling in the Baths of Virgin Gorda, walking the long stretch of beach on Anegada, and sleeping under the stars at any number of anchorages.
Cruise with Viking Ocean

Viking Ocean is not only offering the newest fleet of ships in the Caribbean, but a slate of unique itineraries. We like the 8-day Turquoise Caribbean Seas voyage out of Miami. The adults-only cruise offers the chance to stop at Key West, Belize, Cozumel, and Merida, before heading back to Miami. 4 shore excursions are included in the price, including the chance to see the wonderful Mayan ruins on the Puuc Route, just south of Merida on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Caribbean Multi-Adventure Tour with Backroads
The active adventure outfitter, Backroads, is once again bringing its multi-sport fun to the islands of Nevis and St. Kitts this winter. There are a variety of trips geared around families with older children, families with younger children, or adults only. Highlights of this Caribbean Multi-Adventure Tour includes hiking through the lush rainforest to waterfalls, biking the island of Nevis, sea kayaking from Oualie Beach, and snorkeling with friendly sea turtles in the turquoise waters.
Dive Bonaire

A mere decade ago, Bonaire was known only to scuba enthusiasts. Now that the secret is out, travelers are learning that nature thrives here both above and below the water. The reef's proximity to shore is ideal for divers and snorkelers who want to swim with blue and yellow queen angelfish and orange trumpetfish in waters with visibility of 100 feet or more. Bonaire's semi-arid landscape is home to some 200 types of birds, including one of the world's largest colonies of pink flamingoes (numbering some 15,000). Overlooking one of the island's loveliest beaches is the Harbour Village Beach Resort. Or contact Buddy's Dive Resort to do all your coursework at home and then do the necessary dives to get your PADI certification.
Hike the Tallest Peak in the Caribbean with Iguana Mama

So you want to hike 10,164-foot high Pico Duarte in the Dominican Republic and earn that beach time in Sosua or Cabarete? Iguana Mama, one of the most reputable adventure outfitters in the Caribbean, will take you on a guided 3-day climb. They also offer a number of other fun day trips like rappelling down waterfalls and mountain biking past small villages.
Please let ActiveTravels know if you'd like to know more about these exciting trips to the Caribbean.
Hotels We Love:
Munich for Oktoberfest

As you have probably noticed, outdoor beer gardens are popping up all over. Every time you turn around some craft brewery has set up an outdoor space where their thirsty fans can soak up the warm weather and enjoy a cold brew. Let's not forget that the original beer garden festival has been alive and well for decades, Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The 185th annual Munich Oktoberfest runs from September 22nd to October 7th. Here's some hotels to rest your head after consuming all that beer:

If you want hip and lively, boutique and trendy, this hotel is for you. It has a sense of spunky fashion with neon lights, clean lines, and bold art. The hotel's architecture is the European equivalent of New York's Flatiron Building.  Add to it excellent service, modern rooms, and fun public spaces, it's a great spot for millennials with some cash to spend.

For a more sophisticated option, try the Louis. It's next to the farmer's market and close to the Marienplatz and also boasts bold design elements and great service. This hotel feels a bit like a hideaway with its lovely back terrace away from the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood.

Supposedly the oldest hotel in Munich (since 1490!), Torbraeu has that ancient charm with all the modern amenities you'll need. Well located in the city center, near the old city's western gate, this hotel offers a beautiful breakfast room, restaurant for dinner, and a bar with a generous happy hour.

It may be nice to wake up in a cushy bed to soothe those morning hangovers. If that is your style, try this luxurious classic Munich offering, Hotel Bayerischer Hof. It's set on a tree-lined square down the road from the pedestrian area and cafe-packed Marienplatz. It houses an awesome restaurant, Atelier, with 2 Michelin starts as well as a lovely spa and gorgeous panoramic roof terrace.

Just recently renovated, Munich's Mandarin Oriental hotel now has a rooftop terrace with swimming pool and they've opened the Matsuhisa restaurant, serving a divine combination of Peruvian and Japanese food. With less than 100 rooms, it has a boutique feel and it's close to the famous Hofbrauhaus beer cellar, and near Maximilianstrasse, home to many fashion boutiques. 

Give ActiveTravels a call if you want to know more about these great properties in Munich.
Tried & True Travel Tips:
Away Luggage

I need this bag. I don't know what it is but it can charge my phone and it only weighs 7 pounds (at least until I stuff it with too many outfits and shoes)! It's also super sleek and measures just the right height and width so I can pop it easily into that overhead compartment.

Away Luggage is all the rage and understandably so. They are offering a great product at pretty affordable prices. I love their tag line: First class luggage at coach prices. 

Available in four sizes, with 360 degree rotating wheels and lots of interior compartments to help you pack better, it's eminently practical and stylish at the same time. And, it charges your devices! With a battery embedded into the top, you can plug in your charging cord and power up your phone up to 5 times. Then, you can pop out the battery pack when you don't need it. Some suitcases come with their own laundry bag and you can order yours with an exterior pocket to hold your laptop when you don't want to.

Away also offers a nice safety feature: a TSA-approved built-in combination lock where the two zippers click into the lock so no one else can unzip your bag and you can't lose the lock or key.

Further customization includes creating your own monograms, adding Away leather stickers in themes you like, and you can choose from an array of fun colors for the glossy hard shell case as well.

I'll be sporting mine on our trip to Italy later this month! I'll let you know how it goes when I return.
Quick Escape:
Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Only a 3 hour-drive from Boston, Boothbay Harbor feels a world away, especially in September when this Maine coastal town has much less congestion than the summer months.

It's much easier to snag a table at the century-old Thistle Inn or a lobster dinner overlooking the water at Robinson's Wharf. Yet, with its many inlets and islands, it's all about the water here. It feels like whatever road you take out of Boothbay Harbor, it's along the coastline. The reason why it's one of the top sea kayaking locales in the northeast. 

Grab a kayak from your hotel, like the Spruce Point Inn, and get out there to saunter with the seals, lobster fishermen, and sailors. You can also venture out on a historic schooner or whale watching cruise, and that's the allure of staying here. To smell the salty air and see the exquisite rugged Maine coastline.

When you're off the water, visit the Abacus Gallery to view the sculpture, crafts, and jewelry created by Maine artist. Or stop by Orne's Candy Store , which has been a purveyor of fudge, chocolate covered blueberries, and almond bark since 1885. Nearby, Blue Moon Cafe is a casual spot for lunch offering lobster rolls and haddock reubens on their deck.        
Another gem in the region is the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens . We strolled through the Butterfly House to see the intriguing caterpillars (one looked like an aboriginal art painting) and butterflies. 
Then we wandered around the Garden of the Five Senses, a real highlight. We smelled the sweet lemon verbena, touched the soft, velvety lamb's ear, and Lisa even took off her shoes to walk on the smooth stones of the reflexology labyrinth. J ust as magical is the Children's Garden, where the stone paths lead to fish-filled ponds, oversized cabbages, hungry chickens, and small huts filled with hand-made puppet-sized fairies. Adults seem to have just as much fun as the children. Oh, did I mention all the flowers still in bloom last week, including rows of white hydrangea and sweet-smelling roses? What are you waiting for? It's the perfect weekend escape.
If you haven't been to Boothbay Harbor in a while, check it out!
©2018 Active Travels