Where to Travel Safely this Summer
Thankfully, coronavirus cases and deaths have plateaued and are hopefully now on the downslope in Massachusetts. Obviously, our health and safety are still the No. 1 priority, but slowly, we’re starting to see an interest in possible travels this summer and fall. Lisa and I, and are our kids have been holed up in our house like the rest of you for a good two months now. So we understand your need to dream about a new locale that’s anywhere but the backyard. But having gotten a number of you home safely from abroad in late February in early March, we want to be damn sure that the places we send you in 2020 have a good degree of social distancing, are regional, and, if not regional, can be found after one relatively quick flight. This is not a good time to be connecting in an airport. We also have to be concerned with individual state regulations. For example, Maine wants to quarantine all out-of-state visitors for 14 days upon arrival. This is currently on the books through August, which would restrict all hotel stays. This week, we reached out to some of our favorite outfitters and see what’s happening this summer and fall.
Backroads Announces June/July Schedule in America
Backroads recently announced that they will begin running trips in the US the third week of June. Below is what is slated to run. For these departures, they are intentionally running small trips with guests who have been carefully vetted for their interest in getting back to travel. For more information about Backroads’ updated travel policies and safety measures being enacted because of Covid-19, please look here:
Yellowstone & Grand Tetons Multi-Adventure Tour
Bryce & Zion Bike Tour
June 28-July 3
Utah & Arizona’s National Parks Family Multi-Adventure Tour
June 30-July 5
July 14-19, 21-26, 28-8/2
Social Distancing is the Name of the Game for Austin Adventures
Having taken the family on an Austin Adventures trip to the Canadian Rockies, we know firsthand that Dan Austin is the King of Social Distancing. He’s been creating adventures in the outdoors away from the masses for decades. Dan tells us that 60 percent of his bookings are still moving forward this summer. Popular in both 2020 and 2021 are what he calls “single stays,” trips out West with just one base camp hotel. Examples include the private suites and cabins at the Rustic Inn in Jackson Hole and Chilko Lake Lodge in British Columbia.
Due to the popularity of private family trips, Austin Adventures has just partnered with the Lodges at Eagles Nest, an executive mountain community in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Together, they’ve launched Eagle’s Nest Home Stays, a first-class base camp that includes guided group tours and outdoor recreational programming. Perched at 5,000 feet with 360-degree views, the Eagles Nest community is five miles from Banner Elk, in the heart of the adventure capital of North Carolina. Activities within the secluded community include hiking, cycling, horseback riding, disc golf, a ropes course, ATV and motorcycle trails, private fishing, a wine and cigar bar, and more. Off-site, travelers can raft Tennessee’s famous Watuga River, or explore nearby Banner Elk.
Guests interested in booking a stay at the Lodges at Eagles Nest through Austin Adventures have a variety of options, ranging from renting an executive mountain retreat with no additional services to experiencing a customized, all-inclusive stay with activity and service add-ons. “We can get you a full-time adventure guide, a personal chef, a private driver, you name it,” Austin said.
Lastly, Austin Adventures has also partnered with Collective Retreats to offer all-inclusive Glamping Based Adventures. For late summer and fall of 2020 Austin is working with properties in Colorado, Texas, and the Governors Island property just outside of New York City. In 2021, Collective Retreats will be adding Montana (just outside Yellowstone) and Napa Valley, CA.
Rent a Villa with Villas of Distinction
Due to the pandemic, it’s not surprising that we’re receiving many more requests for homes, villas, and townhouse rentals this summer. These residences all have full kitchens, so you don’t have to worry about dining at restaurants every meal. Also, the companies we work with not only personally inspect all properties, but hire cleaning services to thoroughly disinfect before and after each rental.
Known for their upscale private homes around the world, we like to use Villas of Distinction in the winter months for families headed to the Turks & Caicos and Jamaica, especially their luxurious Noble House outside Montego Bay that can sleep 10. Due to the demand of private homes this summer, the company is expanding their profile. All homes have been vetted, and unlike VRBO or Airbnb, all deposits are placed into escrow, so if you cancel during the allotted time period, you don’t have to worry about fighting for your money with a private homeowner. Villas of Distinction also offers a concierge at each location to arrange all activities and dining, including a private chef if need be. New destinations this summer include Westhampton, New York (the former home of composer Marvin Hamlisch), and a 6-bedroom property on the beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Bike Regionally with DuVine Cycling this Summer
If you had the chance to join Andy Levine, owner of the Cambridge-based DuVine Cycling, on the ride he created for ActiveTravels members in the fall of 2017 from Wellesley to Concord, you know they’re a top-notch biking outfitter. Lisa and I had the good fortune to bike with DuVine in Puglia the fall of 2019 on one of our most memorable trips. There’s been a demand this summer for private regional bike trips this summer and fall. Here’s what they’ve created. Pricing is based on a minimum of 6 guests, so 3 couples, or 1-2 families.
Hudson Valley Highlights:
• Enjoy all three nights at Troutbeck, a stylish and historic country retreat in the heart of farm country on the New York-Connecticut border
• Bike over covered bridges, through sleepy towns, and into fertile farmland in a pastoral paradise that’s surprisingly close to New York City
• At private visits and meals, sample farm-fresh produce with local producers and meet the chefs spearheading the region’s farm-to-table renaissance
• Taste artisanal whiskey and bourbon made from grains grown on the grounds of a boutique distillery
• Ride to lunch at Connecticut’s award-winning Arethusa al Tavolo restaurant
Vermont Bike Tour, 6 Days, Highlights:
• Cross the Green Mountain State on Vermont’s extensive network of unpaved roads, a traffic-free paradise of packed-dirt gravel
• Spend a day cycling to local farms in the Mad River Valley, culminating in a totally locally sourced picnic in a mountain pasture
• Enjoy insider access to local chefs and innovative farmers during private meals and visits
• Cool off after a challenging day of cycling with a dip in the local lake or swimming hole
• Stay at three of Vermont’s most luxurious and historic hotel properties
Vermont Bike Tour, 4 Days Highlights:
• Cycle beside the Ottauquechee River and past historic Taftsville Covered Bridge to a cheese tasting at Thistle Hill Farm
• Visit Vermont’s most well-known microbrewery, Long Trail, for a tour and tasting
• Go leaf-peeping from the seat of a bicycle, feeling the warmth of the fall sun
• Watch a glassblowing demonstration and dine at the riverfront flagship location of glassmaker Simon Pearce
ActiveTravels is here to help you travel during these difficult times. Whether it’s regional, domestic, or international travel you crave, we’ll get you there the safest possible way.