When the coronavirus pandemic began, Steve Jermanok decided to write a book, condensing his two decades of experience as a travel writer for the Boston Globe and Yankee Magazine into a new book, "New England in a Nutshell: The Definitive Guide to the Region.
"I wanted to distill those down to an easy to read roundup format, like ten classic New England hikes...seven great bike rides," Jermanok said.
Jermanok has just about done it all in New England, and he knows plenty of spectacular spots where you can avoid the crowds this summer, starting in Little Compton, Rhode Island.
"There is a great bike ride I have in the book, where you can start at Tiverton Four Corners, grab my favorite black raspberry ice cream at Gray's, and then bike around Little Compton, a historic little village that I love," Jermanok explained.
He says you can also head west to Berkshire County in Massachusetts.
"The museums right now are closed," Jermanok said. "Tanglewood is not happening, so if you really want to explore the outdoors of the Berkshires this summer, this is the time. You have it to yourself. Go climb Mount Greylock, go take bike rides in the Williamstown area."
One of Jermanok's favorite spots is Bartholomew's Cobble, which is in Sheffield, Massachusetts, on the border of Connecticut.
Traveling This Summer
Bartholomew’s Cobble is one of more than 100 sites run by the Trustees of Reservations, a non-profit land conservation and historic preservation group in Massachusetts.
"I love the Trustees of Reservations sites," Jermanok said, adding that the group is often overlooked. "I love Chesterfield Gorge, really a gorgeous spot in the central part of the state, outside of North Hampton, where the Westfield River just plummets through canyon walls and you can walk and bike through the canyon walls."
Another one of his favorite Trustees sites is the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in the Westfield River Valley.
"It's a bucolic place to picnic," Jermanok said. "I grab lunch from Cummington, Mass. and go there and picnic. It's a wonderful spot to walk around."
He also recommends the Nashua River Trail for a serene bike ride. It's a remote 11-mile trail on the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, where you can enjoy scenic overviews and wildlife.
"We're blessed to be in such a special spot in the country of mountains, and oceans, and back-country roads," Jermanok said. "So explore. This is a chance to go out and have it to yourself before the crowds."
Most of the Trustees Sites are free and open to the public. Some sites do require admission and pre-booked reservations to avoid overcrowding and keep in mind that restroom facilities are closed.