TASTE OF SCOTLAND & IRELAND 11 DAYS/10 NIGHTS Apr 3-13, 2018

EARLY BOOKING NOW OPEN! *5% off land price w/ your $250 per person deposit if booked by July 20, 2017.

Join Dawn’s Escapades for a Taste of Scotland and Ireland April 2018Taste of Scotland & Ireland 11 Day Tour

2018 TASTE OF SCOTLAND & IRELAND 11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS, $2560 pp, dbl occ or $3250 Single Occ **

Day 1: GLASGOW HIGHLIGHTS
Tour begins 2:30 PM, Glasgow hotel. Set out on an introductory tour of central Glasgow — a city that flourished in Victorian times due to the shipbuilding industry and international trade. Drive around George Square with its ornate City Chambers and visit Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow’s oldest house built in 1471. Enjoy a welcome drink with your group before dinner.
(D)

Day 2: LOCH LOMOND & LOCH NESS CRUISE
Travel alongside the famous Loch Lomond, renowned for its unsurpassed beauty. Drive across the haunting Rannoch Moor and through Glencoe, notorious for the Campbell massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. Continue through Fort William and stop at a woollen mill to shop for quality Scottish goods and have a snack. At Fort Augustus embark on a short cruise on Loch Ness before heading to Nairn.
(B, D)

Day 3: WHISKY TASTING & ST. ANDREWS
Visit Blair Athol Distillery to see how whisky is distilled and enjoy a sample. Travel to St. Andrews, best known as the “Home of Golf”. Take a panoramic drive around and spend some time exploring independently. Continue to Edinburgh to your gracious manor house hotel, set on 1,000 acres with two golf courses and spa facilities. Enjoy a Scottish evening with traditional cuisine, a lively show of songs, stories and dancing.
(B, D)

Day 4: EDINBURGH CASTLE & CITY TOUR
Explore the principal sights of central Edinburgh from the bustling Princes Street and through the gracious, wide streets of the 200-year-old Georgian New Town. Walk along part of the Royal Mile where compact medieval houses reach 11 floors tall. Visit Edinburgh Castle perched high above the city on volcanic rock. The castle contains the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone. The balance of the day is free. On July 31 to August 21 departures, seats are reserved for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
(B)

Day 5: FERRY TO IRELAND & TITANIC BELFAST
Depart Edinburgh and travel through Ayrshire and along the coast. Embark on a ferry ride to Belfast with a casual lunch on board. At Titanic Belfast, immerse yourself in the history of this famous through state-of-the-art displays. Head to Dublin for a free evening in this lively city.
(B, L)

Day 6: DUBLIN SIGHTSEEING & CANAL DINNER CRUISE
A local guide will help you discover central Dublin. See the shopping areas around Grafton and Nassau Streets, elegant Georgian squares and the General Post Office, where the 1916 Uprising started. Take a guided walk through Trinity College to view the illuminated manuscript of the 8th century Book of Kells. Tonight, board a former Guinness barge for a canal dinner cruise complete with traditional Irish music.
(B, D)

Day 7: FARMHOUSE TEA WITH SHEEPDOG DEMONSTRATION & BLARNEY CASTLE
Travel through the midlands of Ireland, stopping for photos at the stately Rock of Cashel. Immerse yourself in farm life with tea and scones at a farmhouse visit and watch skilled sheep dogs herd sheep. Head to Blarney Castle and kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” Treat yourself to Irish goods at the Blarney Woollen Mills before heading to Killarney, picturesquely set beside lakes and mountains.
(B, D)

Day 8: RING OF KERRY & SKELLIG EXPERIENCE
Step back in time as a jaunting car drives you past Ross Castle set on Lough Leane. Embark on the Ring of Kerry drive – a winding route with breathtaking sights of mountains and coastal views. Cross the bridge to Valentia Island to visit the Skellig Experience, which explains the life of early Christian hermits on Skellig Michael, a rocky offshore island featured in the “Star Wars VII” movie. Enjoy a casual lunch and later stop in the pretty village of Sneem. Pause at Moll’s Gap for panoramic mountain views and return to Killarney where the evening is free.
(B, L)

Day 9: CLIFFS OF MOHER & MEDIEVAL CASTLE BANQUET
Take in the enormity of the Cliffs of Moher, a spectacular wall of sandstone that reaches 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, as you ferry across the River Shannon. Walk along the Cliffs for spectacular views. Later, at Bunratty Castle Hotel, you’ll have time to visit the Folk Park, have a drink in the 200-year-old Durty Nelly’s Pub or shop at the Bunratty Mills. In the evening head out for a memorable medieval-style feast where the lords and ladies will serenade you with song and harp music, evocative of the Middle Ages.
(B, D)

Day 10: SHANNON OR DUBLIN EXTENSION VIA GALWAY
Head to Galway for a walking tour around the central part of the city. Visit Clonmacnoise Monastic Site, founded in 546 AD by Saint Ciaran. Back in Dublin, enjoy a free night out on the town.
(B)

Day 11: TOUR ENDS IN DUBLIN
Your tour ends after breakfast today.
(B)

B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner

HIGHLIGHTS

Authentic Local Experiences:

  • Expect an unforgettable evening of music, ceremony, theatre and dance with reserved seats for Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on July 31 to August 21 departures
  • Enjoy farm life as you sample fresh baked scones with tea and watch a sheep herding demonstration
  • Discover the rich history and local lore of Edinburgh, Galway and Dublin’s Trinity College with local guides

Trip Highlights:

  • Blair Athol Distillery
  • Blarney Castle
  • Book of Kells, Trinity College
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Clonmacnoise Monastic Site
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Loch Ness cruise
  • Skellig Experience
  • St. Andrews, Home of Golf
  • Titanic Belfast

Meal inclusions:

  • Full daily breakfasts (except Day 1)
  • Six dinners including a Scottish Evening in Edinburgh, a canal Dinner Cruise in Dublin, and a festive medieval castle banquet.

Hotels:

*$250 per person deposit is non-refundable.  5% discount applies to land tour only, not applicable to air, insurance or additional days. GRP5072117

**Airfare, Travel Insurance and add-on nights are available at an additional cost. Group Air from EWR (Newark Airport) for Apr 2 overnight flight for arrival Apr 3, and return Apr 13 with 10 or more paid passengers will be offered. Travel Insurance is always advisable and can be obtained at time of  booking.

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Nat Geo and GAdventures offers Natural Highlights of Costa Rica

Anyone who’s talked travel with me, knows I am a super fan of Costa Rica! It’s easy to get to from the Mid-Atlantic, and if you are in any way, shape, or form about nature and all it’s glory, Costa Rica should be on your BOOK IT list! The people are friendly, the food is great, but the best part about this gorgeous country are the birds, beasts, and everything wild!  Costa rica has such a diverse ecosystem that within a few hours drive you can enjoy volcanoes, rain forests, cloud forests, hot springs, and some of the most beautiful beaches. Costa Rica values its many national parks and is extremely eco-conscious. It is definitely a must for anyone with a sense of adventure and a fantastic place to take kids of all ages. Which one of you will spot the first sloth? Toucan? You can do as much or as little as you like.  Thankfully for us, GAdventures has plenty of choices for your Costa Rican Escapades. I’ve chosen this one to highlight some of the best places to get a great sample of what the Ticos have to offer. Starting at just$1549 plus air, there are 8 more dates available for 2017.  As with all GAdventures, EVERY date is a GUARANTEED DEPARTURE.

Travel Style
National Geographic Journeys
Service Level
Upgraded
Tour Type
Small Group
Physical Demands
2 – LightTrip Map
Dossier Code
CRNNG
Continent
Central America
Duration
9 days
Collection
IDB Project

Description

Home to some of the most unforgettable landscapes, unique wildlife, and lush rainforests in the world, Costa Rica is a celebrated pioneer in protecting natural heritage. Forge your own path through this gorgeous country over nine days of outstanding adventure. Trek across the foot of a volcano to photograph giant blue butterflies, visit a coffee co-op, and search for monkeys while hiking park trails. Get in touch with nature’s best in Costa Rica.

What’s Included

Arrival transfer. G Adventures-supported coffee tour and local lunch. Tortilla making and dinner in a local home. Guided nature walk in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Monteverde Institute visit and lecture. Guided excursion of Manuel Antonio National Park. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Meals Included

8 breakfasts, 1 lunches, 1 dinners

(International flights not included)
Price per Traveller

1 or more Traveller (Adult) Starting at 1549.00 USD
1549.00USD
Arrival Transfer: N/A
Pre-Hotel:
(Per Room)
(Per Night)
Standard – Triple 120.00 USD
Standard – Twin/Double 95.00 USD
Standard – Single 95.00 USD
Post-Hotel:
(Per Room)
(Per Night)
Standard – Triple 120.00 USD
Standard – Twin/Double 95.00 USD
Standard – Single 95.00 USD
My Own Room: 899.00 USD (2 available)
Costa Rica Adrenaline Bundle: 139.00 USD (96 available)
Manuel Antonio Catamaran Tour: 80.00 USD (69 available)
Guaranteed

Optional Services

Day 1San José

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.

Day 2San José/La Fortuna(Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner)

Visit a G Adventures-supported coffee cooperative with a coffee tour and local lunch. Continue to the adventure hub of La Fortuna. In the evening, visit a local home and learn the art of tortilla making. Afterwards, dig into a tasty “casado” – a typical Costa Rican dish that’s made with black beans, plantains, and the tortillas you’ve made.

Day 3La Fortuna(Breakfast)

Free day in La Fortuna for optional activities. Opt for rafting, canyoneering, or nature hikes.

Day 4La Fortuna/Monteverde(Breakfast)

Travel from La Fortuna to the cloud forest of Monteverde – a nature lover’s paradise.

Day 5Monteverde(Breakfast)

Enjoy a nature hike in the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. After, visit the Monteverde Institute, which has served as the base for numerous National Geographic funded explorers and researchers. Enjoy a lecture by one of the researchers outlining the various projects National Geographic has sponsored in reforestation of tropical regions research and conservation. This afternoon, opt to visit a butterfly garden, zipline through the canopy, or go horseback riding.

Day 6Monteverde/Manuel Antonio(Breakfast)

Continue to the stunning Pacific coast. Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the area with options to surf, go horseback riding, dolphin watching on a catamaran, or visit other nearby picturesque beaches.

Day 7Manuel Antonio(Breakfast)

Take an excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park, famed for its stunning beaches and abundant wildlife. Look for monkeys, sloths, and some 350 species of birds.

Day 8Manuel Antonio/San José(Breakfast)

Return to San José and enjoy an optional farewell dinner on the town.

Day 9San José(Breakfast)

Depart at any time.

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Group Leader Details

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Transport

Private van, walking.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accomodation

Hotels (8 nts).

Group Size

Max 16, Avg 12.

Booking/Info Request

 

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Halloween in TRANSYLVANIA! Costume Party at Vlad’s Oct 27-Nov 2, 2017

Whatcha doin’ this Halloween? Why not Rock OUT at “Dracula’s Castle”…in Transylvania!  I’m serious. Dead. Serious.  There is a private party in a gothic castle in Romania, and you are invited! Really, how can anyone top that? Fly into Bucharest overnight to arrive Oct 27 for your 6 night goth dream trip. Only 100 guests for this unique COSTUME party. I wonder who will show up in THOSE selfies? $1399 per person plus air. GAdventures, gotta love ’em!

Travel Style Classic
Service LevelTrip Map
Standard
Tour Type
Small Group
Physical Demands
2 – Light
Dossier Code
EQHT

Description

Transylvania. The name itself is enough to send an icy chill down the spine of even the most fearless adventurer. Now imagine being there, in person, when the clock clangs midnight… on Halloween! At odds with its creeptacular reputation, Romania ranks as one of Europe’s most charming and underexplored regions, beguiling visitors with its stunning Gothic architecture, enveloping forests, and friendly people. But as idyllic as it is by day, the real fun happens at night – particularly Halloween, when we’ll treat you to a costume party in an authentic castle. Think you’re not afraid of the dark? You will be.

What’s Included

Ruins of Dracula’s Poenari Castle visit. Sibiu orientation walk. Exclusive Halloween party at haunted Bran Castle. Sighisoara orientation walk. Visit Rupea Citadell. Bran orientation walk. Bucharest orientation walk. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Meals Included

6 breakfasts, 0 lunches, 1 dinners

(International flights not included)

Price per Traveller

1 or more Traveller (Adult) 1399.00 USD
Guaranteed

Day 1Bucharest –Arrive at any time.

Day 2Bucharest/Sibiu(Breakfast)

Visit the ruins of Dracula’s Poenari Castle en route to Sibiu. Enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival. Opt to visit the art-focused Brukenthal Museum.

Day 3Sibiu/Sighișoara(Breakfast)

Continue on to Sighisoara with an orientation walk upon arrival. Enjoy some free time to explore the birthplace of Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Tepes, also known as Dracula.

Day 4Sighișoara/Bran(Breakfast)

Get to the know the city on an orientation walk and check out Bran Castle, impressively situated on a rock outcrop.

Day 5Bran(Breakfast | Dinner)

Enjoy time in Bran before attending a Halloween party at “Dracula’s Castle” – don’t forget your costume!

Day 6Bran/Bucharest(Breakfast)

Travel back to Bucharest via Snagov Monastery, then enjoy an orientation walk upon arrival. Opt for a final night out on the town.

Day 7Bucharest(Breakfast)

Depart at any time.

Group Leader

2 Chief Experience Officers (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Group Leader Details

Transport

Private bus.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accomodation

Hotels (6 nts).

Group Size

Max 100

Booking/Info Request

 

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GAdventures Belgian Beer Tour 2017

Belgian Beer Tour  

I KNOW I have Belgian Beer fans out there! I also know I have the tour for you!  My partners at GAdventures have an amazing Trappist Monk Breweries tour, just for you! MAXIMUM of 14 guests per tour, so we better get you booked ASAP! Don’t have a passport? Well then it’s high time you get one, my friend! Choice of Aug 5-12 or Sept 9-16, 2017 OR July 21-28 or Aug 4-11, 2018. Just $2199 per person plus Air. Want your own room?  Add $899.  

Travel Style

Classic
Trip MapStandard
Tour Type
Small Group
Physical Demands
2 – Light
Dossier Code
EBBT
Itinerary Notes

Please note: Most abbey interiors and breweries are closed to visitors. It can be hit or miss as to how much we’re permitted to see of the abbeys or the brewing process but we have insiders on the ground working to provide the most in depth experience possible. We will experience the exteriors of all the monasteries and sample beers produced from each abbey. Be prepared to be flexible and hope for the best!

Description

Some people’s idea of a beer adventure is checking out that pub two streets over from the local. The true beer connoisseur is a different breed. Designed with the fancy suds aficionado in mind, this eight-day trip takes you to the ancestral home of Trappist, one of the world’s finest brewers. You’ll visit the six Trappist monastery-breweries in Belgium (including the chance to taste Westvleteren, one of beerdom’s most celebrated brews), explore Brussels and Bruges, and stuff yourself with mussels, waffles, and chocolate galore. (Hey, beer-tasting is hungry work.)

What’s Included

Brussels orientation walk. Rochefort visit including beer tasting and picnic. Orval visit with beer and Trappist cheese tasting. Chimay visit with lunch and tasting at a local brasserie. Bruges orientation walk. Barbecue near Westvleteren with beer tasting. Antwerp orientation walk. Café Trappisten beer tasting (Westmalle). Achel visit with tasting. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Meals Included

7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 0 dinners

 

Day 1 Brussels-Arrive at any time.

Day 2Brussels(Breakfast)

Enjoy an orientation walk of the city before a free day to explore. Opt to visit a chocolate factory, the Delirium beer hall, Art Deco Turkish baths, or indulge in a gourmet Belgium tour.

Day 3Brussels/Rochefort(Breakfast | Lunch)

See the church at Abbaye Notre Dame de Saint Remy where Rochefort is made – with some luck, they’ll let us in for a peek. Head to the markets and collect some picnic supplies to enjoy with a Trappist beer.

Day 4Rochefort/Bruges(Breakfast | Lunch)

Visit Orval in the late morning to try beer and Trappist cheese. Enjoy an included lunch at the brasserie near Chimay for a taste of beer normally reserved for the monks. Head to Bruges for the night.

Day 5Bruges(Breakfast | Lunch)

Enjoy a free morning in Bruges. In the afternoon, head out with a local for a barbecue. He’ll share his stash of the rare Westvleteren beer.

Day 6Bruges/Antwerp(Breakfast)

Travel to Antwerp, stopping en route to visit Westmalle. Enjoy a tasting at the Café Trappisten. Next, sample some Achel near the brewery before continuing on to Antwerp.

Day 7Antwerp(Breakfast)

Enjoy a free day in Antwerp with the option to visit a local brewery by bike, check out some museums, or venture underground on an Antwerp sewer tour.

Day 8Antwerp(Breakfast)

Depart at any time.

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Group Leader Details

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our CEOs (Chief Experience Officer). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.

It is important to note that in Europe, all guiding is based around local guides all of whom are licensed to work only in a particular city. As such, our leaders are able to provide orientation walks which will show you the layout of each town and city as well as the location of local services such as post offices and laundromats, but are unable to legally share historical facts and figures in public places. If you wish to take a guided city tour in any location our CEO will do their best to help you arrange this and pay locally.

Transport

Train, public bus, private van/bus.

Solo Travellers

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Solo travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Should you prefer your own room for the entire tour, you can add the ‘My Own Room’ option for an additional cost.

Accomodation

Hotels (7 nts).

Group Size

Max 14, avg 12.

GAdv Belgian Beer Tour 2017/18

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Amsterdam’d if I Do or Amsterdam’d if I Don’t

Amsterdam’d if I do!

In 5 short weeks my friend Jane and I will be hanging out in Amsterdam for a few days before we embark on our Tulip Cruise …well, probably we’ll be dead asleep at this time of day because there’s a 5 hour difference, and we’ll have been traveling all night and day, but you get the picture.

The weather over Tulip Season is a perfect low to mid 50’s. I can totally dig that! We’ll be hitting up Coffee Shops, Canals, Gardens, Parks, and as many Art Museums as we can!  Fortunately, Amsterdam is one of those places that offer a city pass to make the most of your time. We’ll pick up our HollandPass as soon as we land and use it for the duration of our two weeks.

Anyhow. While we are in Amsterdam we will be visting with our friend Van Gogh and check out Rembrandt House. The Rijkmuseum is at the top of the list. Although it doesn’t look like we’ll get to go to the Anne Frank House because tickets are sold out months in advance, there is so much more to do!  I found a few good websites for Amsterdam, like AwesomeAmsterdam.com as well as a fun video for some of the lesser known things to do.  The Portuguese Synagogue was already on our list, but for you Purse Fanatics, there’s something REALLY special for you! Check it out!

I’m pretty sure, I’ll have to save FEBO for my trip with Mike.

Tot ziens!

~~~Dawn

River Cruises

River Cruises ~All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

You’re at a milestone birthday, celebrating a “big” anniversary, built up an additional week of vacation, or you just want to do something super special. What’s the new “in” vacation?  You’ve got it! River cruising! Wait, you don’t know about river cruising? Well, friends,  let me broaden your horizons.

Over the last few years, travelers who appreciate diverse cultural experiences, luxury accommodations,  inclusive excursions, and experiencing regional cuisine, as well as wines and beers have discovered the value of a River Cruise.

River Cruising gets you up close, and right into the cities that were the heart of Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and Africa.  Castles and Bridges, Vineyards and Medieval Villages.

 

I’m extremely excited about my own upcoming river cruises with Avalon Waterways  Yes. I’ll be doing TWO this year as part of my training.  In April, a friend and I are taking advantage of Avalon’s Single Supplement Waiver and will each have our own cabins without paying for double occupancy.   We’ll be lucky enough to be in Amsterdam for the King’s Day celebration the day before our cruise. Our focus for the trip will be tulip gardens and art museums (van Gogh!), as well as the Jewish Cultural centers. We’ll be cruising throughout the Netherlands and Belgium,  so beer will definitely be part of the appreciation. I’m currently using the DuoLingo app on my Samsung to learn Dutch, then I’ll work on my German and French for the summer!

In addition to spending a few extra days in Amsterdam, we’ll do a two night layover in Dublin where we’ll hang out in the Grafton Street and Temple Bar areas. Pretty darn stoked!

In July, Mike will get his first taste of Europe when he and I fly to Zurich. We’ll board Avalon’s Artistry II in Basel to cruise the Rhine and Moselle Rivers and end in…you guessed it…Amsterdam! Did you know the Rhine is the number one River Cruise destination for first-timers?  Beer, Wine, and Castles, how can you go wrong?  Now let’s talk about where to go for YOUR first River Cruise!

 

Tot ziens!