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Heritage, History and Amish Quilts

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Five-day tours of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country leave weekly from March 15 to Nov. 15. Participants have opportunities to personally interact with Amish people, including sharing a traditional dinner as the guests of an Amish family in their home.

Guests visit the homes of Amish quilters and crafters, and will have the chance to purchase handcrafted items. Visits are made to nearby Valley Forge National Historic Park, Brandywine Valley, Independence National Historic Park and Longwood Gardens, which is a 350-acre estate of outdoor gardens and woodlands. Group size is limited to 20.

Cost: $565 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, some meals, horse-and-buggy ride, entrance fees and guides. Not included: air fare to Philadelphia. Contact: Lang’s Great Escapes, P.O. Box 117386, Burlingame, Calif. 94011; telephone (800) 972-6474.

Tasting Italy

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Sample the foods and wines of the Tuscany and Emilia Romagna regions on an eight-day tour May 14. Starting in Florence, the group has lunch and wine tasting before heading to Tuscany for a stay in this winemaking area. Castello Cacchiano, Fattoria di Felsina, Isole e Olena, Lisini and Pieve Santa Restituta in Montalcino are a few of the wineries where the group will meet with the owners-winemakers.

Food is the focus as the group travels to Parma to see how olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese are made. There is also free time for shopping and sightseeing in Siena and Parma, as well as a cooking demonstration and dinner at La Stoppa, producer of wines and food products.

Cost: $2,000 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, two meals daily, cooking school demonstration, ground transportation and guide. Not included: air fare to Italy. Contact: Rob Kollman or Paige Siskin at MJK Tours, P.O. Box 14484, Portland, Ore. 97214; tel. (800) 659-9723.

Go North

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Explore Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula on a 10-day tour that leaves June 21. Participants fly to Anchorage, sightsee on the peninsula, and Kenai River Valley, Homer, Halibut Cove, Seldovia, Seward, Kenai Fiords and Portage Glacier. The peninsula is home to more than 100 species of birds, colonies of sea lions, seals, sea otters, porpoise and whales.

Excursions include a float trip on the Kenai River, ferry cruise across Kachemak Bay to the artist colony of Halibut Cove, a cruise to Seldovia on the Cook Inlet and a return flight to Homer. Stops are made at Resurrection Bay from Seward and at Bear Glacier, one of the Harding Icefield’s largest glaciers. Guests take a cruise on Portage Lake to see the glacier en route to Anchorage.

Cost: $2,325 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, motor-coach transportation, hotels, 18 meals, sightseeing and admissions. A halibut fishing excursion from Homer is available on an optional basis. Contact: Great Western Travel, 3814 E. Colorado Blvd. Suite 200, Pasadena, Calif. 91107; tel. (800) 344-7090.

Historic Russia

A 50th-anniversary Russian Military History tour leaves April 27 for 15 days to visit St. Petersburg, Moscow, Volgograd and Kronstadt. The tour focuses on visits to battlefields, war museums, and meeting with Russian military officers, war veterans and military historians. The tour price is $3,890 from Los Angeles including air, hotels, meals and sightseeing.

A second trip, July 13-27, is a Russian and Ukrainian history and cultural tour that visits St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev. This 15-day tour includes museums, palaces and a ballet school in St. Petersburg; the Kremlin and the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and, in Kiev, historical centers and small peasant village outside the city. Russian history professor Bob Feldman will escort both tours. The tour price from Los Angeles is $3,495 and includes all air and ground transportation, hotels, all meals, sightseeing, two theater performances and the Moscow Circus. Home visits will be arranged during both tours. Contact: East-West International Tours, 1248 Montevideo Ave., Placentia, Calif. 92670; tel. (800) 359-6719.

Eating in Santa Fe

Journey to Santa Fe, N.M. to explore local New Mexican culture and cuisine. Participants will visit artists’ studios, a Native American pueblo for a traditional feast with dancers and storytellers, as well as tours of a local micro-brewery, smokehouse and tortilla factory. Chefs will give an in-depth look at regional cuisine with cooking classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.

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Cost: $665 per person, based on double occupancy, including four nights accommodations at the Inn on the Alameda, hotel taxes, baggage handling, two cooking classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, city walking tour, day trip through northern New Mexico, Nambe Pueblo tour and most meals. Not included: air fare to New Mexico. Contact: Spa & Culinary Adventures, 13106 N.W. Germantown Road, Portland, Ore. 97231; tel. (800) 300-1565.

Norway Fiords

A 16-day voyage on the expedition ship Polaris explores Norway’s fiords as it sails north to Spitsbergen, 600 miles beyond the North Pole. Naturalists and specialists will be on board the 80-passenger ship, leading excursions via motorized landing craft to fiords and some of Norway’s islands such as Bear Island and Bird Island, home to 200,000 pairs of puffins.

Passengers spend five days exploring Spitsbergen, an archipelago of fiords, mountains and massive ice sheets full of wildlife such as walruses, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes and polar bears. One sailing leaves from Bergen on July 1; the other from Spitsbergen, July 13, with the reverse itinerary. Cost: $6,470-$10,240 per person, double occupancy. Not included: air fare to Norway. Contact: Special Expeditions; tel. (800) 762-0003.

Mystical Bali

Explore the temples, galleries and ancient rice terraces of Bali, Indonesia, on two 13-day woman-oriented eco-tours leaving April 21 and May 19. The itinerary focuses on off-the-beaten-path sites, farmers’ footpaths and country lanes and covers Sanur Beach, Kuta/Legian, the artist colony of Ubud and East Bali. Guests will browse in the studios of painters, carvers and artisans. Sites include Tanah Lot, Tamun Ayun, Batuan and the ancient Court of Justice with its ceiling murals. Free time is spent shopping, river rafting or relaxing on the beach. Cost: $1,949 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations, daily breakfast, some meals, guides and tours. Contact: Atlas Travel Services, 8923 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90045; tel. (310) 670-3574.

Just Like in Russia

“Russian-style” weekly cruises along the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers depart every Saturday from Montreal from July 1 to Sept. 30. The 400-passenger liner offers Russian and Ukrainian cuisine, homeland handicrafts in its shops, vodka-sampling parties, folk dancing, balalaika and Russian lessons.

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Fares start at $745 per person, double occupancy. Not included: air fare to Montreal. Contact: OdessAmerica; tel. (800) 221-3254.

English Treasures

A 17-day tour of old England with University of Wisconsin History Prof. John Barker leaves Aug. 11 to visit London, Canterbury, Salisbury, Bath, Oxford, Stratford, Windermere, Carlisle, York and Cambridge. Cost: $2,989 per person, including round-trip air fare from Chicago, daily breakfast, some meals, entrance fees and guides. Contact: U.E.T.; tel. (800) 525-0525.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents or tour operators. *

More Tours & Cruises

* Additional listings of tours and cruises are available on the new TimesLink on-line service. For more information, call (800) 792-LINK.


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