Visit the sites and homes of pioneer women writers Willa Cather, Mari Sandoz and Laura Ingalls Wilder on a tour to the prairies guided by historian Jack McDermott Aug. 9 to 16.
Participants will view the scenes that inspired the literary efforts of these women and visit the places where they lived. Near Red Cloud, Neb., is the Cather farm, and in town are a number of buildings that remain from her life there, many portrayed in her books. In west-central Nebraska, there are a dozen sites with Sandoz associations, including the writer's resting place. In De Smet, S.D., the townsfolk have preserved "the house that Pa built" in 1887, and the site of the first homestead where the cottonwoods that sheltered the Ingalls' family still stand.
Cost: $1,095 per person, double occupancy, including seven nights' hotel accommodations, ground transportation, admissions, seven breakfasts, two lunches, six dinners, taxes, baggage handling and gratuities. Air fare is not included. Contact: Historic America Tours, P.O. Box 797687, Dallas, TX 75379; telephone (800) 628-8542.
Hear a Native American perspective of Old West history and its impact on the Lakota (Sioux) culture. A 10-day motor-coach tour departs from Denver, and covers scenic and historic areas of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. Stops that focus on Lakota history include the Mt. Rushmore and Chief Crazy Horse carvings, the Black Hills, the Badlands and Ft. Laramie National Monument (Wyoming), where the study leader's great-grandfather Chief John Grass and Chief Red Cloud signed the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868. The groups hear his viewpoint on this treaty and the controversy over the Black Hills that continues today between Lakota tribes and the U.S. government.
Two scheduled departure dates, for groups of 20, are planned. The June 25 departure will include the annual reenactment of the Battle of Little Bighorn. More than 200 will reenact Custer's battle in full military uniform and Indian regalia. The July 25 departure includes Cheyenne, Wyo., Frontier Days, one of the country's largest professional rodeos, with Western entertainment including chuck-wagon races, Southern Plains Indian dancers, Native American villages, "gunslinger" staged shootouts and a square dance promenade.
Cost: $1,490 for the June tour and $1,600 for the July tour, per person, double occupancy, including airport transfers, guides, lodging, some meals, trail rides and entrance fees. Contact: Anna Vincens, Vinland Travel Service, P.O. Box 4305, Englewood, CO 80155; tel. (303) 766-1704.
Spend 12 days, beginning May 16, traveling through Northern Italy with artist Roberta Kritzia. Private bus transportation starts in Milan with a welcome dinner party at a private villa on the Brenta Riviera. Guests will visit several castles in the Veneto region and a health spa. One of the main objectives of the program will be to see several of the villas designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Participants view the Tiepolo frescoes in the ballroom of Villa Pisani.
Other villas seen are: Villa La Rotonda, Villa Foscarini Rossi, Villa Emo and the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. Guests also will explore Venice and its three islands: Murano, Torcello and Burano. Other cities on the schedule: Conegliano, Padova, Treviso, Montagnana, Cittadella, Sirmione, Verona and Bassano.
Cost: $3,475 per person, double occupancy, including all accommodations, private bus transportation and transfers, guides, some meals, all breakfasts, and wine and grappa tastings. The tour is limited to 12 people. Air fare is not included. Contact: Roberta Kritzia, Personalized Travel, 5455 Sylmar Ave., No. 902, Sherman Oaks, CA 91401; tel. (818) 994-2402.
Art in France
An art tour of Paris and Le Mont-Saint-Michel is planned July 3 to 10, or Oct. 2 to 9. Artist Richard Ewen will teach participants to sketch, paint and photograph painting sites in Paris and Normandy. Open to artists and non-artists, the tour's classes offer beginning and advanced techniques. Participants visit Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, and in Paris the Tuileries, the Latin Quarter, Sainte-Chapelle, Bois de Vicennes and Musee d'Orsay.
Cost: $2,650 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from LAX to Paris; hotel accommodations in Paris and Normandy, breakfast daily and one dinner, classes, motor-coach transportation, guides and transfers. Contact: Frances Reps, Presidential Worldwide Travel, 24001 Muirlands, No. 44, Lake Forest, CA 92630; tel. (714) 380-0849.
Treasures of Turkey
See scenic landscapes, archeological sites, Aegean seaports and remnants of the great Ottoman Empire on a trip to Turkey April 24 to May 15, with photographer Michele Burgess.
Highlights include Istanbul, with its imposing mosques, treasure-rich museums and colorful bazaars; Ephesus, Pergamun, Troy, Sardis and many other intriguing ruins; Bodrum, Turkey's yachting capital; the cascading travertines of Pamukkale; the lunar landscape, underground cities and painted churches at Cappadocia; Konya, where the Whirling Dervish sect was founded; and Nemrut Dagi with its giant statues of gods.
Cost: $3,450 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations, most meals and sightseeing. Contact: In Focus With Michele Burgess, 20741 Catamaran Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92646; tel. (714) 536-6104.
The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents or tour operators.