Drop anchor for a taste of local brew

Times Staff Writer

HOIST a jug of ale while your host hoists the sails on a five-day tall ship tour of British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.

The Canadian cruise, which departs March 29, is aboard the 92-foot schooner Maple Leaf. The group visits microbreweries, wildlife habitats and historical sites, such as Salt Spring and Galiano islands.

“We do a southern islands tour that showcases some of our local breweries,” said Louise Fitzpatrick of Maple Leaf Adventures.

The group has special tastings with the brew masters, and the onboard chef pairs the food with the beers, she said.


Stops include a hike on Saturna Island, which is rich in wildlife, and a cruise to the port of Nanaimo, one of the first settlements on Vancouver Island.

During the cruise, social historian Greg Evans lectures on Nanaimo’s history, including its breweries. Saloons and beer halls were important early enterprises, said Maureen Gordon of Maple Leaf Adventures. “Everyone who settled needed a comforting glass of ale at the end of the day.”

Cost: $1,750 per person, double occupancy, including five nights’ ship accommodations, meals, beer, lectures, shore excursions and optional sailing instruction. Airfare from Los Angeles to Sidney, B.C., is not included.

Contact: Maple Leaf Adventures, Vancouver; (888) 599-5323,



Go Down Under, via Santa Ynez

GET a taste of the Australian Outback without the jet lag at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Santa Ynez.

The weekend package, which begins Jan. 18, includes a barbecue contest between Alisal’s chef and Australian chef and author Maggie Beer; a whip-cracking lesson; a wine seminar debating the virtues of Shiraz versus Syrah; and unlimited golf, horseback riding, tennis, fly-fishing and archery.


Cost: $848 per person, double occupancy ($247 single surcharge), including two nights’ studio lodging, all meals (including wine), activities and equipment.

Contact: Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, Santa Ynez; (888) 425-4725,


Meet dignitaries on cultural tour


DISCOVER Morocco with scholars on a tour sponsored by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

The 11-night trip, which begins March 13, visits the cities of Fes, Rabat, Taroudant Essaouira and Marrakech.

The tour includes private meetings with “artists and collectors -- lots of private dinners in homes,” said Theresa Payne of the museum.

Kenneth Perkins, a Middle East historian, will lead the group. Former U.S. Ambassador Frederick Vreeland will host a dinner in his home in Marrakech.


Cost: $5,490 per person, double occupancy ($990 single surcharge), including hotels, most meals, internal flight and ground transportation. International airfare from LAX and a $300 museum contribution are not included.

Contact: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; (805) 884-6476,


Study and play in Oxford


STUDY in Oxford, England, on a 12-week session sponsored by Riverside Community College District.

Students enrolled in the session, which begins Feb. 28, are housed with local families in Oxford. Excursions include visits to London, Bath and Stonehenge.

English, philosophy, psychology and humanities courses are taught by Riverside City College instructors. Cost: $6,499 per person, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to London, accommodations, most meals, field trips and medical and travel insurance. Tuition and fees, airport taxes and fuel surcharges are not included.

Contact: International Education, Riverside Community College District; (951) 222-8340 or (951) 222-8438.


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