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Archive for tours

Undercover in London

By Linda Tancs

Ever wonder what it was like being a Cold War spy in London? You can catch a glimpse into the world of espionage with a spy and espionage tour conducted by an expert in the subject. A three-hour bus tour visits real-life sites used by British Intelligence as well as sites where secrets were exchanged, even by double agents. The tour ends at St. Ermin’s Hotel, former headquarters of MI6, where a very James Bond-like vodka martini awaits you.

The Toy Train

By Linda Tancs

Affectionately known as “the toy train,” India’s Darjeeling Himalayan Railway consists of 54 miles of two-foot gauge track that connects New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling, passing through Ghum at an altitude over 7,000 feet (the highest railway station in India). Opened in 1881, it remains one of the best examples of a hill passenger railway and has been a World Heritage Site since 1999. Catch a photo of the world famous B-Class steam locomotives at work, particularly from the adjacent public roads at Kurseong and Darjeeling.

Legendary Guitars in Pennsylvania

By Linda Tancs

Through six generations, Martin Guitar‘s legendary heritage has helped create music history. Located in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, their museum boasts a treasure trove of over 170 exquisitely crafted guitars that parallel the company’s history. A guided factory tour starts in the lobby of the Visitors Center, which houses the entrance to the museum. Their one-hour tours follow a guitar from rough lumber to a finished product, an endeavor requiring more than 300 steps to complete. Public and group tours are available Monday through Friday.

World Class Bear Viewing

By Linda Tancs

Alaskan salmon run at different times depending on the location and species. In southeast Alaska, you’ll find the largest run of pink salmon at Anan Creek during July and August. That means the bears won’t be far behind. Southeast of Wrangell, the Anan Wildlife Observatory is a world class destination for bear viewing—so popular, in fact, that only 20 visitor passes are issued each day from July 5 to August 25. Those passes are issued via a lottery that is conducted in March. Plan accordingly, and happy viewing!

The Calendar Islands

By Linda Tancs

On the southern coast of Maine lies Casco Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Maine. Blessed with a multitude of islands, the region is referred to as The Calendar Islands, suggesting you’ll need a calendar’s worth of time to see them all. Well, maybe not quite, but the slower pace of life will encourage you to take all the time you want. There’s something for everyone on the larger islands served by the year-round ferry. Cyclists will love the dirt roads on Cliff Island. Golfers will appreciate the ability to perfect their long drive on breezy Chebeague Island. Naturalists will enjoy hiking the trails along Long Island’s large conservation area. Historians can stroll around the former parade grounds of Fort McKinley on Great Diamond Island. Culture buffs will love the thriving artist community on Peaks Island. Need more inspiration? The Maine Island Trail Association offers a handy guide on places to explore.

To the Manner Born

By Linda Tancs

Britain’s summer social calendar (the “Season”) runs from April to September.  Awash in cultural and sporting events, the Season finds great favor among the British elite, but even the hoi polloi enjoy a taste of society life–even if it is laden with rules of etiquette.  If you’re a little rusty on the finer points of appropriate behavior, then More Than Good Manners is ready to help you.  Founded by British aristocrat Veronica Joly de Lotbinière (a descendant of kings of France and England), the company offers booking services for high-profile events as well as manners and etiquette training for things like that pheasant shoot with a duke.  You, too, can be to the manner born.

Royal Hospital Welcomes Visitors

By Linda Tancs

Today marks the birthday of Britain’s King Charles II.  It’s a day fondly regarded at London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea; King Charles founded the hospital in 1681 as a retirement home for war veterans (pensioners).  Nearest the day is the hospital’s seminal annual event–a parade presided over by a member of the Royal Family.  This year’s festivities will take place on 5 June.  You can always visit the hospital, led by a Chelsea Pensioner, for a small fee featuring a 90-minute daily walking tour.  Otherwise, you can visit the grounds, chapel and Great Hall on your own for free.

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