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This Summer Really ‘Go’ On Vacation

This Summer Really ‘Go’ On Vacation
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BY MARY JANE HORTON

Sometimes you want to go on vacation and loll on the beach, or visit ruins on a bus; but why not try an active vacation that includes walking or biking through the ruins and by the beach instead. Of course, you will have down time for lolling but you will feel active and energized as you either saunter through a new locale on your own two feet or whiz by on your bike. Most of the following trips (except the last) are not the kind of trips where you “rough it” and camp out with your bikes alongside you. They are full-service tours that make all of the other things – besides the biking and walking – easy.

The French Rivera Bike Tour, Backroads https://www.backroads.com/trips/BFRI-9/provence-french-riviera-biking-tour

Backroads, a high-end biking and walking tour company, started in 1979, is a first-rate company that really tunes into the participants of any trip. Two vans are always available and move all of your gear from place to place. All of the guides have been long-time participants in various tours, and you don’t even need your own bike. They have a full bike fleet. The tour of the French Riviera takes in Southern France’s scenic villages and coast. Starting in the Ste-Victoire Mountain area, made famous by artist Paul Cézanne, the trip takes participants to the historic town of Aix-de-Provence with its cobblestone streets and beautiful 17th century mansions. On day three, the group goes o the Provencal countryside, and by day five the ocean appears sparkling in the distance, and you take in St. Tropez and other glamorous beach cities. All of the hotels are first class. Everyone on the trip goes at his or her own pace (and is equipped with a cutting edge GPS device). And there is plenty of down time built into each day for exploring. Price: $4,848 to $5,048 for 6 days, 5 nights.

Vermont Landmark Tour, Sojourn Vacations, http://gosojourn.com/bicycle-tours/landmark-vermont-tour

A little less expensive and closer, this Vermont landmark tour – named one of the world’s top 10 bike tours by Frommer’s – this tour traverses the splendid scenery that surrounds Lake Champlain Valley. The trip highlight is a stay at the majestic Inn at Shelburne Farms – a most memorable evening. This historic property was designed by revered landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead and features several stunning architectural masterpieces that include today’s inn. Ride through historic covered bridges, enjoy some of the region’s finest road riding, and explore classic villages in one of the most beautiful states in the US. You will also enjoy a private cruise across Lake Champlain to ride country roads on the opposite shore. Sojourn offers distinctive lodging and fine dining wherever you go, great bikes and additional equipment such as helmets, rear bags, water bottles as well as vans for your luggage and two guides on every trip. Price: $2,195 for 6 nights and 5 days.

Bike Barge Holland, Bike and the Like Tours, http://www.bikeandthelike.com/holland_tulips2.html

What could be better than biking alongside bright red and yellow tulips in the Dutch countryside? This tour operator is a bit more bare bones than the others, but this trip is a great deal for the money. The group sleeps on a barge at night and harbors in the famous cities of Gouda, Leiden, Dordrecht and Haarlem. Day trips average about 30 miles, and then you pick up the barge again each night. There are beautiful green landscapes, meandering rivers and lots of windmills to see along the way. Hearty breakfasts, packed lunches and 6 nights of dinner are also included. And after a full day of cycling, you will welcome Dutch favorites like Apple cake with coffee, famous Stroop Waffles of Gouda, pannekoeken, and delicious ice cream. The accommodations on the family-owned barge are spacious, with two lower beds and private bathrooms. There is also plenty of common space and a sundeck for soaking in the rays. $1,299 for 8 nights and 7 days.

Walking the English Countryside: The Cotswalds and Cornwall, Roadscholar, https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/18730/walking-the-english-countryside-the-cotswolds-and-cornwall

If you would rather walk than bike, Road Scholar offers many walking tours. The English Countryside is one of the most popular and take advantage of thousands of miles of ancient public footpaths. Tours go through rolling hills, stone villages, historic monuments all through this beautiful section of England. Expert-led walks, are challenging – up to six hours a day – and full of historical highlights. The cities and sites visited on this trip include: Oxford and Christchurch, Cathedral of the Wells, The Coastal Path, St. Ives, and the Cornish Rivera with wonderful views of the ocean and local delicacies such as clotted cream. The groups are small – 10 to 24 people – and all of your luggage is taken care of. This trip includes 29 meals, often lunches are on your own. Roadscholar also gives you a reading list, so you can make the most of the educational aspect of your upcoming trip. $4,797 for 15 days.

Tuscany Active Gourmet Walking Tour, Backroads, https://www.backroads.com/trips/WCTQ/tuscany-hiking-tour

You wouldn’t want to spend your vacation on a bus and then eating, but walking three or four miles a day or more and then eating wonderful Italian food – that’s a great combo. This trip lets you wander through woods and vineyards, explore Renaissance hill towns, and ends most days with farm to table meals passed down tough generations. The trip starts in Florence and the moves into Castellina and Vescine, home to some of the best olive oil in the world. Panzano is next, home to some of Tuscany’s best wineries. Further on, the group dines with a renowned sommelier and learns the secret of Tuscan antipasto. The accommodations are in charming 13th and 14th century manor houses. And the walking is all self-paced. This is a great way to stay active in an amazingly beautiful locale and learn about the food culture of Italy at the same time. $3,898 for 6 nights and 5 days

Backpacking Joshua Tree National Park, California, REI Adventures, https://www.rei.com/adventures/trips/weekend/joshua-tree-backpacking.html

If you want to rough it, stay closer, and spend less money, this is a great trip (and REI has many, many more similar trips in the US and abroad). No van carrying your luggage on this trip – everything is on your back. Joshua Tree, which is situated between the Mojave and Sonoran Desserts in southern California offers one of North America’s most surreal and strange environments. The twisty and twirly trees in Joshua Tree National Park are truly otherworldly. People come from all over the world to walk in this dessert environment with its stark vistas, wildflowers and oases. The travel begins and ends in Palm Springs. Hiking – which can be strenuous at time, goes for 4-9 miles a day. Guides help set up camps and prepare all of the meals in either backcountry camping areas or in a group campsite. $999 for 4 days, 3 nights

 

 

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