Tours & Traveling

The Council on Aging provides monthly trips or outings to local points of interest as well as vacation packages to such places as Las Vegas, Chicago, Nova Scotia, Tuscany, and San Antonio. These extended escorted travel trips are offered throughout the year. Call (231) 873-4461 for more information.

Southern Italy & Sicily

November 05 — November 16, 2018 (12 Days)

Palermo, Monreale, Agrigento, Valley of the Temples, Giardini Naxos, Taormina, Catania, Choice on Tour, Mt. Etna Volcano, Matera, Alberobello, Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Pompeii

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Day-by-Day Itinerary

Explore the hidden treasures of Southern Italy and Sicily. You’ll find breathtaking scenery, historic cities, centuries-old hilltop villages and wonderful cuisine.

Your tour opens in Palermo, the capital of Sicily. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner featuring authentic Sicilian cuisine.

 

Come to know Palermo on a tour featuring its lovely squares - Quattro Canti, Piazza Pretoria and Piazza Bellini. Along the way, discover an exotic mix of Moorish, Norman and Spanish Baroque styles. View the Palace of the Normans, La Martorana church, and the cathedral which houses the Imperial Crown of Constance of Aragon. In the nearby town of Monreale, visit the 12th-century cathedral with its dazzling interior of multicolored marbles, paintings, mosaics and cloisters. The remainder of your day is at leisure to relax or peruse the city’s museums and shops.

 

Travel over the countryside’s rolling hills and past peaceful farmland toward the town of Agrigento. Stop to explore the stunning Valley of the Temples (UNESCO), one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. Here you get an up-close view of the temples of Juno, Concordia, Hercules and Jupiter. Continue on to Giardini Naxos, the “garden of Sicily,” for your 3-night stay.

 

Set off for beautiful Taormina, known for its charming atmosphere, historic monuments and flowering gardens. Join a local guide for a tour of the city. You will see Corso Umberto and the bountiful public gardens, and marvel at its well-preserved Greek Theatre. Enjoy some free time to independently explore this delightful town.

 

Journey to vibrant Catania where the choice is yours! Join a local guide to visit the cathedral and view other iconic sights of this historic Baroque city (UNESCO); then witness the daily spectacle of bartering for fresh fish and produce at the local market. Or, explore the Museo dello Sbarco (Allied Landing Museum); this moving museum is dedicated to the Allied troops who landed on the southern coast in 1943. Later, gather together to discover the impressive Mt. Etna Volcano National Park with a local expert and take in the spectacular landscapes sculpted by nature. Return to Giardini Naxos for the evening.

 

Venture to Messina for a short ferry ride to Villa San Giovanni on Italy’s mainland. Pass through the beautiful and unspoiled region of Calabria and into the Basilicata region. Make a stop along the way at one of the area’s local wineries. Join an expert on a walk through the cellars and vineyards before sampling their wines at a tasting. Linger over dinner featuring regional cuisine in the winery’s own “agriturismo” restaurant.

 

Explore the “Sassi di Matera,” an ancient settlement of carved cave dwellings. A local guide shares the history of the site and reasons why it has recently caught the eye of many film producers. Continue to a local shop for a chance to sample some regional produce. Enjoy free time in Matera to browse the boutiques or taste the local cuisine before heading to the mystical town of Alberobello. Marvel at some of its most unusually built homes (UNESCO)—known as trulliwith distinct cone-shaped roofs.

 

Travel towards Campania and the Bay of Naples, one of the most breathtaking areas of Italy. Make a stop in Salerno to explore the historic city center at leisure. Take a moment to gaze at its impressive cathedral, considered to be the most beautiful medieval church in Italy. Arrive at the Sorrento Peninsula in the late afternoon. Sit back and take in the views of this magical place.

Savor time this morning in the lovely seaside resort town of Sorrento. Then, begin your adventure traversing the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. Make a stop in the charming town of Amalfi where you will have time to explore. Then it’s off to Minori. Take this opportunity to sample regional specialties at a family-owned limoncello factory. Later, sit down for a traditional Italian afternoon break at a local café and pastry shop. Your evening is at leisure.

 

Drive along the Bay of Naples to the excavated ruins of Pompeii, nestled at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius. A local guide will provide an in-depth view of this remarkable archaeological site. You will be immersed in history as you explore the preserved buildings of this 2000-year-old Roman town. Later, travel to Rome and celebrate the end of your journey with a farewell dinner at a popular local restaurant.

 

Your tour comes to a close today.


Spotlight on San Antonio Holiday

December 08 — December 12, 2018 (5 Days)

Mission San Jose, The Alamo, LBJ Ranch, Fredericksburg, El Mercado, Choice of South Texas Heritage Center or San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Paseo del Rio Cruise, Olive Orchard

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Day-by-Day Itinerary

Welcome to the “American Venice.” Historic missions, River Walk restaurants, Spanish architecture and a beautiful river centerpiece make this a truly remarkable city. The sights and sounds of the holiday celebrations are sure to immerse you in the spirit of the season as you stroll along the San Antonio River, illuminated by festive decorations. This evening, get to know your fellow travelers at a welcome reception.

Your day begins with a fascinating tour of San Antonio with a local guide. History and culture abound with a visit to two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Visit the Mission San Jose, the second mission established by Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus in 1720. Then it’s on to visit one of America’s most historic sites, the Alamo, which played a critical role in the Texas Revolution. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against impossible odds – a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Next, browse for one-of-a-kind goods at El Mercado, the Mexican Marketplace. This afternoon the choice is yours: visit the South Texas Heritage Center, an interactive museum dedicated to sharing the stories of San Antonio’s people and the land that has shaped their lives. Or, explore the 33-acre grounds of the San Antonio Botanical Gardens featuring expansive rose gardens, a conservatory with tropical vegetation, and the Texas Native Trail showcasing ecosystems from the diverse regions of the state. This evening, enjoy the local flavors of barbeque during dinner at a ranch.

Journey to Stonewall and enjoy a visit to the LBJ Ranch, birthplace of the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. On your tour of the ranch you will view the “Texas White House” and learn about living in the Texas Hill Country. Continue to the heart of the rural Hill Country and the German settlement of Fredericksburg. The holiday season is a fabulous time to visit with its seasonal festivities and decorations flavored by German heritage. Enjoy the evening at leisure to explore San Antonio’s beautiful River Walk.

You’ll be surrounded by holiday cheer during a riverboat ride on the Paseo del Rio. Relax as the narrated cruise takes you along the San Antonio River Walk. This evening, visit a picturesque olive orchard.* Enjoy a tour of the orchard complete with a wine and olive oil tasting and learn about its history before indulging in a spectacular Texas-inspired farewell dinner.

San Antonio’s natural beauty, history, cuisine, people and music create wonderful holiday memories.


French Impressions

September 19 — September 29, 2019 (11 Days)

Paris, Eiffel Tower Dinner, Choice on Tour, Versailles, Giverny, TGV Train, Avignon, Palace of the Popes, Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne’s Workshop, Gordes, Wine & Olive Oil Tasting, Cannes, Nice, Monaco, Oceanographic Museum, Monte Carlo, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

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Day-by-Day Itinerary
Journey through the best of France as you explore lively Paris, romantic Provence and delightful Nice.
Your tour opens in Paris, the “City of Light.” Tonight, sample delicious French cuisine and witness breathtaking views during dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Following dinner, get a different perspective of the city during a Seine River cruise. As you glide along, admire Paris’ glittering skyline.
Come to know Paris your way. It’s your choice! Take a splendid panoramic coach tour featuring the breathtaking architecture of the Arc de Triumph, Place de la Concord, Place Vendome, the Champs-Elysees and the Notre Dame Cathedral -OR- enter the world of Impressionism with a visit to the Musée D’Orsay with its magnificent French Impressionist art collection. Live out your own Parisian adventure during a free afternoon. Perhaps you will join an optional excursion to the world-renowned Louvre, home to the iconic Mona Lisa. This evening, an optional dinner and show at Paris’ oldest cabaret, the Paradis Latin, is offered.
Explore the history, architecture and gardens of Versailles, one of the world’s most magnificent royal palaces and finest, most complete example of 17th century architecture. Your local guide will recount the history of the palace and lead you through the various rooms of the State Apartments. Discover its immeasurable opulence and see its treasures including the Queen's bedchamber and the famous Hall of Mirrors. You then have time to explore the incredible gardens, some of the most famous in the world, which took over 40 years to complete. This afternoon Claude Monet’s famous painting “Waterlilies” comes to life with a visit to the artist’s lovely home and enchanting gardens in the village of Giverny. The remainder of the evening is at leisure for you to explore Paris’ many hidden treasures on your own.
Climb aboard the high speed TGV Train and “fly” through the beautiful French countryside on your way to Provence. Arrive in Avignon for a delightful tour of this historic walled city. Avignon, often called the “City of Popes,” acted as a center of European religion for 70 years when the Popes moved there in 1309. A visit to the Palace of the Popes brings this history to life. Continue to Aix-en-Provence, a lovely town once frequented by Hemingway and the inspiration to many artists. This evening, enjoy fine French dining at your hotel’s elegant restaurant.
This morning a local expert takes you on a tour of Aix-en-Provence. This charming city is full of lively streets, squares and fountains. Walk in the steps of Cézanne when you visit his atelier (workshop) and enter the artist’s most private space. Continue to Mont Sainte-Victoire and see the natural surroundings which are portrayed in the painter’s works. Explore the 18th century jewel of Aix-en-Provence with a visit to the Hôtel de Caumont Art Center. Delve into the intimate atmosphere of a private mansion as you view its works of art and exhibits. The evening is yours to continue to discover the city’s many secrets.
Visit the Musee du Calisson, a confectionery factory where you will discover the unique taste of a calisson. This delicacy–a mix of almonds, candied melon, orange blossom fragrance and marzipan–is a local specialty. Delve into the Provençal landscape during a visit to the picturesque region of Luberon, known for its beautiful lavender fields.* Take time in the hilltop village of Gordes to explore its charms. Visit the Lavender Museum and learn about this precious plant, its unique distillation process and its uses throughout history. You are in for a treat this evening when you stop at a local vineyard and tour their wine cellar and olive oil mill. Complete your day with a cooking demonstration and a sumptuous Provençal meal paired with local wines.
Journey to Cannes to rub shoulders with Europe’s elite. A local expert joins you on a walking tour of Cannes where you will learn about the fascinating history of the city and the Lérins Islands located offshore. Walk in the footsteps of celebrities when you see the Film Festival Palace and the famous red carpet featured during the Cannes Film Festival. Then it’s off to Nice, the renowned playground of the rich and famous.
Explore the charming hillside village of Eze. Learn the secrets of perfume making, from extraction to distillation, while visiting a famous parfumerie. Your journey then takes you to witness the splendor of Monaco, the dazzling gem of the Riviera. A panoramic tour highlights the famous and extravagant Casino of Monte Carlo and the spectacular 13th-century Prince’s Palace. Pause to see the Cathedral of Monaco, where Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace are buried. Complete your trip to Monaco with a visit to the fascinating Oceanographic Museum.
This morning you’ll feel like a local as you stroll through the colorful and fragrant flower market in Nice. Continue to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and visit the luxurious apartments of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Explore the lush gardens with magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea. Your visit to the villa is complete with lunch served in the charming tea room. The remainder of your day is free to discover Nice’s Place Massena and the lively seafront Promenade des Anglais. Partake in world-class shopping, sample the many French delicacies found in the south of France, or simply relax and take in the laid-back atmosphere along the Riviera. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a quaint restaurant.
Your tour ends today, leaving you with many wonderful memories.