Some Unique Vacations

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The Great Lakes Holiday tour includes two nights in Chicago.

I thought you may be interested in some vacations that are a little different from many that are available today.

One is St. Lawrence Cruise Lines operating the m/v “Canadian Empress” river boat on three-, five- and six-night cruises along the inland waters of Canada during the months of May through October.

The boat has 32 private staterooms in a classically-designed vessel with a heritage style interior furnished to recapture the grace of the early 1900s lifestyle. It was launched in 1981 and is 108 feet in length. The rooms are small but have twin beds and private facilities.

The Canadian Empress cruises the St. Lawrence River and seaway operating from Lake Ontario going easterly about 775 miles into the Atlantic or vice versa. You can book itineraries in the length of four to seven days depending on the locations you wish to cruise in.

Your meals are included as well as all sightseeing. You can visit towns and villages along the way and watch as the boat makes its way through the vast canal system. I did this many years ago and found it most interesting.

You can obtain more information on the Web at: www.StLawrenceCruiseLines.com and by calling 1-800-267-7868 to request a brochure.

Uncommon Journeys/Train Holidays out of California are offering some interesting vacations this year.

A Great Lakes Holiday departs June 29 and July 7 and gives you nine days which include two nights in Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel including a fine dinner at the famed Giordano’s restaurant and time to roam the city’s main sightseeing points of interest. They’ll give you an “Explorers Pass” to ride a bus which you can get on and off at your leisure.

On day three, you will depart on your voyage from Navy Pier and set sail on a six-night cruise on Lake Michigan using the “Niagara Prince.” This is an intimate pocket boat offering casual comfort and all outside cabins with facilities. There will be only 84 passengers aboard.

During the cruise, you will stop in Saugatuck, Mich., which is rated as one of America’s top 10 beach resorts. Then, visit picturesque Manistee with its Victorian downtown. Visit famed Mackinac Island with its carefree streets, shops and the legendary Grand Hotel with the longest porch in the world.

Also included is Sturgeon Bay with horse-drawn carriages, a historic downtown, trolley tours and a great location to photograph. This is followed by a stop in Milwaukee with fine museums and friendly people.

Fares begin at $2,495 plus taxes and your transportation to and from Chicago.

How about a “West Coast Swing”? This departs Sept. 19 for 11 days.

It begins with a scenic ride to Seattle aboard the Coast Starlight train from Los Angeles. In Seattle you will stay at the Warwick Hotel and have plenty of time to enjoy all the sights of this sparkling city.

From there, travel north to Vancouver along the Puget Sound aboard the new “Talgo” train, a delightful trip, and in Vancouver, you will enjoy two nights at the Empire Landmark with sightseeing and a visit to Queen Elizabeth Park with afternoon tea.

Later, board the Whistler Mountaineer, bound for Whistler on a stunningly beautiful ride to this popular resort destination. With two full days in Whistler, you’ll have time to enjoy European-style cafes, shops, biking or four of Canada’s top-rated golf courses. Then, back to Vancouver to board Holland America Lines “Ryndam” for a Pacific Coastal voyage south to San Diego. There will be a full day in Victoria, BC on the way down.

This fine vacation begins at $1,995 plus tax and additional transportation costs to Los Angeles and from San Diego home.

You can enjoy America’s Heartland by train and riverboat departing Chicago Sept. 23 for eight days.

This exciting trip begins in Chicago aboard the California Zephyr train for a speedy ride west over the Burlington Northern Railroad to Iowa bound for the Amana Colonies and Galena where excellent hotels and fine dining await.

Sightseeing will include a visit to the home of U.S. Grant in Galena and the Amana Colonies. Later, take a Mississippi riverboat for a scenic cruise to St. Louis. On the boat you can enjoy classic Dixieland jazz. A night will be spent at the Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, then experience fall colors returning to St. Louis. There will be city sightseeing there before taking the train back to Chicago.

Fares begin at $1,695 plus tax and transportation to and from Chicago.

On Sept. 25 and Oct. 3, you can depart for a nine-day cruise and tour of the Chesapeake Bay area. This vacation begins in Baltimore, Md. where you will tour the city with a luncheon at acclaimed Phillips Seafood Restaurant before boarding the “American Eagle” cruise yacht for a seven-day sail on the Chesapeake Bay.

The boat features large, roomy cabins with picture windows or veranda, private facilities, and excellent dining featuring regional specialties, complimentary cocktails in an informal setting.

The itinerary includes stops in Yorktown/ Williamsburg, Va. with complete sightseeing, Crisfield/Tangier Island, Va., Solomons, Is., Md., Cambridge, Md., Oxford, Md., St. Michaels, Md., Annapolis, Md. returning to Baltimore.

You can extend the trip by taking the train to famed Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, a treat of two nights before boarding the “American Eagle” yacht.

This tour/cruise is priced from $3,895 plus taxes and additional transportation to and from Baltimore. The Greenbrier extension runs at $995 up.

My favorite would the “The Great Canadian Train Ride” tour which departs Toronto Oct. 1 and lasts 13 days. This fully hosted tour features a three-day, two-night passage from Toronto to Jasper and Vancouver aboard VIA Rail’s vista-domeliner “The Canadian” in first class accommodations including all meals aboard the train.

There will be three nights in Banff at the ultra-luxe Banff Park Lodge, a two-night stay in Jasper with sightseeing including Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon. You’ll also visit the Columbia Icefield with a Sno-coach tour atop Athabasca Glacier.

Banff sightseeing will include a famous gondola ride and visit to Banff Hot Springs, then Lake Louise and on to Vancouver with complete sightseeing there and a stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

You must do the Canadian Rockies once in your lifetime, why not this year?

Fares begin at $3,996 and up for a double berth Pullman section and $4,395 for a double bedroom. Taxes and airfare are extra.

You can obtain additional information and printed information by calling Uncommon Journeys at 1-800-323-5893.

Happy touring!

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