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The Mature Traveler

Itineraries Focus on History, Culture and Architecture of the United States

September 06, 1987|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

In business for more than 15 years, Discovery Unlimited Tours & Travel did not set out to cater to the mature traveler, but the majority of clients, a core of more than 12,000, are 55 and older.

Paul Armato, president of the Anaheim company, explains that the preponderence of them are well-traveled, sophisticated and well-educated, and that most repeat at least half a dozen times during the year.

"Our clients, by survey, are the parents who, with their children, traveled extensively and are now grandparents. They are enthusiastic about rediscovering America without the hassle they had when they had their youngsters along," Armato pointed out.

"We package a variety of travel programs," said Armato, "all of them either by motor coach throughout California and adjacent states, or a combination of air and motor coach. Over the years all of these tours, because of the requests of the clients, have evolved into trips that are less frantically paced, with activities that appeal to the mature traveler. And though ours are not categorized as educational tours, there is an emphasis, again requested by our clients, on history, architecture, gardens."

Flexible Tours

The tours are not rigidly regimented, according to Armato, who said that some meals are included on the tours, which are all accompanied by a knowledgeable tour escort. However, the preference has been that clients also enjoy the freedom of choosing their own dining options instead of being constantly herded.

"When we do include meals," Armato said, "it's always at a well-known dining establishment with a flawless reputation, hopefully one that has some historic significance in conjunction with the area that we are exploring."

The package tours that are offered by Discovery Unlimited are first-class to deluxe and are a good blend of the best products available, Armato said.

Among forthcoming tours are:

"Autumn Leaves," with departures on Sept. 23, 26, 28, 30 and Oct. 5. The 16-day trip, which is being repeated for the 14th year, travels to Eastern Canada and New England when the region is aflame with brilliant fall colors. Tour members fly to Buffalo, N.Y., and drive to Niagara Falls, Canada, for a two-night visit. Sightseeing attractions include the Welland Canal, the Gorge and the Canadian Falls under lights plus a cruise on the Maid of the Mist.

The tour continues to Montreal for two days, then on to Quebec City for two more days for exploring the Plains of Abraham, the Citadel and the Ramparts. The tour will continue through Vermont and on to Bethlehem, N.H., for two nights at the Wayside Inn.

Breakfast and dinner will be included each day at the inn and tour members will sightsee Franconia, Crawford Notches, North Conway and more. The cost is $1,345 per person, double occupancy; $1,695 per person single. Air fare is additional.

"Yosemite in the Autumn" will be repeated on Oct. 23 for three days by motor coach. The fully escorted tour is priced at $323.50 per person double, $445 per person single, and includes motor-coach transportation, two nights at the Ahwahnee Hotel, extensive sightseeing and a gala dinner at the hotel, baggage handling, taxes and gratuities, porterage and admissions.

In Mother Lode Country

"High Sierra Adventure" to Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes and the mother lode country has openings on the Sept. 19 departure. The five-day, fully escorted motor-coach trip is priced at $355 per person double, $445 single, and includes four nights at the first-class hotels, Sierra Nevada Inn, Del Webb's High Sierra Casino/Hotel and Gunn House. A gala dinner is included, as is one luncheon, baggage handling, taxes and gratuities at hotels, porterage and admissions.

"California Coast Explorer" features Hearst Castle and Carmel/Monterey, Oct. 6-9, $259.50 per person double, $309.50 single. "Autumn in the Canyonlands" is a six-day tour leaving Oct. 15 to Nevada, Utah and Arizona including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon; $425 per person double, $535 single.

A 24-day "South Pacific Adventure" featuring Australia, New Zealand and Fiji leaves Oct. 27 and is priced at $2,195 per person double and $2,985 single (air fare is additional).

For the holidays, other tours are scheduled including a five-day Thanksgiving trip to Arizona, $359.50 per person double and $455 single; Thanksgiving at Hotel Del Coronado, Nov. 26-28, $221.50 per person double, $272.50 single; a 10-day Christmas in Hawaii for $899 per person double, $1,355 single.

For reservations and details, contact Discovery Unlimited Tours and Travel, 300 N. Wilshire Ave., Suite 1, Anaheim 92801, phone (800) 448-4433 or (714) 635-8950.

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