An autumn tour of the museums, architectural features and historical sights of Boston and Newport, R.I., leaves Oct. 9 for eight days. In Boston, the tour lecturer will be Rolf Achilles, National Fine Arts Associates guide. In Boston, the itinerary includes: Fogg Art Museum at Harvard; the Museum of Fine Arts to see a special exhibit, "Impressions of France: Impressionism and Landscape at the Paris Salon, 1860-1890"; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; the John F. Kennedy Library, designed by I.M. Pei; excursions to Concord and Lexington, and visits to the homes of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott. In Newport the group visits six of the great mansions or "summer cottages," including the homes of Cornelius and William Vanderbilt. Cost: $1,825 per person, double occupancy, including land transportation by motor coach, hotels, tour escort, sightseeing, daily breakfast and some meals. Not included: air fare. Optional extension to Philadelphia is available. Contact: Tom Baker, Bryan International Travel, 98 Battery St., Suite 302, San Francisco, CA 94111; tel: (415) 986-0967.
Best of China
A 15-day tour to see the most famous sites in China leaves Sept. 19 from Los Angeles. The itinerary includes the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, terra-cotta warriors of X'ian, Guilin (for a boat trip on the Li River) and Hong Kong. Cost: $2,795 per person, double occupancy, including international air fare, hotels, all meals in China, breakfast-only in Hong Kong and sightseeing tours. Contact: Nawas International Travel c/o Lew Hunter, 918 Fredric St., Burbank, CA 91505; tel. (818) 848-0616.
Day of the Dead
A 10-day tour to Michoacan, Mexico, to celebrate Mexico's most famous religious tradition, Day of the Dead, leaves Oct. 26. Participants visit cemeteries near Lake Patzcuaro on the evening of Nov. 1. Residents of the small villages around the lake elaborately observe the centuries-old Feasts of All Saints and All Souls Days, blending traditional Catholic beliefs with ancient pre-Columbian Indian rituals. Souls of deceased family members are invited to join in fiestas held by their surviving relatives; graves in the cemetery are cleaned and decorated with candles and flowers.
The tour also focuses on the diverse arts and crafts of Michoacan and Jalisco. Visits are made to small villages, where potters, weavers, glassblowers, mask makers, coppersmiths and silversmiths create crafts using traditional methods. Tours are arranged to workshops not usually open to the public.
The tour will be guided by Rocky Behr, a Mexican folk art expert and publisher of "Las Noticias," a folk art and travel newsletter. Cost: $2,150 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles, lodging, most meals and tours. Contact: Folk Tree Tours, 217 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105; tel. (818) 795-8733.
The Wide Missouri
Paddle through the heart of "Big Sky" country on an eight-day canoe trip that begins in Lewiston, Mont., June 25 and Aug. 5. Travelers set up camp on the banks of the Missouri, where Lewis and Clark camped on their journey west two centuries ago. Canoes pass the Eye of the Needle rock formation and Citadel Rock along the Missouri, the White Cliffs area and Missouri Breaks, past sandstone canyons and into grassy prairie lands.
Also explored are historic sites, such as the Nez Perce Trail, the buffalo jump on the Slaughter River and historic cabins of the early settlers and outlaws. No previous camping or canoeing experience is needed; the staff will give detailed instructions, as well as describe the natural history of the area. Cost: $645 per person, double occupancy, including camping gear, canoes and all meals. Contact: Wilderness Inquiry, 1313 5th St. S.E., Box 84, Minneapolis, MN 55414-1546; tel. (612) 379-3858.
* The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.
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