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Tours & Cruises

Close Encounters in Eastern Canada


Encounter the diversity of Atlantic Canada's plant life, from meadow to dune, woodland to subarctic plateau on a 13-day journey Oct. 1. Offered by the California Arboretum Foundation, the study tour begins in the port city of St. John, New Brunswick. Participants will visit private and historic gardens. On a walk in undisturbed hardwood forest, group members will learn to identify indigenous species. After crossing the Bay of Fundy, travelers hear about ingenious Acadian farming methods in Nova Scotia's fruitful Annapolis Valley, homeland of Evangeline of Acadia. On pastoral Prince Edward Island, they will tour a state-of-the-art potato farm and sites made famous by the book "Anne of Green Gables." The group will also see the birthplace of Canada in Charlottetown.

Other highlights to be explored include the scenic Cabot Trail on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island and the living history Fortress of Louisbourg. After visiting the seaport of Halifax, participants will travel south along picturesque coastal coves and bays to Lunenburg's Fisheries Museum, where collections showcase the region's maritime tradition. A naturalist from the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History will serve as study leader.

Cost: $2,745 per person, double occupancy, including lodging in historic country hotels and bed-and-breakfast inns, most meals, land transportation. Group air fare from Los Angeles is $653. Contact: Learned Journeys, P.O. Box 30626, Santa Barbara, CA 93130-0626; telephone (805) 682-6191 or (800) 682-6191.

Easy Tibet

A 19-day visit to see the temples, palaces and majestic sacred mountains of Tibet leaves Sept. 1. Participants have an opportunity to visit with Tibetans in their homes. Travel guide Gary Wintz, who lived in Tibet and leads two to three groups a year, will accompany the tour. At the beginning of the trip a few days are spent in a lower altitude in the Yarlung Valley to allow a gradual adjustment to the higher elevation in Lhasa. From Lhasa, guests take numerous day trips, but always return to the same hotel.

Cost: $4,990 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Hong Kong, accommodations, meals in China and Tibet, transfers, transportation, sightseeing admissions. Air fare from Los Angeles to Hong Kong round trip can also be added for $1,375. Contact: Carolyn Houghton, Travel Arrangers, 1194 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, CA 91101; tel. (818) 793-1466.

Sporting Chance

Vacations that focus on attending baseball games in different cities are available from Sports Tours. The tours, which run from a weekend to a week in length, offer a choice of accommodations, including stays in the same hotel as the visiting team. The four-night Longhorn Tour begins July 17, with the Royals hosting the Indians in Kansas City. At Busch Stadium guests watch St. Louis take on the Cubs; then the Braves battle Houston in the Astrodome.

Cost: from $725 per person, (four nights) double occupancy, including admissions, accommodations, transportation between ballparks via motor coach or air, welcome reception and souvenir. Air fare is not included. Contact: Sports Tours, P.O. Box 84, Hatfield, MA 01038; tel. (800) 722-7701.

Language Lessons

Learn Italian in the Mediterranean town of Chiavari, combining study with travel in the Italian Riviera. The program, which leaves from Los Angeles Aug. 3, is for three weeks. Classes at all levels are held at Studienkreis Italia. No knowledge of Italian required.

The school's program includes local guided visits, walking tours to Cinque Terre, boat tours, deep sea diving, literature, music, politics and cooking. Optional excursions available.

Cost: $2,600 per person, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations in Chiavari, Italian classes and pre-departure orientation. Contact: Michelle O'Neill, Italian Experience, 845 Via de la Paz, Suite 7, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272; tel. (310) 459-3227.

California Wines

Unique Travel will escort a four-day cruise to see California's wine country Oct. 18. Cruising is aboard the 84-passenger Spirit of Discovery. The itinerary will focus on the vineyards, winemaking process and underground caverns and tasting rooms of the Napa Valley and Sonoma.

Arrangements include a visit to a gravity-fed winery and a food- and wine-pairing demonstration in an 1887 winery building that is on the National Register of Historic Places. At Schramsberg, founded as a winery in 1862, the group visits scenic grounds hidden away on a hillside west of Calistoga. The tour also features some of the two miles of caverns carved by 19th century Chinese laborers.

In Sacramento, shore excursions include the California Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento, Sutter's Fort and the State Capitol. In Sonoma, passengers tour California's northernmost mission. The cruise also makes side excursions into the network of sloughs and rivers that crisscross the delta country east of San Francisco Bay.

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