Visit the Norman Rockwell Studio and Museum in the Berkshire Mountains and take in the colors of fall foliage on two eight-day motor coach trips through the Northeast, Sept. 28 or Oct. 14. The tours begin in Boston, then wind along the rocky shoreline toward Maine, stopping at Kennebunkport. The group then visits Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor (for a lobster bake) before traveling west to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Guests pause at Wildcat Mountain for a gondola ride and at Franconia Notch before heading to Vermont. Leaving New England, members travel to New York and the Adirondacks with stops at Lake Placid and Albany. Participants return to Boston for a city tour.
Cost: $1,099 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, tips, baggage handling, ground transportation, most meals and sightseeing. Air fare is extra.
Contact: Joan Irvine Travel, 1600 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663; telephone (714) 548-3481.
Jungle to Reef
Backroads is offering adventurers an eight-day tour to explore Belize the natural way by mountain biking on quiet dirt roads, hiking along jungle footpaths and taking to the waters with tubes, canoes and snorkel gear. Tour dates for 1998 are Jan. 18, Feb. 1, March 29, April 12 and Dec. 20.
Guests bike to Thousand Foot Falls, Central America's highest waterfall; hike to the Blue Morpho Butterfly Breeding Center; and snorkel along the Belize Barrier Reef, with more than 460 species of fish. Guests visit Maya ceremonial sites tucked into hidden caves, and the ruins of Xunantunich, where the 35-foot pyramid offers views of the Peten rain forest.
Jungle hideaways include Hidden Valley Inn, with secluded cabins nestled amid tree ferns and orchid gardens, and Chaa Creek Cottages, with thatched-roof cabanas in a jungle setting. On Ambergris Cay, an island set on a barrier reef, guests relax at Victoria House Resort on a private beach.
Cost: $2,398 per person, double occupancy, including lodging, meals, and guides and equipment. Air fare is not included.
Contact: Backroads, 801 Cedar St., Berkeley, CA 94710; tel. (510) 527-1555.
Cruise on the American Queen through Elvis Presley country--Memphis, Tenn., to New Orleans--next Aug. 15 to 22, 1998. On board will be Marian Cocke (Elvis' nurse), Joe Esposito (his road manager) Terry Mike Jeffrey (an impersonator who will perform with the Jordanaires) and Elvis expert Darwin Lamm. Guests will participate in a candlelight vigil at Elvis' Graceland mansion to commemorate the 21st anniversary of his death. Other port stops will be in Vicksburg, Miss., for a Civil War site tour; Natchez, Miss., to see antebellum homes; and Baton Rouge, La.
Cost: $1,253 per person, double occupancy, including air fare (if booked before Dec. 15), cabins and all meals. Not included: some shore tours and port charges.
Contact: Historic Tours of America, 16142 Woodstock Lane, Huntington Beach, CA 92647; tel. (714) 846-9595.
For nearly 700 years, until the mid-1800s, Japan was under the control of the samurai. The Samurai Culture Tour will show participants what life was like for this ruling class. The tour is Oct. 16 to Oct. 24. Guests will spend time in Tokyo, Nikko, Nagoya, Kyoto and Himeji, visiting temples, shrines, traditional martial arts' dojo, castles, museums and a samurai theme park.
Cost: $2,295 per person, double occupancy, including airport transfers, deluxe accommodations, 10 meals and a full-time escort. Air fare is extra
Contact: Seven Seas Travel; tel. (800) 444-8728.
New Mexico Autumn
Learn about the culture and history of the American Indian with anthropologist and Native American expert Chuck Wallace on a trip to New Mexico Sept. 25 to 30. Participants will visit Pueblo Bonita of Chaco Canyon.
In Chama guests take a ride on a narrow-gauge railroad to see New Mexico's autumn colors. Then in Taos, members visit the Millicent Rogers Museum to see some of the black pottery and Navajo silver. Participants will stay in the Salsa Del Salto B&B, and a Taos storyteller will acquaint guests with native folklore.
Traveling to Santa Fe, visitors will have an opportunity to see Navajo rugs, kachina dolls and pottery. In Albuquerque, a cooking class will complete the day, including dinner.
The final day, guests will go to Acoma, 850 feet above the New Mexican plains.
Cost: $916 per person, double occupancy, including land transportation, lodging, seven meals, a turbo-prop plane ride from Albuquerque to Farmington, a narrow-gauge train ride, entrance fees and cooking class. Tour does not include transportation to Albuquerque.
Contact: Aventura Artistica, 151 Sherry Lane, Del Mar, CA 92014; tel. (800) 808-7352.