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Tours & Cruises

Gardens and Plantations Blooming in the South

January 20, 2002|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Main Street Tours of Torrance is offering a springtime tour to Georgia and the Carolinas. From April 2 to 9, travelers will take bus tours to Atlanta; Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; and the Sea Islands off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. The itinerary includes a visit to Georgia's Stone Mountain Park; a tour of Magnolia Plantation in Charleston; and Brookgreen Gardens of Myrtle Beach, S.C., one of America's first landscaped sculpture gardens. A full day is spent touring in Asheville, N.C., home of the Biltmore mansion.

Cost: $1,699 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, 15 meals, hotels and gratuities.

Contact: Main Street Tours; (800) 300-6246, www.mainstreettours.com.

Sierra: On Wheels

A July 28 to Aug. 1 skating, biking, hiking and kayaking expedition in California's Sierra Nevada will be conducted by Zephyr Adventures of Red Lodge, Mont. The starting point is in Squaw Valley; from there travelers will skate along the Truckee River to South Lake Tahoe, hike part of the Canada-to-Mexico Pacific Crest Trail, skate again along Lake Tahoe, kayak on the lake and bike in Sugar Pine Point State Park.

Cost: $1,195 per person, double occupancy, for most meals and lodging at two hotels. Transportation to Squaw Valley is extra.

In-line skating lessons for beginners and more advanced skaters are on the schedule at Hilton Head Island, S.C. The May 3 to 7 session will be at a rink and, once students feel ready, along sections of the island's 23 miles of paved pathways.

Cost: $1,195 per person, double occupancy, including instruction, most meals and four nights at the Sea Pines Resort, which also has skating trails. Air fare to South Carolina is extra. Other skating tours are planned this year in Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Contact: Zephyr Adventures; (888) 758-8687, www.skatetour.com.

Cuba: Art Exchange

The Palos Verdes Art Center is hosting two educational tours to Cuba. The weeklong programs (March 22 to 29 and March 29 to April 5) will focus on contemporary Cuban visual arts and architecture and historic sights. Participants will explore Cuban museums with art historians, discuss the contemporary visual arts scene with a noted Cuban art critic and meet young Cuban artists. Also included are walking tours of historic Havana, Trinidad and Cienfuegos.

Cost: $2,999 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles to Havana, accommodations, most meals, deluxe bus transportation and museum admissions.

Contact: Gail Phinney, education program director, Palos Verdes Art Center; (310) 541-2479, www.cubaculturaltours.com/pvac.

Japan: Cherry Blossoms

The historic cities of Japan are highlights of a trip May 20 to June 9 with Far Fung Places of San Francisco. The tour visits Tokyo; Nikko, the site of the Toshogu Shrine; Mt. Fuji; the 600-year-old castle of Takayama; Kyoto; and Miyajima Island. Visits to artisans' homes, tea ceremonies, classes on Japanese cuisine and dining etiquette, and stays in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, are on the itinerary.

Cost: $8,400 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, two meals daily, domestic air fare and airport transfers. International air fare is extra.

Contact: Far Fung Places; (800) 410-9811, www.farfungplaces.com.

Greece: Archeology

Byron Tours has planned two trips of 16 participants each to Greece during the quieter and cooler "shoulder" season. Both tours will be led by archeologist Brian Legakis.

"Springtime in Greece," from March 29 to April 15, will travel north from the island of Crete to mountainous northern Greece. The journey will combine visits to the Acropolis in Athens, Knossos, Meteora, Delphi, Mycenae and Epidauros with leisurely walks.

The "Cycladic Islands Tour" to Mykonos, Delos, Santorini and the mainland Peloponnese will run May 30 to June 14, with stops at the sites of ancient Olympia and remote mountain and seaside villages on each island.

Cost: Each trip is $3,400 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, ground transportation, entry fees and most meals. Air fare to Athens is extra.

Contact: Byron Tours; (831) 688-1325, www.byrontours.com.

Europe: Music Cruise

The English Chamber Orchestra will join a cruise aboard the 300-passenger Wind Surf on a trip from Sept. 6 to 17 from Barcelona, Spain, to Lisbon.

Concerts will be given at each port of call, including Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, Alicante and Cadiz in Spain, Rabat in Morocco and Portimao in Portugal. Passengers can spend two nights in Barcelona before the cruise or in Lisbon afterward at an extra cost. Stays in both cities include sightseeing, some meals and one concert.

Cost: from $6,890 per person, double occupancy, including cabin, meals, shore excursions and concerts. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Leonard Haertter Travel; (800) 942-6666.

Italy: Storytellers

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