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March 27, 2014     The Perkins Journal
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March 27, 2014
 

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Thursday, March 27, 2014 Destinations &Travel 401 S. Main St. * Stillwater 405-372.1647 British Sampler Have you had enough offer you the vacation of welcomes no less than eight beach vacations to last a your dreams. lifetime? Are you looking London is one of my for a "cultural" experience? favorite cities in the world, Are you worried about lan- but there's a world waiting 0000eJo,yi: 04 waveL' By Joy Gawf-Crutchfield for you beyond England's gleaming capital city. Would you like to surf in Wales? Cook with a chef in Scotland? How about antique shopping in ancient Bath? Great Britain goes way beyond your expecta- tions. To start with, it's easy to get to Great Britain. All of our major carriers provide seamless service to cities throughout Great Britain. London Heathrow A birdseye view of London. guage barriers? Great Britain is the top of the heap when it comes to destinations preferred by American travelers, and by me. From urban hotspots to medieval market towns; from mined castles perched on seaside cliffs to chann- ing country manors; from garden framed Kent to music-impassioned Man- chester; from Dylan Thomas to Shakespeare. If you can dream it, Great Britain can daily flights from DFW alone. One train ticket will pro- vide you with unlimited travel on Britain's national rail networks. Of course I prefer an escorted tour where you'll enjoy the com- fort of a luxury motor coach, and someone else carries the luggage. The breadth of Great Brit- ain's cultural offerings will leave you amazed. There is so much to see and do it actually becomes a rather daunting task to figure out which attractions are most worthy of your time. With world-class museums, gal- leries, festivals and literary sites to discover, you'll want to do your homework before you go. Or, opt for the escort tour that provides you the places and events that most suit your interests. Three of the top five most visited museums in the world are in Great Brit- ain. The British Museum simply cannot be missed. With the Parthenon sculp- tures, Rosetta Stone, and Egyptian Mummies, this museum couldn't get any better. Wait, yes it could, because admission is free. If you love Van Gogh you'll love the National Gallery, home to Van Gogh's "Sunflowers". If you enjoy the impressionists the National Museum of Cardiff offers the most impression- ist and post-impressionist paintings outside of Paris. One of my favorite places in Great Britain is Gras- mere. Grasmere is famous as the favorite residence of William Wordsworth, Poet Laureate of England. Word- sworth called Grasmere "the loveliest spot that man hath ever found". I concur. We all know about Buck- ingham Palace, but what about Hampton Court, Kens- ington, Windsor, Alnwick, Blenheim, Leeds, Dover, the Tower of London, Highclere (the setting of Downton Abbey), Urqu- hart and Caernafon? Oh wait; we loved Edinburgh Castle and Floors Castle in Scotland as well. If you like ancient sites, Great Britain will more than satisfy. If you love gardens Great Britain will seem like para- dise to you. There are actu- ally garden tours, as well as hiking tours, coastal tours, biking tours, and mountain tours. As an American, I was particularly interested in the John Muir Way. Opening this year, this trail stretches from Dunbar, the birthplace River Welland of the 19th century Scot- tish-American naturalist John Muir, to the waters of the Clyde at Helensburgh in Scotland. It's an idyllic way for you to explore the natural spaces and land- scapes of Central Scotland and visit Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Last year I escorted a group on the "Britain Sam- pier", and it was one of the most enjoyable tours I've experienced so far. This tour is a fast, huge loop around Britain, including London, Hampton Court, Bath, Stonehenge, Stow- on-the-Wold, Stratford- upon-Avon (and the home of Shakespeare), Llangollen, Chester, Grasmere, Gretna Green, Edinburgh Abbots- ford, Jedburgh, York, Cam- bridge, and Stamford. From Stonehenge to the Beatles, Great Britain truly offers something fol everyone. If you've never ventured beyond the US or the Caribbean, it's the perfect choice for your first European adventure. And everyone there speaks Eng- lish, sort of. Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy oJ Travel LLC. Stacy Buck i the loca! agent for The Joy oj Travel and can be contactea at (405) 742-8609 travelwil hstacy@ymail.com Grasmere from Stone Arthur ,00tn Irish 00L00yssey Have you ever been Belfast with local guides, of Cong. somewhere and liter- In Dublin there will also We'll love the stepdanc- ally yearned to go back? be an open-top bus tour ing display and our over- That's how we feel about with a visit and drink at night stay at Cabra Castle, Ireland. We toured Ireland Guinness Storehouse or home to a huge Irish wolf- hound who escorted us  around the grounds back in 2011. We'll visit Kilmainham Gaol, Russborough House, By Joy Gawf-Crutchfield House of Waterford Crys- back in 2011, and with Old Jameson lDistillery, tal (a great souvenir stop), pricing that's extremely You'll love the views of Blarney Castle (yes, we affordable in2015, we've Dublin from the top of will kiss the "stone of decided that's when we the Guinness Storehouse eloquence" again), and the are going to return, while you're drinking Blarney Woollen Mills, a The 11 night IrishOdys- your dark beer. Don't great outlet to buy even sey is the most perfect forget to peak at the Book more Irish souvenirs. tour of Ireland I've seen of Kells at Trinity College, Blasket Centre, the mag- available in over nine it's amazing, nificent Cliffs of Moher, years. The tour offers Then there is a farmhouse Kylemore Benedictine all of the expected inclu- visit for tea and scones. Abbey, Museum of Coun- sions: round trip airport Walking tours of Cork, try Life, W.B. Yeats grave, transfers, sightseeing by Derry and Drogheda with Belleek Pottery Factory, luxury coach, the services local guides are included, and the Tower Museum of a professional driver/ as well as the Sheepdog are other wonderful attrac- guide, full Irish break- trials on the Ring of Kerry. tions that are included. fast daily, eight dinners, Won't that be great? One of the strangest two lunches, a welcome My favorite experience formations on earth, the reception, all taxes, hotel will be the horse-drawn Giant's Causeway, is fees and service charges, jaunting car ride in Killar- included in the tour, as and porterage. But it's ney (remember those in is Titanic Belfast, Boyne the sightseeing that puts the "Quiet Man" with Valley Visitor Centre, and it over the top. John Wayne and Maureen the Newgrange or Knoth Included in the itinerary O'Hara?). There's also a Tomb. are tours of Dublin and : "Quiet Man,' walking tour Whew. With two nights in Dublin, one night in Cork, two nights in Killar- ney, two nights in Galway, two nights in Knockranny, two nights in Derry, one night in Cabra Castle and one night in Drogheda, this tour makes a huge loop around Ireland. These tours also include headsets for the walking tours which make a won- derful difference in your experience. It's so nice to actually be able to hear what your professional guide is saying. This tour is avail- able from early March through early November annually. We are going in April because I prefer to go during the spring when the hundreds of contrast- ing greens of Ireland are literally exploding out of the ground. But no matter when you go, Ireland will make you wish you were Irish. The people are friendly and welcoming, the attrac- tions are fascinating, the scenery is breathtaking, the food is sumptuous, and the cost is unbeat- able. Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy ofTravel LLC. Stacy Buck is the local agent for The Joy of Travel and can be contacted at (405) 742- 8609 travelwithstacy @ym ail.com ........................... , .... urnaluK com 00SNB'00 i )m, : ai , : ! ,  ..... ..... ..... , ....... .............