As we’ve traveled around, we’ve been able to experience things that we’d like to share in this section. It gives you an idea of the different types of activities to explore in each new location.
Special Interest Tours
In almost every spot you travel to, there are local tours that give you a unique look at a specialized topic. A brief search through any hotel lobby will usually provide a rack of brochures featuring local areas of interest and, many times, there’s a tour that will catch our interest. It would take pages to capture all the different topics, but they range from walking tours, to bus tours and ship tours to an “inside” look at a special location that isn’t part of the general tour. It is amazing to look at what is offered, and a little research can pay huge dividends.
Part of the excitement of travel, at least for me, is the planning and research. I feel so sorry for families or couple with bored looks on their faces asking, “what should we do now?” Vacation time is precious – you need to make the most of it! It’s even more important when you’re unfamiliar with an area and not sure how you’re going to spend your time. On one of our winter journeys we had scheduled a week in Palm Springs, California and set out to find things to do while we were there. It didn’t take long to fill up a week but there was one activity that turned in a wonderful surprise.
As you drive through Palm Springs you start to notice the roads being named for start of yesteryear. Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Lucille Ball and Kirk Douglas to name just a few, are immortalized and remembered in special ways throughout the city. The ties to Old Hollywood are inescapable. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. entertained there on a regular basis and you can still see the lounge they entertained in. With one of the walkways dotted with “stars” like Hollywood, you realize that this was their home when made the escape from the movie studios. Indeed, their contracts stated that they had to be within two hours of the studio, so Palm Springs became their escape.
One of the activities we hesitated about but were very glad we did, was a bus tour that took you through the development that became home to the stars. It was fascinating. Known as “Hollywood’s Playground”, Palm Springs became home to some of the biggest names of all time. Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Sonny and Cher, Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Liberace, Nat King Cole, Dinah Shore, Bing Crosby, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, and Jack Benny all made this their home. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Steve Lawrence and Edye Gorme, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, Lucy and Desi Arnaz, Elvis and Priscilla Presley all escaped here to hide from the public. President Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower and President Ronald and Nancy Reagan were frequent visitors. This was, and still is, a special place and we enjoyed our day immensely.
You can find unique tours in most of the popular vacation destinations and they can be similar to this “Hollywood” theme or completely different. On Maui, we took a bus tour to film locations where different places on the island were used as a backdrop in a variety of movies from Blue Hawaii to the remake of King Kong. We went to other extreme and scared ourselves with a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour in London, but we loved every minute of it. And the children still talk about our original tour – a guided walk on the Freedom Trail where we passed the grave of Mother Goose, the Home of Paul Revere and learned a little history at the same time. These types of tours are usually well worth the money and provides entertainment that is just not the same when it comes from a book.